Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Flash Facts: The Early Days of Captain Boomerang

George "Digger" Harkness was an Austrailian who happened to have a little mastery of boomerangs, as well as a penchant for thievery. 

He happened to be in the right place at the right time, becoming Captain Boomerang, which helped to fast track his jail with the help of the Flash.

Let's return to where it all began!

Here Comes Captain Boomerang!

Captain Boomerang premiered in Flash #117 (December, 1960) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson.  "Digger" Harkness had learned how to use a boomerang evading the law in Australia, and, seeing an ad by W.W. Wiggins, the head of a toy company looking to make the boomerang an America fad, answered and became the toy's spokesman.

Problem was, "Digger" was also committing crimes, though he was able to first convince the Flash he was innocent.  Still, Captain Boomerang kept at it, causing Flash to return as well, eventually capturing Captain Boomerang (though not without "Digger" trying to launch the Flash into space on a giant boomerang!).

This story was reprinted in the 80 Page Giant #9 (April, 1965), as well as in the Flash Archives #3 and the Flash Omnibus #1.

Space-Boomerang Trap

Captain Boomerang returned in Flash #124 (November, 1961) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella.

This time around, Captain Boomerang was using a new boomerang with a gimmick, that could travel through time!  This allowed him to rob while being observed not to be while being observed by the Flash.  Flash called in his friend, Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man, for some help with this mystery, and, after working together to stop an alien invasion from another dimension, stopped Captain Boomerang as well.

This story was reprinted in Flash #160 (April, 1966), Flash Archives #3 , the Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told and in the Flash Omnibus #1.

The Day Flash Went Into Orbit

Captain Boomerang was released from prison again in Flash #148 (November, 1964) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson, and though he tried to return to his thieving ways, kept having his take taken from him!

The real thieves were the Crooked Four, which were headed by a man named Fanning, Digger's old cellmate, who was using hypnosis while Digger slept to plant the ideas for crimes in Digge's head, then committing those crimes before Digger could get there.  In trying to get Digger caught, the Crooked Four get caught by the Flash, who then captures Captain Boomerang.

This issue has been reprinted in the sixth Flash Archive and second Flash: The Silver Age Omnibus.

The Rogues

John Broome and Carmine Infantino brought Captain Boomerang back in Flash #155 (September, 1965) and Flash #174 (November, 1967), but this time along with Captain Cold, Mirror Master, the Pied Piper, the Top and Heat Wave!  These six villains formed the foundation of the Flash's Rogue's Gallery, a specific group of Flash foes (no speedsters!).

Operation Jail The Justice League

Captain Boomerang seemed to like the idea of safety in numbers, as he returned with a group of villains including Penguin, Luthor and Dr. Light in Justice League of America #61 (March, 1968) by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Sid Greene.

Led by Dr. Destiny, who had a grudge to settle against Green Arrow, there was a Green Arrow vs. Captain Boomerang fight (though, to be fair, it was Dr. Destiny disguised as Captain Boomerang and Flash disguised as Green Arrow, as the doctor was saving Captain Boomerang to fight the Flash later).

This issue was reprinted in the Limited Collectors' Edition #C-41, as well as in the eighth Justice League of America Archives, and the second Justice League of America Omnibus.

Beyond The Speed Of Life

Captain Boomerang returned yet again with Flash #209 (September, 1971) by Cary Bates, Irv Novick and Dick Giordano, under a cover by Dick Giordano.

Boomerang and the Trickster (who had yet to have joined the Rogues) have escaped prison together and are working together....and think they have killed the Flash!  They were actually working for a secret foe, but it is a good thing they did that, as Flash's astral self ended up helping the Sentinel in the Beyond against the Devourer (the only appearance of all these characters), before returning to his body to stop his three foes.

This issue has yet to be reprinted.


Captain Boomerang liked safety in numbers, so he joined both the Secret Society of Super-Villains and the Suicide Squad (though the later was not by his choice).  With these groups, the Flash's Rogue's Gallery or on his own, Captain Boomerang can be counted on for one thing....his ability to return!

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