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If the "meta-gene" is a new concept on Earth 16, then how do Black Canary and Black Lightning explain their powers?
Theyve always been called "meta humans" before (except for the belt Black Lightning used at first, but I havent seen that in ages).
The fact that the idea of the meta-gene is only now being introduced doesn't mean it hasn't existed in the past.
Electricity existed before Ben Franklin went kite flying. Gravity existed before an apple fell on Newton's head.
Black Canary assumed that something her mother was exposed to during her career as a super-hero caused the current Black Canary to gain her powers. Call it a mutation if you like. The NOTION of a meta-gene is new. Not the meta-gene itself.
We haven't dealt with the Earth-16 version of Black Lightning's origins yet, and I'm not going to give it here.