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In the end of the Legends of Tomorrow episode Blood Ties, Rip Hunter manages to

kill this Vandal Savage fellow by stabbing him in the neck. After that, the group laments that Vandal is sure to reincarnate, because he can only be killed by stabbing him with a very particular knife held by a particular person.

The ship AI suggests checking out the year 1986 as the time Vandal has become active again, and the episode ends.

Now, in episode one, Hunter has some sort of flashing kidnapping-gun that he uses to bring together the group of people he wishes to work with. And Vandal has been

incapacitated anyway by the aforementioned stabby-stabby, and the henchmen seem scattered, so Hunter&co seem pretty much free to do whatever they want with him. But they just leave.

So anyhow: why is it not considered a viable solution to cement Vandal's body in a block of iron reinforced concrete or other resilient material - and drop the thing down the Mariana Trench or somewhere in outer space (the ship apparently being capable of travelling to any time and place) or eject it in the time limbo thingy? Even if he is ever recovered, which is unlikely, but if he would be, then by that time he would surely have lost his mind and not be of any harm.

Nobody in the show even considers any sort of imprisonment as a solution - so there must be some reason behind it (or, of course, possibly it's just a supermassive plothole). Answers based on any source material are ok. Having never read a single DC comic book, I'm just curious as to the logic of this show.

Well, come to think of it, they could also have picked up Vandal's lifeless body and brought it to the Hawk lady so she could stab him whenever she wakes up... no?

  • Is it necessary that he wakes up in the same dead body? And in case of imprisonment, suicide is always an option. – muru Feb 7 '16 at 20:37
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    Like most of these questions, the answer is generally "Because then the show/movie/book/whatever would be over." You kind of just have to accept that the characters in your favourite works are idiots so that the plot isn't resolved immediately. – Anthony Grist Feb 7 '16 at 22:27
  • @muru Pretty sure he just heales the same physical body, instead of being reborn somewhere else (also stated here here that despite seeming dead, he will recover later, and can even "regenerate from a single cell"). – user3554004 Feb 8 '16 at 12:45
  • @user3554004 Suppose he kept a couple of cells with a trusted lieutenant? – muru Feb 8 '16 at 13:42
  • This bothered me so much during the last episode. Please, someone answer this. – Splitting Adam Feb 8 '16 at 18:51
7

In the comics, Vandal Savage needs sustenance to retain his immortality

He drinks food, alcohol, and the blood of his enemies

In the comics, Vandal Savage regularly eats and drinks food. In fact, he's noted for drinking alcohol and getting drunk in order to dull the pain of an internal cancer that won't kill him because of his healing factor. While it's not clear if food and drink sustains him, Savage regularly drinks the blood of his enemies in order to sustain his powers.

He nearly died after being trapped on an asteroid for a year

You specifically mentioned dropping him off somewhere in outer space. The heroes tried that in the comics. In JSA Classified (part of One Year Later), he had been trapped on an asteroid for a year and after he got off, Savage found that his immortality was completely drained and he had only 11 days to live. The only way he could regain his immortality was by eating a clone of himself in order to regain his powers.

Assuming the Arrowverse works the same way, he can die if not sustained, which would mean he would reincarnate

The heroes are clearly concerned about Vandal Savage reincarnating, and I'm going to assume that this works the same was as it does for Hawk Man and Hawk Girl, since they gained their powers at the same time. So this would mean that he is reborn to new parents and grows up. Since there is no way to stop this or predict where he will be reincarnated, that's a problem. The question then is: can he be prevented from dying?

The version of Vandal Savage in the Arrowverse doesn't seem to get powers from drinking blood (just by killing Hawkman and Hawkgirl), and we haven't seen him eat or drink yet. Until the show provides us with more information, the two most likely reasons that would explain not imprisoning Vandal Savage are:

  • If he requires regular food and/or air, he may be able to starve to death and/or suffocate despite being immortal (i.e. his immortality only protects him from aging and violent harm), in which case he would reincarnate.
  • His immortality may fade after a time, requiring him to regularly hunt down Hawkman and Hawkgirl. If it completely fades, then he would be vulnerable and die, thus causing him to reincarnate.

Also, we don't know if Savage is capable of killing himself intentionally. Obviously if he needs sustenance, he can starve himself, but if he can kill himself by some other means (self-mutilation, poison, etc), then he's back to reincarnating. If this is possible, creating a prison that is guaranteed for all time to prevent him from suicide is nigh impossible. And there is no known way to prevent reincarnation, aside from killing him properly.

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  • I take your answer to imply reincarnation as in being born again to some random parents, and growing up from infant to adult again (and remembering who he is). I first understood the reincarnation bit (in the series at least) to mean that he dies, but after a while comes to life again in the same physical body (or a part of it, cf. the single cell example). But indeed, if he is born again like those hawk people, then of course your answer makes perfect sense. – user3554004 Feb 10 '16 at 18:52
  • @user3554004 Yes, I was assuming that reincarnation for Vandal Savage works the same way it does with Hawk Man and Hawk Girl; a new child from new parents. He's not reformed so much as he's reborn. I'm sure that this will be clarified as we see more reincarnations in the series. – Thunderforge Feb 10 '16 at 19:30
  • @Thunderforge If the Hawks really are reincarnated as babies to new parents 206 deaths in 4k years would mean that on average they barely ever made it out of their teens, let alone managed to have (at least 1) 10 year old kid by the time of their deaths... they have to reincarnate as adults, or they only ever meet as children... basically no time to "emerge" (which is a prerequisite to Savage finding them)... – BMWurm Feb 26 '16 at 7:38
  • I made that into a question of its own: scifi.stackexchange.com/q/120588/30726 – BMWurm Feb 26 '16 at 10:39

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