For the first time in history, DC is doing a new live-action show focusing on a superhero team instead of an individual superhero. If you’re familiar with smash TV hits Arrow and The Flash at all, you probably already have an idea who these characters are… but it’s a lot of wild new faces for someone who doesn’t read the comics. Here’s our guide on who the characters are in the new Legends of Tomorrow series.
Be warned: Spoilers for Arrow and The Flash ahead!
Traditionally in the comics, the Atom is Ray Palmer, a scientist who designed technology that allows him to shrink to microscopic levels. In addition to controlling his size, he can also control his density, so he bounces around like a flea but punches like a sledgehammer. We were introduced to Ray Palmer in season 3 of Arrow as a billionaire scientist working on an exosuit similar to Iron Man, which he dubs “A.T.O.M.” (Advanced Technology Operating Mechanism). After a recent event where he discovered shrinking technology and integrated it into his suit, it looks like we’re going to finally see a hero closer to the tiny titan in the comics.
Click here to read more about the Atom in the comics.
Firestorm, the Nuclear Man, is a superhero who functions as a living nuclear reactor. His powers include flight, energy beams, and the ability to manipulate elements on an atomic level. This means he can change the physical structure of any object. In the comics, Firestorm is traditionally a gestalt of college athlete Ronnie Raymond and genius scientist Martin Stein. Following an accident involving the experimental Firestorm Matrix they were permanently bonded together. Firestorm possesses the body of Raymond, but Stein’s brilliant mind acts as a co-pilot giving him scientific advice in battle. At this point in the show, Ronnie Raymond is believed dead, and Professor Stein has instead partnered with mechanic Jax Jackson as the new Firestorm.
Click here to learn more about Firestorm in the comics.
Hawkman & Hawkgirl
We were heavily introduced to Hawkman and Hawkgirl in this year’s midseason finales, but their complicated history still deserves an explanation. They were both born centuries ago in ancient Egypt, as Prince Khufu and the priestess Chay-Ara respectively. The high priest Hath-Set was in love with Chay-Ara, and he killed them both after learning that they were in love. Hath-Set gained eternal life by consuming their souls, making him into the immortal villain who would become Vandal Savage. This also tethered their life force to his, making them linked to Savage every time they reincarnate. They are doomed to perpetually find each other throughout history and be killed by Savage just as they rediscover their love. Their powers include increased strength and the ability to manifest wings capable of flight, in addition to their trusty metal mace weapons. In this lifetime, Hawkman is archaeologist Carter Hall, and Hawkgirl is barista Kendra Saunders. Hopefully with the new friends they’re meeting, they can put an end to their cycle of violence.
Rip Hunter is a time traveler with an identity shrouded in mystery. Having personally taken the job of protecting the timestream to make sure nobody destroys history, his life is in constant danger. He keeps everything about himself a secret so his enemies can’t learn who he is and murder him as a baby in his crib. His home is Vanishing Point, an island that exists at the end of time, in the last nanosecond before existence collapses into entropy. In the comics Rip has lead multiple teams including the Time Masters and the Linear Men. It has also been revealed in the last several years that his father is superhero Booster Gold.
Click here to learn more about Rip Hunter in the comics.
The Rogues: Captain Cold & Heat Wave
We’ve already been thoroughly introduced to Captain Cold & Heat Wave on The Flash, two of Central City’s greatest super villains. Their history in the comics is similar. After stealing experimental weaponry, small-time thieves Leonard Snart and Mick Rory became nearly unstoppable. Captain Cold’s gun allows him to fight the Flash by slowing things down on a molecular level, and Heat Wave has fire so hot it can melt the Flash’s boots. Both of these villains have spent brief periods of time as heroes in the comics. Notably Captain Cold was once the heroic Citizen Cold in an alternate universe, and Heat Wave spent some time as a security agent at Project Cadmus. It has yet to be seen though how these remorseless sociopaths will fit into their new roles as protectors of humanity.
There’s currently not a lot known about this character in the series, as she has yet to appear on Arrow or The Flash. We only know that Vostok will be important in an arc involving the Cold War. In the comics Val Vostok was originally introduced as Negative Woman, a member of the Doom Patrol. Her powers allowed her to release a “soul-self” body made entirely out of energy that would fight enemies while her physical body lay vulnerable. After losing her powers, she went on to become arguably more important as a member of the espionage community in groups like The Agency and Checkmate.
Click here to learn more about Val Vostok in the comics.
Vandal Savage is a popular enemy of the Justice Society in the comics, but has a new origin for Legends of Tomorrow. The comics introduced him as an immortal caveman who gained special powers through exposure to a radioactive meteorite. Throughout history he has repeatedly tried to conquer the world and been present at many of humanity’s greatest military conflicts. There are stories that have indicated he is the biblical Cain, and that he also invented cannibalism. The show actually gives Savage the origin story of another character, the Hawkman villain Hath-Set. As we mentioned previously, Hath-Set was a priest who knew Hawkman and Hawkgirl in their original lives as Prince Khufu of Egypt and the priestess Chay-Ara. After murdering the lovers in a fit of jealous rage he began to pursue them throughout history, ending their lives in every single reincarnation. Legends of Tomorrow should be showing us some of Savage’s larger plans outside of the two star-crossed lovers.
Click here to learn more about Vandal Savage in the comics.
Despite sharing the same name as an unrelated supervillain, White Canary is kind of a totally new character. We were originally introduced to her alter ego, Sara Lance, in Arrow where she becomes the first Black Canary. Sara has taken this new name after getting murdered and resurrected to distinguish herself from the second Black Canary (her sister Laurel Lance). Sara was washed away in the same boat crash that stranded Oliver Queen on Starfish Island. This lead her to train with the League of Assassins and become one of the world’s greatest martial artists. Sara has also previously shared a lesbian relationship with Nyssa al Ghul, daughter of super villain Ra’s al Ghul.
Click here to learn more about Black Canary in the comics.
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