Character Spotlight: Captain Boomerang
by Caleb Shupe
As a self-proclaimed supreme geek, I am ecstatic for the upcoming movie Suicide Squad.
Two other movies have been released in the DCEU (DC Extended Universe, for those of you just joining us; welcome to geekdom). Man of Steel was criticized for portraying Superman as too dark and moody, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice received a large amount of backlash from nearly everyone, intent fans and casual moviegoers alike, for its cluttered characters, overstuffed and porous plot, and loose reinterpretation of everything nerds hold dear. And that whole “Martha” fiasco. These complaints are very understandable.
But the clock is ticking, and fans’ patience may be wearing thin. The biggest question heading into the impending release of the newest (and, hopefully for DC, not the last) installment in the DCEU is this: what, if anything, has DC learned from the generally-negative response to their first two movies? Evidently, they picked up something; the trailers for Suicide Squad have been huge splashes of cinematography, strokes of engaging artistic style in an era when the reveal of a teaser is nearly as important an event as the movie itself. We have seen quite a bit in these premiere looks into David Ayer’s imagining of Task Force X.
Everyone’s talking about Jared Leto’s spastic Joker, Margot Robbie’s insane Harley Quinn, and Will Smith’s calm, cool, and possibly-passé Deadshot. How are these key pieces of the story going to hold it all together? Will the movie be a decent combination of gloomy retrospection and outrageous fun? Does “Suicide Squad” have a chance to bring the DCEU back to life? But one aspect of the movie that we haven’t seen too much discussion about is Jai Courtney’s take on an eccentric and unusual character: Captain Boomerang. There is no point in defending Jai Courtney as a capable actor who is worthy of playing the part of Boomerang; not because I believe he is a rotten choice, but because it is so subjective. All you need to do is look up his IMDb page, rent some of his movies from Red Box, and make your own decision.
There. That problem is solved.
I would rather spend my time (and yours) reviewing the character of Captain Boomerang. What are his origins? His powers? His motivations? Which heroes does he square off with on a regular basis? And what the heck can a man do with a belt-load of homemade boomerangs?
Welcome to the Captain Boomerang’s character spotlight.
George “Digger” Harkness, a.k.a. Captain Boomerang, grew up in Korumburra, Australia. He was the illegitimate son of an American soldier and an Australian housewife, and grew up with her and a stepfather, completely unaware of his foreign father. He and his stepfather hated each other, and, partly to vent his frustration, George practiced and practiced with boomerangs, throwing and making them with a natural talent that developed into great skill.
In adolescence George became a small-time criminal, which caused his stepfather to kick him out of the house. Unbeknownst to her husband, however, George’s mother bought him a plane ticket to America (Central City, specifically), hoping that he would find his biological father, W. W. Wiggins, who had become an influential toy tycoon. George initially left crime behind and was quickly hired as a spokesperson for his father’s company. He took up the alias “Captain Boomerang”, but audiences took great joy in mocking him, and he gloweringly returned to crime, quickly getting the Flash’s attention. In their first battle, The Flash #117 (1960), he knocked the Flash out with a boomerang and then tied the unconscious hero to a much bigger one that launched out to space and was supposed to crash into the ocean (yes, seriously). But our hero escaped by vibrating his molecules through the ropes, and the Flash zipped back to the mainland to capture Boomerang.
Captain Boomerang’s first costume is a blue suit with a boomerang pattern, and similar patterns on his gloves, boots, and hat. As time has passed, Boomerang’s costume has evolved into a long trench coat, a dark blue beanie, and solid boots, with his boomerangs fitting in little slits that line his front and the inside of his cloak, lending easy accessibility and a much cooler look.
Over the course of his near-60 year history, “Digger” Harkness has been shot through the hands and given cybernetic replacements, killed and brought back to life three separate times, one of which involved selling his soul to a being named Neron in return for becoming a big-time villain (which, inevitably, ends in his death). Two other people have held the mantle of Captain Boomerang, including his son, Owen Mercer (see the miniseries Identity Crisis), and Adam Clay, a pilot whose family is killed by Japanese soldiers in Burma (see the alternate universe miniseries Tangent).
Although he has historically been a part of the Rogues, a group of villains dedicated to the permanent defeat of the Flash, Captain Boomerang is most well-known as a member of the Suicide Squad, under Amanda Waller. His reputation with the team is regrettable at best—the other members of Task Force X dislike him for his infuriating personality and disregard for his teammates. He stood by and watched a character named Mindboggler get shot in order to get revenge for her using her mind-manipulative powers on him to force him to stop mistreating another team member. In addition, Boomerang convinced another teammate, Slipknot, to try and escape just so he could see if the explosive bracelets that had been implanted would really explode as the Squad had been told. But he is more than capable in a fight, possessing an arsenal of boomerangs with explosive, electric, and incendiary capabilities, as well as razor-sharp edges.
The trailers haven’t shown us much of Harkness’ personality, except for the fact that he’s likely going to be played for comic relief. Hopefully David Ayer has done his research, and gives us the disloyal, disgruntled jerk that is easily observable in the comics. He could prove a much more interesting, layered character if viewers are not sure whether he is working toward his own secret agenda, or if he has the best interests of the team in mind.
Suicide Squad comes out on August 5th in theaters nationwide. Hope to see you there!
“Captain Boomerang.” (Character). CBS Interactive Inc., n.d. Web.
07 July 2016.
“Captain Boomerang.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web.
07 July 2016.