DC’s Legends of Tomorrow premiered last week and it not only featured nine main characters, but also a ton of Easter eggs and references to the wider DC universe. So let’s get this party started!
Let’s start with the heroes, in order of appearance:
Rip Hunter, Time Master first appeared in Showcase #20 (June, 1959). The Time Masters, at this point, were less “ominous group of robed figures dedicated to protecting the timeline” and more “Rip’s three friends.” The Time Masters were actually Rip, Jeff Smith, Bonnie Baxter, and her brother Corky, and together they created a Time Sphere.
At the time, Rip and the Time Masters didn’t really cause that much of an impact, so they were quickly forgotten about. In fact, during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Rip joined up with some other not-well-known heroes (like Animal Man and Congo Bill) to form a team of “Forgotten Heroes.” Post-Crisis, Rip joined the Linear Men, another group dedicated the protecting the timeline, and eventually helped Booster Gold save the multiverse in 52 (in the follow up Booster Gold series, it was also revealed that he was Booster Gold’s son).
Rip did in fact try to hunt down Vandal Savage during the eight-issue Time Masters series in 1990 (actually, he was hunting down the Illuminati and Vandal just happened to be a member, but still).
Raymond Palmer, also known as the Atom, appeared in Showcase #34 (October, 1961) where he found a fragment of dwarf star matter and was able to make a size-changing belt out of it.
The Atom lived in Ivy Town with his girlfriend/fiance Jean Loring. However, his solo title didn’t end up doing so well, so his book and Hawkman’s were merged together into The Atom and Hawkman. And although Ray and Jean were married, their marriage became strained and eventually Jean cheated on him. At that point, Ray had a sword-and-fantasy adventure in a microscopic land in the four-issue Sword of the Atom mini-series.
Eventually, due to tragedy during the crossover Identity Crisis, Ray left Earth completely and a new character took over as the Atom: Ryan Choi. Post-Flashpoint, Ray Palmer is back to being the Atom, only now he works for S.H.A.D.E. (the Super-Human Advanced Defense Executive) in their microscopic headquarters, the Ant Farm.
Okay, this next one is complicated: Sara Lance, also called the White Canary, does not actually exist in the comics.
There were, however, two Black Canaries. The original Black Canary, Dinah Drake, was introduced in Flash Comics #86 (August 1947) and she eventually married Detective Larry Lance and they had a daughter named Dinah Laurel Lance, who became the second Black Canary (yes, she did name her daughter after herself). However, Dinah was an only child, she did not have a sister.
That is not to say that there was no White Canary: White Canary was actually a villain who appeared in Birds of Prey vol 2 #1. She was the sister of the “Twelve Brothers in Silk,” who had taken on the Birds of Prey and lost. White Canary, ashamed of her brothers due to this, killed them all and declared herself an enemy of the Birds of Prey.
Professor Martin Stein first appeared in Firestorm the Nuclear Man #1 (March 1978), where he was working at the Hudson Nuclear Power Plant. Due to a group of terrorists, both Stein and Ronnie Raymond were trapped in the Power Plant when it exploded and merged them together as Firestorm.
Together, they fought against enemies like the Hyena, the Silver Deer, and, of course, Killer Frost. Firestorm went through a period when it was revealed he was a “Fire Elemental” and then Professor Stein had leukemia and eventually Ronnie could become Firestorm without him. And then, during Identity Crisis, Ronnie died.
A new Firestorm was found with Jason Rusch, but during Blackest Night, Ronnie came back to life. Post-Flashpoint, the Firestorm Matrix is actually made up of Ronnie and Jason together, although it was caused by the “God Particle” given to Jason by Professor Stein.
Jefferson Jackson, on the other hand, was only Ronnie’s friend in high school and was never part of the Firestorm Matrix.
Carter Hall (Hawkman) and Shiera Sanders (Hawkgirl) both made their first appearance in Flash Comics #1 (January 1940), although it would be a while before Shiera became Hawkgirl.
