'Black Lightning': Who Is Tobias Whale?

Tonight's series premiere of Black Lightning introduced audiences several new characters and not [...]

Tonight's series premiere of Black Lightning introduced audiences several new characters and not just the heroes of The CW show's city of Freeland. We also got our first look at the show's major villain -- Tobias Whale.

Spoilers for the series premiere of Black Lightning below.

On Black Lightning, Whale, played by Marvin "Krondon" Jones III, isn't so much as a traditional "big bad," but rather an arch-nemesis for Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning (Cress Williams). As head of The 100 gang, Whale is Black Lightning's primary enemy, especially when gang activity endangers his family.

And the show's version of Whale isn't that far off from the comic book version. In comics, Whale made his first appearance in 1977's Black Lightning #1. An African-American albino, Whale worked his way up through The 100 gang, eventually coming to lead Metropolis' branch of the organization. He draws the ire of Jefferson Pierce, a teacher who had spoken out about the gang's drug trafficking, after the gang murdered one of Pierce's students in response. Wanting to avenge the student, Pierce becomes Black Lightning and is very successful in his quest. Black Lightning gets Whale sent to jail, but he breaks out months later and returns to the streets with a new, highly addictive drug.

On Black Lightning, Whale has a similar story. Also an African-American man with albinism, Black Lightning's Whale is also the leader of The 100 -- just in Freeland, not Metropolis. But, according to his official network bio, the show's Whale killed Jefferson Pierce's father, Alvin, after the elder Pierce exposed his corrupt enterprises and ruined Whale's political career. The murder forced Whale into exile, where he rebuilt and emerged as the violent leader of The 100 as seen in tonight's episode.

Also seen in tonight's episode? While Whale is certainly a force to be reckoned with, Black Lightning definitely gets under his skin, and it will be interesting to see how two very determined men on opposite sides of right and wrong will clash as the story of Black Lightning unfolds.

Black Lighting airs Tuesdays at 9/8c following new episodes of The Flash on The CW.