Thanks to a Jumanji interview with ComicBook.com's own Brandon Davis, DC fans know that some version of the Justice Society of America will appear in Black Adam, the upcoming Shazam! spinoff that stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as the titular antihero. But a few story beats in the newly-released Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn might tease at least one character that fans can expect to see in the JSA when the legendary super-team makes its big-screen debut in 2021. Now that word "tease" is doing a lot of work here, but one of the fun things about superhero movies is being able to dissect them to look for ties to the larger universes they inhabit.
Just so it's been said, part of this "tease" pays off in the last 20 minutes or so of Birds of Prey. Spoilers ahead, then for Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, in theaters today, even if the spoilers don't really spoil very much that the trailers haven't already given us.
In Man of Steel, the idea of a man who could fly, shoot lasers out of his eyes, and uproot small towns was unthinkable to most people, and a lot of the film centered on the way that such a character would fundamentally change society. It felt a bit like Watchmen in that way, with Superman in the Doctor Manhattan role, and elements of that certainly carried over to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. So it may be a surprise to some that characters like Wonder Woman and the Justice Society had apparently already been part of the fabric of DC's movie universe and then moved on with their lives (or died). I was not, though, a surprise to Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez).
Relatively early in the film, after Roman Sionis's (Ewan McGregor) driver is fired, the Gotham City Police Department have to find a new informant, as the driver had been feeding them tips. Upon discovering that Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) has taken over as Sionis's personal driver, Detective Montoya seeks her out, asking her to inform on Black Mask's activities. When Dinah turns her down, Montoya attempts to use sentiment to sway her, telling her that her mother had been a good woman and that Dinah has "the same power as your mother." The implication at that moment is that Dinah has the power to be a better person, not to walk away, and to make Gotham a less awful place. Dinah is seemingly not swayed, asking Montoya where the GCPD was when her mother was found murdered.
Of course, we all know that the pair end up part of the final team working to protect Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco) toward the end. But the implication of what Montoya was saying to Dinah changes near the end of the story. In the third act, there's a key moment where the heroines need a path cleared through an army of bad guys, and Montoya basically tells Dinah "you know what you have to do." This is when (as we have seen in the ads, which would have been a really good secret to keep, by the way, Warner Bros.) Dinah uses her Canary Cry for the first time.
Note for anybody who doesn't read the comics or watch Arrow: the Canary cry is a hypersonic scream that Black Canary can use. It functions a lot like the percussive waves of energy emitted by characters like Cyclops and Havok from the X-Men.
What all of that this suggests is that Montoya knew going into this movie that Dinah had powers just like her mom, not just an abstract "power." And that is very interesting, because when the Birds of Prey were founded in the comics, Dinah's mother had preceded her as the Black Canary and been a member of the Justice Society of America.
The events of the mid-'80s crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths -- which recently got a pretty good TV adaptation on The CW, complete with a tie to DC's current movie universe -- left the multiverse condensed down to a single universe, so the World War II heroes of the Justice Society had to be moved from Earth-2 to the New Earth that was created post-Crisis. This meant that the Black Canary who had been a Justice Society member in the '40s and '50s ended up the mother of the Black Canary who had been a founding member of the Justice League in...well, they encouraged you strongly not to think too seriously about the post-Crisis timeline. It was that Justice League version of the Canary who would become a key member of the Birds of Prey
So it is not hard to guess that this movie means to imply that Dinah Lance's mom in the movie as Dinah Drake, the "Golden Age" Black Canary and member of the Justice Society of America in the comics. So the question becomes, will the JSA we already know is coming, connect to that?
There are no guarantees that Christina Hodson, the writer of Birds of Prey, was thinking of this -- or that the Black Adam team will follow up on the tease even if she was. But given the struggles DC has had putting together multiple hits in a row, one would assume that there is at least a little long-term thinking going into every movie Warners is releasing right now.0comments
What do you think? Could we see Dinah Drake show up in the Justice Society in the movies? Sound off in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter at @russburlingame.
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is in theaters now. You can follow the adventures of Black Canary in live action either by watching the old Birds of Prey TV show (it's on CW Seed and the DC Universe app), Arrow (on Netflix and The CW's website), or DC's Legends of Tomorrow (airing Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW). Legends, which in some ways is the closest tonally to Birds of Prey of all of those options, stars Caity Lotz as Sara Lance, a heroine called White Canary who was the first Black Canary before dying and resurrecting to find somebody had already snagged her secret identity.