With the impending arrival of Dwayne The Rock Johnsons upcoming DC movie Black Adam – sufficient reason for Johnson making a surprise appearance at Warner Bros’ Comic-Con panel – it is time to have a closer consider the heroes who’ll be sharing the screen with the type — the JSA.
The Justice Society of America is definitely a core portion of the animated and TV landscapes of DC, making use of their most well-known characters showing up again and again, including in an exceedingly big way in DC’s Stargirl series. Just what exactly does all this actually mean for the upcoming (type of) Shazam spin-off Black Adam? Well, let’s just say this is not exactly your grandad’s Justice Society of America.
Lets dig into what the arrival of the JSA could mean for Black Adam and the larger DCEU!
Black Adam Cast
As the membership of the JSA has varied greatly on the teams eight-decade history, the Black Adam movie will undoubtedly be having a pared-down membership:
- Atom Smasher (played by Noah Centineo)
- Hawkman (played by Aldis Hodge)
- Doctor Fate (played by Pierce Brosnan)
- Cyclone (played by Quintessa Swindell)
- Black Adam (played by Dwayne The Rock Johnson)
By the idea art teaser released back at DC FanDome 2020 (and the footage which has been released since that time) , it appears like Black Adam will undoubtedly be fighting the Justice Society in the film but, needless to say, dont these exact things usually end with everyone acquiring buddies to fight a more impressive threat? So maybe Black Adam will join the JSA by the finish of the film
WHAT’S the Justice Society of America?
The JSA is really a classic Golden Age superhero team — the initial superhero team actually — that has been born from the minds of Sheldon Mayer and Gardner Fox. The team debuted in 1941’s All-Star Comics #3 — predating the Justice League by almost 2 decades — and featured a lineup of powerful heroes: Hawkman, Doctor Fate, Spectre, Atom, Hour-Man, Sandman, Jay Garricks Flash, and Alan Scott’s Green Lantern.
Eagle-eyed fans will observe that a few Black Adams characters are from that original lineup, as both Doctor Fate and Hawkman will undoubtedly be appearing in the upcoming super-flick. (The Stargirl TV series, meanwhile, has featured an array of those characters both within their classic forms, so when reimagined modern versions, alongside heroes from the Seven Soldiers of Victory including Starman and his titular legacy successor.)
The JSA’s adventures eventually ceased as superhero comics fell out of favor in the first 1950s, however in time the Silver Age of comics brought new versions of heroes just like the Flash and Green Lantern back again to popularity. In 1961, the brand new Barry Allen Flash met his counterpart from the JSA, Jay Garrick, and soon the idea of alternate Earths established that the JSA have been from Earth-2 as the “modern” heroes were from Earth-1. The JSAs link with the planet War II-era resulted in them being depicted as older characters who often mentored younger heroes, and the various Earths were eventually merged in 1985s Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Black Adam First Trailer Screenshots
WHO’S Black Adam?
Dwayne Johnson’s DC Comics anti-hero Black Adam was once referred to as Teth-Adam. There were variations on his story through the years because of DC’s ever-changing continuity, but basically he’s from the united states referred to as Kahndaq in DC, and was created some 5000 years prior to the film occurs, where he was a slave. Like Shazam will be millennia later, he was granted the energy of the Wizard Shazam, but was corrupted by this power and banished by the wizard. He’d return eventually, and be the nemesis of the hero Shazam today, before eventually becoming more of an anti-hero and an associate of the JSA.
Atom Smasher (played by Noah Centineo)
The initial hint that Black Adam wouldn’t feature the entire original iteration of the JSA was the announcement of Noah Centineo (TO ALL OR ANY the Boys I’ve Loved Before) being cast as Atom Smasher. The type first appeared in All-Star Squadron #25, a WWII-set series from Roy Thomas, Rich Buckler, and Jerry Ordway that gave the creators an opportunity to tell stories of the JSA in what they saw as their heyday. The time yarns were ready in the Earth-2 continuity which allowed the series to reimagine the adventures of the Golden Age heroes without disrupting their current continuity while also checking space to introduce fresh faces and new legacy characters just like the godson of the Golden Age Atom, Albert Rothstein, a.k.a. Atom Smasher.
