For almost a year now we have been teased with this third official TV series in the Arrowverse, and now finally “Legends of Tomorrow” joins “Arrow” and “The Flash” on the CW. The DC TV Universe just keeps expanding. Meet me after the super speed jump for my thoughts on “Legends of Today.”
I remember distinctly the first time I encountered the Vandal Savage. It was a much-read, well-loved copy of Flash #215 where I first met the immortal villain. Within its pages I learned Savage’s origins as a Neanderthal affected by the radiation of a passing comet, granting him immortality and other strange powers, and that he had been various tyrants throughout time until his current identity of Vandal Savage. The story, by Len Wein who would later write some of the best Justice League of America stories, also included a double Flash team-up, the villain’s death, a trip through Limbo, and the weirdness of Barry Allen waking up on Earth-Two in bed with Jay Garrick’s wife, Joan. So much goodness.
Vandal Savage recovered from his death, of course, because comics. As I learned more about him, I found that he was originally an enemy of the Golden Age Green Lantern, and that in the past he had actually defeated the Justice Society of America. As the years went by, Vandal Savage fought Superman, the Justice league, then both teams, and then just about everyone, while holding on to a certain enmity for the Flashes. He became, much like Darkseid, one of those villains who could call the entire DC Universe his enemies. From the dawn of time to the end of time, Vandal Savage has fought them all.
Party at Oliver’s
As we open Vandal Savage has arrived in Central City close to how Dracula came to London. Once ashore he kills everyone, not before though. He is hunting Hawkgirl, who as we know, and she doesn’t, is the barista Cisco is dating – Kendra Saunders. One brush with Savage and Team Flash thinks they might need to employ the help of Team Arrow.
A meeting in the Arrowcave turns into a dinner party at Oliver and Felicity’s, where apparently secret identities and secret super powers are just flung to the wind because everyone has forgotten what the word ‘secret’ actually means. On the other hand, the gathering did remind me a lot of the Bronze Age team-ups of the Justice League and Justice Society where socializing won out over adventuring… until the baddie attacked, which Savage does here, then bows out again.
So after John Barrowman as Merlyn the Magician, the current R’as Al Ghul, shows up with the League of Assassins, and tries to explain who Vandal Savage is – Kendra needs some air because things have taken a couple steps over to crazy town. Once outside, she’s kidnapped by a flying man with wings, who know is obviously Hawkman. Follow all that? If you do, you already know the comics, or you’re lying.
They have dropped a LOT into this episode, so much so the top is about pop off. I hate to say it, but this crossover event meant to launch a new series may just be our favorite scarlet speedster jumping the shark. And not that cool giant man-shark from a few episodes back either. What is more upsetting is that after getting this feeling, I also know there’s a lot more to come.
Unlike the last Arrow/Flash crossover event, reviewed here and here, this episode of “The Flash,” happening in Star City and being a little more Arrow-centric, there seemed like there should have been more Flash stuff. That’s where the Caitlin/Jay/Wells subplot in this episode might have come from. There’s even a nice link to Vandal Savage as well.
The Earth-Two Harrison Wells doesn’t think Barry will be fast enough to face Zoom so he digs up an old plan he’d had originally for Jay, Velocity 6. In the comics, Velocity 6 was a drug developed by Vandal Savage to give the victim super speed, yes, but was also crazy addictive, and if a hit was coming, it was very destructive to the user. A sinister drug by a sinister man, in the show, it’s produced for Barry to become faster, but first, Wells wants to test it on Jay.
When Patty (who as I’ve mentioned, would have been much better off if someone just told her Barry was the Flash a long time ago) sees Wells and tracks him to S.T.A.R. Labs, thinking he was the prime Wells, she shoots him down. Rather than just telling her, Joe sends her away, so Caitlin and Jay can save Wells. Jay takes the drug, with no noticeable side effects, and saves Wells’ life. If only there was a miracle for Patty. I think this is going to end badly.
In the last episode I had noted the various different origins of Hawkman and Hawkgirl/woman, and said I would have to wait to see which direction the showrunners went with to comment on the characters’ transition. The version being used is the one where Prince Khufu and Chay-Ara are reincarnated over and over again, until murdered by an equally eternal enemy. Here, the evil priest Hath-Set, who is usually that killer, has been replaced by the immortal villain Vandal Savage.
Here, Hawkman is played by German actor Falk Hentschel, no stranger to live-action comics roles, as he appeared as Whiplash last season on “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” I like the costume better than the character’s appearances on “Smallville,” but I have to admit to liking that actor Michael Shanks more. Hentschel seems a bit goofy so far, not a word I want to describe one of my favorite heroes with. I did like the fight between him and Green Arrow and the Flash though, cool stuff.
Bits of Arrow Business
As I mentioned, this felt a lot more like an “Arrow” episode than one of “The Flash,” so let’s take care of all that continuity. I liked the brief clash between Damien Darhk and the Flash. It was well done, and consistent as all fights with Darhk seem to be. I just wish the Flash would hang out a bit more and end his storyline, because it’s been getting old for a while.
The other bit is at the end of the episode, where Oliver encounters a young boy at CC Jitters. He’s dropped his Flash action figure and then runs off to his mom. This one goes back to a loose end in the second season of “Arrow.” Oliver has a child he doesn’t know about, seven years old, and living in Central City with the mother. Could this be Connor Hawke? I’m sure that we’ll find out more about in future episodes of “Arrow.”
As far as Vandal Savage goes, the fates of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and “Legends of Tomorrow,” we’ll have to wait until tomorrow night… see you there!