Celebrating the Unpopular Arts
 

Useless Stories: Legends of Tomorrow

Every once in a while, I look through my old files to see if there’s anything I can dust off and use here. This time I dug up what our much-missed friend Greg Hatcher called a “Useless Story”; an idea that can’t be developed or published without permission from the property owners, but something I wrote because I wanted to. For a while, because of friendships and passing acquaintance with people connected to the CW DC shows, I harbored a faint hope I might get a chance to pitch the idea, but the opportunity never arose, and this story sat there on the hard drive for years. If I had gotten a chance to pitch it, I might have taken it further, but writing more than a synopsis felt like verging into fanfic territory, and that’s just a little too self-indulgent for me. Since the show is now long gone, I thought I should get some use out of it by sharing it here.

It all started when the thought came to me years ago while watching Legends of Tomorrow that there ought to be an episode or two where the crew visits some of the goofier areas of the DC universe. I wrote this somewhere around the third or fourth season, so several of the characters and situations who later departed were still there and were mentioned here. At the same time, I was thinking ahead, assuming if I ever did anything with the story, it would be during a later season when a different supernatural time-traveling/immortal villain would be behind a different Evil Plan of Evil that the crew would be trying to thwart, so throughout I refer vaguely to [Villain], because really, the villain’s actual plan doesn’t matter much. It’s just a mcguffin to get the Legends to the time and place. Here we go….

Legends of Tomorrow: Summer of Love

Opening teaser: A scene from “Angel and the Ape”; Angel, a pretty blonde detective, is investigating a crime scene and is confronted by a gun-wielding criminal. As he threatens to kill her, a gorilla in a hawaiian shirt appears behind him and knocks him out.

The crew visits Hollywood in the summer of 1967 to deal with the current threat of the season. They know that a pivotal event is centered at “Oksner Studios,” but they have very few details. Nate’s idea is that they should stake out the studio and try to catch the event when it happens. They know it involves an actress found dead in her dressing room, but cause of death was never determined; Nate suspects the death is linked to this season’s conflict.

There are two shows currently filming at the studio that could be involved: The first is the hit series “Sugar and Spike”, about two precocious “Dennis the Menace” type children. Now in its second year, the child actors are just turning seven years old. They are now breakout stars, pulling the focus of the show away from the adults. Worse, they are turning into spoiled brats, which gets on the nerves of the actor playing their father, Roy Raymond. Raymond is an early TV star, having previously starred in a “true life” show, playing a fictionalized version of himself in his previous career as a private investigator, as “Roy Raymond: TV Detective.” He’s also grandfather to Ronnie Raymond, the first Firestorm, and is played by Robbie Amell.

Sugar and Spike comic

The second is a new show, called “Angel and the Ape”, a comedy/action series about a beautiful and brilliant blonde detective and her partner, a talking ape who is also a comic book artist. Angel and the Ape is similar to Get Smart in its mix of absurd comedy and serious action.

Cover of Angel and the Ape, no. 4

The Legends break into the studio office and plant employment paperwork for the team. Sara becomes a stunt double for the “Angel” actress, Randie Gordon. Ray is placed in the lighting crew, but gets “discovered” and cast as a romantic interest guest star for Angel because he’s so pretty; this freaks him out a little because he used to watch the show in re-runs as a kid and had a huge crush on Randie when he was eight. Heatwave gets placed in the effects department but gets fired for almost blowing up the set. Nate, being a historian, has to serve as sherpa, interpreter and counselor to everyone. Some of the crew is rattled about being around Ronnie’s doppelganger, especially Mick, since he was a fan of the Roy Raymond TV show in reruns as a kid and never noticed the resemblance.

Roy Raymond, TV Detective

It turns out Randie is as smart as her character (and and is having an affair with Raymond, though they argue a lot, since he’s from a slightly older generation; he supports the fight against communism, and she’s an anti-war activist.) Randie’s father was former film star Randy “Tin Soldier” Booth, who died in WWII as a member of Sgt. Rock’s Easy Co. while Randie’s mother was pregnant with her. She was raised by Randy’s good friend, Sam “Sunny” Gordon, also a former member of Easy Co., who eventually married her mother. Today he is a retired general and a ranking official in the State Department. Her activism also puts her at odds with her stepdad, whose newest advisor is actually [the villain of the season].

