Legends of Tomorrow Season 4 Review

  • Series Title: Legends of Tomorrow
  • Season: Season 4
  • Episodes: 16
  • Discs: 2 (Blu-Ray) (DVD set is 3 discs)
  • Network: CW
  • Cast: Caity Lotz, Brandon Routh, Maise Richardson-Sellers, Dominic Purcell, Nick Zano, Tala Ashe, Matt Ryan, Jes Macallen, Adam Tsekhman
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC, R1

This review will contain spoilers for Season 4 of Legends of Tomorrow

As the tease at the end of Season 3 promised, Season 4 brings magic into the Legends of Tomorrow universe and John Constantine becomes a regular. The first half of the season has relatively self-contained episodes, as the Legends chase magical creatures before they can mess-up the timeline. These episodes though are so very character-centric and each one allows our characters to shine. In the third episode of Season 4, the Legends meet a punk shapeshifter in 1970s London. Although Constantine wants to send the creature to hell, as he had previous magical creatures they had met, Ray Palmer, who has gotten to know Charlie, convinces the Legends to capture her instead. First imprisoned by the Legends, Charlie eventually becomes one of them, assisting on the current mission. She also looks like Amaya.

The two-part midseason finale, “Hell No, Dolly!” and “Legends of To-Meow-Meow” gives us more information on Constantine, including explaining why he’s been in a weird headspace all season and introduces the season’s villain, a demon called Neron, who bonded with Constantine’s lover Des (Desmond) forcing Constantine to send them both to hell. Being in the same city at the same time that he lost his lover, Constantine cannot resist trying to change things and save Des. But when he does he breaks time. He and Charlie, who helped run interference while he was on his unsanctioned solo mission, return to the jump ship and find Zari’s been turned into a cat.  In “Legends of To-Meow-Meow” Constantine, Charlie, and Zari with help from Nora and Mona attempt to find a solution that will allow them to save Des, allow Charlie to keep her shapeshifting powers, but that won’t have the Legends die – because in this new broken universe, members of the Legends team keep dying in magical creature attacks. These losses cause the Legends to become reckless killers. Although the episode expresses this with various genre-style “TV series”, complete with credit sequences, including, “Guardians of the Chronology” (an 1980s-style, all male-led, action show with lots of guns and violence), “Sirens of Spacetime” (in “Charlie’s Angels” style – Sara, Ava, and Gideon are action stars) and “Puppets of Tomorrow” (the Legends have been turned into singing puppets). But the only way to prevent disaster is to prevent John from changing time in the first place.

The second half of the season features more magic, Mona becomes a regular – despite being essentially a werewolf, and Nora Darhk also, through her friendship with Ray Palmer, joins the crew. It’s not a straight or easy transition for either Nora or Mona. Mona starts as the girl who delivers food to the bureau (and is continuously mind-wiped by Gary) to the creature keeper to falling for a Kaupe named Konané to being scratched/bit by Konané and becoming a Kaupe herself. Mona’s journey includes learning both to control and embrace “Wolfie” – her werewolf side. Nora had escaped the time bureau using the time stone Ray gave her, but when John Constantine goes too far to save a young camper – only Nora can save him. Ray finds her and Nora learns she can use and control her power without becoming evil. She too joins the Legends but is still considered a fugitive.

Throughout the season Nate is mostly based at the Time Bureau, which leads to some interesting confrontations with his father. Henry Haywood seems to behind a plot to torture the captured magical creatures. Too late, Nate, John and the others discover Henry had made a bargain with the demon Neron for funding. When Henry tries to reject the demon, Neron kills him. Nora, a captive herself, feels Neron’s attack but when she tries to stop it, she’s caught and accused, of course, of killing Henry. Fortunately, Ray, Nate, and John believe her when she says she didn’t do it. John discovers Neron’s kidnapped Ava to be a new vessel for his “Tabitha”. John sends Sara to Ava’s personal purgatory to rescue her. It proves to be a test (and a successful one) of their relationship, which has suffered a few setbacks due to the Legends “harboring” Charlie and Nora.

