Supervillain Origins: Captain Boomerang

Supervillain Origins: Captain Boomerang

Script written by Craig Butler

What goes around comes around – as this supervillain certainly knows. Join as we explore the comic book origin of Captain Boomerang.
This villain from down under can get a lot done with various types of boomerangs. He's given the Flash a run for the money for decades, but just how did he come to be?

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Supervillain Origins: Captain Boomerang

What goes around comes around – as this supervillain certainly knows. Welcome to and today we will explore the comic book origin of Captain Boomerang.

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginations and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen primarily to follow the storyline which unfolded in 1960's Flash #117 and was expanded upon in 1990’s Suicide Squad #44 and 2004-2005’s Identity Crisis #4-6.

This villain from down under can get a lot done with various types of boomerangs. He’s given the Flash a run for the money for decades, but just how did he come to be?

The answer goes back to 1960’s Marvel Comic’s Universe where toy tycoon W.W. Wiggins wanted to make the boomerang into the next big children’s toy fad. To promote the product, he decided to find an expert to show people just what can be done with a boomerang.

As luck would have it, petty criminal George “Digger” Harkness, an Australian newly arrived in America, had just been thinking about incorporating boomerangs into his crooked activities. Digger was given the job with the toy company, who also supplied him with a snazzy new set of threads and the name Captain Boomerang.

Digger was a hit with the public as the boomerang promoter, but he really cleaned up moonlighting as a boomerang-throwing criminal. When the Flash caught up with him, Digger even had a story to throw him off his track. He claimed that someone else was impersonating him to commit these crimes and was hurting his good name with their activities. He even hired some other crooks to pretend to be his lovable mother and father, who convinced Flash of Digger’s innocence.

Later, Boomerang was able to knock the Flash unconscious. The villain had a stash of special trick boomerang, including a gigantic one, to which he tied the Flash to. Using a powerful launching device, he hurled Flash into the atmosphere. Classic. If that didn’t kill the Scarlet Speedster, the boomerang’s subsequent plunge into the ocean would. Fortunately, Flash was able to generate sufficient friction to break his ropes. Escaping, he made quick work of Captain Boomerang.

Boomerang came back time and again to bedevil the Flash and eventually became a part of the Suicide Squad. In 1990, Captain Boomerang’s origin was retooled and updated. In a trip back to Australia to attend his mother’s funeral we meet the rest of his family. Readers learned that Digger had always been bullied by his father, who strongly favored his brother. Boomerang’s mother was the only family member who cared for him.

Digger became a small time hood before he was out of his teens. When He got into trouble, his mother arranged for him to come to America to work for an old friend of hers – W.W. Wiggins. In this re-telling, Wiggins was no tycoon, just a businessman trying to make the boomerang into a profitable venture. He hired Digger to promote the boomerang at carnivals, dressed in his now-familiar costume – and running into the Flash as soon as he turned to crime. Wiggins didn’t do this all out of the kindness of his heart, though. It turned out he was Digger’s real father.

In 2004, it was revealed that Digger himself was a father. He got in touch with his now-grown son, Owen Mercer, who had been told that his mother was another Flash foe, The Golden Glider. Digger taught Owen how to use a boomerang and discovered Owen also possessed superspeed, which he inherited from his real mother, a 30th century speedster named Meloni Thawne. When Digger died soon after, Owen became the second Captain Boomerang.

The New 52 reboot has brought back Digger Harkness as everybody’s favorite boomerang-based baddie. Captain Boomerang has had a long and very visible career in the DC Universe. A major member of Flash’s rogues gallery, he has also been a steady presence in various incarnations of the Suicide Squad. Not bad for someone who started out shilling for children’s toys.

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