The Black Adam movie starring Dwayne Johnson isn’t coming out until December 2021, but an interesting detail came up during a press junket for Jumanji: The Next Level. Johnson told ComicBook that Black Adam will introduce The Justice Society of America (JSA) to the big screen. Jumanji co-star Kevin Hart asked about a sidekick role on Black Adam, but Johnson noted Black Adam himself has no sidekick. Here’s what Johnson said during the junket:
“We’re also gonna introduce JSA in Black Adam,” Johnson said to Hart. “So in JSA maybe there’s a (role for Kevin Hart)…They have an animal, a pet.”
Production for the film will start in the summer of 2020, with director Jaume Collet-Serra at the helm. Collet-Serra is best known for Orphan and The Shallows, and also worked with Johnson on Disney’s Jungle Cruise, which comes out next year.
Johnson noted that he hasn’t even been fitted for the Black Adam costume yet, and the JSA lineup for the movie has yet to be teased. The Justice Society of America has a long and rich history. Below is a brief overview of the team and the role they play in DC Comics.
Concocted by Sheldon Mayer and Garner Fox, the Justice Society of America is the first superhero team in comic books. They debuted in 1940 in All-Star Comics #3, featuring some of the most popular characters of that era, including the original Green Lantern, the original Flash, Hawkman, the original Sandman, and Doctor Fate. The lineup changed over time as writers revisited and reconsidered the team.
During the early 1960s, Fox would dramatically change the Justice Society, turning them into a group of heroes from an alternate version of Earth (Earth-2). This introduced the DC’s multiverse, and would usher in the Silver Age of Comics through the landmark story “The Flash of Two Worlds” (The Flash #123). In this Earth-2 iteration, there was another Batman and another Superman who were part of the team, as well as other versions of familiar DC Comics mainstays. There were many crossovers between the Justice League of America (Earth-1) and the Justice Society of America (Earth-2) over the years. These crossovers were often built on the same template: mix the two teams up into unexpected combinations of small squads, then send them on different fetch quests.
The JSA experienced a resurgence in popularity in the late 1990s thanks to the work of James Robinson, which was then carried forward into the new millennium by Geoff Johns. They remain fan favorites, often appearing as super-powered elder statesmen who help guide the next generation of superheroes. I have a lot of fondness for the JSA since it was the book and the team that got me back into reading comics and appreciating the rich history and meta-fictional storytelling of DC Comics. Given, I haven’t read a lot of DC’s output in the last several years, but I’m always happy to see some new take on or revival of the JSA.
The Justice Society in various forms have made multiple appearances on TV, including Justice League Unlimited, Smallville, and CW’s Arrowverse. Makes me wonder what role they’ll play in Black Adam, and if they will be used in the DCEU or Shazam movies moving forward. Will they be able to make a live-action Doctor Fate costume that doesn’t look like bad cosplay? Time will tell.