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Captain Boomerang
Boomerang.PNG
Captain Boomerang as he appears in Identity Crisis.
Art by Rags Morales
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Flash #117
(December 1960)
Created by John Broome
Carmine Infantino
In-story information
Alter ego George "Digger" Harkness
Team affiliations Secret Society of Super Villains
Suicide Squad
Injustice Gang
Black Lantern Corps
Notable aliases Mirror Master
Abilities Uses a wide variety of gimmicked boomerangs.

Captain Boomerang (George "Digger" Harkness) is a fictional character in the DC Comics Universe. The character's son, Owen Mercer, later assumed the title of Captain Boomerang.[1]

Contents

Digger Harkness

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Early life

Secretly the illegitimate son of an American soldier and an Australian woman, Harkness was raised in poverty, during which time he developed great skill in making boomerangs, and in using them as weapons. As a young adult, he was hired as a performer and boomerang promoter by a toy company which was, unbeknownst to him, owned by his biological father. Audiences ridiculed him, and a resentful Harkness turned to using his boomerangs for crime.

Although he lacked any actual superhuman abilities, he became a recurring enemy of the Flash, typically by devising altered boomerangs which could produce astonishing effects (some would explode, others had razor-sharp edges, etc.), and using them ruthlessly. He became a staple member of the Rogues Gallery, a group of villains dedicated to opposing Flash.[1]

Throughout the first several years of the character's existence, Captain Boomerang spoke with no discernible accent. Beginning in the late 1980s, possibly as an influence of the then-recent film Crocodile Dundee, he developed a cliched Australian accent, which became even thicker and more slang-ridden as his personality was altered for comic effect.

Suicide Squad

Later on, Harkness became a less-than-effective member of the Suicide Squad in exchange for being pardoned for his crimes.[1] However, Captain Boomerang's grating personality and blatant racism (among other things, he constantly referred to black team member Bronze Tiger as an "abbo") caused considerable friction among his teammates, and he was considered to be a dangerous, vicious, cowardly and undependable member of the team -- dysfunctional even by the Squad's standards and the equivalent of a class clown.

George Harkness as Captain Boomerang on the cover of Flash #117.

Amanda Waller, the Squad's commanding officer, characterized Captain Boomerang as "a jerk and a screw-up." This was not an undeserved reputation, as, among other things, Harkness simply watched as his teammate Mindboggler was shot in the back, even while he could have easily saved her. (Mindboggler had earlier used her mind-manipulating abilities on Harkness to shut him up when he was verbally abusing another team member.) He also manipulated another team member, Slipknot, into running away from the action just to see if the explosive bracelets the Squad members wore really did activate if the wearer attempted to escape. (Unfortunately for Slipknot, they did). Quite understandably, he was horribly scared to learn Ifrit, an artificial intelligence used by the rival team the Jihad, had been created based upon Mindboggler's thought patterns, and revealed what had happened.

While in the Squad, Harkness also briefly took up the mantle of Mirror Master to commit robberies.[1] However, this career was cut short when he was caught and brought to Waller, who put an end to it by tricking him into a fake assault scene where he was forced to change constantly between Mirror Master and Captain Boomerang. She rescinded the benefits Harkness had been given such as his apartment in New Orleans and his status as a voluntary member of the Squad.

Many times Digger would have to be tricked into battle, but when faced with enemies he proved more than competent in upholding his end of the fight. Harkness also would play a few undercover roles for the squad, convincingly managing to be other slimy, criminal types. Later, Digger would try a simple series of pranks for amusement, hitting various members of the Squad with pies. For a time, suspicion had been diverted from him because had used his skills to pie himself, seemingly being hit by the 'assailant' from behind a wall. When the Squad confronted Digger as the culprit, he lost his temper and shouted that they couldn't really punish him since he was already in prison and in the Suicide Squad. He asked Waller, "What are you going to do about it, Fat Lady?!" Waller dropped him from a helicopter onto a deserted island.

