Black Lightning: 1982: Fist Raised in Anger, Prologue: Monetary Incentive

by Martin Maenza

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“Damn him!” Tobias Whale slammed his large white fist down on the table before him, shattering the furniture into pieces. “That fool, Cyclotronic Man, lost sight of the larger goal! Instead of taking out both Black Lightning and Superman individually, he fell to their combined assault.” (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See “Nobody Beats a Superman,” Black Lightning #5 (November, 1977).]

The large albino mob leader smoothed out his designer suit jacket and walked through the rubble of the crushed furniture, his large feet further breaking the wood into smaller pieces. Because of his size, his skin pigment, and the rounded shape of his bald head, the crime kingpin carried the nickname of the Great White Whale. However, most people in the business possessed enough sense not to say that name to his face. Those who made that mistake suffered a most untimely death.

Tobias Whale paced the floor in his midtown Metropolis office silently for a few moments. Finally, one of the well-dressed hirelings Whale surrounded himself with spoke up. “So, what we gonna do now, boss?” the slicked-backed young Italian asked. Vincent Scarpelli moved up in the ranks of the organization after the death of Joey Toledo just a few weeks prior. He hadn’t yet learned to avoid asking Whale obvious questions.

Whale whirled around; for a man his size, he moved quicker than one would expect. In a flash, the albino’s face was inches from the inquisitive man’s own face. “We certainly won’t take this lying down, Scarpelli!” Whale said. “The 100 will simply up the ante in this little game. We’ll see if this troublesome hero has what it takes to go the distance.”

Tobias Whale stepped back and looked to another of the men in the room. “Carson, I want you to make sure the following information is ‘leaked’ out to Jimmy Olsen at the Daily Planet. Basically, I want the word out on the street that there is a price on Black Lightning’s head, a rather high price. Say that the money has been put up by various mob leaders. Perhaps we can get someone to take that hero out for us, given the right monetary incentive.”

The man named Carson simply nodded and exited the room.

Whale shook his head in approving silence; perhaps efficiency could still be found in today’s workforce. The albino preferred it when the operations ran smoothly and swiftly. He didn’t like having to worry about monkey wrenches being thrown into the gears of the operation. That made things messy; Whale preferred things neat and tidy.

The large man glanced down at the floor and realized his pacing brought him back to the smashed furniture parts. “The rest of you, get this mess cleaned up and a new table in here,” Tobias Whale ordered. He then strolled over to the window, taking in the view of downtown. “We’ve put a lot of effort establishing our footing here in Metropolis. The last thing the 100 needs now is an upstart sticking his nose into our business.”

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