"Tin Soldier"; Our Army at War #118 (May 1962)

[Villain] is simultaneously encouraging escalation of the Vietnam War in Washington and fomenting anti-war protests in Los Angeles; his plan is to embroil the military more deeply while reducing public support for the war, hoping to escalate it to a nuclear exchange as part of his Evil Plan of Evil. He has insinuated himself into General Gordon’s inner circle.

Meanwhile, in California, a Manson-like cult leader named John Dough has begun winning converts on the fringes of the entertainment industry, including some of Randie’s friends. Dough intends to have his followers murder Randie (due to her military stepdad) and several other celebrities as an act of seemingly senseless anarchy.

Justice League of America, vol. 1, no. 77
“John Dough” reveals himself, Justice League of America, vol. 1, no. 77

The team is following a red herring, unaware of [Villain]’s involvement; they figure out that the murdered woman is Randie, but they don’t know why or by whom. Their main suspect is the actor playing Sam Simian (the ape); he is a Hungarian immigrant, a former acrobat and stuntman named Janos Prohaska. Heatwave overhears Janos on the phone telling somebody to “remember what happened in Prague” and says he will “take care of her.” Roy Raymond suspects him of being a communist, and the team suspects that he’s targeting Randie, and it has something to do with her father, who was killed in battle outside of Prague.

Janos Prohaska
The real Janos Prohaska, ape and alien performer extraordinaire.

The false trail reveals that Randie would be killed by accident; the actual threat facing the studio is a kidnapping attempt against the Sugar & Spike kids. Randie was originally killed because she accidentally stumbled into the plot, but the team interferes and prevents her death. It was just a run-of-the-mill kidnapping attempt by an obsessed fan, had nothing to do with [Villain]’s scheme, and Randie’s life is still in jeopardy.

Meanwhile, back with the cult….John Dough enforces his control over the group through a strongman named Brother Power. Charlie infiltrates the group in an effort to discover the plan. Dough’s group is trying to appeal to young celebrities and rock stars in order to recruit them to “the Family” to build his power base, using anti-war rhetoric, mysticism, and all the tropes of the hippie movement. TV Broadcaster Jack Ryder is investigating the Dough cult; the team works with him, exchanging protection for information.

Eventually we discover that John Dough is actually [secondary villain]. Brother Power is a Golem, built from a discarded department store manikin and brought to life through kabbalistic ritual. Janos, as an Eastern European, is familiar with the legends of the Golem and provides the knowledge necessary to destroy him.

Brother Power, the Geek, no. 1
Brother Power, the weirdest superhero ever.

After defeating Brother Power, the team lays a trap for Dough and his “family,” using Sara as bait, dressed in her Angel costume. During the fight, one of the murderers realizes that Sara is the stuntwoman and goes looking for Randie. He finds her, but before he can kill her, Janos, still in his gorilla suit, slips up behind him and lays him out in a scene that echoes the opening.

It turns out that Janos’ phone call was with General Gordon. Janos was with the Underground at the battle where Randie’s father was killed. Janos and Gordon have been friends since WWII, Gordon helped him to emigrate from Hungary, and Janos was in fact promising to actually take care of Randie, which he did, rather than the mobster use of the phrase.

*****

And that’s what happens when I say things like “wouldn’t it be fun to have Angel and the Ape on Legends of Tomorrow?”

Around the time I wrote this, I started working out a second story where the crew meets Stanley and his Monster, but didn’t get very far on it, and their later use of Beebo sort of rendered it redundant, but I think this one holds up.I hope you enjoyed it.

3 Comments

  1. Edo Bosnar

    Damn, that’s really good. I’d watch that show…

    And now you’ve got my wheels turning about an episode or two set in the ’70s that would incorporate some of the characters from 1st Issue Special, like Liza Warner (Lady Cop), the Green Team and/or the Outsiders.

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