Black Adam: Who Is Atom Smasher?

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's take on Black Adam has been teased for at least a decade now, culminating in him officially getting a standalone movie that is currently set to be released in 2021. The film won't be an entirely standalone venture, as Johnson's titular character is set to be joined by multiple members of the Justice Society of America. Fans got their first inkling of who will be Johnson's co-stars on Thursday, when it was announced that To All the Boys I Loved Before star Noah Centineo will be playing Albert Rothstein/Atom Smasher in the film. Compared to some of the other rumored characters in the film - including Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Doctor Fate - Atom Smasher might not be as well-known of a character to general audiences. If you're among those who aren't as familiar with Atom Smasher, here's what you need to know.

Albert Rothstein first made his appearance in 1983's All-Star Squadron #25, and was created by Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway. From the get-go, Albert had a complicated family history in the DC universe -- his godfather is Al Pratt, the first iteration of The Atom, while his grandfather is the villainous Cyclotron. Through his grandfather, Albert gained multiple metahuman powers, including super-strength, and the ability to alter his body's size and density. Initially assuming the superhero name of Nuklon, Albert served as a member of Infinity, Inc. and the Justice League, during which he was largely an insecure superhero. He officially becomes Atom Smasher as part of the creation of the new Justice Society of America, and spends much of that time trying to prove his worth, and his ability to uphold Al Pratt's legacy.

Throughout his tenure as a superhero, Albert established some interesting personal relationships with his teammates - including one with Black Adam, once he joined the JSA in Geoff Johns and David S. Goyer's run. After initially butting heads with each other, Adam and Albert quit the JSA together and decided to help settle each other's vendetta. Adam killed Kobra, the villain who murdered Albert's mother, while Albert killed the dictatorial president of Adam's home country, Khandaq. This leads to Albert helping lead a group of metahumans to overthrow the government in Khandaq, an event that led to him staying in the Middle East for quite some time. He then briefly died at the hands of The Spectre in JSA #75, but was revived by Adam's lightning. Albert was then sentenced to jail for what he did in Khandaq, which resulted in him becoming a member of the Suicide Squad in the 52 storyline. Albert then rejoined the JSA in 2009, and most recently appeared alongside his teammates in the Doomsday Clock event.

Given Albert and Adam's surprisingly strong friendship in the comics, it will certainly be interesting to see how the pair interact with each other in the Black Adam movie. Plus, Centineo's casting will probably only get more intriguing once Atom Smasher's fellow JSA teammates are also cast.

Black Adam will be released on December 22, 2021.

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