Does Black Adam's Justice Society Warrant Their Own Movie? An Investigation

Major spoilers ahead for "Black Adam."

The Warner Bros. film "Black Adam" is finally out after so many years of waiting. Dwayne Johnson stars as the titular anti-hero from DC Comics, a man who was granted superpowers in the fictional ancient country of Kahndaq, then imprisoned for thousands of years. When he wakes up, he's out for revenge. The Justice Society of America (JSA) has to either take him down or win him to their side, depending on which member you ask. 

Though the JSA has appeared in animation and on TV, this will be its live-action movie debut. Created by editor Sheldon Mayer and writer Gardner Fox, the Justice Society of America first showed up to fight crime in "All Star Comics" #3 in 1940. This was the very first superhero team-up. The original membership included Green Lantern, Hawkman, Atom, the Flash, Sandman, Spectre, Hourman, and Doctor Fate. They took on evil together through 1951 and then fizzled out. Some of the JSA members reformed into the Justice League of America, which we've seen on the big screen in the film "Justice League."

The history of the JSA is complicated after that, and at one point we had the Justice League on Earth-One and the Justice Society of America on Earth-Two. Later on, in the 1985 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, we had the JSA as the predecessor of our modern Justice League. That leaves many possibilities open. 

Our film, of course, has two of those original members in Hawkman (Aldis Hodge) and Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan). Also chosen for the job of taking down Black Adam are Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) and Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell). 

Does the group hold up? Do we want a Justice Society of America movie? 

The gang's all here

"Black Adam" introduces characters that casual comic book readers might not know in the JSA. While they've likely heard of Doctor Fate and Hawkman, Cyclone and Atom Smasher might be new to them. Even if they know the names, we're looking at the origin story for Black Adam here and not that of the JSA. 

We do get a sense of the long-standing friendship between Hawkman and Doctor Fate, characters that have unusually long lives. Hawkman is a reincarnation of Prince Khufu of Egypt, and has been around for a long time. Doctor Fate has the Helmet of Nabu, which gives him sorcerer powers, as well as a long life. It's clear that these two have bonded over being men out of time. However, we don't get more than a tease in terms of their relationship and how it developed over their many years of fighting together. 

For the younger members, we just get tantalizing bits of info. Atom Smasher, aka Al Rothstein is a member of the JSA in the comics, and his fictional family has long been involved in the superhero game. His grandfather was Cyclotron, a supervillain, and his uncle-figure Al Pratt was the original hero Atom, played by the amazing Henry Winkler in a cameo. He's young and kind of goofy, which is something we don't see all the time in superhero films. (In fact, it's sort of odd that Hawkman picked the two younger members to go up against an ancient force that could maybe take down Superman.) Cyclone, aka Maxine Hunkel, has a dark history of having her powers forced upon her, and in "Black Adam," we get a sense that she's done a lot of work to overcome her issues with it. 

An intriguing tease

"Black Adam" certainly leaves us with a lot of JSA questions. This group of heroes seemed to be hand-picked for this specific mission, meaning there could be more members out there. Though, why they wouldn't be helping with this fight is beyond me. 

We know from the mid-credits scene (and all the teasing Dwayne Johnson has put out there about a future showdown) that Henry Cavill's Superman and Black Adam occupy the same universe. (I'm sure they could explain that he came from a different part of the multiverse if they need to.) That means that the possibility exists for either a battle between the JSA and the Justice League (especially if Black Adam ends up joining the JSA at any point or fighting on their side) or a team-up between them. 

I probably speak for a whole lot of you when I say that we don't need an origin story for every single superhero or villain out there, and I do like that "Black Adam" didn't feel the need to overburden us with too much backstory. That said, it would be nice to see more interaction between this group. Sadly we won't get more of Brosnan's version of Doctor Fate outside of flashbacks, but seeing glimpses of his history with Hawkman would be a whole lot of fun. Plus, there is adorable chemistry between Atom Smasher and Cyclone, and I'd love to see that play out. 

What could a JSA movie look like?

If we did get a solo JSA movie with these members, what could it look like? We're down a member, so adding one at least would be a good move. "Black Adam" producer Hiram Garcia mentioned Spectre as a character he might like to use, but there are many to choose from. Perhaps getting a new member could be part of the plot. I for one would like to see more of the sprawling JSA headquarters, which reminds me of Professor Xavier's X-Men school on the Marvel side of things. I know action is important, but give me a good JSA meeting in the mansion or a tense exchange with the Justice League who come to discuss the JSA's approach to choosing members. Spectre is an anti-hero, so maybe Wonder Woman and Aquaman don't like him, and Black Adam does? Maybe Superman is mad that Hawkman has come to sort of an understanding with Black Adam? 

We could bring Shazam into this, as Black Adam is his comic book battle partner. Perhaps the JSA adds Shazam and his super-family to the team, and the Justice League is mad about having kids fighting bad guys? Maybe Black Adam and Shazam go up against each other to prove who the wizard Shazam (Djimon Hounsou) loves more? Yes, I'm being silly here, but really, the possibilities are endless. The mid-credits scene alone is promising a battle between Supes and Black Adam, so we're very likely to see more. 

What it comes down to in the end is if audiences want to see more Hawkman, Cyclone, and Atom Smasher, and I certainly do. There was enough left on the table that I'm hoping to visit them again. 

"Black Adam" is in theaters now.