|“||Gambi: The first Freeland experiment killed a lot of kids! And you thought it was a good idea to do a sequel?!
Proctor: They would’ve wound up on welfare or in prison anyway.
|~ Honestly the most personally revolting candidate to me that I’ve proposed so far.|
This guy has been under the PE category for quite some time and I thought it was past do that he officially get approved, so without further ado, let’s discuss Martin Proctor.
What's the Work?
Black Lightning is a 2018 superhero live action series. It tells if the titular superhero Jefferson Pierce who comes out of retirement after nine years to reclaim the mantle of Black Lightning to take back his home city of Freeland from gangs and expose a wider government conspiracy.
Now the show wasn’t originally part of the Arrowverse, but it eventually crossed over in Season 3 as part of the Crisis on Infinite Earths event, but seeing as how this candidate died long before that in the Season 1 finale, this isn’t really important for this discussion.
Who is He/What Has He Done?
First, some background. Over 30 years ago, the American Security Agency (ASA) secretly distributed tainted vaccines to the people of Freeland in an experiment to keep the docile and prevent them from rising up against civil rights injustice and systemic racism towards the black community. However, these vaccines had the unexpected side effect of killing people and inadvertently giving some kids superpowers. Using his colleague and ASA scout, Peter Gambi, Proctor had him find the kids with superpowers so he could kidnap them. However, when Gambi discovered the vaccine was killing the children, he leaked the information to Pierce’s father Alvin and his investigation ultimately got him killed when he ran afoul of corrupt politician turned gangster Tobias Whale. Gambi took in Jefferson Pierce, the only superpowered kid survivor and Pierce would later use his powers to become the vigilante Black Lightning to avenge his father's death. Proctor and the ASA, meanwhile would proceed to experiment on and dissect the children for years to find out how to create stable metahumans, but the ASA ultimately couldn’t figure it out and the bodies of the children were stored in their lab in suspended animation as they would die before they could become fully operational
However, in the present, nine years after Black Lightning’s seeming demise at the hands of Tobias, Proctor restarted and rebranded the vaccine program, who had it secretly distributed to drug dealers in Freeland like Lady Eve’s cartel as a highly addictive drug called Green Light to sell preferably to teens, so that the ASA could kidnap those who developed superpowers and turn them into weapons to use. The drug quickly swept through the streets as an epidemic, with countless overdoses and deaths of black kids.
Later, when Tobias framed Black Lightning for killing Lady Eve, Proctor decides to take matters into his own hands and meets with Peter Gambi (who had pretending to still be associated with the ASA while working to protect Black Lightning) to express how he was going to kill Black Lightning like he should have done the minute he returned, believing he was now a threat to his operation and berating Gambi before revealing he placed a bounty on Black Lightning and rejected Gambi’s idea to capture him as in his own words “ASA’s dissected enough meta’s. One more isn’t going to help us create our own”. He then reveals he was sending ASA operatives into Freeland to kill Black Lightning tells mocks the town and declares the people of Freeland were only good for experimentation and demands Gambi gives him everything he has on Black Lightning before leaving.
While having his goon on the police force, Deputy Chief Cayman traffick high-tech weapons to ASA agents to kill Black Lightning, Proctor decided to move his Green Light production lab. However, when Black Lightning and his daughter Thunder began to raid the lab and Black Lightning comes down, Proctor pulls a gun on one of his own scientists and threatens to kill him if Black Lightning makes a move, but Black Lightning points out that the doc was helping him kill countless people everyday with the drug they were making and when the lights go out and Inspector Henderson stops one of Proctor’s men from ambushing and killing Black Lightning, Proctor runs away while they were distracted.
Shortly afterwards, Proctor discovers that Thunder broke into his lab where he was holding all the kids and had their bodies moved before staging an ambush for Black Lightning and Thunder when they inevitably came back. Proctor then came by to kidnap Gambi, telling him if he didn’t come with them, he would have his agent begin killing pedestrians and when Gambi surrender, Proctor disappointedly told him that he was hoping that he would let his man start killing the civilians. Proctor then has Gambi tortured, mistakenly believing he was the one who broke into his lab, but did correctly ascertain from this mistake that Gambi was working with and knew how to contact Black Lightning. When Peter denied this, Proctor smugly mocked him before having him waterboarded. He then had his men go to kidnap Jefferson and threaten to kill him to force Gambi to reveal Black Lightning’s identity though Gambi and Pierce were able to escape and somewhat reconcile too. Proctor is then talking to his new spotter, which is revealed to be the vice principal and supposed friend of Jefferson, Kara Fowdy, “thanking” her for the newest kids she spotted with superpowers and telling her to keep a lookout for more before mocking her and telling her to do a better job since he figured out Jefferson Pierce was…Black Lightning via deductive reasoning and telling her to kill him.
