The DC movies don’t always end when the credits roll, sometimes they continue on with comics set before or after the events of the films.
The new Black Adam movie did more than introduce its titular character, it expanded on the DC Universe in multiple ways including the setup for a new Man Of Steel sequel and Justice Society spin-off. One way it expanded the history of this universe was through its tie-in comics featuring the different Justice Society members introduced in Black Adam.
This is hardly the first time that official tie-in comics were made to promote some big blockbuster. However, DC has become known for creating comics that not only adapt the movies but also expand upon them as sequels, prequels, or in one or two cases, alternate versions of the movie itself.
This was a fairly simple one-shot that took place before the events of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. It shows the drastic differences and similarities between Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent as heroes. One boldly faces the dangers that threaten the world head-on as a public figure whereas the other hides in the shadows and fights in secrecy.
Both end up saving the world together without even knowing it. It shows Batman's bitter hatred for Superman while also expanding on the events of the DCU, showing that Batman and Superman saved even before they met to fight Lex Luthor and Doomsday.
Rather than a direct 1:1 adaptation of 1995's Batman Forever, the tie-in comic is more of an alternate cut of the film. It still tells the same story, but some scenes are changed as well as added. It features scenes that were scrapped or deleted from the final cut of Batman Forever, something that fans have wanted to see a director's cut of.
This comic is the closest thing to a glimpse at the Schumacher Cut of Batman Forever, with a balanced tone thanks to darker scenes with the villains and less focus on cheesy one-liners and a need to sell toys. The opening of the book is a recreated version of the alternate opening of the movie that can be found online.
Even though most will agree that they stole the show in Black Adam, the history of the Justice Society was kept mostly hidden. That is unless the viewer reads the direct prequels to Black Adam known as The Justice Society Files that show what the Society members were up to before the movie.
Hawkman showcases his life as a superhero and as billionaire Carter Hall and a founding member of the Justice Society, almost reminiscent of Batman and Bruce Wayne's dynamic. It also introduced Gentleman Ghost as a canon Hawkman villain of the DCU, developing the lore of the Justice Society a bit more.
In Black Adam, Noah Centineo's Atom Smasher was played mainly as comedic relief with some cool action sequences. The prequel comic that showed him wearing an Atom Smasher suit for the first time develops the relationship with Al Pratt who is his uncle and the original Atom Smasher and displays more of the young hero's vulnerability as a person and hero.
This comic also shows that Atom Smasher is such a rookie as a hero that his first mission goes disastrously, but he never gives up. It's a refreshing take on a super-powered being, showcasing that he is not immediately perfect at using them.
World-building is the focus of this story focused on Maxine Hunkel AKA Cyclone. She talks about how she grew up as a fan of the Justice Society, suggesting that they have been operating longer than the DCU's Justice League, much like in the comics.
There is a whole subplot dedicated to the drug known as Tar that turns people into metahuman bruisers. Finally, seeing Cyclone meet Hawkman is the highlight, with Maxine saving lives to earn the attention of the hero she admires and become a powerful member of the Justice Society.
It's a simple comic that shows what an everyday patrol is for Ben Affleck's Batman, showing him fighting criminals, and even expanding on his villain roster with Firefly. Before he was going to appear in the sadly canceled Batgirl movie, Firefly made his debut in the DCU with this comic.
The design for Batman from Batman V Superman translates rather well to the art style of comics, showing just how comic-accurate Ben Affleck looked in the film. It's nothing that changes the DCU forever, but it is a nice glimpse into the life of this version of the Caped Crusader and how long Lex Luthor was watching him.
Much in Black Adam, Doctor Fate is the hero that shines the most in the Justice Society Files. Similar to the Batman comic, the prequel story of Doctor Fate is as simple as can be, showing a regular event that Fate deals with daily.
However, this comic does expand more of Fate's world by showing him fighting a demon as well as what the Tower Of Fate is like in the DCU. The comic also potentially sets up Trigon, the demonic father of Raven, for the future of the DCU.
When Barry Allen was first introduced in Zack Snyder's Justice League, he wasn't even calling himself The Flash yet. This comic shows a deep dive into Barry evolving into more of a superhero as he fights villains such as Girder and Tar Pit, powerful metahumans that push him to his limit.
It's also in these comics that show how Ezra Miller gets his upgraded suit seen in The Flash movie. It was developed by Alfred while Barry was being mentored by Batman to fight Girder. This comic even shows Barry activating his Flash Ring and how the suit grows onto his body, hinting at what the transformation will be like in the new Andy Muschietti movie.
Though Michael Keaton is set to don the cape and cowl again in The Flash, fans still have Batman '89 as the official continuation of his Batman set after the events of Batman Returns. It features unused concepts from Tim Burton's original version of a third movie including Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face.
Barbara Gordon is designed to resemble Winona Ryder as she looked back in the mid-90s and introduced Marlon Wayans' Drake Winston AKA Robin. These six issues show a clear love and respect for Tim Burton's universe, even confirming that Batman Forever andBatman & Robin are now their canon.
Despite the movies being known for embracing the old-school tone and style of the Silver Age comics, the official Christopher Reeve Superman comic from 2021 takes things in a much darker direction. Superman '78 introduces what a film version of Brainiac (styled after Yul Bryner) would have looked like in the late 70s/early 80s and gives this Superman an adventure more epic than what the movies could portray.
Fans of the Reeve movies will appreciate this comic since it pays tribute to the first two films in so many ways, just like Batman '89, from the way the world looks to the likenesses of the actors. It even takes place before Superman II, allowing the comic to steer clear of the maligned sequels that came after.
Melody MacReady is a writer and transwoman (she/her), passionate about all things pop culture-related. From movies to shows to games to comic books, there is not much that she does not enjoy or appreciate. Melody is also an aspiring film writer and director as well as a voice actor as a hobby. This spark for content creation came from her childhood, growing up with media of all kinds which inspired her to write short stories, write comics, and begin writing about them on the internet. Melody's biggest inspiration came from first seeing Zack Snyder's Watchmen in 2009; the film combined with her knowledge of how scenes were done via behind-the-scenes featurettes prior to the film's release made her fall in love with filmmaking. Not only does she write for ScreenRant, The Gamer, Comic Book Resources, and GameRant but she runs her own personal blog, discussing many things pop culture-related.