There Is No Justice League
Jefferson Pierce is in current continuity a metahuman who was born with the ability to generate and magnify external localized electromagnetic phenomena, by manipulating intense bio-electric fields generated by his body. This is a power that he internalized and kept hidden for much of the early part of his adult life. Exactly how much electrical energy Black Lightning can generate is unknown but he can easily stun or kill a man with his internal powers, and on one occasion he was able to restart Superman’s heart after the Man of Steel had suffered from a near-fatal Kryptonite exposure. He can also generate a powerful electro-magnetic force field capable of stopping projectiles, however, this act requires considerable effort and concentration. He has demonstrated the ability to create an electromagnetic repulsion field which grants him limited flight capabilities. Pierce also maintains his Olympic-level physical conditioning, giving him above average strength, speed, and stamina. Under Batman’s tutelage, he has become a highly skilled hand-to-hand martial artist and combatant.
A gold medal-winning Olympic decathlete, Jefferson Pierce returned to his old neighborhood in the Southside (Suicide Slum) section of the city of Metropolis, with his wife Lynn Stewart and his daughter Anissa to become the principal of Garfield High School. Southside as it was once known was where his father – renowned journalist Alvin Pierce – had been murdered. Guilt over this event was a factor in his decision to leave the city of Metropolis. Suicide Slum was being torn apart by a local organized criminal gang called the 100, shady corporations, and crooked local politicians like Tobias Whale. Peter Gambi, a family friend and tailor, had taught a much younger Jefferson how to suppress his inborn metahuman abilities so that he would not accidentally hurt any of the people he cared about.
Appalled by the public murder of Earl Clifford, one of his more promising students, Pierce tried to intervene on behalf of the schoolchildren, but quickly learned that the 100 objected violently to any interference. Pierce adopted the costumed identity “Black Lightning”.
When Lex Luthor was elected President of the United States in 2000, he appoints Jefferson Pierce as Secretary of Education, Pierce accepting as he concludes that he can do more good working within the system than outside it. He resigned amidst controversy over his “worst-kept secret in Washington” identity as Black Lightning, and his alleged inadvertent killing of a criminally-minded corporate CEO, for which President Pete Ross (who had since succeeded Luthor) then pardoned him.
Jefferson has had two daughters by his ex-wife Lynn Stewart, both of whom have followed in his footsteps and become superheroes. His oldest daughter Anissa Pierce has taken on the name “Thunder” and served on an incarnation of his team the Outsiders and his sixteen-year-old younger daughter, Jennifer Pierce, was recently recruited by the Justice Society of America under the code name “Lightning”.