The comic history of Shazam and the Justice Society

Shazam and the JSA in comics
(Image credit: DC)

Shazam and Black Adam are classic enemies. In comics, Black Adam debuted as an out-and-out Shazam villain before later becoming an anti-hero. In the movies, Black Adam kinda bypassed Shazam and took on the Justice Society of America instead. 

But that all ties back into comics too – and if Shazam and Black Adam return to DC Studios, the relationship between Shazam, Black Adam, and the JSA could form the backbone of what comes next.

Light spoilers ahead for Shazam! Fury of the Gods.

In one of the Shazam! Fury of the Gods post-credits scenes, Shazam is approached about joining the JSA, who debuted in Black Adam as the anti-hero's main rivals and later grudging allies.

Both Black Adam and Shazam have histories with the JSA. And while Black Adam's comic book history with the JSA formed the backbone of the Black Adam movie's narrative, it's that story that also directly led to Shazam's own association with the JSA in comics.

(Image credit: DC)

Following Black Adam joining the JSA after betraying their enemies the Injustice Society, Shazam shows up at the team's headquarters, incredulous that his old enemy is telling the truth about reforming as a hero. After some investigation, Shazam decides to join up with the team himself, in part to keep an eye on Black Adam.

Shazam remained with the team off and on even after Black Adam left and returned to his home of Kahndaq, even briefly dating his teammate Stargirl in his own teen alter ego of Billy Batson. 

Their relationship led to some scrutiny from the JSA as it looked as though Shazam, who is really a teenager who appears as an adult in his superhero form, was inappropriately pursuing the teen Stargirl – eventually leading to Shazam leaving the team instead of revealing his secret identity to everyone else.

(Image credit: DC)

From there, the history of the Shazam Family was tied into the ongoing JSA saga for some time, basically until 2011's New 52 continuity reboot, which took the JSA out of mainstream superhero continuity until very recently.

Though the Black Adam movie dealt directly with his history with the JSA and tapped into the shared Shazam mythos, the rise of DC Studios in the hands of co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran may complicate any potential follow up for the movie. That said, the inclusion of the JSA in Shazam!: Fury of the Gods may indicate there could still be plans for that corner of the DC Universe in the movies.

The Justice Society are one of the best superhero teams of all time.

For more on Shazam! Fury of the Gods, be sure to check out our spoilery deep dives:

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)