Captain Boomerang


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Captain Boomerang

(pop culture)
Writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino first tossed the rebounding reprobate Captain Boomerang into DC Comics' The Flash vol. 1 #117 (1960). He is actually Australian malcontent George “Digger” Harkness, a master boomerang thrower, who is hired by toymaker W. W. Wiggins (in later continuity revealed to be Digger's father) to demonstrate the toy that Wiggins anticipates to be the next big (play)thing: the boomerang. Gallivanting about in a pointed cap and a blue smock adorned with white boomerang logos, Harkness becomes “Captain Boomerang,” flamboyantly demonstrating Wiggins' product to a disinterested audience. During a showing in Central City, Captain Boomerang tries his hand as a pickpocket, attracting the attention of the second Flash. Suckering the Scarlet Speedster with a sneak boomerang attack, Harkness gets a taste of supervillainy, but only briefly, as the Flash soon pitches him into custody. Captain Boomerang spun back quickly, in issue #124 (1961), with a giant boomerang onto which the Flash was strapped and catapulted into the heavens—but with his ability to vibrate at superspeed through most bonds, the Fastest Man Alive was a hard man to hold. A frequent Flash foe, Captain Boomerang's array of elaborate trick boomerangs included sonic, exploding, metal-piercing, and smokescreen variations. Harkness' physical appearance, in his Silver Age (1956–1969) stories rendered by Infantino, was far from intimidating—with his wild brown mane and receding hairline, he vaguely resembled Larry Fine of the Three Stooges—yet his proficiency with his weapons and his patented immorality made him a substantial threat. He often teamed with other supervillains as one of the Flash's Rogues' Gallery, and during the 1970s he served a stint with the Secret Society of Super-Villains. After the Flash died in 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths #8, Captain Boomerang began to attack the hero's successor, Flash III. Captain Boomerang, in DC's Legends miniseries (1986–1987), was enlisted by the U.S. government into the Suicide Squad, a group of paroled supervillains assigned to life-threatening missions. While an unruly teammate, Captain Boomerang was a valuable asset to the Squad, appearing in most of the 66 issues of the group's own series (1987–1992); during his Squad service, he briefly moonlighted as a criminal, plagiarizing the guise of fellow felon Mirror Master. A streamlined version of the Squad was adapted to animation in the 2005 “Task Force X” episode of the Cartoon Network's Justice League Unlimited, with Donal Gibson as Captain Boomerang; Boomerang later returned as one of the series' Legion of Doom. Like the throwing device from which he derives his name, Captain Boomerang keeps coming back, with death not even slowing him. He was one of several Flash villains who made an unfortunate deal with the demon Neron in the Underworld Unleashed crossover (1995), forfeiting his life and pillaging Earth sans soul, although the Flash helped restore his spirit. After more Flash clashes Harkness met his demise in a bloody gun brawl with Jack Drake, father of Batman's ally Robin III (Tim Drake), in Identity Crisis #5 (2004). Harkness' long-lost son Owen Mercer then assumed the family mantle as the new Captain Boomerang, the villain with the superspeed throwing arm, inspiring a 2006 action figure. As seen in the “Rogue War” story arc in the pages of Flash vol. 2 #220–#225 (2005), efforts by several criminal colleagues to reanimate Harkness' decaying body may signal his return.