Every Member of The Legends of Tomorrow - Ranked

Picture it: Last night. 11:30 PM. Night three of insomnia.

A bold plan is formed.

I would definitively and comprehensively rank every member of the Legends of Tomorrow, ever.

These are the results.

To get a few ground rules established, I'm not going to spend any time trying to thrash out the distinction between 'Member of the Legends' and a 'Member of the Time Bureau' or 'Just hung out with them a lot'. I'm just going with 'If you were a regular, you count.'

I am, however, going to disregard side characters that never really felt like they were intended to be regulars. Which is a long winded way of saying that Gary and Mona are in, but Stein and Mick's daughters are not. Yes, it's arbitrary, but there it is. One has to draw the line somewhere.

Similarly, I have no interest in splitting hairs as regards Kendra and Carter's various reincarnations. For the sake of this list, Carter from the future and Carter who died with the team earlier in season one are the same. Let's be honest, he's not going to be relevant very long in this exercise.

As to my procedure, I made these choices the same way I make every choice in my life. I imagined there was a huge fire and only time to save one of two Legends, then picked which one would I save. This is a useful method of making quick choices, and I offer it for your use.

That all established, here is the definitive and in no way subjective list of Every Member of the Legends Ever, ranked:

23:  Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl

Be honest, the only surprise you're feeling right now is that she wasn't one rung higher. Kendra was nice enough, but her 'eternal doomed love' plot droned on endlessly, and we were all glad when she flew away.

22:  Carter Hall/Hawkman

Same reasons as for Kendra, but I rate Carter slightly higher than Kendra because Falk Hentschel is super hot, and I am shallow.  If nothing else, it made it easier to just zone out when he was on the screen.

 

 

21: Gary Green

I'm actually fonder of Gary than the majority of folks out there, going by what I've seen online.  And on those very, very rare occasions that they allow him to behave like an actual human being he can be pretty great.  Unfortunately that almost never happens and instead they use him as a comic relief character who more often than not isn't remotely funny.


20:  Astra Logue

It's kind of hard to tell if anyone on the show ever really considered Astra as a member of the team.  Also, her primary superpower was looking completely stunning in any outfit they could throw at her.  That said, if they had been even remotely interested in developing her character beyond 'Part of John Constantine's character motivation', I bet she'd have been really great.  As it is, her part of John's story played out and she left without her wearing out her welcome.  I find it hard to dislike anything about her, for the brief time she was around.


19: Mona Wu/Wolfie

'Female Hawaiian Werewolf variant' is not a bad hook to hang a character on.  Not by a long shot.  Coupled with Mona's complete lack of 'oh no, I'm a werewolf' angst - typically the entire character description for TV werewolves - Mona was a potentially interesting and well conceived character...  who never really got into any kind of groove with the team because there was just too many characters and too much plot going on at the time.  I do love that she still pops back in for the occasional friendly girls night.

18: Wally West/Kid Flash

It's not actually possible to identify exactly either the moment that Wally started being part of the team, nor when exactly he left the team.  That sort of sums up his tenure with the group in a nutshell.  This version of Wally can be a great character, but on Legends he always just felt like he was sort of passing through.


 

 

17: Rip Hunter

I feel badly for Arthur Darvill.  Because in a different world, this would have been his big break into huge action stardom.  Season one certainly feels like that was the original intention.  But unfortunately, 'big action hero' isn't really where Arthur Darvill's strengths lay, whereas his 'well intentioned everyman who always, always puts his own ego aside and does what's best for everybody' is without peer. The story of how Legends found its feet in season two quite simply IS the story of how the series figured out to use Arthur Darvill properly.   If they hadn't let him go, we wouldn't still be here.


16: Nora Darhk

It feels like Nora, as a character, was kind of a happy accident for the show.  Brought in, one assumes, because she's married to Brandon Routh to play a great villain for a season.  But then she went beyond having great chemistry with Brandon (which one would hope to be the case) and proved to have incredible chemistry with everybody.  And so we got a villain redemption arc that really does feel like it only exists because they couldn't bring themselves to stop asking her back.  Was she ever actually a member of the Legends?  Not... really...  But we really, really wanted her to be.


15:  Amaya Jiwe/Vixen

I really wish I was rating Amaya higher on this list.  I want to be rating her higher on this list.  Ultimately, while her power set was pretty cool conceptually, it never really worked on screen.  (I'm sorry, but it didn't.)  And almost her entire run was dominated by a 'doomed romance' plotline, which kneecapped the show's ability to show off how cool she could actually be given a chance.

