Legends of Tomorrow: Where Are The DC Characters? by Jerry Whitworth
When DC’s Legends of Tomorrow debuted on the CW as a quasi-Justice League-lite series about time travel, the show tackled characters like Vandal Savage, Chronos, Manhawks, Ra’s al Ghul, Per Degaton, Jonah Hex, Justice Society of America, Legion of Doom, Captain Nazi, Grodd, and even B’wana Beast. However, with its fourth season, the series departed from being a superhero action/adventure to a much more comical series (which it had gradually moved toward) with a monster-of-the-week formula. Likely, this was in part an attempt to provide a reason for the character of John Constantine to become a cast member. While Batwoman is featuring Alice, Hush, Magpie, John Doe, Rifle, and Nocturna, Supergirl has Lex Luthor, Malefic, League of Ancients, Breathtaker, Rip Roar, and Mr. Mxyzptlk, Flash features Bloodwork, Pariah, Black Hole, Dr. Light, and Mirror Master, and Black Lightning stars the Outsiders, Gravedigger, and the nation of Markovia, Legends has adopted an evil-historical-figure-of-the-week again seemingly in service of Constantine. Even the upcoming Stargirl series has released a trailer with the Justice Society and Injustice Society and Green Arrow & the Canaries, which hasn’t formally been picked up yet, teased the Outsider clans. With little doubt, production of the now canceled Swamp Thing series likely tied the hands of Legends‘ writers in regards to what magic characters it could adapt (just as Stargirl gobbled up the JSA), there’s still a depth of characters the show has chosen to ignore. Lets take a look at them.
In the second season of Legends of Tomorrow, the show’s characters followed Justice Society member Stargirl to the time of Camelot for her piece of the Spear of Destiny. Therein, Stargirl used the power of the Spear to make a more literary interpretation of Camelot to help protect her from the Legion of Doom. While the title of the episode, “Camelot/3000,” is a reference to the critically acclaimed limited series Camelot 3000 by Mike W. Barr and Brian Bolland, it appears the story had little influence on the episode. Further, a number of characters including the Silent Knight and Shining Knight have connections to the time period in the comics but did not appear. Likely the most prominent figure to emerge from the age of Camelot is the demon Etrigan. When Morgaine le Fey was on the precipice of toppling Camelot, the magician Merlin bonded Etrigan to Knight of the Round Jason Blood who turned the tide of battle. When DC Comics relaunched its line with the New 52, they produced a series called Demon Knights which featured Etrigan leading a band of heroes including Madame Xanadu, Shining Knight, Vandal Savage, and a paraplegic horsewoman archer in medieval times. Another time period rich with possibilities is the 31st century.
The merger of Earths One, 38, and Black Lightning creates a unique opportunity for Legends of Tomorrow. While the series in-and-of itself is largely a spin-off of the Flash and Arrow series, it can now more directly intersect with Supergirl and tackle the Legion of Super-Heroes. While the Legion has closely aligned with Supergirl since its third season as Brainiac 5 became a regular member of the cast, the latest season has had the least amount of crossover since their introduction. This opens the door for Legends to journey to the 31st century and interact with the future team of heroes. While one can imagine them wanting to keep their hands off the likes of the Fatal Five and Legion of Super-Villains in case Supergirl wanted to use them, others such as Time Trapper or Mordru are certainly in the Legends wheelhouse. The Legion is part of DC’s big five teams and its time period part of the big four (including the present), there are two more times rich for the time travel series.
Going all the way back to the first season, Jonah Hex has appeared in almost every season of Legends of Tomorrow (and even made it into “Crisis on Infinite Earths”). And yet, he’s the only hero from the days of the wild west that has made it into the series (save an allusion to Nighthawk and Cinnamon in the same episode that Hex debuted). There’s some two dozen notable heroes from that time with several of them even forming a team in the Rough Bunch. What more, many DC characters have ancestors who were given stories during this time in different comics. The Kents in Kansas (with Nate Kent bearing a strong resemblance to Clark Kent despite being unrelated biologically), the Waynes in Gotham Town (as the character Cameron Kane likely has a relation to Batwoman Kate Kane), and Marshall Henry Lee Jordan (ancestor to Green Lantern Hal Jordan) some of the more notable examples. In much the same way the actors for Hawkman and Hawkgirl stood in for an image of their past lives, actors from the Arrowverse shows could cameo as their ancestors. Next to the Silver Age which has largely fueled what the Arrowverse is today, the Golden Age was when the comic book superhero was born.
Not only has Legends of Tomorrow visited the era of World War II, the Justice Society of America made up a major aspect of the show’s second season as the team faced off with the Legion of Doom. As mentioned earlier, it’s likely the characters will be off limits for the foreseeable future as Stargirl joins the CW Arrowverse line-up. However, the era offered much more than the JSA. Even neglecting the various other superhero teams and individuals of the age, plenty of DC characters were soldiers and spies during this period. Blackhawk, Mademoiselle Marie (who had a daughter with Batman’s butler Alfred Pennyworth), Haunted Tank, G.I. Robot, Unknown Soldier, Losers, Viking Prince, Creature Commandos… there are tons of these characters to adapt. Undoubtedly, the most notable such character is Sgt. Rock. Making a cameo in Legends‘ first season being murdered by Vandal Savage, Rock and his Easy Company is a story that has been expanded upon by DC Comics for decades as one of their biggest non-superhero brands. While doubtful, it could be interesting if Legends crossed over with the Pennyworth television series which is filming its second season at present. While there are many time periods Legends could explore, there are also several villains that could trouble them.
Legends of Tomorrow has already taken on a number of time travelers and long lived individuals. The Flash has a number of similar characters that Legends could easily add to the mix (Abra Kadabra being quite notable). There is also the aforementioned Time Trapper and Mordru. But there are many such villains that could be used: Extant, Monarch, Brainiac, Time Stealers, Time Foes, and Knodar to name a few. But without question the villain most suited for the team to face is the Lord of Time, Epoch. One the Justice League’s earliest and more recurring foes, Epoch hailed from the year 3786 where he commanded vast armies to challenge history’s greatest team of heroes. Facing defeat, he returned again and again where in one instance, he formed the Five Warriors from Forever made up of some of history’s greatest heroes empowered with Epoch’s technology to combat the Justice League and Justice Society. Made up of Jonah Hex, Enemy Ace, Viking Prince, Black Pirate, and Miss Liberty, the Warriors defeated the two teams of heroes before aligning against a common foe. Unrelated, a similar instance of history’s greatest heroes forming from across time occurred during the Crisis on Infinite Earths where All-Star Squadron member Firebrand lead Viking Prince, Arak and Valda the Iron Maiden, Black Pirates, Miss Liberty, Silent Knight, Super-Chief, Cyclotron, Golden Gladiator, Don Caballero, Trigger Twins, Strong Bow, and the Roving Ranger against the Ultra-Humanite. Also, in the series The War That Time Forgot, Enemy Ace, Viking Prince, Tomahawk, G.I. Robot, Golden Gladiator, and Firehair found themselves time-displaced on Dinosaur Island.
Honorable mentions: Anthro the First Boy, Arion – Lord of Atlantis, Arak – Son of Thunder, Tomahawk’s Rangers, Baron Hans Von Hammer the Enemy Ace, Travis Morgan the Warlord, Kamandi the Last Boy on Earth, Golden Gladiator, Black Pirate, Beowulf – Dragon Slayer, Justice Experience, and Lord Ironwolf.