‘Black Lightning’ Costume: The CW Finally Ditches Leather

First look at Cress Williams as Black Lightning. CW

Black Lightning just showed us what a mature superhero looks like. His suit is badass, but the first look also came with a healthy giggle. He’s got a beard, some throwback goggles, a receding hairline, a husky figure, and a big glowing blue ball at his crotch. This is a change-up from the classic CW superhero formula, which largely sticks with tight leather suits and features heroes in their early twenties. While Black Lightning’s costume is less bulky than the Atom suit, it’s still a busy look. The suit actually looks a lot like the comic book version of Black Bolt, a Marvel hero who we’ll see on The Inhumans TV series.

First look at Cress Williams as Black Lightning. Photo: CW

While the costume is a change of pace, it still looks very CW-ey with lots of bling and those goggles just seal away the dad look. To be fair, they do kind of give an outdated feel (just like Accelerated Man’s costume did on The Flash) which actually may be authentic to the tone of the story. Jefferson Pierce is a man in his mid-forties, he’s retired, responsible and teaches at a high school. He has no problem making fun of himself and it's a safe bet his two daughters will call him out on those silly goggles.

READ: ‘Black Lightning’ Plot, Character Details Are Everything

Black Lightning has always been the hero that’s so not cool that he is cool. Static Shock was that way too. Their ‘cool’ factor is pretty low compared to say, Oliver Queen, but then again, he’s not going to be known as Star City’s biggest player. He’s raising his daughters and trying to get back with his ex-wife, only wearing his suit again because he knows it’s the right thing to do, not necessarily because he wants to.

Laura Jean Shannon designed the costume. She previously received a Costume Designers Guild Award nomination for her work on Iron Man. The costume aligns with co-creator Salim Akil’s vision for the series--a non-selfish hero who simply provides hope.

black lightning
Black Lightning was in an episode of 'Young Justice.' Photo: DC

“I knew way too much about the world as a young boy growing up in Richmond, California,” said Akil said, according to Deadline. “I was no stranger to violence, death, hopelessness or the feeling that no one cared about what was happening in my life. Comics were a great way for me to escape. I was about 13 when Black Lightning was created, and finally there was a Black Super Hero that gave a damn about our neighborhood and our lives.”

READ: ‘Black Lightning’ Casts Jefferson Pierce’s Daughters: Thunder & Lightning

“Resurrecting him at a time in our society when a sense of hope is lacking…Black Lightning will be that hope,” he added. “And in updating the suit, it will signal to a new generation that it’s time to harness and release our power, and become our own Super Heroes.”

Tony Isabella created Black Lightning with Trevor Von Eeden. Black Lightning is currently filming the pilot episode in Atlanta. There’s no word yet on whether CW plans to pick the series.

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