:jsa_book_club: Black Adam & Isis :jsa_book_club:

Hello and welcome to the @JSABookClub second November session. This session we are celebrating the triumphant return of the JSA to a series and what better way to do that by having a little Black Adam action from the pages of 2007s Justice Society of America series. As you know though before we set off on this adventure we must have the….

JSA BOOK CLUB ROLL CALL

Club Leaders

@JasonTodd428 & @Aurora

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What to Read

Discussion Points

  1. The beginning of this story has the JSA trying to decide which heroes to keep on the team and which to let go. Do you think it’s fair of them to decide for members that are not present or would you rather have seen them talk to each one in turn first before deciding?

  2. What did you think of Billy’s story about how he acquired his powers?

  3. Black Adam had a difficult choice to make here in order to save his beloved Isis. Could you have given up power as he did?

  4. Damage doesn’t like ice cream? Seriously?

  5. Did you enjoy Courtney’s birthday?

Next Month

I will be taking a short break because of various holiday commitments. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and I will see you back here in January with the All Star Squadron.

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I don’t think it’s exactly fair for the core JSA members to be making membership decisions without talking to the members in question. Interviewing each member beforehand would have been more fair and, probably, more interesting. Unfortunately, discussing membership decisions amongst themselves is generally how the senior JSA members have always done things. Fortunately, they seemed to come to the right conclusion in the end by deciding not to give up on any of their younger members.

This question sent me down a rabbit hole. The first thing I want to note is that the Golden Age comics left the fate of Billy and Mary’s birth parents unclear. Captain Marvel Adventures #18 let us know that Billy and Mary were orphans because their parents died when they were still infants. However, the Fawcett comics never covered how their parents died. That story wasn’t told until DC started publishing Captain Marvel stories in the late 70’s. In World’s Finest Comics #256, we learn that Merrill and Jocelyn Batson were killed in a car accident.

Then Crisis on Infinite Earths happened and all of the above was erased. The first time Billy appeared in the DCU after Crisis was in the 1987 Legends crossover. Spinning off from that crossover, DC published Shazam! The New Beginning by Roy and Dann Thomas to act as a new origin story for Captain Marvel. In The New Beginning, Billy’s parents Donald and Marilyn Batson were also killed in a car accident. The main differences were that Billy was 15 when this happened and there was no mention of Mary. There are some other interesting additions to Billy’s origin in The New Beginning, but I don’t want to spoil them. Unfortunately, this series failed to take off and nothing much happened with Billy over the next seven years.

That brings us to Jerry Ordway’s reboot in 1994. Ordway’s run began with a one-shot titled The Power of Shazam! Now, I haven’t read The Power of Shazam! one-shot and it’s not currently digitized. However, I did look through its wiki article and, from that, I believe that the origin recounted in Justice Society of America #24 is the same as the origin presented in The Power of Shazam! one-shot. This stands to reason as Jerry Ordway is the artist for most of these Justice Society issues. The origin here is obviously different than the one in The New Beginning meaning that The Power of Shazam! acted as the second Post-Crisis origin for Billy Batson. In this origin, archeologist C.C. Batson (an homage to artist C.C. Beck) and his wife Mary are essentially murdered by their Black Adam possessed assistant, Theo Adam. The younger Mary Batson is seen as having witnessed her mother’s murder as a child and Billy ends up on the streets like he did in the Golden Age.

Otherwise, the rest of the origin story plays out more-or-less the same way in every version. Billy is lured into the subway where he meets the Wizard and is given the powers of Shazam. The one thing I do like about the Ordway origin is that it identifies the “phantom companion” who lead Billy down to the Wizard in Whiz Comics #2 as the spirit on Billy’s father, C.C…
Phantom Companion
CC Batson
The fact that Billy’s father is an archeologist and the way they tied Billy’s origin to Black Adam are things I could take or leave from this origin story, though. I just find it interesting that this was not Billy’s first Post-Crisis origin story which acts as further proof that the transition to Post-Crisis continuity wasn’t as smooth as some remember it being.

No. I’m not giving up my Moth powers for anyone. Though, I don’t love anyone the way that Black Adam loves Isis.

Damage doesn’t like a lot of things. I know the guy’s had it rough what with his family history, being banned from the state of Georgia, and the fact that he was disfigured by super-villains, but… he really needs to chill out.

It was fun and the kind of nice, extended family moment I like seeing from the Justice Society. Starman was the highlight, though. His “birthday presents” to Courtney, the fact he ate all the ice cream, and the moment he bought up all of the lemonade from that little girl’s stand were all priceless. However, Starman also drove me crazy with this moment:


I just KNOW that Starman is referencing a specific story here, but, for the life of me, I could not figure out what story. I feel like I’m possibly forgetting something, but I just couldn’t find anything that fit. Anyone have any ideas?

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  1. I guess the importance of the JSA in some ways justifies them discussing the members privately. In the end, I believe they made the right decision.
  2. I am old enough to remember when Billy became Captain Marvel after going into the subway. Adding the details of his father’s ghost and connecting things to Black Adam enriches the original origin.
  3. I love my wife and would do anything for her. If I had to give up power to save her, of course I would do it.
  4. I am a very picky eater, so I don’t judge others food likes and dislikes, but it is definitely surprising that he doesn’t like ice cream.
  5. I loved Courtney’s birthday. Funny and touching.
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23- I just have to say this. In the previews for this in a previous issue Hawkman was there with them. Knowing Johns this was intentional misdirection.