Their origin was pretty much exactly the same as in the show: they were lovers in Ancient Egypt, but were killed by the evil Hath-Set (in the show, another name for Vandal Savage, but in the comics, a completely different character), only to reincarnate over and over again down the ages. In this version, however, Hath-Set reincarnates as well.
At least, that’s the first origin story they have. Later on, in the Silver Age, they will get a new origin that involves them being space cops from the planet Thanagar. And in the Modern Age, somehow, their origin will involve both of these origins. Yes, it gets confusing. They are basically the immortal reincarnated spirits of two alien cops from Thanagar who lived in Ancient Egypt and...
Let’s just move on now, shall we?
Leonard Snart, alias Captain Cold, first appeared in Showcase #8 (June 1957), while Mick Rory, alias Heat Wave, first appeared in The Flash #140 (November 1963).
Snart was a thief who built a cold gun able to stop the Flash, while Rory was a pyromaniac who started off as a fire-eater before building a flame-thrower gun and becoming a super criminal.
(Fun fact: that white costume was supposed to be made of asbestos. Mick Rory should totally have cancer right now.)
Eventually, Snart, Rory, and the rest of the Rogues gained a respect for the Flash, both Barry Allen and his replacement Wally West. They even had a code against killing women and children and rejected Libra’s offer to join the Secret Society of Super-Villains during Final Crisis. Post-Flashpoint, both still exist, but Cold is currently a member of the Justice League, along with Lex Luthor.
And now for the villains:
Vandal Savage first appeared in Green Lantern #10 (December 1943) in a story called “The Man Who Wanted the World.”
Vandar Adg was a Cro-Magnon and the leader of the Blood Tribe on prehistoric Earth when there was a meteor crash. Vandar slept near the meteor and the radioactivity gave him increased intelligence and immortality. (Someone from the nearby Bear Tribe was also exposed to the radiation and became the Immortal Man, although his immortality was different: he could die, but would be reborn as someone completely different.)
After renaming himself, Savage lived through millennia, often causing disasters or being historical people (he was Blackbeard and also Cain, somehow). At one point, he fathered a daughter, Scandal Savage, who rebelled against her father and became the leader of the Secret Six. (Post-Flashpoint, he also has another daughter, Kassidy Sage.) And, of course, he is not averse to the taste of human flesh.
Unlike Savage, the show’s version of Chronos is completely and utterly different.
First appearing in The Atom #3 (November 1962), David Clinton was a small time criminal who became obsessed with time during a stay in prison, so when he got out, he devised a costume and several gadgets, all related to time.
I mean, he couldn’t actually travel through time. He just used gadgets like a flying sundial to get around and exploding hourglasses. Also, he was supposed to time his robberies precisely, which you might remember was also the gimmick of the Clock King (who appeared before Chronos did). Eventually, the writers realized that this was kind of lame, so they went and gave him actual time powers, like the ability to slow time down and (gasp) actually travel through time itself.
Chronos did die, but, being a time traveler, he still made appearances afterwards. He fought against Ryan Choi, the All-New Atom, and, post-Flashpoint, was a member of A.R.G.U.S.
And now some references:
In the opening scene with the Time Masters, Rip Hunter mentions three people who tried to conquer the world: Caesar, Hitler, and Per Degaton. Per Degaton was an enemy of the Justice Society of America who fell in love with a robot from the 23rd century (Mekanique) who assisted him in traveling through time. Post-Crisis, Per Degaton was an intangible being who could see through time and still fought against the JSA in their new incarnation.
Rip Hunter’s ship is named the Waverider, after the character Waverider: Matthew Ryder, who was from the year 2030 and went back in time in order to stop a despot named Monarch in a crossover called Armageddon 2001. After traveling through the time stream, Matthew was changed into a kind of glowing golden form, becoming Waverider. He joined the Linear Men along with Rip Hunter, but soon was killed by Monarch/Extant during the crossover Zero Hour.
So there we go. What other references did you guys find?