Due to various events, mainly Waller breaking many rules by having a criminal gang ruthlessly gunned down, the Squad broke up for a year. When Waller was approached again because she was needed, she reformed the team and had Digger picked up. He was, at the time, trying to construct a massive boomerang to take him to mainland. When he was picked up, he was forced to see as the rudimentary mechanism he had set for the boomerang was fired, which led to the thing crushing against a boulder just outside the island.

It was during the series that Harkness revealed a deep patriotism for his home country of Australia, though his countrymen do not care at all for him, and a tremendous fear of being laughed at. Teammate Deadshot commented he often wished he had killed Harkness, most notably after his drinking left them to miss a plane and to Deadshot losing his uniform and entering a depressive phase because of it. Ironically, when Boomerang pulled strings to have the suit restored to Deadshot, Lawton's psyche had passed into a phase that led him to loathe it. Harkness remained with the Squad until it was disbanded after a successful mission in Diabloverde.

However, despite being a somewhat trusted employee, Harkness still was quite amoral and greedy, selling out Adam Cray, the Atom, for half a million dollars.

Other appearances

Digger later showed up in Superboy with another Squad. While on a mission to destroy an underwater criminal hideout, he was shot through the hands by Deadshot and apparently fell to his death.

He later appeared in the pages of Flash with cybernetic hands. Alongside four other Rogues, given a chance by fellow Rogue Abra Kadabra to become much more than they ever were. Unfortunately for Captain Boomerang, Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Weather Wizard, and Heat Wave, Kababra's promise of glory was actually a ruse to free Neron and empower himself. Neron then resurrects the five Rogues, superpowering them and sending then on a bloody rampage that destroys much of Flash's hometown and kills thousands. Eventually, the Flash and Linda Park free the Rogues; the dead are restored to life.

After being restored to life, Boomerang and the Rogues, along with the Trickster, sought out an artifact that would protect them from Neron should he ever take an interest in them again. The Trickster accompanied them to help an old ex-girlfriend recover her kidnapped son. In the end, the Trickster found the boy, who turned out to not only be the prophesied agent of a god, but also the Trickster's son. He was also able to convince Neron to leave the Rogues alone, with the Rogues either coming away darker from their experiences, or seeking enlightenment, like Heat Wave, who retired with the monks.

Captain Boomerang is also involved with the Joker: Last Laugh event. After having suffered a mishap with one of his exploding boomerangs, Digger is transferred by ambulance to Keystone City. En route, the ambulance is attacked by a Jokerized Deadshot, who decides to lend his old pal a hand by injecting him with Joker's serum. The serum's healing factor revives Digger, who is cured of his massive full-body burns and ready to attack the Flash at Iron Heights prison. However, once there, he is choked unconscious by a Jokerized Pied Piper.

Identity Crisis

Captain Boomerang was killed in the Identity Crisis miniseries by Jack Drake, father of Tim Drake. Digger had been sent by the real killer to attack Jack Drake, only the killer double-crossed Digger and sent Drake a warning and a pistol to defend himself; the killer later defended the action by saying that Boomerang was hired because he was such an incompetent that Jack would only need to pull the trigger and he would be safe. Digger managed to kill Drake but not before he was shot himself.[2]

Rogue War

Digger was later temporarily revived by Agent James Jesse, the former Trickster, during the "Rogue War" storyline, when Jesse used unspecified technology to temporarily revive Boomerang in an attempt to find out information about the Rogues' current hideout. However, Jesse was called away due to the latest attack by the Rogues before Harkness's revival, meaning that the only person present when Harkness was briefly reanimated was Ashley Zolomon, the estranged wife of Hunter Zolomon (a former Reverse-Flash), who had been brought in based on her expertise in dealing with Rogues. During his brief return to life, Harkness asked Ashley to tell his son that he loved him and warn him never to reveal his mother's real name out of fear that the Rogues would kill him.

