Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been hyping his upcoming DC film, Black Adam, for a while now, and now we’ve exclusively confirmed that it will feature Black Adam vs. some major DC superheroes in the form of the JSA. Before we break this down, lets revisit Johnson’s own words from this past fall, when he teased what part of the film would entail:
It’s an origin story and that’s where we start it and we root it, and then we build out from there. Now, not to say Shazam isn’t on my radar. Of course Shazam is, but so is all of DC.
JSA. We will introduce you to that, the world to JSA.Dwayne Johnson (via Screen Rant)
Now for, those unfamiliar with the JSA, it stands for the Justice Society of America, which was a group of Golden Age superheroes from All-Star Comics, which ended in the early ‘50s. The JSA later joined the multiverse and Crisis on Infinite Earths, which re-imagined their team-ups as the precursor to the Justice League. There were many members over the years.
Johnson revealing the inclusion of the JSA in the film, does explain all the hype. And FandomWire has exclusively confirmed that Johnson and his creative team have upgraded from Black Adam simply facing Zachary Levi’s Shazam!, to instead taking on TWO separate Justice Leagues, in the form of a classic JSA. and a reformed modern version of the JSA.
While many assume Black Adam will be a prequel story, and even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has said that “the film is an origin story…” Note that he also said “That’s where we start it”. The film indeed starts in the past, but only stays there for about 30 minutes before zooming forward with Black Adam wreaking havoc in present day.
SLIGHT 1ST & 2ND ACT PLOT SPOILERS AHEAD!
The film is set to open, many years in the past with Black Adam releasing the same 7 Sins from the first Shazam. The Justice Society of America must stop him, and this JSA line-up will consist of immortals:
Wizard Shazam – a younger version of the same character from Shazam! played by Djimon Hounsou. He has many superhuman powers and abilities as the result of his magical skills, as well as powers bestowed to him as the representative of the various gods, whose powers the Wizard gives to certain representatives of those gods as their champion, as in the cases of Black Adam and Billy Batson.
Hawkman & Hawkgirl – In the comics, they use the powers of Nth Metal, a substance from their planet Thanagar, the metal is psycho-reactive, responding to its bearer’s thoughts allowing for flight, superhuman strength, super-acute vision, and an enhanced healing/regeneration ability. In fact this duo are locked in an endless cycle of death and rebirth throughout the centuries, granting them lifetimes of combat knowledge.
Doctor Fate – Think the original Doctor Strange (which Marvel created second). In the comics, Doctor Fate possesses immense sorcerer like powers including spellcasting, telekinesis, telepathy, pyrokinesis, lightning manipulation, invulnerability, etc… In the comics, Doctor Fate’s magic manifests in the shape of Egyptian hieroglyphs and his powers has been described as “the true conversion of energy into matter, and matter into energy”.
They join non-immortal heroes: Jay Garrick, the first superhero known as The Flash, which in the comics, a bizarre accident gave him the ability to move at superhuman speed, where he chose to fight crime as a costumed vigilante.
And Alan Scott, a founding JSA Member in the comics, and the first character to bear the name: Green Lantern. Alan Scott fights evil with the aid of a magical ring which grants him a variety of powers.
The film’s first act has ALL of these JSA superheroes taking on Black Adam with all their powers… So prepare for a truly glorious battle, that also sets the tone for how powerful Black Adam is.
In the first act of the film, the JSA does initially defeat Black Adam, and they lock him in a tomb. But that’s when the film fast-forwards to Black Adam being awakened again, where the majority of the film follows the JSA reforming to take him down again in present day.
In present day, the Justice Society of America shapes up slightly differently… The souls of Hawkman and Hawkgirl take new bodies and team back up with the immortal Doctor Fate, as they recruit:
Atom Smasher – He is super strong, and can change his size. Atom Smasher’s strength and density increase proportionately to whatever size he chooses to be. In the comics, he’s worked with Black Adam, as well as fought him – in fact, as strong as Atom Smasher seems – he has been knocked out by just one of Black Adam’s punches.
Cyclone – In the comics, she can manipulate the wind, summon cyclones & whirlwinds, project powerful bursts of air and fly. Cyclone has also figured out how to control sound currents.
They also work with Black Adam’s love interest Isis – who is now just called Adrianna (for obvious political/marketing reasons). Isis has been portrayed in various TV series over the years, and in the comics with an insane amount of super powers including flight, super speed, super strength akin to Superman or Wonder Woman, telekinesis, geokinesis, the ability to change the molecules of inanimate objects, AND the ability to stop and reverse time. Expect the movie version to tone some of those down.
From what we’ve learned, the film is truly epic and adventurous in scope with Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson’s Black Adam upgrading what could have easily been a simple, dark fight against Zack Levi’s Shazam… to instead taking on TWO separate iconic superhero team-ups… Its a bold move, that launches Johnson into a much bigger superhero movie, which was clearly his goal. In success – this could start a whole new Justice League series that Black Adam could join or keep fighting against.
But it also begs the question of how an expected Shazam! / Black Adam chapter focusing simply on Johnson’s Black Adam vs Levi’s Shazam! could possibly match the the scale of this epic movie.
Rumors keep suggesting that many in-house want Henry Cavill’s Superman to return for their eventual show-down, to help hype that next chapter. But if that’s true, I could see why Cavill might not wanna wait years just to play third lead again. If Warner Brothers and DC are putting this much at stake into Black Adam and Shazam!, it does make sense why they may want to wait on a new solo Superman movie. It also could explain why Cavill is upset they won’t let him make his own.
While the film has begun casting these JSA members, and we expect to get those scoops soon… The film is still months from officially shooting, so things could still adjust. What do you think of this plot and these JSA team-ups for Black Adam? Are you excited? Is it too much? Are there any other JSA members you wish they would have incorporated like Star Girl or Red Tornado?