The Legends of Tomorrow are really more of a dysfunctional family than they are a superhero team, and on the third episode of the show’s third season, the gang invited a new person into the fold. But, casual DC Comics fans might not recognize Zari, the hacker from a dystopian future who possesses a powerful wind totem. That’s because Zari Adrianna Tomaz has had a couple different iterations over the years, but in most of them, she boasted a different name, one that’s fallen out of vogue for understandable reasons: Isis.
In Legends of Tomorrow, the crew of the Waverider encounter Zari (Tala Ashe) in the dark future of 2042. She’s a Muslim-American hacker with access to metahuman powers, and she’s being hunted down for all three of those reasons. The Legends, after being duped into helping her obtain her late brother’s amulet, bring her aboard the ship in order to rescue her from a water-controlling assassin, Vixen’s Kuasa. Zari and Amaya realize their totems are connected, and it seems like Zari’s sticking around.
Almost none of this resembles anything related to any of the characters three previous iterations.
Isis, as she was then known, first appeared in the mid-‘70s TV series The Secrets of Isis, a live-action Saturday morning program about a high school science teacher named Andrea Thomas who gained the ability to harness the powers of the Egyptian goddess Isis. She eventually made it to the DC comics, where she was part of the Shazam (aka Captain Marvel) family, though she didn’t come back after the epic event series Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985.
Some 30 years later, a new version of the character, Adrianna Tomaz, appeared in the event series 52. This Isis was a refugee who was given a portion of Black Adam’s power, and ruled Khandaq with him as his wife. She died later in that series, but came back to life at the end of another event some years later, because, comics!
DC’s continuity reboot, the New 52, changed the character around a little bit more, although she was still Adrianna Tomaz. Originally, she’s unpowered and fighting against Black Adam’s tyrannical rule, but she becomes embroiled in the action.
That last version, one whose character is still developing, is probably the closest to what we’re seeing on Legends of Tomorrow. Still, while it’s understandable that she’s not being called “Isis,” it’s unclear where “Zari” came from, and the “future hacker” bit is totally new.
But, hey, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Arrowverse plays fast and loose with comics canon when it wants to, and it’s not like Isis from the comics is an especially hallowed character. Producer Marc Guggenheim said that Trump’s election prompted the writers to add a Muslim character to the show, and it seems like she’s got plenty she can add to the Legends’ dynamic. Diversity is cool, that way.
Legends of Tomorrow airs on Tuesday at 9 p.m. Eastern on the CW.