Thunder II + Lightning II

Thunder created by Judd Winnick and Tom Raney
Lightning created by Mark Waid and Alex Ross

Thunder II

NAME + ALIASES:
Anissa Pierce

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Jefferson Pierce (Black Lightning, father), Lynn Stewart (mother), Jennifer Pierce (Lightning II, sister), Joanna Pierce (cousin, deceased)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
The Outsiders

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Outsiders v.3 #1 (Aug. 2003)

APPEARANCES:

Outsiders v.3 #1-50

Batman and the Outsiders v.2 #1-15

Lightning II

NAME + ALIASES:
Jennifer Pierce

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Jefferson Pierce (Black Lightning, father), Lynn Stewart (mother), Anissa Pierce (Thunder II, sister), Joanna Pierce (cousin, deceased)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Justice Society of America

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Earth-22 version: Kingdom Come #1 (1996)
Mainstream DCU: Justice Society of America v.3 #12 (Mar. 2008)

APPEARANCES:
Justice Society of America v.3 #12–34

History

DC's first Thunder and Lightning were male twins, allies of the Teen Titans who first appeared in New Teen Titans #32 (1983). There was also a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes called Thunder who first appeared in Power of Shazam! Annual #1 (1996). She was the inheritor of the power of Shazam and was born in the 90th century.

The sisters in this profile are the daughters of the hero Black Lightning. Both their introductions were surprising, since there had never been any prior mention that Black Lightning had any children. Further, he and his wife were known to have had a rocky marriage, but most newer appearances of their mother, Lynn Stewart, seemed to suggest that she and Jeff had reunited. Black Lightning's 2009 retooled origin (Black Lightning: Year One—which I recommend) was retconned to include his daughters.

Though she is the younger daughter, and appeared second in mainstream DC continuity, Lightning was created first by Mark Waid and Alex Ross for 1996's Kingdom Come. The collected edition (Revelations) described her as a version of Johnny Thunder's Thunderbolt: "The future daughter of Black Lightning glows like a photo-negative with a more physically transformed quality than her father. The similarity to the 1980s Jonni Thunder's thunderbolt is coincidental but provides an interesting suggestion for her mother." Revelations presented a genealogy that described Lightning as the child of Black Lightning and "Jonni Thunder w/Thunderbolt." SEE: Kingdom Come Annotations

Thunder II

Though Anissa Pierce was born with metahuman abilities, she was sheltered from super-hero culture by her father, the adventurer known as Black Lightning. (So sheltered, in fact, that he never mentioned her to any of his friends or comrades!)

Her powers manifested at the age of eleven. She discovered that she was able to alter the density (and thus, the weight) of her body. After her parents divorced, Anissa lived with her mother and for the most part, she conceded to her parents' wish that she pursue a higher education instead of costumed adventuring. At 22, she graduated in pre-med at the medical school of Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. The next day, she set out to fight crime.

She donned a blond wig and became Thunder, drawing the attention of Arsenal. After the demise of the Titans, he sought to assemble a new team of Outsiders. She accepted his offer, reasoning that her father might feel better about her crimefighting if she was in the company of others. (Outsiders v.3 #1) Of course, her father was far from pleased and he soon appeared at Outsiders headquarters and demanded that Anissa leave the team. (#9)

When her father turned himself in to Checkmate for killing Martin Somers—his niece Joanna's murderer two years prior. (#45)The Red Hood, who claims he has evidence to acquit Black Lightning. He eavesdropped a conversation between Luthor and Deathstroke, who claimed he took the hit on Somers just as Pierce struck, too. Anissa goes to tell him the good news, but Pierce doesn't believe it and stays in prison. She seeks comfort from Grace and the two kiss. Anissa plots to break her father out. (#44-45) Thunder implored the Outsiders to free her father from prison, which they refuse. Grace steps in to her defense, praising Pierce's service as a hero. Later, Anissa thanks her — with another kiss, and more. Meanwhile, word gets out that Black Lightning is in Iron Heights, and the inmate Skeet asks the young Captain Boomerang to kill him. The Outsiders learn of this plot and agree to break him out. OUT3 #46 (Apr. 2007)

bonded over the death of their teammate, Indigo #28 Grace was supportive when Anissa's father was imprisoned, and she surrendering to her attraction to Grace the two of them finally spent the night together and she learned that Grace had always been attracted to her. (#45-46)

Nightwing mounts an Outsiders mission to free Black Lightning from Iron Heights. When things get hairy, Warden Wolfe uses his muscle-control powers to bring the prisoners under control. The effect is torturous and Shift conjures a gas to relax his victims' muscles. Angered, Wolfe pours it on and kills dozens of guards and prisoners. Shift protects the Outsiders fromThe Outsider's send a decoy craft off, which is destroyed. They use this as an opportunity to fake their deaths and work underground. Lightning's former cell mate, Captain Boomerang, joins them but Arsenal leaves the team in Nightwing's hands. Roy goes to the media to "confirm" their deaths. Nightwing is still believed alive; he'd never been spotted. Shift is traumatized and willfully merges himself back into Metamorpho, who cannot extract him again. Green Arrow agrees to fund the cover team's operations. OUT3 Annual #1 (2007)