 

14: Ava Sharpe

You cannot imagine how long I spent flip-flopping Amaya and Ava in this order.  What ultimately decided it for me is that Ava's ultimate dedication is always to the Team, whether that's the Time Bureau or the Legends.  She's selfless to the needs of the group, because it keeps her from having to think about whether she has a 'self' to give.  Which paradoxically makes her a uniquely beautiful soul.  Also, she's half of the healthiest relationship currently on television, and that ain't nothing.


 

13: Leonard Snart/Captain Cold

Sigh.  This is the one that I fully expect the most pushback on.  But he died before the show really found its feet and before the Legends really figured out who they were.  He's a great character, but I'm ranking these based on what they were like as part of the team, and he sadly predates 'the Team'.  Still a great character, and he and Mick's exchange about becoming better men, 'You mean weaker.',  'No. I mean better' remains one of my favorite things the show has ever done.



12: Zari Tarazi.

I was fully prepared to hate new Zari with the passion of a thousand burning suns. Zari 1.0 was and remains one of my favorite characters in anything, ever.  When she got over-written at the end of season four, I spent the entire off season thinking, 'Ugh.  How long are they going to take with some stupid alternate version before they finally get around to bringing back the 'real' Zari.  And then Tala Ashe brought us a new version of Zari that was both clearly different on a fundamental level, and yet somehow just was intrinsically the same person who'd been through a different set of life experiences.  Zari Tarazi is a positive breath of fresh air for the show going forward, and while I'll always miss Zari Tomaz, I like being with Zari Tarazi.

 

11: Behrad Tarazi.

I was fully prepared to hate Zari's brother/replacement with the passion of a thousand burning suns.  And then the show pulled the one trick with him that I wasn't expecting.  They didn't try to make me like him.  They didn't dedicate screen time to desperately scream 'Look, isn't he great! Don't you like him now?' Neither did they lean the other way and try to say to the viewer, 'Look, wasn't Zari so much cooler?  Isn't he just the worst replacement?  Don't worry... we'll fix the whole situation in sweeps week...'  No, instead they just let him exist.  Kind of doofy, but not in that comic relief, trying Way Too Hard way that Gary so frequently trips over.  Reflexively kind, in a relaxed 'just being there with you' kind of way.  Dammit, they made me like him by not trying to make me like him.  What's more, with the loss of Ray, Behrad has absolutely become the emotional core of the team in the way that Ray always was.  He's the guy on the team that, at the end of the day, is just 'good'.

10:  Charlie/Clotho

One of the things Legends of Tomorrow has always done well is taking 'bad' characters and believably remaking them into heroes. Charlie wasn't really bad so much as anarchic and only concerned about herself, but they took that and literally built the entire next season of the show around why she was that way.  And it should never have worked but it totally did.  In a sense, Charlie never stopped keeping the rest of the team at arm's length from herself, right up until that very last scene in the bar.  And that feels absolutely right.  Learning to stop considering herself as not part of the team was her story.  Her leaving once she'd learned to accept her place with them was the perfect ending for her.  It does stop her from being higher on this list, though.

8 (Tie): Martin Stein and Jefferson Jackson/Firestorm

I swear, I really tried to split them up into separate entries.  And it gave me acid reflux so severe that I had to get up and search the house for Tums.  Martin and Jax were the engine of the team, during the time when the team was really figuring out what it was.  Their father/son bonding helped cement the larger bond with the rest of their teammates.  I foolishly hoped that Jax would stay on the show after Martin's death, but now that I've had some time I get why that would have been completely the wrong choice.  I know two essential truths:  1. You can't separate the two of them, and it's a mistake to try, and 2. I can't even think about Martin's funeral without bawling.


7: John Constantine

In a universe thus far peopled with pseudo-scientific handwaving to explain the super powers, John Constantine brought straight up, no excuses, magic into the equation.  And he did it while breaking the long standing 'we're just going to politely forget that bi-sexuality is a thing' rule that television is very comfortable clinging to.  Particularly for men.  John brought a new style, a new sensibility, and a whole new toybox to play with just at the moment when we'd lost Jax and Stein and weren't sure how to move forward.



6:  Zari Tomaz

If you took everything about the 1990s that I remember and cherish, put it in an enormous Dutch oven, and boiled it down for 72-96 hours, it would eventually resolve into Zari Tomaz.  Donuts, ironic detachment, and death metal, Zari Tomaz was the absolute perfect counterbalance to the developing Nate/Ray powercouple of ultra-decency and unrestrained joy.  She believably picked up the reigns from Jax as the ships engineer, and always saw with perfect clarity the truth of how everyone else was feeling.  She's not #1 on the list of best Legends, but she will always be my favorite.  Which is saying something, considering who's yet to come on this list.