Proctor then meets with Tobias Whale after having him healed following his last confrontation with Black Lightning and tells him about his operation, and how even though green light had higher yields than the vaccine, the survival rate was no better and he needed Whale to capture Black Lightning as he figured out he was a product of the vaccine and the only capable of surviving so was therefore the key to figuring out how to make their subjects stable so the ASA could turn them into weapons. He then shows Tobias that he finished “the project he was working on” before revealing a non-paralyzed Khalil. He reminds Whale to bring Black Lightning alive. After Kara informs him about Tobias (seemingly) killing Black Lightning, Proctor lashes out and tells her to bring Black Lightning’s dead body and Thunder, dead or alive, even if she had to destroy Freeland to do it.
In the Season 1 finale, Proctor has his agents looking for Tobias, but the only lead they could find was his drug dealer and associate Lala and they also inform him that warehouse called as putting the pods there had taxed the power grid and now the stage one kids (32 out of the 36 captives) would die in 10 hours unless they could get a DNA sample from a stable metahuman. He then gets angry and gives a fanatical and paranoid speech to his men about how these metahuman kids were weapons that America should exploit and have more than anyone else and tells them to find Black Lightning, Thunder, and Lala, declaring to them that failure was not an option. Lala comes to them to talk, but due to Tobias’ machinations and revival of him, he couldn’t tell them where Tobias was and Proctor realized he was implanted with a bomb, walking out before it blew and telling his surviving men to focus on getting Black Lightning and Thunder and they would kill Tobias afterwards. Once his men find where the heroes were hiding, Proctor had a full tactical team go after them. When the men discovered Black Lightning is alive, they tell Proctor and remind him they aren’t prepped for him, so they request permission to abort, but Proctor denies it and tells them to push forward to find what and who the two heroes were protecting to gain leverage. The team miserably fails though and with the Freeland PD on their way to the fight, Proctor gives the order to abort and decides to cut his losses by telling his team to contact the warehouse to move the stage two pods while the stage one kids die, but just then, his facility is breached by Tobias and his group. Proctor then has his team burn the hard drives and opens the door and briefly engages Tobias, Painkiller, and Syonide with one of his men, but once Painkiller takes out the other guy, the door quickly closes and Proctor then shoots the suitcase the guy was holding before accessing a hidden exit and abandons his right-hand man to die with a mocking expression. Proctor then goes to the lab with all the pods and kids, but asks the scientist where the tactical team before Black Lightning reveal himself and so do the rest of his family when Proctor turns around and tries to flee. He takes the time to brag how he knew Jefferson was Black Lightning to which he responds that is a problem before threatening them that he was a federal agent and that they will bring the weight of the entire U.S government on them. However, Gambi comes in and exposes his lies and hypocrisy, revealing that after Proctor didn’t call in reinforcements when his green light lab was destroyed that he was actually running a rogue operation to which Proctor blames political correctness for ruining the country. When Gambi berates him that the first Freelnad experiment killed a lot of kids and how could he think it was a good idea to do a sequel to which Proctor responds that those black kids would have wound up on welfare or in prison anyway. Jennifer then uses her powers on him to throw him down, but then Proctor desperately tries to save his own skin by revealing the situation of most of the superpowered kids dying and how he could save them if Black Lightning would give him a sample of his DNA and that the ASA would back him once he revealed the truth about the Pierces and that he would get a check and a get out of jail free card so either they make a deal or he would return to kill them all. Gambi calls him a monster to which Proctor tells him that was funny coming from him and Gambi agrees…before shooting him in the chest, killing him once and for all.
