Jefferson Pierce is a successful college graduate and Olympic athlete who moves back to "Suicide Slum" in Metropolis where he grew up. Upon his return, Pierce sees the area and its youngsters under the the control of The 100 and adopts the heroic identity Black Lightning (BL No. 1, Apr 1977: "Black Lightning!"). Black Lightning derives massive electrical powers from a "power belt", and later, incorporates these abilities into his own metabolism. He begins his career in somewhat of a vigilante fashion, earning unwanted coverage from WGBS, the distrust of Inspector Bill Henderson, and a battle with Superman, (BL No. 5,Nov 1977: "Nobody Beats a Superman!") before he is finally accepted by Superman as an ally.
Later, when Metropolis is threatened by the dangerous "de-volver" powers of an energy being, Superman and Black Lightning team-up to stop it (DCCP No. 16, Dec 1979: "The De-Volver!").