‘Black Adam’ introduces JSA and more to moviegoers


From the Friday, Oct. 21, 2022 edition of The Oklahoman

Movie star Dwayne Johnson will open up a new corner of the DC Comics universe to moviegoers with “Black Adam,” opening in theaters this week. 

According to the film description, in ancient Kahndaq, Teth Adam was bestowed the almighty powers of the gods. After using these powers for vengeance, he was imprisoned, becoming Black Adam. In the modern era, thousands of years have passed, and Black Adam has gone from man to myth to legend. But once freed, his rage-fueled quest is challenged by the heroes of the Justice Society: Hawkman, Dr. Fate, Atom Smasher and Cyclone.

The Justice Society originally was introduced in the 1940s in the pages of All-Star Comics. It was the first team of superheroes and inspired the Justice League in the 1960s.

“Fans have waited decades to see their favorite JSA characters come alive on the big screen,” Johnson said in a promotional trailer for the film. 

Key comic reading: Black Adam faces off against Hawkman and the JSA in the collection “JSA/Black Adam: Black Reign,” collecting “JSA” #56-58; “Hawkman” #23-25; and “JSA: Black Reign” #1. A new edition of this collection was released in September. 

Aldis Hodge plays Hawkman, the leader of the Justice Society of America, who flies on giant wings and battles evil with his mace. 

Key comic reading: Hawkman was introduced in late 1939 by writer Gardner Fox in “Flash Comics” No. 1. Denis Neville penciled his first adventure. Later artists on the title included Sheldon “Shelly” Moldoff and Joe Kubert. David Goyer and Geoff Johns reintroduced the Carter Hall character in the 1999 series of “JSA” issues Nos. 23-25, aptly titled “The Return of Hawkman.”

Pierce Brosnan plays the mystical hero Doctor Fate in the film. 

Key comic reading: Artist Walt Simonson drew perhaps the best example of a Doctor Fate story in “First Issue Special” #9 in 1975. Written by Martin Pasko, the story sees Doctor Fate visiting the Boston Museum of Egyptology, where the tomb of Khalis is being exhibited – until Khalis springs to life and runs amok.

Noah Centineo plays Atom Smasher, aka Al Rothstein, who has the powers of growth and super strength. 

Key comic reading: First appearing in 1983’s “All-Star Squadron” #25 by Roy Thomas, Jerry Ordway and Mike Machlan, Rothstein originally went by the code name Nuklon and was a founding member of the Infinity, Inc. team of next-generation JSA-related heroes.  Atom Smasher first appeared with the Justice Society in 1999’s “JSA” #1 by James Robinson, David S. Goyer, Stephen Sadowski, and Michael Blair.

Quintessa Swindell plays Cyclone, aka Maxine Hunkel, who in the comics is the grandchild of the original Red Tornado of the Justice Society and has the ability to control the winds.  

Key comic reading: Maxine Hunkel debuted as a future Red Tornado in “Kingdom Come” #2 in 1996; she officially debuts the code-name Cyclone in 2007’s “Justice Society of America” (vol. 3) #3.

Matthew Price, matthew@matthewLprice.com, has written about the comics industry for more than two decades. He is the co-owner of Speeding Bullet Comics in Norman. 

Black Adam/JSA: Black Reign [DC Comics]

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