I am overanalyzed this image too much. One was to answer who would win a fight between Star and Hawkman (I said this proves Star is faster and would win). Based on it I presume Star gave Hawkman the bad news, which further illustrates to me why she is going to join the all-stars soon, she is stuck doing all the dirty work like this for the older members and then they pull the Atom Smasher move on her.

I just noticed in this panel Jay is holding Star back from attacking Hawkman

In scenes like this I can see how close Green Lantern and Hawkman are. They really do have a great relationship presumably bonding over trying to connect with their sons.

Most of this scene comes off as an epilogue to Thy Kingdom Come, but it does go into the theme of forgiveness and second chances. It starts as pros and cons of keeping somebody vs being burned by them again. Notice it at times turns into who actually offers something.

You can see Stargirl and Green Lantern are the most talkative and emotional due to their own pasts of being burnt vs given an opportunity.

Atom Smasher is our actual protagonist. He wants forgiveness for himself and not Damage. Emotionally reasonable since Damage did attack his future wife (and I maintain my past stance that she baited him to play damsel in distress).

This is my first time reading since I read 52 a week ago so this Adrianna stuff is no longer confusing, but I just do not find it that interesting compared to Black Adam and Atom Smasher’s relationship. In fact I am starting to wonder if Black Adam just needs an Atom Smasher.

I love the gag that Wildcat thinks Star is torturing Billy for information.

Flash discovering he was not a pedophile this whole time.

24- Earlier Wildcat supported kicking out Mr. America (loyal), keeping Tommy (disloyal), and kicking out Atom Smasher (very disloyal). It shows how much keeping or sticking with somebody is about personal attachment than reason and consistency.

Some very good fights.

I read this before Final Crisis, so this was very confusing.

Stargirl and Billy rekindle their romance. Early on Stargirl just looks bored watching him and slowly sees more of his vulnerability and wants to kiss him again. Honestly it is pretty similar to JSA 48.

I think the previews for the post Johns/Ordway/Eaglesham days are not handled well. It clashes with the tone by taking itself too seriously, bad comedy, and it really shows how inferior at writing the new guys are.

25- I think Atom Smasher’s narration is a call back to Stargirl’s narration in JSA 15. They both focus heavily on their relationship and Atom Smasher’ family issues.

As weird as this is to say I think Ordway did a bad pencilling job. Many expressions look off.


In this image Star looks way too peaceful.

After this the issue picks way up. Atom Smasher previously learned just how flawed Al Pratt was and now really honors him not by being the ideal hero, but by being the redeemed hero. He gets Black Adam to relinquish his power giving a nice end to the Black Adam and Atom Smasher long going arc.

This is a crucial act of redemption by Atom Smasher and Black Adam who both do it for family’s mental health, and that leads to Green Lantern switching and keeping everybody around.

In a nice callback to issue one everybody now gets a chair. Stargirl is still the only one smiling in group shots, and this is actually mentioned right after.

I think this is the first time it is shown that Atom Smasher has romantic interest in her (though it is alluded to in Black Reign).

Overall I think this is a satisfying ending to Black Adam vs JSA but the weakest of the storylines about them.

I think their is some writer miscommunication between Johns and Ordway

Here it looks like Flash’s speech bubble was just removed.

In 24 Billy is snatched up and later Stargirl says he ran off.

26- That cover is so great, all of Johns’s team is there in some form except Black Adam (cannot exactly invite him to Stargirl’s birthday). Moder street is a nice easter egg to Stars and STRIPE.

Did the last issue foreshadow it was her birthday? Well she had other things to worry about like keeping people on the team. This team really has been held together by nothing but everybody’s mutual love of her.

I never noticed Cyclone goes airborne. With how often Star glomps people the favor is returned. Charlie the owl is there. Only Mike does not look happy. I just love that Green Lantern wears the party hat.

Every panel is so great (except the close up of Damage’s butt). Starman’s jokes, Star calling Pat “Dad,” Wildcat’s speech, Jakeem’s speech.

I love that Green Lantern’s constructs show how different artists draw her. He is then proud Al makes sure his future wife is sung to and is clearly proud (such a contrast to what he does next storyline). By this point I do not find their romance weird due to the age difference. It is a number, and being a superhero has made her grow up quicker.


This is probably my second favorite panel. It does bring the secret identity to mind. For one he was probably already needed to fix her teeth after a fight once and figured out she was hit by Grundy or something. In addition he is probably worried if he tells that Jakeem will wish to turn him into a dung beetle.

The dentist is Sheldon Fox. I know Fox is a reference. What about Sheldon?

Back to Wildcat he earlier talked about being a father. In the attempt to make Star smile he uses that to be the one who succeeds after Flash and Green Lantern could not do it.

I know why Starman had to get the last word for that joke, but why Jakeem? Did Johns know with him gone he would get really badly sidelined.

Anyway the perfect end for the perfect decade long run.

Time to see if I missed any questions in this 1069 word essay.

  1. Talking to them might have been the next step. It makes perfect sense to discuss things like universal agreements and methods first. In addition you all have issues you have to talk about now.

  2. Better discussed in shorter detail elsewhere.

  3. Yes, he had to save his family just like the JSA have to do.

  4. Lactose intolerant maybe.

Wow, I only answered 1 of 5.

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He is one of the writers too.

Maybe Starman traveled to the past and had adventures with Alladin?

I loved my birthday too.

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That’s a good point! I hadn’t considered that.

Definitely not as good as Black Reign and, yeah, very tied into the events of 52 and Countdown/Final Crisis.

That would be Justice Society co-creator Sheldon Mayer (artist/editor).

Maaaaybe… but Starman does specifically say “when I come from” suggesting it was in the future.

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