Similar to the original Atom, the hero can manipulate the molecular structure of his body, and he even gained these powers just as because the original Atom, with a supervillain referred to as Cyclotron. Although Golden Age Atom received his abilities throughout a battle, Albert inherited his from the maniacal villain who was simply his grandfather. Despite his grim origin, the hero was always a lot more thinking about following in the do-gooder footsteps of his heroes in the Justice Society of America, first because the teenage super Nuklon and later because the fully-fledged JSA member Atom Smasher.
Atom Smasher is really a particularly interesting character choice once you set it alongside Dwayne Johnson’s eagerness to frame Black Adam being an anti-hero rather than straight-up villain. Through the ’90s JSA run compiled by Geoff Johns and David Goyer, with art by Stephen Sadowski, Black Adam joins the JSA alongside Atom Smasher and Stargirl. If we turn to that series as inspiration, we’re able to see Johnson’s powerful antagonist become an ally to these more traditionally heroic characters, at the very least for a time. Basically, Black Adam and Atom Smasher are deeply connected in the comics, and you could be prepared to see Johnson and Centineo going on an emotional journey together in the film.
Hawkman (played by Aldis Hodge)
Next up is just about the most well-known of Black Adam’s antagonists. Hawkman, who’ll be played by Aldis Hodge, has appeared in various DC animated movies and shows while also playing a significant role in the first seasons of the long-running CW superhero series Legends of Tomorrow. Like the majority of Big Two heroes, Hawkman has lived through multiple iterations with lots of people holding the mantle, however the usual suspect is Carter Hall, an Indiana Jones-style archeologist; it appears unlikely that we’ll see his alien Thanagarian cop iteration, Katar Hol, in this film. It doesn’t mean his is really a simple story though, as Carter Hall’s Hawkman is truly a contemporary reincarnation of Khufu, a historical Egyptian royal. The Shazam movie featured a sequence which told the story of Black Adam, also it appeared as if he was in ancient Egypt. Plus there’s the truth that Hawkman’s entire backstory is filled up with time travel, multiple lives, and DC’s mysterious Nth metal.
Hawkman’s wings are powered by that magical compound, that is also linked to his origin as he was stabbed by way of a dagger manufactured from Nth metal and cursed to call home over and over and again. Although Shazam movie leaned in to the Egyptian version of Black Adam’s origin, in the Johns JSA run mentioned previously the team retconned Adam to being from Kahndaq, a fictional North African nation. Don’t despair, however, as Hawkman still plays an integral part for the reason that lore, as Black Adam served under Khufu, who later be reincarnated as Carter Hall.
Something very interesting about these JSA choices could it be seems the film is actually creating a team around Black Adam, with everyone having some deep-seated link with the villain/anti-hero and his comic book history.
Doctor Fate (played by Pierce Brosnan)
Doctor Fate may be the only Justice Society character here who’ll have featured in both Stargirl series and the Black Adam movie — along with, incomparable this throwback, Smallville. Hes an extremely interesting choice because the massively powerful hero does not have a considerable pre-existing relationship with Black Adam in the comics. Still, the origins of his magical helmet and powerset do lean into some very Shazam-style tropes. In his Golden Age incarnation, Doctor Fate awakens a wizard in a tomb and becomes a hero… that sounds a lot like Billy Batson and his origin story, so there is a lot to play with there. But since we’ve been discussing Egypt, let’s skip forward several decades and discuss a smuggler referred to as Jared Stevens.
