Society problems

The DCU can fix its mistakes with the Justice Society

The following contains spoilers for Black Adam, now in theaters.

black adam brought the Justice Society of America to the big screen, giving the team its biggest push in its 80-year history. Unfortunately, there have been a few hiccups along the way, doing more to establish some individual members than the concept of the team as a whole. Still, it laid the groundwork for the DC Universe to build on the JSA’s story.

The original Atom was already established, and the past adventures of JSA members, such as Hawkman and Dr. Fate, could also be touched on. There are heroes that have yet to be introduced, as well as other parts of the JSA’s history that may be retroactively introduced to the shared universe. Here’s how the team can expand beyond what was shown in black adam.

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Black Adam’s Justice Society was a group of heroes, not a team

Atom Smasher & Cyclone sitting together in Black Adam

The Justice Society of America is introduced in black adam as a peacekeeping organization that aims to promote global stability. This essentially makes him the metahuman version of the United Nations. This is the group’s first appearance in the DC Universe, but the citizens of Kahndaq already recognize and despise the members. Even with this bit of world-building, it’s hard to gauge the team’s history or their prominence across the world, especially given the events of Steel man. The first entry into the DC Universe, this film suggested that Superman was the first public metahuman. So any kind of WWII history for the JSA from the comics would be largely impossible to adapt.

It looks like the team came out after Superman’s debut and possibly after the Justice League was formed, but nothing is set in stone. Unfortunately, this questionable continuity isn’t the JSA’s only identity problem. Individual members, such as Hawkman and Dr. Fate, are expanded, but the JSA roster never really feels like a team or a family. This is mainly because Hawkman and Fate are the only ones who really interact, with Atom Smasher mostly trying to flirt with Cyclone. This lack of connectivity is compounded by the lack of displayed history, but a minor scene could set this error up to be rectified in future DCU projects.

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The DCU can give chemistry to the Justice Society by drawing from the past

the Justice Society of America sitting at their table in DC Comics

A brief scene with Atom Smasher shows his uncle Al Pratt, who in the comics is the Golden Age Atom. Although the verbiage is confusing whether Pratt was the Atom or Atom Smasher in his heyday, he is actually his nephew’s predecessor, hinting at a strong sense of legacy for the JSA, as in the source material. Hawkman and Dr. Fate have apparently had adventures together in the past, again hinting at a lot more history behind the JSA.

A Justice Society movie or TV spinoff could focus on an earlier generation of the team, seeing them grow from shadowy mystery men to public metahumans. Reversing the comics, in which the JSA was disbanded on suspicion of harboring anti-American tendencies, the team could instead “go public” by agreeing to work with the government, namely Amanda Waller. Further appearances by Atom Smasher and Cyclone might also show things from their perspective, which would go a long way to explaining why the JSA is so important. Other Golden Age heroes are also set to make their DCU debut, including the original Jay Garrick Flash and the Alan Scott Green Lantern. And given the dubious nature of the The Green Lantern canonicity of the show, the DCU might actually introduce Alan Scott before any other lanterns.

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Establishing this legacy and connectivity would allow the team to feel more united when they finally fight. Until then, the JSA is just a random bunch of metas that happen to be overpowered international incidences. A black adam the sequel is sure to feature them again in some way, especially given Atom Smasher’s fondness for Teth-Adam. But its own separate project is definitely needed to provide the Justice Society with the development it deserves.

Experience the Justice Society’s big-screen debut in Black Adam, in theaters now.