Now I’m not going to compare him to the Arrowverse (even though I still think he would stand out there) seeing as how he died long before Black Lightning crossed over there, but let’s see what the heinous standard of Black Lightning looks like:
Tobias Whale: Black Lightning’s archenemy and the murderer of his father. Most of the stuff he did is typical of what you would expect of a gangster: racketeering, extortion, killing witnesses, etc. However, he also helped distribute Proctor’s green light drug throughout Freeland and later attempted (though thankfully failed) to sell the superpowered kids to the highest bidder. He later orchestrates the assassination of the mayor, hijacks breakthrough technology from the Monovista corporation to secretly harvest metahuman genes from the unborn and use an emitter to nullify every meta’s powers in Freeland with the aom of controlling who has powers and who doesn’t to eliminate ant who stand in his way.
Percy Odell: The head of the ASA at the time of the series and the one revealed to have secretly sanctioned Proctor’s restart of the Freeland experiment and trafficking of green light. After Proctor’s death, he takes matters into his own hands and initiates an occupation of Freeland and does some truly personal heinous acts like brainwashing Khalil into killing his own mom, manipulating Jennifer into becoming a child soldier, and getting Lynn addicted to green light. When the Markovians invade Freeland, Odell has the ASA abandon the city to get nuked by the U.S government. I would propose him if he didn’t have some redeeming features.
Gravedigger: Leads the Markovian invasion of Freeland with the goal of making all metahumans agree to come with him to form their own state or die if they refuse.
That all being said Proctor definitely stands out. He operated the original Freeland illegal human experiment, giving a tainted vaccine to the people of Freeland to make them docile, which didn’t work, but ended up killing scores of children and making some children metahumans who were also dying with the sole exception of Jefferson Pierce. He then exploited this to kidnap the surviving metahumans he could get his hands on, experimenting (including dissecting many) on them and keeping them trapped in suspended animation for 30+ years. Meanwhile, he continued modifying the vaccine for that time so that the ASA could do the experiment again and this is all just the stuff he did in the past!
Come the present day and while Odell may have been the one to sanction his restart of the Freeland experiment, Proctor was the one who carried and implemented it out. This included secretly distributing the new and “improved” drug called green light through his drug trafficking associates, which was primarily targeted towards teens, causing a city wide epidemic that killed even greater amounts of people and specifically children than before (thousands of people every day according to Black Lightning). He once again kidnaps the ones displaying metahuman powers for experimentation with the ultimate goal of creating a metahuman (child) army. He also blackmails his former colleague Peter Gambi into letting himself get kidnapped by threatening to have loads of pedestrians outside killed, has Gambi tortured, and kidnaps Jefferson Pierce, who he knows is his surrogate son, and threatens to have him killed right in front of him unless he tells him Black Lightning’s identity. After figuring Jefferson Pierce was Black Lightning, he through his spotter Kara is responsible for framing him as a drug dealer, dragging his reputation, and having him imprisoned.
Point is he is responsible for the deaths of countless children through drug trafficking and human experimentation all for the sake of enslaving them as an army after ironically failing to brainwash Freeland during the 80s that he wanted to do and literally bragged about how the people of Freeland were only good for experimentation.
How about no? Clear hate sink through and through with his smug, racist, cowardly, and sadistic attitude. Now something I will fix on his page and the ASA’s is that Gambi was wrong, Proctor wasn’t a rogue agent, he was sanctioned by the government, but that doesn’t make him an extremist, especially since he didn’t even care to deny that he was a rogue agent and seemingly confirmed it with pride and disgust at how “political correctness” is ruining America or whatever.
His claims about doing this to make America great are just an obvious and self-serving mask for his true nature as a racist, self-admitted control freak who hates things and people he can’t control. He only even claims to be doing things for the greater good when he is trying to manipulate Gambi and his colleagues to his ends or when he is trying to save his own skin in the finale when the heroes catch him. This is the same guy who expressed sadistic disappointment that Gambi turned himself in and wouldn’t let him massarce a bunch of random American pedestrians, abandoned national security secrets to save his own skin, and abandoned his own loyal right-hand to die for…no reason and with a smug expression at that (stupid from even a pragmatic standpoint as that allowed Tobias to get those aforementioned national security secrets, but seems like he didn’t care). All this to say, no, he absolutely does not have any redeeming qualities whatsoever and is just a self-righteous, hypocritical racist.
Gambi was absolutely right to call him a monster, a complete one in my opinion.