Fan News

Declassifying the Justice Society with Cavan Scott and Bryan Q. Miller

Declassifying the Justice Society with Cavan Scott and...

By Alex Jaffe Monday, October 17th, 2022

We’re only days away from DC’s newest big screen release. When Black Adam arrives in theaters on Friday, the world will quake at his name. But before that happens, you have the chance to get to know the heroes willing to stand in his way: the original superhero team, the Justice Society of America. Over its four issues, Black Adam: The Justice Society Files introduces us to the DC film universe’s takes on the modern lineup of this historic team: Hawkman, Cyclone, Atom Smasher and Doctor Fate—all while a backup story takes us deep into Black Adam’s background.

We recently got the opportunity to speak with series writers Cavan Scott (Titans United) and Bryan Q. Miller (Smallville, Batgirl) about the JSA and learn more about how these historic heroes were reimagined for their big screen debut.

There aren't many comics set within the ongoing continuity of the interconnected DC movie universe. Were there considerations you had to clear while telling these stories and using certain characters?

Bryan Q. Miller: The only real issue on my end regarding interconnectivity was making sure that our flashbacks didn’t repeat or negate anything that’s flashbacked to in the final film. Our Adrianna story plays out in the present, and we have a few little references to potential other heroes in the universe, but made sure to keep the focus on the characters that were actually in the feature.

Cavan Scott: It was pretty much the same for me. We worked with the theatrical team to make sure that everything linked up and we weren't stepping on anyone's toes!

Hawkman has a reputation for being a character with a complicated history. What's the simple pitch on the character as he exists in the DC film universe?

CS: At present, Hawkman is the former leader of the now-disbanded Justice Society. He's a man with the ability to fly thanks to a strange alien metal he can manipulate to make himself lighter than air, his armor providing him with a spectacular pair of wings. More than that, he's a hero with a strict code of honor, unwilling to kill even in the line of duty. None of that is to say that his complicated backstory doesn't exist, moviegoers just don't have to worry about it yet. As a Hawkman fan, I hope this isn't the last time we see him on the big screen, after all.

The central narrative of Justice Society Files is sort of a "getting the band back together" story, where a classic team returns for a new generation. What makes Hawkman and Doctor Fate the best representatives of the old generation of heroes, and Cyclone and Atom Smasher representative of the new?

CS: Both Hawkman and Doctor Fate inspire Cyclone and Atom Smasher to step up to the plate. They are living legends that have saved the world countless times. It's fair to say that the new heroes keep them on their toes, though. Together they combine wisdom and experience with energy and enthusiasm.

Bryan, this isn't your first time telling an adaptive DC comic. You gave us the Smallville Season 11 series, a continuation of the television show in comic form. What's it like to return to the DC Universe in this way?

BQM: I had ten years of Smallville to use as runway for our Season 11 run (five of which I was on-hand for), and had a hell of a cool script and loads of awesome concept art to use as a launchpad for the backup story. The hard part really isn’t telling the story in these cases—it’s just making sure you do right by the teams that did all the heavy lifting before you. Even though people will have read this before the movie comes out. Time is dumb!

In the backup feature, we get a rare glimpse at what Black Adam was like in the time before he was granted his power. Who was Black Adam when he was only Teth-Adam?

BQM: I don’t want to spoil anything that’s learned in the feature, so I’ll just say Teth is a dad who would do anything for his kid. But just because he would doesn’t mean the world will always let him.

How do you think the experience of watching Black Adam in theaters will be different for fans who have read The Justice Society Files?

CS: I hope they will have a greater understanding of who the Justice Society are and what binds them together!

I'll close with this question for you both. Black Adam: hero or villain?

BQM: Just like in the comics, I think you’ll wind up changing your mind back and forth while you watch the movie. As for me? He’s a complicated, angsty, lightning-powered dude. It’s what he does with that magic lightning that makes him interesting.

CS: Definitely an antihero in my book. He's a complicated man, that's for sure.
 

All four issues of Black Adam: The Justice Society Files are now available in print and as digital comics. Black Adam, starring Dwayne Johnson, lands in theaters this Friday, October 21st.