It was the Marquis de Vauvenargues, a French moralist and writer who once said that “Great men undertake great things because they are great… fools, because they think them easy.” Those words most definitely apply to the DC Comics villain Captain Boomerang (a.k.a. George “Digger” Harkness), a beer-swilling, racist, ‘ranging member of The Flash’s infamous Rogues Gallery who tangled with forces well above him and, somehow, found his way into comic book readers’ hearts.
Much of that has to do with his unforgettable runs (pun intended) in just about every incarnation of DC’s Suicide Squad – including the most recent “Rebirth” roster. But as beloved as he may be, despite his eagerness to get even his teammates killed for a bit of entertainment, the newest creative team behind “Suicide Squad: Rebirth” has seen fit to cut him down in just the second issue of the relaunched series. Zod’s imminent addition to the Squad had been teased by the storytellers ahead of time, but we held off on discussing the issue’s biggest twist – until now.
That’s right, comic fans: Captain Boomerang is dead – and General Zod’s the one who wrote the rogue’s final chapter.
A Mission to… The Phantom Zone?
To the average fan of comic book television, cartoons, or movies, the above revelation may sound a little too strange to be believed – while seasoned comic book readers may assume that Boomerang, like so many other fallen characters, isn’t really dead. The writers or editorial may indeed have a plan in mind to bring Boomerang back into the series, but for the moment… his death seems about as final as one can get. And for those who haven’t been reading the “Suicide Squad” series – just three issues in – allow us to offer some context for the bombshell.
The less said about the set-up the better, since any fan of the Squad can already guess the premise: Amanda Waller re-assembles a team of villains (close to that of the Suicide Squad movie) and sends them into a maximum security installation in foreign waters. The target? An object of cosmic significance contained inside “The Black Vault,” with no other information to go on. Once the team finds the device, however, they learn that it packs a far bigger punch than your usual superweapon: it’s a gateway to the famed Phantom Zone.
General Zod Returns
Now, any fan of just about any incarnation of Superman knows that the “Phantom Zone” is widely known as the dimension used by the ancient Kryptonians as a form of “pocket prison” for their most dangerous criminals (though the mythology of the actual “zone” has expanded over the years to represent a complete dimension). General Dru-Zod of Krypton is its most famous resident, including the version introduced in the New 52 – somewhat rewritten as an abandoned boy found by Superman’s father and uncle, eventually growing into one of Krypton’s most successful (and brutal) generals.
Zod’s story in the New 52 was primarily told in the “Superman/Wonder Woman” series, chronicling his incarceration in, and escape from the Phantom Zone. The heroes obviously vanquished him once again and returned him to his prison, but it seems that the enemy forces experimenting with the Phantom Zone in “Suicide Squad” at least partially opened the door for him to escape. And as Zod unleashed his Heat Vision on the barrier between worlds, tearing his way out with his bare hands… one member of the Squad wound up standing in the way.
The Death of Captain Boomerang
Never one to listen to instruction (again, failing to grasp “great” events, villains or dangers as something of a trademark), Boomerang approached the spherical Phantom Zone device without fear… and got a blast of Kryptonian Heat Vision at close range. While the shocking death concludes the issue, meaning the team barely has time to react – and readers can still cling to some hope that their eyes have been deceived, the smoldering pair of boots left as the rest of Boomer’s body is vaporized… makes a pretty compelling case.
The decision is sure to prove controversial to readers, especially those eager to give writer Rob Williams and artist Jim Lee all of the reasons why Boomerang is too good a villain to take out (and even before he got the chance to condemn one of his fellow Squad members to death, too). But you can’t say that his death wasn’t memorable on either a visual or plot level. And for those interested in seeing Williams and Lee’s story unfold, the most immediate question will be the reaction of Rick Flag to losing one of his team – and how they’ll handle an enemy well beyond their skillset.
What do you think of the death of Captain Boomerang? Are you glad to see him get a dose of his own medicine, or is this a mistake DC will be rectifying immediately? Sound off in the comments.
Suicide Squad #2 is available now.