Jefferson Pierce took demon action against Bruce!

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Well, courtesy of Batman and the Outsiders #16, we find out who Bruce Wayne thinks should be swapped in for him, and the ironic thing is the Dark Knight’s been training this hero recently to max out his potential.

In the DC Rebirth era, this incarnation of the Outsiders hasn’t been handled that well by the Bat. It’s why he wanted Jefferson Pierce, not just as an educator, but as someone who understands fatherhood a bit more to mentor youngsters like Duke and Cassandra Cain. Batman felt like Jeff would quicker resist the darkness and inspire his charges, although Ra’s al Ghul is currently testing this.

But after the Bat augmented Jeff’s powers and he unleashes it to defeat Ra’s and his alien orb, it’s clear Jeff is more than an average metahuman. His electric powers are something quite scary and Bruce clearly sees how much of a force to be reckoned with Jeff is. In fact, he trusts Jeff fully to contain it, which is why he wanted him to lead the group — to show the others that with great power does come great responsibility and even greater composure. Ra’s was the ultimate litmus test and as Jeff confesses what’s coursing through his veins now is at all-new levels, Bruce admits Black Lightning should be standing next to Clark Kent and Diana of Themyscira.

It’s a bold assertion but there’s no one better to hear it from. Bruce knows both are veritable gods but with Jeff, while he has that same power, he’s more human and understands love for mankind on a granular level. After all, he’s one of them, and no matter how much Clark and Diana fight for Earth, they’re not connected to humanity that way. Bruce is right in that sense, as Jeff is the best of both worlds, but again, as seen with his war on Ra’s, he understands limits.

He’s good with proteges and can inspire as a teacher too, so it simply fits better PR-wise, and with a journalist and an ambassador, it makes more sense than a playboy like Bruce. Hopefully, we see Black Lightning on the League in a high-ranking position soon enough because as a Black superhero, it would also be a big move in terms of representation and diversity. Young Justice toyed with this notion, showing a flawed Jeff at times, but Bruce knows these flaws don’t just strengthen his colleague, they make him even more determined and electrifying. It’s why Ra’s now holds a vendetta against Jeff and as he readies for that war, Bruce knows he couldn’t have chosen a better person and possibly a replacement.