This week's DC's Legends of Tomorrow was a weird show.
With a lot of different stories going on all at once, a little bit of social commentary, a little bit of Vandal Savage, and a lot of pop culture references, the episode wasn't as steeped in DC history as other episodes might be...but that doesn't mean there weren't more than a few little things to notice as they went by.
So...what did we see? What did we miss?
Read on, and comment below.
The episode is directed by Joe Dante, who's best known for his work on films like Gremlins (which likely helped him visualize the strange, grotesque transformations of the were-hawks), Innerspace (ditto the shrinking character), and The 'Burbs (the illusion of small town bliss).
James Dean is a film star the '50s, who died in 1955 when he crashed his car while drag racing. He's gone on to become a pop cultural icon.
...So, yeah, calling the guy you're drag racing that when he junks his car is really only cool if you already know he isn't dead yet.
"What's Savage doing in Pleasantville?" is a reference that's easy to miss.
Plenty of people probably don't remember the film Pleasantville, which got generally warm reviews at the time but hasn't really sustained much of a following since.
The film revolved around a brother and sister who are inadvertently and inexplicably pulled into the world of an idyllic '50s sitcom. While the brother -- a huge fan of the show -- wants to get home while making as little impact on the world they're visiting as possible, the sister sets about causing a cultural revolution in small-town America.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
Jax calls the bully "Biff," and then later, when he's about to go on his date, Ray references the "Enchantment Under the Sea Dance," both of which hail from Back to the Future.
That restricted hallway where Vandal Savage does his nefariousness? That would be Hall H.
Hall H, for those who haven't ever been to (or read at length about) Comic Con International, is the main ampitheater in the San Diego Convention Center, where all of the biggest (and hardest to get into) panels take place.
In a just-released clip from DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Smallville fans are likely to recognize a name that gets dropped.
That would be Curtis Knox, the name of a doctor...and an alias for Vandal Savage.
Why's that relevant? Well, in Smallville, Dean Cain played Dr. Curtis Knox...who, according to writers, was originally intended to be Vandal Savage before DC asked them to change the name.
(This wasn't a one-off thing; Batman and Booster Gold faced off against somebody who was pretty clearly Vandal Savage, but with a different name, in an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold.)
In Smallville, Knox targeted metahumans with high concentrations of Kryptonite in their system, which he would then transplant into his wife's body. He killed Sasha Woodman and targeted Chloe Sullivan, before coming across Clark and Martian Manhunter. The prevailing theory is that J'Onn exiled Knox to the Phantom Zone; he admitted that he couldn't kill him since Knox was immortal.
Both Knox's origins and powers matched up with Savage's, and so using Knox's name to give Savage an identity to hide behind on Legends is pretty ingenious.
Funny enough, Cain will share the screen with Martian Manhunter again...in Monday's episode of Supergirl, which flashes back to when his character (Jeremiah Danvers) first met J'Onn J'Onzz.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.
Creatures like this have no doubt appeared in Hawkman comics before.
The only specific time I can think that we saw a creature like this was in the Zero Hour tie-in, in which Hawkman battled a creature that claimed to be a personification of Horus, the hawk god from which he derived his powers.
One of our other writers, Christian Hoffer, suggested that there were similar "hawkmonsters" in the classic Hawkworld storyline, but I'm ashamed to admit I haven't read it.
When Jax is pulled over, he compares the local lawman to Boss Hogg -- that's a reference the sheriff wouldn't get, since that character appeared for the first time on The Dukes of Hazzard in 1979.