Hired by two previous Doctor Fates to steal the helmet and amulet from an Egyptian tomb — *coughappears like a sensible way to build in a backstory with Adam *cough– Stevens was initially introduced during 1994’s Fate #0 and played a component in Johns and Goyer’s time on JSA. It could seem sensible then that may be the version of Doctor Fate that we’ll see (although, to be pedantic, he never really took that mantle and was known only as Fate). It could be super cool to obtain a classic iteration of the type but we’ve seen that onscreen before which version comes with an interesting link with one of the primary surprises concerning the Black Adam movie.
Back at DC FanDome in 2020, an idea image was shown off showcasing a little purple gem close to Adam. In the comics, that artifact houses the demonic entity referred to as Eclipso — who was simply also introduced in Stargirl, thank Grodd for the Multiverse — who opens up another layer of link with Jared Stevens. During his stint as a hero, Stevens had to handle down threats from the mysterious Gemworld, the house of iconic teen heroine Amethyst. And in a few elements of Eclipso canon — specifically the brand new 52 era — it’s revealed he was imprisoned in his gem by the home of Amethyst on Gemworld. Could that function as connection here? Does Stevens appear against Adam whilst they’re both trying to find Eclipso? Perhaps they know each other because of that connection? If that’s the case, then that’s another hero with a bone to choose with Johnson’s yellow and black-suited character.
Does this purple gem hint at villain Eclipso being section of the Black Adam movie?
Cyclone (played by Quintessa Swindell)
The ultimate confirmed person in Black Adam’s Justice Society of America can be an interesting one. A legacy character with ties to both a vintage Golden Age hero and their android replacement, Cyclone, a.k.a. Maxine Hunkel, may be the granddaughter of the initial Red Tornado (another Sheldon Mayer creation). A mature, unnamed Maxine first appeared in 1996s future-set Kingdom Come series by Alex Ross and Mark Waid but a younger version of the type was retroactively put into the JSA by Geoff Johns and Dale Eaglsham ten years later.
Though initially it may look that she does not have a link to Black Adam, Cyclones dark origin story introduced a thread that may be key. Maxine was recruited to the JSA by Mister Terrific and Power Girl during Johns and Eaglesham’s 2007 JSA relaunch. It’s there that people learn she gained her powers because of being kidnapped by the mad scientist T. O. Morrow, who was simply also the creator of the next Red Tornado. In a few sort of horrific experiment, he imbued Maxine with exactly the same technology he used to generate that android hero and years later she manifested her powers, joining the up-and-coming DC Comics team. Just what exactly does which have related to Black Adam? His antagonistic history with T. O. Morrow introduces a straightforward potential connection which could more than likely be built on in this exploration of the JSA.
In 2006, DC embarked on an unprecedented experiment: 52 was a weekly series that aimed to place out a fresh issue every Wednesday for per year… plus they achieved it! Featuring a few of DC’s biggest creators, it had been an enormous moment for the business and it’s where Black Adam and T. O. Morrow faced down. Through the event, Black Adam hunted down the scientist for the part he played in the creation of the Fourth World’s Four Horsemen of Apokolips. Now, while we don’t necessarily think Black Adam will undoubtedly be getting deep into Darkseid lore, we can say for certain this Adam is more of an anti-hero. Could he inadvertently come across Maxine while searching for T. O. Morrow — maybe in flashback? Perhaps he even saves her from him? If that’s the case, it could imply that her link with the antagonist is really a positive one, which may add a fascinating layer to the team.
We’ll need to wait before Black Adam film hits to discover, but what do you consider of the Justice Society of America roster? Is our sleuthing outrageous or does it make a substantial amount of sense? Are you currently just stoked to start to see the Rock finally become Black Adam? Tell us in the comments! And head in this manner for all your new DC movies and Television shows in 2022 and beyond.
Note: This story was updated on July 26, 2022, with the most recent information regarding Black Adam. It orginally ran in August, 2020.
Rosie Knight can be an Eisner-winning journalist, author and comics writer. She co-hosts Crooked Medias X-Ray Vision podcast, discussing pop culture from superhero movies to prestige television to the very best fantasy novels and, needless to say, comics.