Mona, Zari, Sara, and Charlie end-up solving a magical alert when Jane Austin’s books disappear. Mona not only meets her favorite author, but Zari confronts the Hindu god of love who is causing chaos. Mona is initially upset with Jane’s practical advice on love (marrying for security not love) but when she “wolfs out” and confronts Jane again, Jane is more honest, telling her not only she does believe in love, but that she rejected her only marriage prospect because she didn’t love or respect him. She then says that she and her sister will be penniless. Mona assures her she will publish her writing and it will be timeless, and she is her favorite author. Jane helps Mona to embrace Wolfie. Meanwhile, Zari is nearly talked into marriage by the Hindu god, leading to a fabulous Bollywood-style musical number. The Legends prevent her from making a mistake and free the young man who is being possessed. The unexpected musical number is wonderful!

The rest of the season focuses on finding a way to stop Neron, someone Constantine has failed to stop once. Ray, unfortunately, gets possessed by Neron, and starts a campaign to raise fear and paranoia – he even introduces a new app to report monster sightings. The app’s terms of service include the statement that “in return for using this service the user signs over their eternal soul to the demon Neron”. Neron is gathering souls to confront the Triumvirate that rules Hell. Also, by owning people and stirring up fear, hatred, and paranoia, he makes the atmosphere ripe for all sorts of trouble. When he doesn’t get enough downloads he arranges a “monster attack” during congressional hearings into monsters. Zari remarks that this is how her dystopia started – then they passed the anti-meta act and soon after ARGUS took total control. She and her family were forced to move to a ghetto (restricted living) and later her brother and family were killed – all because of their religion (Muslim). But Nate also discovers his father’s plan wasn’t to “out” magical creatures, or to turn them into weapons, but to capture and train them for a magical theme park called HeyWorld. Zari discovers that if the Legends are able to successfully start HeyWorld and get people to believe magic is well, magical and wonderful, she can save her family and change the future. But she has to stay on the ship in the temporal zone or she’ll lose her memories if time changes.

Constantine finds out that Ray made a bargain to let Neron take him over if Neron didn’t kill Nate. Nate is willing to sacrifice himself – if that’s the only way to stop Neron. The Legends have Mick Rory, now an accomplished romance writer (a thread slowly introduced in season 3), create HeyWorld using the journal of Bridget that creates whatever a writer can imagine. But they still have to convince people that magical creatures are magical and wonderful, not dangerous and evil. Sara, Nate, and Gary try a stage show that is bombing badly (while the Monitor sits in the stands, munching popcorn). But when Tabitha (the fairy godmother), and Constantine (returned from Hell) arrive it becomes more of a confrontation. Nate and Charlie switch places, tricking Neron into “killing” Nate. Zari arrives when she sees that it’s Nate who died. Neron’s hold over Ray is broken and he’s sent back to hell. Zari gets everyone to sing Henry Heywood’s favorite song to revive Nate. But, although the timeline is now safe, and Zari’s dystopia is erased, she is replaced by her brother who is now the air totem bearer. Nate doesn’t seem to remember Zari. In Hell, Astra cashes in the soul coins she stole from Neron’s vault (where Constantine and Nora went in search of Ray’s coin) – in a set-up for next season.

Although not quite as surprisingly wonderful and marvelous as the season finale for Season 3, Season 4 still has a fun finale. I loved the “looking for magic” theme that developed from “magical creatures are evil – send them to hell” to “OK, some magical creatures are all right” to “let’s live in concert and happiness with magical creatures”. And the singing scene was similar to saving Tinkerbell by clapping in Peter Pan. But while the sing-along is going on, Nate has a much-needed final conversation with his father, Hank.

We also get some wonderful girl power this season – Legends has gone from Sara being the only female member of the crew (albeit the captain) to having four members: Sara, Zari, Charlie, and Mona – plus regular appearances by Ava and occasional ones by Gideon as more than just a computer voice. Because the cast, in general, has gotten so large (the guys include Mick, John, Nate, Ray, and Gary) many of the episodes have two or three plots with the crew being split into groups. (Such as the wonderful, “The Eggplant, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” – where Nate and Zari go on a date in the 1930s and find a dragon egg, Ray figures out Nora didn’t kill Hank, and Sara has to save Ava from Purgatory.) This allows the women to shine and work together, while at the same time gives everyone something to do. Even “quarterbacking” from the Waverider isn’t a way to shove a character aside for a story or two. And Sirens of Spacetime – starring Gideon, Ava, and Sara – I just love it!