Blackest Night

In Blackest Night crossover, his remains are reanimated as a member of the Black Lantern Corps, and joined the reanimated Jack and Janet Drake, John and Mary Grayson, Tony Zucco, and the original Batman's deceased rogue gallery members in an attempt to take the life of the current Batman and Red Robin. They are met with interference from Deadman, who had possessed the body of the demon Etrigan. Their attack is ultimately called off when Batman and Red Robin cryogenically freeze themselves, leaving no emotions for the Black Lanterns to target.[3] Harkness later joins other reanimated members of the Rogues to target their still-living members.[4] However, the battle resulted a draw on both side and Harkness' son, Owen, arrives and took him away from the battle, believing he can bring his father back.[5] Digger convinces his son that he needs to feed upon the living in order to live so Owen lures people (such as newcomer villain Sandblast) to a pit at a construction site where Digger is waiting. The Rogues track Owen down, Captain Cold berating him on how foolish he is to believe Digger's lies. When they discover the remains of a family nearby, Captain Cold reminds Owen that "the Rogues don't kill women or children." He shoves Owen into the pit where Digger rips out his son's heart. A black ring then flies down to make Owen a Black Lantern. The Black Lantern Harkness and his son are then encased in ice by Captain Cold.[6]

Powers and abilities

Captain Boomerang carries a number of boomerangs in his satchel. He is an expert at throwing the weapons and as well as ordinary Boomerangs he has a number with special properties, including bladed, explosive, incendiary, and electrified boomerangs.

He had also been shown to be able to hurl his body like a boomerang, giving him the ability to cover more ground than just jumping, but not enough to qualify as flight.

Owen Mercer

During the beginning of Identity Crisis, Harkness, now overweight and burnt out, found himself an obsolete villain in the modern world of supervillains. Regularly going up to the supervillain satellite looking for jobs, asking favors from the Calculator, he was at the end of his rope looking for a job to put him on the map again.

During this time Harkness finally reached out to the son he abandoned, Owen Mercer. The two began to bond when Harkness accepted a contract to kill Robin's father Jack Drake, he succeeded in the contract but was killed by Drake himself. The sudden loss of Harkness caused Mercer to take up his father's mantle as Captain Boomerang. Captain Cold took Mercer in as one of the Flash's enemies, the Rogues Gallery because Cold believed his sister, Golden Glider, was Mercer's mother. It was revealed in the Flash's title that Mercer's mother is actually Meloni Thawne which makes Bart Allen his half-brother. He has since then reformed and joined the Outsiders and has attempted to start a relationship with Supergirl, but left the Outsiders to help the Suicide Squad hunt his half-brother Bart's killers.

In other media

Television

  • A character dressed as Captain Boomerang made an appearance in the Justice League episode "Eclipsed", an actor in a commercial the Flash was starring in.
Captain Boomerang in Justice League Unlimited
  • The George Harkness version of Captain Boomerang appeared in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Task Force X" voiced by Donal Gibson. as a member of Task Force X led by Rick Flag. In "Flash and Substance," Captain Boomerang was released from Task Force X as the U.S. Government said he was "reformed." Captain Boomerang joins up with other Central City villains to destroy The Flash. In that episode, he appears in a streamlined, trench-coated version of his traditional costume. In both appearances, Boomerang's character is defined by his fiscal frugality; he almost gives Task Force X away by refusing to part with 75 cents ("75 cents is 75 cents. I'm supposed to throw away money?"), and he badgers his fellow Flash rogues for cost assistance with his giant boomerang.
  • In the Smallville episode Warrior, Chloe Sullivan receives a text message from Green Arrow about a "maniac with boomerangs".

Film

  • The Owen Mercer version[citation needed] of Captain Boomerang appears in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. He is among the supervillains that attack Superman and Batman.

Video Games

External links

References

  1. ^ a b c d Greenberger, Robert (2008), "Captain Boomerang", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, pp. 66, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017 
  2. ^ Identity Crisis #5 (October 2004)
  3. ^ Batman: Blackest Night #3 (October 2009)
  4. ^ Blackest Night: The Flash #1 (December 2009)
  5. ^ Blackest Night: The Flash #2 (January 2010)
  6. ^ Blackest Night: The Flash #3 (February 2010)

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