‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Balances Fun with Complexity



This student is pictured watching DC’s “Legends of Tomorrow.”

By Ben Dross, Staff Writer

DC Comic’s “Legends of Tomorrow” far surpassed expectations by embracing their weird and wild attitude in season two.

“Legends of Tomorrow” is a spinoff of two superhero shows on The CW. It takes characters from Arrow and The Flash and brings them onto their own show centered around time travel. The show is a goldmine for fans of D.C. Comics, with countless cameos and easter eggs (bonus add-ons and background references to other comic book content) from some of fans’ favorite characters.

In season one, the show lacked a clear identity. It employed the show’s more humorous characters like Professor Martin Stein, a.k.a Firestorm (Victor Garber), Mick Rory, a.k.a Heatwave (Dominic Purcell) and Ray Palmer, a.k.a The Atom (Brandon Routh). However, they contrasted it with the darker paths of characters like Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) and Sarah Lance, a.k.a White Canary (Caity Lotz). The contrast between a serious superhero drama and a comedic satire of classic comics plagued the show’s first season.

That problem disappeared in season two when the show embraced its persona as a superhero comedy, bringing viewers inspiration and laughs week after week. The CW took notice and gave the show three extra episodes midseason.

The show’s biggest strength was its diverse and interesting characters. The new additions of Nate Heywood, a.k.a Citizen Steel (Nick Zano) and Amaya Jiwe, a.k.a Vixen (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) did wonders for the show. Nate was living out his boyhood dream of being a superhero. His story arc saw him go from being a quirky historian dreaming of being a superhero, to one of the team’s strongest members and fastest problem solvers. His brotherly relationship and rivalry with Ray Palmer frequently gave the viewers something to laugh at, and their chemistry together was phenomenal. Nate and Amaya also had a huge story arc dedicated to their love interest, and they had great chemistry as well. Since Amaya is from 1942 and the rest of the cast is from 2016, their attempts to assimilate her into modern times made for many humorous moments.

The show also redefined some old characters as well. The chemistry between the two-halves of Firestorm, Jax Jefferson (Franz Drameh) and Martin Stein, upgraded this season. They adopted a father-son relationship and complimented each other well. Ray also acted as a great source of comic relief this season, as he lacked a major arc.

The star of the show is easily Mick Rory. Heatwave was neglected for much of season one, commonly being thrown around as an extra and extension of his partner, Leonard Snart a.k.a Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller). This season, however, Mick was the center of attention. He had great chemistry and deep connections with almost every member of the team. He managed a deep story arc and a comedic presence quite effectively. His arc was about gaining the trust of the rest of the legends while dealing with the death of his partner in crime, Leonard Snart. He started the season as a thieving criminal, but in the end became a hero as he and his team figured out how to rely on each other. On top of that, his crude jokes, poorly-timed beer breaks, constant insults and on-ship antics provided comedy gold.
The show also showcased great villains. The Legion of Doom, comprised of past villains from The Flash and Arrow, was a smash hit, with great acting and chemistry from the whole team.

The show also gave new life to washed-up Arrow villains Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman) and Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough). The two formed a dynamic duo with classic villainous one-liners and mocking all the villain cliches. They frequently built off each others energy and blended right in with the show’s whimsical tone. It was a fresh start compared to their Arrow performances where they were dark and stale. They also showed a boldness and brashness that constantly kept the plot moving forward.

The leader of The Legion of Doom, Eobard Thawne a.k.a the Reverse Flash (Matt Letscher) picked up right where he left off on The Flash. His blend of arrogance, intelligence and intimidation makes for the best villain in the D.C. Universe. He was also the most powerful villain they have faced, which required the Legends to put in a ton of work in order to defeat him, and left the viewers on the edge of their seat at every turn. He even had some moments of emotional sympathy. He simply wanted to fix reality so he would be allowed to live. The scenes where he was stuck in space with Ray Palmer, forced to work with him to get home, were some of the most compelling in the whole show.

The cherry on top for this show was all of the cameos and easter eggs. D.C. Comics fans would be quick to recognize the Justice Society, Camelot 3000, Jonah Hex, and the Dominators. The show pulled from all of the weirdest and wackiest parts of the D.C. Universe to keep the plot surprising and amusing. They even pulled from history, with the Legends travelling to prehistoric times, feudal Japan, the American Revolution and more. They even interacted with the likes of George Lucas and J.R.R. Tolkien, leading to many jokes about Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Lord of the Rings, and adding some non-DC Comics easter eggs to cannon.

“Legends of Tomorrow” season two was nearly perfect. It had a few minor bumps with episodes that did not tie into the main season, and some occasional cheesy or poor acting, but overall did a great job of putting together a compelling story and developing their large cast of characters. Fans should look forward to what’s to come in the third season.