Legends Of Tomorrow: Season 2
In the ongoing battle between the two most popular publishers of the comic book, DC, and Marvel, there is no doubt that Marvel has a robust and definitive lead as far of the more lucrative movies are concerned, but the battles persist on the television front. Marvel has been uneven as far as broadcast TV goes but is dominating the relatively new media of streaming video. Over in the DC camp, they have pulled ahead in the traditional networks. They utilized a variation of the tactic Marvel used to make their cinematic stronghold. On the CW network is known for their appeal to a young demographic. DC began to create series based on some of the deep rosters of their costumed heroes. This was a natural fit especially since it hosted arguably the most successful TV incarnation of a superhero, ‘Smallville.' Although many of the same characters were used in the CW reboot of DC on television, the universes are separate allowing a fresh start for characters fresh in the minds of the fan. It began with the ‘Arrow,' based on the second-tier hero, The Green Arrow. This series was expertly used as a launching pad to introduce the other characters and eventually the combined team considered here, ‘The Legends of Tomorrow.' Drawing on a combination of heroes and villains introduced through the growing number of shows in what has come to be known as ‘Arrowvese.' The result was ‘The Legends of Tomorrow.' This rag tag collection of misfits and misguided individuals. In this second season, there is a significant change in the roster, leadership, and mission of the team. This plot convenience is quite common in many comic book story lines. It has the advantage of maintaining a fresh perspective able to continue to hold the attention of the fans. This is exactly the effect seen here. This portion of the ‘Arrowvese’ might constantly travel through time and space but at least one each season there is a highly anticipated four-way crossover.
The season starts with the introduction of one of the new character to join the Legends, Nate Heywood (Nick Zano), a historian from 2016. He was brought into the fray when the time ship used by the Legends, The Waverider, is caught in 1942 during a test of the atomic bomb, Nate, tasked with locating the team. After a suitable amount of danger and drama, it was discovered that an aberration in time that would have a Nazi nuclear weapon destroy New York City. The Legion of Doom instigated the drastic alterations in history, a time-traveling supervillain team led by Reverse Flash, Eobard Thawne (Matt Letscher), who has recruited past versions of Damien Darahk (Neal McDonough), Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), each one a highly dangerous arch villain on their own. As with the Legends, they were initially introduced in one or more of the four shows comprising the Arrowvese. The ensuing ongoing battle between the teams representing good an evil formed the basis of a major story arc, pervading the entire season, sprinkled throughout are many episodic missions that firmly connected to those preliminary themes.
It is usually a tricky matter changing a cast of an established team. This applies in particular during the sophomore year of a series. Frequently, this maneuver is performed as a desperate measure to keep a show alive. Although the show did have a somewhat rocky start, it received a reprieve thanks to its association with the larger group. Two characters that didn’t make the transition to this season were ‘Hawkman (Falk Hentschel) and Hawkgirl (Ciara Renée). Their ancient romance continued but apart from the Legends. One part of the criminal team of Mick Rory / Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) and Leonard Snart / Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), was separated when Snart demonstrated the ultimate act of heroism.Rory is sidetracked as an enforcer for the Time Masters. Eventually, Rory rejoined the group resuming his role as the designated wild card always looking for something to steal or burn. The original leader of the team and Captain of the Waverider, Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill), is kidnapped by the Legion and lost in time. Replacing him is Sara Lance / White Canary (Caity Lotz). The former member of the League of Assassins is a natural leader made the new Captain by acclimation. Remaining as the core of the team is the billionaire scientist, Ray Palmer / Atom (Brandon Routh) and the duplex hero, Firestorm, the nuclear-powered merger of a quantum physicist, Martin Stein (Victor Garber), and his teenage partner, Jefferson "Jax" Jackson (Franz Drameh).
An even described above would become seminal for the changes and progression of the series. Back in 1942, the Legends encounter one of the greatest collection of super heroes ever, the Justice Society of America. In the comics, they were considered the foreshadowing of the modern Justice League of America formed from some of the best known golden age heroes. During World War II most comic book publishers did infuse most of their heroes with a jingoistic flair bordering on fanaticism. For older members of the audience, the inclusion of such material helps in providing relevance to comics we might remember. It also had the direct benefit of properly utilizing the time travel capacity of their vehicle. Two significant plot points were derived from this connection to the past. Two members of the JSA of importance were Henry Heywood, Sr. / Commander Steel (Matthew MacCaull) and Amaya Jiwe / Vixen (Maisie Richardson-Sellers). Steel was the DC version of the Marvel Super Soldier. He was also the grandfather of Nate. Amaya possessed an enchanted amulet that permitted her to assume the magnified abilities of any animal. Demonstrating how precise the continuity maintained Amaya’s granddaughter appeared wearing the same amulet in ‘Arrow.' Both characters would have a substantial influence on Nate. He would fall in love with Amaya, but she had to return to her own time to have a granddaughter and pass on the magic amulet. Nate would be cured of hemophilia by using the super soldier formula modified by Palmer. That turned him into a meta human, Steel, with significantly enhanced strength turn his body into metal.
After defeating the Time Masters, their mission changed. Under Sara’s lead, they respond to temporal abortions doing their best to correct the historical time line. This could easily have become a pedantic freak of the week drive string of episodes. In a well-crafted fashion, the writers and showrunners injected a season long mission. Rip had come into possession the ‘Spear of Destiny.' Traditionally the Roman spear used to pierce the side of Jesus during his execution. Anyone holding it will be undefeatable in war. The Spear was broken into several pieces. Each entrusted to a different member of the JSA who was then hidden somewhere in time. The League of Doom was intent in assembling the artifact to further their heinous purposes. The series is dependent on special effects necessary to depict their super powers, and at least once each episode a martial arts choreographed fight sequence. Both very well executed but the important aspect of their use. They are employed judiciously, used as spice never overwhelming how the stories unfold, and the character development. Thankfully, the next season is set to start soon, so this corner of the Arrowvese will continue. Thanks to being highly conducive to refreshing changes the series can look forward to a bright future.