After being in limbo for years, Dwayne Johnson starring Black Adam is making strides in its recent developments. In the first DC Fandome event, the first animated teaser of Black Adam was released and narrated by the Rock himself. Weeks later, the creative team behind the movie has been making the news with its casting reports. And now, in a single week, Black Adam has released three confirmations.
According to The Illuminderdi, the Person of Interest star Sarah Shahi is reportedly in talks to play the romantic interest of Black Adam, Isis, in the movie. Earlier this week, Aladdin and The Old Guard actor Marwan Kenzari was rumored to play the role of Sabbac. And now, another exclusive from The Illuminerdi has confirmed that Black Adam will feature a rather obscure yet important character from the comics.
As per the exclusive, Black Adam will reportedly feature DCEU’s first transgender superhero, Ma Hunkel. A character from the initial days of comic books, even the most hardcore fans of DC comics will have a hard time remembering the adventures of Ma Hunkel in the comics. However, the movie is all set to revive the obscure character from the late 1930s in the modern 21st century, with a major re-invention.
Who is Ma Hunkel?
Ma Hunkel might have been lost in the annals of comic-book history, her contribution to the genre is nothing short of trailblazing. She appeared for the first time back in 1939 in All-American Comics #3 as herself. Later, she adopted the moniker of ‘Red Tornado’. Created as a parody character in the wake of the surprising boom of superheroes, especially Superman, Ma Hunkel rapidly rose to fame.
As one of the first popular superhero parodies, Ma Hunkel is also possibly the first-ever female superhero too. When disguised as the Red Tornado, Ma Hunkel also became the first-ever cross-dressing superhero since she hid her sex under the bulky and hilarious costume.
In the comics, Ma Hunkel is a working mother who is inspired by the popular hero Alan Scott aka Green Lantern. Equipped with a cooking pot as her helmet, Ma Hunkel adopted the persona of Red Tornado with her rag-tag costume consisting of bedroom slippers, red flannels, and a cape. Though it has never been explained how she fights crime, she does possess incredible strength.
The rising popularity of Ma Hunkel ensured that she received an honorary seat at the Justice Society of America, the first superhero team of DC comics. In later years, she has appeared in brief roles as a member of the JSA. However, like many other members from the Golden Age of Comics, Ma Hunkel was forgotten and shelved away, only to be revived in small roles. In the case of Ma Hunkel, she was brought back as an elderly woman in charge of taking care of the JSA Manhattan museum.
What does it mean for Black Adam?
As a trailblazing comic book character, the creative decision to explore some of the forgotten heroes from the Golden Age of Comics is a well-thought tribute. While the comics introduced Ma Hunkel as a cross-dressing superhero, Black Adam is going a step further and re-invent the character as a transgender.
As the first transgender character to feature in a major superhero movie, Ma Hunkel is the first baby step towards representation and inclusivity. Though the DC Extended Universe has been criticized for its inconsistent tone, it did manage to release the first female superhero movie with Wonder Woman (2017). And now, the DCEU will have its first-ever transgender superhero too.
Previously, Black Adam had cast Aldis Hodge as Hawkman, a big win for including black actors in major roles. With Sarah Shahi and Marwan Kenzari, the movie is proudly embracing its Egyptian/Middle-Eastern origins.
On the story front, Ma Hunkel is not just another character for the sake of representation. As confirmed earlier, a notable member of the JSA, Cyclone, would also be appearing in the movie. In the comics, Ma Hunkel is the grandmother of Maxine Hunkel aka Cyclone.
The decision to re-invent the character of Ma Hunkel as a transgender superhero can make strides in future casting decisions in big-budget movies. It’s only a matter of time before the casting news arrives of this forgotten superhero.
Black Adam is currently without a confirmed release date.