'Black Lightning': What Is the A.S.A.?

On tonight's Black Lightning Gambi's big secret is revealed, but along with the truth about Black [...]

On tonight's Black Lightning Gambi's big secret is revealed, but along with the truth about Black Lightning's oldest friend, we find out a little bit more about the mysterious organization Gambi's part of: the A.S.A.

Spoilers for tonight's episode of Black Lightning, "Revelations", below.

While the show previously revealed that Gambi was, at one point, part of a secret organization called the A.S.A. and that Lady Eve (Jill Scott) had also once been part of this group, tonight we found out just how deep the A.S.A. ties are to Freeland. Early in the episode, Gambi (James Remar) meets with a shady man named Martin Proctor (Gregg Henry), who turns out to be head of the agency in the area. We later find out that the A.S.A. has been experimenting on Freeland for three decades, using a vaccine to make the citizens passive and, in the process, creating metahumans.

But what is the A.S.A.? The organization actually appears in DC Comics. In comics, the A.S.A. is the American Security Agency, a U.S. Government organization that supervised the creation of a national team of super-agents known as the Force of July. The team was intended to be the "good" guys, but in actuality they were more antagonistic than heroic. The Force of July clashed with the Outsiders more than a few times, and, like most government-sponsored teams in comics, there were some shady things going on within the A.S.A. The original chairman, B. Eric Blairman was questionable enough, but he was later replaced by the even more corrupt Abraham Lincoln Carlyle. Carlyle tried to use the Psycho Pirate's Medusa Mask to get himself elected president, but that didn't go so well, and, through a series of events, Carlyle and most of the Force of July were ultimately killed in battle with the A.S.A. going defunct after.

While we've yet to see a Force of July show up on Black Lightning or have anything more about the mysterious agency fleshed out at this point, we do know that their experimentation on Freeland hasn't stopped. While the vaccine plagued Freeland thirty years ago, Green Light is the problem now and, as Lynn Pierce (Christine Adams) discovered tonight, the old A.S.A. vaccines are terribly similar to the dangerous drug plaguing Freeland today.

Black Lightning airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on The CW.


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