As exciting as the season finale of Black Lightning was, many comic book fans saw the formation of a super-villain team much like the one in the comics and below are some key differences and similarities :
While the original Tobias Whale was a menacing figure, he had no superpowers. He was however quite agile for a man of his size (6’5″ and 400 pounds, according to Who’s Who In The DCU) and particularly skilled at throwing harpoons. Despite this, the revelation of Tobias’ powers is still a nod to the classic comics, where Whale worked in the service of The 100 – a cabal of mystics who found a way to gain immortality by feeding on the suffering of others.
Tobias Whale’s right-hand woman Syonide has been a largely silent presence for most of Black Lightning‘s first season. Strangely there is more backstory than there was ever given to Syonide in the comics. An unnamed assassin employed by Tobias Whale, she took up the name and weapons of another super-villain named Syonide.
Track star Khalil Payne thought his life was over after a bullet shattered his spine following a peaceful protest which turned violent. Blaming Black Lightning for his injuries, Khalil was taken under the wing of Tobias Whale, who promised to teach him how to “kill the pain”. Ironically Khalil has more in common with the original Syonide than the Black Lightning villain called Painkiller. Introduced in the 1995 Black Lightning series, the original Painkiller was a meta-human who had the power to dull the senses of people around them, causing them to go blind or lose all feeling in their limbs. Sadly, he died two issues in after being introduced and never being given a full name or proper backstory.
The Tattooed Man
Latavius Johnson (aka Lala) was a drug dealer as part of The 100. His sloppy methods saw him killed by Tobias Whale, before he was mysteriously resurrected and began having visions of the people that he’d murdered. He also started growing tattoos of his victim’s faces! There have been three DC Comics villains called The Tattooed Man, but Lala’s background doesn’t match-up with any of them. The closest is Mark Richards – a former Marine, who claimed that his tattoos represented the sins of the people he killed and that he was bringing them peace as he killed more and more evil people. The only common ground between Lala and Richards is a suggestion that Richards was an unwitting recipient of his own dark powers.
As fans can see the show runners borrowed some of the best elements from the comics to form our villains as it most assured that the action will only ramp in season 2 and you can bet that the conflict between Jefferson and Tobias will only escalate.