The Flash #7
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Scott Kolins
Man, this takes me back a few years. Back to when Johns was writing the previous Flash ongoing, with Wally West in the lead, with Scott Kolins as the go-to artist. Those were some awesome times, some amazing stories. Hell, that’s what helped make me a fan of the Scarlet Speedster in the first place. One of the features that Johns would do every so often though, generally between story arcs, and always right when you needed it most, was give us an issue called a “Rogue Profile”, where he would devote the entire issue to one of The Rogues. The framing was easy enough, you’d take the Rogue on a job they were doing alone, and they would mull over their origins for the readers sake. Then, at the end, the lessons learned from their origins would carry over into whatever it was that they were doing in the issue, and when all was said and done we’d have a done-in-one story that added new levels of depth to The Flash’s premier villains. In fact, the Captain Cold Rogue Profile (which can be found in the “Rogues” trade of the previous volume) is one of my favorite single issues of Flash ever, and went a long way to establishing Cold as one of my favorite villains.
It’s been a few years though, not only since Johns left, but since we got the last Rogue Profile. Well, the wait is over as Johns brings us back to the good old days with Brightest Day Returnee….Captain Boomerang! Now, Boomer has a complicated recent history, as there are….I want to say at least three distinct versions of just Digger in the last ten years. There’s the classic version that made occasional appearances in Johns’ run on Flash, even getting Jokerized. There’s the bald, fat version that Meltzer introduced in Identity Crisis. And then there’s the current, which is a nice little evolution of the character, if not just in the fact that he looks like a thief, or a cheap hood, and not like a Halloween costume. The downside to this, of course, is that if you’ve been following DC for the past decade….you’ve seen three versions of Digger, and then there’s also Owen….let’s not talk about Owen.
For those that weren’t familiar, this issue features a retelling of the origin of Captain Boomerang. It tells the story of a young George Harkness in Australia, how he didn’t get along with his father or brother, how a stranger kept sending him boomerangs but he never knew who or why. He taught himself, with the help of the instructions (despite hardly being a good reader), and while it’s glossed over, he truly did master the art of the boomerang on his own. Thrown out of his house upon his first robbery, Digger travels to America and meets the man whose company made the boomerangs he had been receiving all of those years, the ones he’d learned his craft on. The man, W.W. Wiggins, gave Digger a job, and Captain Boomerang was born. Of course, that gaudy Halloween costume he wore wasn’t created for a super villain, Boomer was supposed to be the public face of Wiggin’s boomerangs, that was the purpose of Captain Boomerang. Unfortunately, the people were more interested in The Flash, and Boomer opted to rob banks instead. From there Boomer’s story is well known; he joined the Rogues, he was a member of the Suicide Squad.
The moments at his mothers funeral, however short, are powerful in showing the kind of man that Digger had become. The things he would do, the emptyness in his heart, was he a villain or a victim? Well, alright, it’s never left that open, and even when you get some sympathy for ol’ Digger, it’s never that much, and more of a gag reflex, but he’s hardly a good person. As is proven by just what exactly he does this issue, and the questions that arise as the issue wraps up. Who exactly is Digger loyal to? What does he want? Is his existence now revolving around the White Lantern, and getting to keep his life? Or is he going to fall back to old habits? If the boomerang’s are a metaphor for his life, how much bad karma is going to come back at him, and can he stand up through it all?
Scott Kolins steals the show here, as expected. I like Francis Manapul on this book, but I can’t lie, Scott Kolins (followed by Howard Porter) is my favorite Flash artist. Kolins has been trying out a new style in the pages of JSA, and he carries it over into this issue, and it works. It’s not too far off from the way he drew just a few years ago, and for all my artistic stupidity, it’s probably something like he inks his own pencils now, or he has a new colorist. Either way, his art in this issue looks beautiful and it reminds me of what the best part of JSA is right now….him. I really hope that future Rogue Profile issues (I trust Johns will give us one or two a year, which to be honest, would be perfect) will featuring him on art, as it’s the next best thing to having him as the regular artist.
Flashpoint is a few months away, and we’ve received virtually no build up. This book doesn’t build at all on last issues cliffhanger, and I can see why that might be cause for complain in the eyes of some, but I don’t see it that way. Last issue ended with the on panel debut of a character we know has some role in Flashpoint, even making mention of Flashpoint, and it’s nowhere to be found here. Instead we have Captain Boomerang, who vanished at some point in the previous arc, showing us just where he vanished off to. We get the nice little recap of where he’s been as he helps further another, spoiler ridden, plot along, and then we’re left off with a conclusion that makes me feel like we might be getting out next Rogue Profile next issue. Is it a filler issue? Pretty much. Is the background and portrayal of Digger going to be something unfamiliar fans are going to be happy to have? I assume so, just like previous Profiles on Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Pied Piper, and Heat Wave (the Zoom Profile doesn’t count as it was the first telling of any of Zolomon’s origins), what we learn about Digger here, it will be important. And hey, after the arc we just got done with, I’m just happy they let us cool off before smacking us around with more event heavy plot. I can wait an issue or two…can you?
For a single issue story, for a Rogue Profile, this issue was really quite good. As is the pattern amongst them, however, the streamlining of the origin may bother some older fans, but at the same time, I can’t really tell what Johns changed here….save for trying to forget about Meltzer’s fat slob version of Boomerang. The issue works, it’s not perfect, but it works. Bring on the Boomerangs!
Tags: Brightest Day, Captain Boomerang, Geoff Johns, Reviews, Scott Kolins, The Flash