NOTE: This article contains SPOILERS for "Suicide Squad" #7
DC Comics may have decided NOT to start their comic continuity over in the "Rebirth" initiative, but they did assemble a top-tier group of writers and artists to rejuvenate stalling series, and take favorites into new territory. With the Suicide Squad, that duty fell to writer Rob Williams and artist Jim Lee... who wasted no time in killing off a major member of the team (and fan-favorite villain of The Flash). But almost immediately, questions began to surface - since that same villain was teased as part of the upcoming "Justice League vs. Suicide Squad" event.
Now that the Squad has returned to base and been transformed into mindless, out of control murderers - along with the rest of Belle Reve's inhabitants - it seems the explanation for the villain's return has been offered. At least, he's been revealed to be not entirely erased from existence. The series will have to head into some seriously sci-fi technology to return him to the DC Universe, but the first step has just been taken.
The First Mission: Fetch The Black Vault
The "Suicide Squad: Rebirth" began as a new story starring the perennial misfits typically does: the Squad is sent on a mission to retrieve an item known as 'The Black Vault' from an underwater, Russian installation. After a few brushes with death, the team made contact with a prisoner contained in the same structure that they would need to achieve their mission. The prisoner, going by the name 'Hack', had a superpower of particular use: able to control, transmit, and manipulate digital data, Hack didn't just know where to find the Black Vault, but how to effectively teleport the team to its exact location.
Well, "teleport" is a simplification, as Hack herself explained when the question was brought up. What she actually did was convert herself and the Squad members into digital information, ride surrounding signals into The Black Vault's room, then reconfigure them back into physical matter. The difference might seem a bit trivial now, but will come into play later on in the story.
Either way, once the team arrived in front of The Black Vault, the object came to life, and only Rick Flag knew that its connection to something called the "Phantom Zone" was way beyond their abilities.
Unfortunately, not ever member of the team is what you might call "loyal" to Flag. Which means that as the good colonel shouted for the Squad to evacuate immediately, Captain Boomerang took it upon himself to let his curiosity be his guide - approaching the strange, whispering sphere, and seeing what was behind the sudden rupture in its surface. The answer was General Zod, but the massive blast of heat vision the Kryptonian released to escape from the Phantom Zone meant Boomerang was unable to ask any follow-up questions.
Leaving nothing but a pair of smoldering boots behind, Boomerang was effectively vaporized, leaving his teammates - and the readers - stunned. In just the second issue of the new series, it seemed risky to kill off any member of the team... but one as beloved and downright necessary as Digger Harkness? There weren't many tears shed by the Squad, since Boomerang was never exactly likable, but even if he had been, the sudden onslaught from a crazed, oversized Kryptonian cut conversations of any kind short.
The team escapes, but the fact remained: Captain Boomerang was dead. Not missing, not presumed lost, but disintegrated-down-to-his-shins dead.
Once the team arrives back at Belle Reve, things start to go wrong. First came the previously mentioned "whispers" from the Vault, seeming to drive all within range of it to descend into crazed rage and murder. More accurately, the victims were driven to fulfill their most primal urges... but in a prison like this (and apparently among scientists with very strong opinions on baryonic particles) that urge tends to be "kill." Not long after, the facility's computer and electronics began to fail along with Hack - the result of an unknown, unseen virus bent on total anarchy.
But that virus is no random bit of code, Hack soon learns: it is Captain Boomerang. Well, one form of him, we suppose. It turns out that Hack's digital powers really do make her something of a hard drive, meaning the moment she effectively uploaded the Squad in order to find The Black Vault and later download them into the room, she created a copy of Boomerang. One that exists purely in digital form, inside of her own mind. How Boomerang managed to manifest himself out of her own mastery of those powers is a mystery... but all things considered, what he did once escaping fits perfectly with his character.
Issue #7 ends with Hack making this realization, so readers will have to use their imagination for now. The simplest solution would seem to be Hack re-downloading him, assuming that she is capable of creating a flesh-and-blood body out of digital information (which she appeared to do the first time around). If that's not how things work, then who knows what kind of existence lies ahead for Boomerang.
Let us know what you think of the twist, and whether it's the kind of character death-and-return you're used to seeing from modern comics, or a clever twist. Whatever solution the characters arrive at, fans of the Captain can breathe a sigh of relief: Boomerang is back... but for how long, or in what form remains to be seen.
Suicide Squad #7 is available now.