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Cavan Scott and Bryan Q. Miller shed light on 'Black Adam: The Justice Society Files - Atom Smasher'

Comic Books

Cavan Scott and Bryan Q. Miller shed light on ‘Black Adam: The Justice Society Files – Atom Smasher’

An interview with writers Cavan Scott and Bryan Q. Miller about ‘The Justice Society Files’ out September 6th.

The much anticipated Black Adam movie may still be months away, but eager fans can access its world via Black Adam: The Justice Society Files.

Written by Cavan Scott and with art by Travis Mercer and John Kalisz, the series sheds light on a specific Justice Society hero in each issue. (It also features an ongoing backup by writer Bryan Q. Miller and artist Marco Santucci and Michael Atiyeh.) Tied heavily to the films themselves, these comics are in canon with the DCU and certainly offer some satisfying tidbits for fans.

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Ahead of the release of Black Adam: The Justice Society Files – Atom Smasher (due September 6), I spoke with both Scott and Miller about the one-shot. We explored the kind of access they had to the Black Adam script, nuances in writing Atom Smasher, and much more!

Plus, check out a few preview pages for the issue below, and read the whole Black Adam: The Justice Society Files – Atom Smasher #1 preview here.

Bryan Q. Miller Cavan Scott Black Adam qa

Courtesy of DC Comics.

AIPT: To start, how fun was it writing DCEU characters in The Justice Society Files, knowing you’re adding groundwork to characters on the big screen?

Cavan Scott: So much fun! It’s always exciting to be able to get in on the ground floor when characters are being reimagined, and this is no different, especially when it involves bringing much-loved characters to the big screen!

AIPT: Cavan, having experience writing Star Wars characters that have been established before or have actors playing them, did you apply any tricks to getting into the character headspace for Justice Society Files and with Atom Smasher specifically?

CS: As with all these things, you go to the source! In this case, it was the script that was provided to us early on in the project. That, and a meeting with the theatrical team, gave us the guardrails for the project and the characters.

AIPT: In Black Adam: The Justice Society Files – Atom Smasher, our main character Albert is a fan of heroes like Batman and Superman, was it fun showing his fandom on the page?

CS: Absolutely! In an earlier draft he even added a Halloween batcape to his costume!

AIPT: Albert and Cyclone and Atom Smasher are both fans of superheroes. It also seems like they both have Hawkman as their favorite. What made this the right choice?

CS: In the world the DCEU is introducing, Hawkman pretty much IS the Justice Society, and the member most superhero fans identify with the group. Plus, hey, I’ve loved the Hawks all my life, so being a Hawkfan is second nature!

EXCLUSIVE DC Preview: Black Adam: The Justice Society Files - Atom Smasher #1

The first costume. Courtesy of DC Comics.

AIPT: How much went into crafting Atom Smasher’s first costume? Was that something you and artist Travis Mercer worked on to get right?

CS: It was fun pulling together something that had the essence of his movie costume, but could be homemade. The main thrust of this story is Al proving to himself that he’s ready to pull on the costume. His homemade version is his way of trying to step into his uncle’s shoes.

AIPT: With a hero who gets very big and street clothes get destroyed in the process of powering up, how much attention goes into making sure the script details he’s nude, but the book stays PG?

CS: A lot! Travis is a master of the strategically placed object. I tried to suggest as much as possible in the script, but it’s all Travis wizardry!

AIPT: You get to write a one-shot for each hero. Which one has been your favorite to write?

CS: Well, as I said, I’m a big Hawkman fan, but the next one-shot for Dr. Fate let me lean into my love of horror too!

And now, onto the interview portion with Bryan Q. Miller, who is writing the backups in the Black Adam: The Justice Society Files series with art by Black Adam: The Justice Society Files – Atom Smasher.

AIPT: The Teth Adam backup is a prequel showing Black Adam before he gained his powers. How much info did you have to go on before crafting the story? I imagine you had a look at the Black Adam film script?

Bryan Q. Miller: I definitely got more than a few chances to read and re-read the feature script! The basic guidelines were to set Teth Adam and his son, Hurut, up and get them to the starting line where the audience will meet them in the feature. And, in this third chapter, that’s where we leave them – in a very bittersweet spot. But maybe it’s only bittersweet because I know where things are going!

EXCLUSIVE DC Preview: Black Adam: The Justice Society Files - Atom Smasher #1

Courtesy of DC Comics.

AIPT: This story features a Black Adam who sees justice as valiant but also believes his slavery is absolute. How did you get into his headspace to craft this tale, while also throwing Adrianna into a breakneck action story?

BM: It’s all working backwards from the world the filmmakers have built for Teth-Adam and company, then putting father and son into a situation that neither can escape from. There’s a sadness to history repeating itself between the events in Ancient Kahndaq with the Ruling Class and Modern Kahndaq with Intergang. In a way, Teth-Adam is resigned to his station, whereas Adrianna’s constantly trying to break free.

AIPT: Considering what is filmed can get edited, or reshot, was there anything you learned later in the scripting process you could get away with or maybe even remove?

BM: The back and forth with the feature really just involved making sure that nothing we were doing in these back-ups would accidentally repeat anything that was being changed or massaged or shifted in the feature in the ancient Kahndaq sections.

EXCLUSIVE DC Preview: Black Adam: The Justice Society Files - Atom Smasher #1

Courtesy of DC Comics.

AIPT: What makes Adrianna such a great character and, for that matter, a great character to write?

BM: She’s stubborn as all hell, and smart to boot. She’s got a family. She’s got a job. She’s got a boat load of convictions. What’s not fun about wrangling all of that?!?

AIPT: Kahndaq plays a big role in your story. Was it difficult giving Kahndaq a personality?

BM:  Not at all. I gladly cribbed everything I could from the feature and the world they built. We got to look at the script, concept art, etc., all with the goal of lining up.

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