Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Comics to Screen: Legends of Tomorrow 2-1 - Out of Time

To be honest, I'd gotten bored with Legends of Tomorrow. I've watched the odd episode on a sporadic basis but never actually finished the first season. However, I decided to jump back in with the beginning of season two, which has left me somewhat confused as to what has happened to various characters, but has also convinced me to give the series another chance.

It's not an original observation, but Legends is trying very hard to be Doctor Who with superheroes. This might become redundant at Christmas, when Doctor Who actually does superheroes, but right now, it's an approach that's working. Legends has taken the same track as Who by both creating an overseeing group of superiors - the Time Agents in this case - and then wiping them out so that the characters can actually have some fun. Now that Arthur Darvill's rogue agent Rip Hunter is policing the timestream, he's trying harder than ever to be a pseudo-Doctor, right down to a holographic farewell message in this episode lifted directly from The Parting of the Ways.

The new season works better than the last, though, having decided to just go for broke and have some fun. It's a bunch of superheroes with a timeship - this is not a show that should ever be boring. Sure, the dialogue is still atrocious, but it doesn't matter so much when the characters are charging from one situation to the next with such verve. Reducing the size of the team is a big help, too. There were just too many regular characters in the first series, and while I miss Captain Cold, at least we've got rid of mopey Hawkgirl Kendra. Of the characters we still have on the team, Mick Rory has proven to be the absolute highlight, while even Sara Lance was fun this time round, and I normally find her intensely annoying. Plus, she kisses a lot of women, which is bound to be reason enough to watch for plenty of people.

"Out of Time" mostly deals with Damian Darhk vs. Albert Einstein, which is a laugh, but we also get the Royal Court of France, the Salem witch trials and a bloody great tyrannosaur. Oliver Queen's in it too, not as the Arrow but in his tiresome Mayor of Star City role. Thankfully, the exposition sequences don't last long enough to detract from the overall fun of titting about in time, and the final reveals of the episode are masterfully done. I'm looking forward to episode two.

Introducing Nate Heywood

So, in this episode we do get one new member of the team: Nate Heywood, a likeable if not terribly interesting historian, who is understandably excited at the prospect of cavorting around history. He's played here by Nick Zano, and while he doesn't do much here beyond kickstarting the plot by looking for the Waverider, we can probably expect bigger things from him in the future. In the comics, Nate becomes Citizen Steel. He's grandson of Henry Heywood, the original Commander Steel who fights as part of the Justice Society of America. Given the JSA's purported major role in this season, I think we can expect Nate to inherit some kind of tech from his granddad that will super him up in time for the climactic showdown at the end of the run.

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