I highly recommend Legends of Tomorrow, especially seasons 3 and 4 – the show just gets more original and more magical every season and its tons of fun to watch. Because the Legends were not involved in this season’s crossover it is not included on the Blu-Ray or DVD set.

Read my Review of Legends of Tomorrow Season 1.
Read my Review of Legends of Tomorrow Season 2.
Read my Review of Legends of Tomorrow Season 3.

Book Review – Batman/Superman vol. 3: Second Chance

  • Title: Batman/Superman vol. 3: Second Chance
  • Author: Greg Pak
  • Artists: Jae Lee
  • Line: New 52
  • Characters: Batman (Bruce Wayne), Superman (Clark Kent), Dr. Ray Palmer (The Atom), Kaiyo the Chaos Demon, Catwoman (Selina Kyle), Alfred Pennyworth
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 9/30/2016

DC Comics New 52 book Batman/Superman has proved to be such a disappointment that I’ve decided not to continue to purchase this series, or to look-up the rest of it that’s already available. This book had two stories both with intriguing plots – and I can’t fault the series on plotting. It’s the characterization that just isn’t quite there.

I did like the first story, Batman and Superman return from wherever, and Batman collapses. Superman scans Batman with his X-ray vision and discovers a microscopic society and city in his brain. He immediately calls in Dr. Ray Palmer (in this story just becoming The Atom), who gives Superman a “shrink belt”, acknowledging himself that it needs a better name, and they, “The Incredible Journey”-style go inside Bats to safely remove the city and it’s people – and to save Batman as the city is pressing on his brain causing a coma. Inside Batman, they meet a alien woman who’s fleeing another alien dictator. They rescue her and toss the villain out, then remove the city. The story had a light touch, and with Ray there, even some appropriate humor. Superman was reticent and unemotional about Bruce’s condition – one of the problems with New 52’s take on Superman in general. Clark and Bruce are, or should be, great friends – not colleagues who can barely take working together.

The second story has Batman and Superman sent back to Earth-2 by the Chaos Demon Kaiyo, there they are merely ghosts – until they make a single choice to act, then they get the opportunity to try to change something. Naturally, these changes don’t have the effect they want. But, upon returning to regular DC Universe Earth, both Batman and Superman completely lose their respective memories. As total amnesiacs, they also have completely different personalities. Bruce is light and carefree. Alfred tells him, because he asks, what made him become Batman – but to Bruce, it isn’t something he experienced – it’s like hearing a story or watching a movie. For Alfred, he sees Bruce happy and is glad for it. Bruce then takes up the mantle of Batman again – as a duty, almost a job, a career – something he wants to do, but not an obsession – something he’s driven to do.

Superman is less successful in adapting to his new amnesiac status. He takes up with Catwoman (out of serendipity – she’s being attacked and he rescues her when he first arrives). Superman has no memory of Lois. And he has no family. (Sidenote: What happened to the Kents? This series keeps referring to Clark as a complete orphan and the Kents being killed in a car crash, presumably when Clark was still quite young. This makes no sense.) Superman also doesn’t hold back in the use of his powers. Eventually both Bruce and Superman get their memories back – Alfred is sad to see the Batman/Bruce he has known for so long head into the Cave.

I did like the full-page panels, one for Batman and one for Superman, of several images visually representing the two getting their memories back – it’s both a wonderful static image and yet something that represents each person experiencing a rush of memories. Well done. The rest of the art in the book is also good, though the characters have a less photo-realistic or even painted look than other series in the DC line.

Again, I’ve decided to not continue buying this series. I’m loving DC Rebirth , and there are collection series reprints from the 1990s (Chuck Dixon’s Nightwing and Birds of Prey) as well as a couple of New 52 series (Birds of Prey, Justice League Dark) that I enjoy much more. I loved the Superman/Batman series from the 1990s, it was well-written, at times brilliant, and I have all or nearly all of it (I might be missing one volume); Batman/Superman is disappointing.