In the past year, the world has been made to believe the Outsiders are dead. Thunder is deep undercover in Mali, Africa as Lt. Adanna Abioye, a close aide to the murderous President Ratu Benin. She is sent to supervise the slaughter of a village. Against Nightwing's wishes, she breaks cover and stops the soldiers. Among them is their newest member: Captain Boomerang. Also, Shift has apparently merged with his "brother," Rex Mason — Metamorpho. Thunder has ditched her wig and wears a costume similar to her father's. OUT3 #34 (May 1906) Grace cruelly interrogates Colton Mirubu to discover the location of killer sarin gas. Thunder is opposed to such harsh treatment, but Nightwing is resolved. Benin releases a secret super-agent acquired from agents called "Silver and Grey" (Silverback and Grey Matter: Mallah and the Brain). The Outsiders find the gas but are engaged by the villains' speedster clone. OUT3 #35 (June 1906) The speedster mutilates Grace before Boomerang's own speed powers and Metamorpho's acid form help bring him down. When the mask is off, Nightwing recognizes the speedster as a young Jay Garrick! OUT3 #36 (July 1906) Nightwing calls Alan Scott to verify Jay's identity. He was controlled with a flesh-eating virus kept in check by his suit. Alan concludes that it is a clone and takes him, but not before scolding Nightwing for his methods. They then easily capture Benin and reveal that Metamorpho had been impersonating Thunder at times, making him hallucinate (especially during "sex"). Benin reveals his source as "Silver and Grey," whose identities the Outsiders quickly deduce. The Brain traded the clone for rare herbs for use in their own attempts to clone a new body for the Brain. The Brain asks Mallah to let him die, but the ape loves him too much to let him go. The Outsiders leave Benin on a deserted island. Superman also confronts Nightwing, which Dick counters by presenting a small box of kryptonite. OUT3 #37 (Aug. 1906)

 

The new Tattooed Man, Mark Richards, tries to save his family (daughter Laurel, son Leon, wife) and runs up against Black Lightning. They're picked up by Thunder and S.H.A.D.E. after Black Lightning is captured. Thunder wants to go back, is denied. Final Crisis: Submit #1

Lightning II

Black Lightning prepares to send his daughter off to the JSA. From Justice Society of America v.3 #12 (2008); art by Dale Eaglesham and Ruy José.
Lightning finds the will to send her soul back home. From Justice Society of America v.3 #51 (2011); art by Tom Derenick.

Jeff and Lynn hoped that with their younger daughter, Jennifer, they could help her adapt more realistically to her super-powers. Jennifer had difficulty controlling her powers; even small electronic devices would trigger a surge of electricity. She went off to join the Justice Society and met other young women who could relate to her, Stargirl and Cyclone. (Justice Society of America v.3 #12)

Her parents helped Lightning move into the JSA brownstone, where she met Jakeem Thunder, another young hero with powers akin to hers. (#13) It took time for Jennifer to bring her powers under control. Even the energy in Mr. Terrific's T-spheres triggered her to create a blackout. (#14) But in battle against the likes of Gog, she was able to cut loose. (#15)

When the Justice Society split into two teams, Lightning was one of the few younger members to remain with the original team. (#34) When Green Lantern was paralyzed by the villain called Scythe, Lightning unleashed her full power to bring him down. She succeeded but the city was devastated by her blast. (#44) Monument City had been saved but the JSA's enemies unleashed a new wave of terror on them. Their hitman, Dr. Chaos, killed the mayor, and detonated a microbomb in Lightning's brain; she was dead. (#46) Dr. Fate made a desperate attempt to preserve Jennifer's soul and used his magic to bring it into another dimension. Meanwhile, Dr. Mid-Nite put her body into cryogenic suspension. (#47) Once Dr. Chaos was defeated, Dr. Fate brought Blue Devil and Green Lantern to the Infinite Plane where they endured trials in order to return her soul to her body. Before they could complete the journey, Jennifer needed to gather all her will and fight past the Plane's defenses. When they emerged, the JSA's new healer, Ri, was ready and helped restore Lightning's body to true life. (#51)

There was once a spark of a romantic connection between Jen and her teammate, Mr. America, but it's uncertain whether it developed beyond that. (#41)

+ Powers

Thunder can alter the density of her body. She can become super-heavy or super-light. To this end, she can effect diamond-hard skin and super-strength. When heavy, the force with which she strikes the ground often makes a sound like ... thunder!

Lightning has innate control over electrical energy (like her father). There appear to be no limits to her ability. She drew upon the energy from an entire city, which caused the destruction of an entire neighborhood. Dr. Fate once remarked to her that he believed she might be even more powerful than Green Lantern.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:  

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» SERIES:

 

» SEE ALSO:

Black Lightning