Recently, we learned that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s long-gestating Black Adam movie would finally get a release date, as Warner Brothers announced it was coming in the fall of 2021. While doing an interview with Screen Rant, the actor was asked directly about rumors of Black Adam possibly featuring members of DC Comics’ original super-team, the Justice Society of America. He didn’t mince words with his answer:
“JSA. We will introduce you to that, the world to JSA.”
Rumors have been swirling for some time that Black Adam would feature Justice Society heroes like Hawkman, Doctor Fate, Stargirl, and Atom Smasher. At least two of those make a lot of sense. Both Hawkman and Fate have deep ties to ancient Egyptian lore, something they share with Black Adam. But the JSA is a society. We should expect to see more than just four heroes. If the venerable team is indeed coming to the big screen, here are other heroes from the team I’d love to see carry the JSA banner into battle against (or with?) the titular antihero.
If Hawkman shows up in a significant role in Black Adam, then I think that his partner both in battle and in romance needs to be there with him. After all, Hawkgirl has been Hawkman’s crime-fighting partner since the earliest days. Shiera Hall was the wife of archeologist Carter Hall, and both heroes were among the earliest members of the JSA. The Winged Wonders were actually connected to each other in an endless cycle of reincarnation dating back to the days of ancient Egypt. Who else is from ancient Egypt? Black Adam. So if Hawkman is going to be in this film, then I say Hawkgirl must follow.
The original Dr. Mid-Nite was in many ways a precursor to Marvel’s Daredevil, as he was comics’ first blind superhero. One of the first “Mystery Men” of the Golden Age, Dr. Charles McNider was day blind but could see better than ordinary humans at night. Oh, and he kick-ass martial arts skills and medical knowledge, so he came in handy as a field medic. McNider was succeeded by two other Doctor Mid-Nites, Dr. Beth Chapel, and Dr. Pieter Anton Cross, both of which had similar power sets. Any or all would be cool to see in any potential big-screen JSA line-up.
The original Wildcat was professional boxer Ted Grant. He used his fighting prowess to fight evil as the costumed Wildcat in the ’40s. That’s pretty much the extent of his abilities — he could kick your butt real good while wearing a cat outfit. Back then, that was good enough. If there is a flashback to the World War II-era JSA, then I say use old Ted. But if we are going to see a modern era Justice Society, I suggest using his successor Yolanda Montez. The original Wildcat’s goddaughter, Yolanda was a Mexican-American mutant who actually had cat-like powers and agility, along with deadly claws. I say make her the modern-day Wildcat of the JSA.
Yes, his name is super cheesy. But the actual modern version of the character is cool as hell. The original Mr. Terrific was pretty unmemorable, and so ridiculously earnest he actually “Fair Play” on his chest. But the 21st Century incarnation of Mr. Terrific is pretty awesome. In current DC continuity, Michael Holt is the world’s third smartest man (Batman and Lex Luthor argue over who is #1). He invested his fortune and technical expertise into becoming a crime fighter after the death of his wife. He’s aided in this by his T-spheres, robotic orbs that serve multiple functions and could be cool on screen. If there’s a modern-day big screen JSA, then I vote for Mr. Terrific as its chairman.
Starman (Jack Knight)
There have been many heroes in the DC universe going by the name of Starman; the first was Ted Knight (not the actor) in the ’40s. The brilliant scientist was the creator of the cosmic rod, a staff that could tap into unlimited energies from the heavens. Eventually, he passed his cosmic rod to his eldest son, who died in the line of duty. It then went to his youngest child, Jack. Jack was a laid back hipster who didn’t want any part of being a superhero, but reluctantly took on the mantle of the new Starman and joined the JSA. Although the Black Adam movie is rumored to feature Stargirl, who inherited the cosmic rod from Jack in the comics, we think with her forthcoming TV series she’ll be off-limits. This would allow Jack to the JSA’s resident cosmic hero.
Although his father the Golden Age Green Lantern probably won’t be in a big screen JSA, I think his son Obsidian could make the cut. He was the product of a relationship between Scott and the villain named Thorn, who gave Todd and his sister Jennifer — later known as Jade — up for adoption. He discovered that he had the power to become a living shadow when entering adulthood, and became a superhero following in dad’s footsteps. Eventually joining the JSA, he came the team’s most prominent LGBTQ hero. His shadow powers would prove to be cool on screen, and even if little mention is made of his famous dad, he would still be a cool addition to any live-action JSA.
Ok, this one is the wild card. I admit it. But if we see a flashback to the Justice Society of the 1940s era, then Wonder Woman should be leading the charge. Even if you can only get Gal Gadot to come in for a brief cameo, who doesn’t want to see Diana punching Nazi scum in World War II?
Probably NOT Showing Up: The Flash and Green Lantern
The two most prominent members of the Justice Society of America are arguably the original Golden Age versions of the Flash and Green Lantern, Jay Garrick and Alan Scott, respectively. But I wouldn’t expect to see either of them in any big screen JSA. Warner Brothers would simply want to avoid the brand confusion of two characters named Flash and Green Lantern who don’t have much to do with the more popular versions. Maybe if we get a brief WWII era cameo of the JSA, they could show up as an Easter egg. But don’t expect much more than that.
Regardless of who makes the cut, it will be amazing for DC’s first-ever super team to finally get some love on the big screen. It is long overdue.
Images: DC Comics