5:  Nate Heywood/Steel

Nate believes in things.  Unashamedly.  Good.  Hope.  Friendship. That it's better to care and love and believe.  He's a man who can not only openly acknowledge his love for his friends, but he can also let selflessly go if that's what they need to do.  'This sucks.  And I love you.'  If a generation of young men could be watching this show, have seen that goodbye, and gone on to live their lives informed by it, then we'd be living in a better world than we deserve.



4:  Mick Rory/Heatwave

I am honestly surprised that Mick isn't #1, to be honest.  When the show began, and the cast list was announced, my first thought was that Hawkman and Heatwave were clearly there just to die halfway through the first season and tighten up the cast a little bit.  Never did I dream that Mick would become the iron core of the team.  Unceasingly devoted to Sara Lance as his captain, Mick is the purest and most well developed example on television of my absolute favorite hero trope - the hero is is so much better than he believes himself to be.  The show simply wouldn't work without him.

3:  Ray Palmer/The Atom

Legends of Tomorrow has made one, and only one, serious mistake in the last four years.  And that is getting rid of Ray Palmer.  I get why they did it.  They made a cogent and understandable argument both within the narrative and without for why they felt like it was time for him to go.  They were wrong.  Ray and Nate showed the world what non-toxic male friendships should all strive to be.  Ray believed in other people.  Ray should still be on the team.

 

 

2:  Sara Lance/White Canary

Sara Lance is an inspiration.  A bisexual, female team leader in the world's healthiest and most enviable relationship, constantly providing the best possible example of what any of us could aspire to be.  She looked at the idea that you can be either desirably feminine or a strong leader, laughed her ass off at the idea and tore it into a million pieces, set those pieces on fire, and threw them into a septic tank where they belong.  Sara is the leader they thought Rip was going to be, before they turned around and saw perfection standing right in front of them.  You totally thought she was going to be number one, didn't you?

1:  Gideon

Amy Louise Pemberton took on a thankless job some six years ago, and has been shaming the world ever since with how much she's made of the role.  Gideon basically IS the Legends, although she never gets to do the showy action stuff, nor does she ever really get the credit she deserves for how much extra she brings to the roll.  From testing Zari in 'Here I Go Again', to maybe/maybe not helping Gary in 'I Am Legends', she's never less than amazing, and is always worth whatever screen time we're allowed to have with her.  Her rare chances to actually appear on screen are always more than the part as written deserves, and never fail to elicit from me a moment of, 'I'm sorry, you look like that and yet they almost never get you on camera??'

---

And there you have it, a definitive and objective ranking of the relative merits of the various members of the Legends of Tomorrow.  I can only hope that now I'm able to sleep.

Of course, most of the fun of these sorts of things is you telling me in the comments how unforgivably wrong I am, so please do have at that.  I look forward to the churlish debate!  

I genuinely also hope that you all are holding up well during this holiday season of strangeness.

All my best.

Mikey Heinrich is, among other things, a freelance writer, retired firefighter, and roughly 78% water. You can find more of his work at the 42nd Vizsla. If you'd like to see his raw notes for this and other reviews, you can find them at What Was Mikey Thinking.

4 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Mikey, this is impressive. I'm almost hoping that you have some more insomnia. (No, not really.) (Okay, maybe.)

I really did expect Sara Lance to top the list, and was surprised that you gave that spot to Gideon. Not because I don't like Gideon -- I do -- but I sort of forget about her when she's not speaking. Although I like when she's speaking, and maybe I should shut up now.

My top ten (I would never in a million years attempt 23) would definitely start with Spydad and include Captain Cold, Zari, Charlie, Mick, Ray and Sara. How many is that?

TJ said...

Mikey, what a great list! I love lists!

More please...

Josie Kafka said...

What a lovely list!

I was all ready to fight you on a number one choice, but truly Gideon is the best answer there.

All iterations of Captain Cold and anyone played by Tala Ashe are, of course, the non-AI number one characters (it's a tie).

Mikey Heinrich said...

Thanks all! The insomnia continues, so we'll see what ridiculous thing comes out of it next :)

Funny story, I was 100% sure Sara was going to be the number one spot, but paused to look up an official list of members and realized I'd completely forgotten about Gideon as well! It's so strange, as central and important as she is to the show, how easy it is to forget about her entirely. I don't even really understand why, and it's certain not fair to Amy Pemberton because she's just great.

And Josie- the bonus of remembering Gideon for this list is that exact effect - it's just really hard to argue against her deserving the spot, however much I love must of the rest of them. So useful for avoiding arguments ;)

This list proved to be so much harder than I was expecting. It felt like super-Sophie's-choice the whole way through. Well... After Gary anyway.

I really am interested to hear everybody else's thoughts on their top legends, btw