BHOC: FLASH #227

Another book that came from that post-Church candy store. And look as that ominous call-out at the upper right: Still Only 20 Cents. I hadn’t ever experienced a price increase before, so I had no idea what this signaled–but I would find out very soon. It’s a pretty terrific overwrought Nick Cardy cover, though. But I bought it simply because it was the Flash.

This was my introduction to one of the best of the Flash’s Rogues, Captain Boomerang. By any reasonable reckoning, the character shouldn’t work at all: he’s hand-throwing trick boomerangs at a hero who can circle the Earth seven times in a single second. But he was always a fun character with a distinct personality, and in this tale we get to learn a little bit more about him.

The issue opens with “Digger” Harkness being placed into temporary lock-up in Barry Allen’s precinct, due to a bomb threat that’s been called in against the armored car that was being used to transport him to another state prison. When Boomerang tries to get the guards to take his straightjacket off, Barry intervenes, earning the enmity of the Australian Rogue.

But Boomerang has planned ahead, strategically planting special escape boomerangs in every precinct house in Central City. He makes quick work of the straightjacket, and then, attired in his trademark costume, makes his escape. No mention is made as to where he gets the other trick boomerangs he uses during this escape–maybe they were compressed along with his costume. On the way out, he takes a cheap shot at Barry in revenge, and is stunned when his boomerang seems to disintegrate the police scientist.

That’s because Barry has raced off at invisible super-speed to become the Flash and thwart the escape. But he’s once again underestimated Captain Boomerang’s resourcefulness and skill. Boomerang turns the tales on the Scarlet Speedster before linking up with his confederate “Aussie” Green, who also happens to be his father, and keeps a scrapbook of all of his exploits as Captain Boomerang.

Digger and his Dad paralyze the Flash into the form of a boomerang, and ten send him hurtling into another dimension, where he’ll be lost forever. As he’s about to be beset on all sides by strange demons, the Flash feels the paralysis wearing off…

…but rather than moving to defend himself, he instead holds his rigid boomerang position–and his trajectory carries him back out of the evil dimension and back to a surprised Digger and Aussie, whom he makes short work of. Again, it’s a simple and silly and fun story by Cary Bates and Irv Novick, here inked by Frank McLaughlin who was one of Dick Giordano’s primary assistants during this period. The art has a nice, open, Infantino-like flavor to it. Aussie Green in particular looks like a faux-Infantino design, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they got the then-DC Publisher to do a quick character sketch of him at the outset.

In the Green lantern back-up, the clock rewinds from the end of the previous story, and we’re asked to believe that the outcome was different from what we remember. As mentioned earlier, this was the first move in somebody’s attempt to erase the idea that Green Lantern had even accidentally ingested magic mushrooms.

So, rather than the rescue and the grateful chili meal we saw at the end of the last issue, here GL acts like an ass to the woman hiker he just saved, and she stalks off without conjecturing about mushrooms or chili at all.

The Emerald Crusader continues to act uncharacteristically like an asshole as he saves a falling helicopter. Somebody on the coloring end goofed here, as they colored the copter yellow, and even at six, I knew that Green Lantern’s power ring doesn’t work on anything that’s yellow, so he couldn’t have caught the helicopter in this manner.

Green Lantern then goes to give aid to a bunch of people trapped by a raging forest fire. These guys turn out to be jewel thieves, and when they try to jump him, Hal smacks the crap out of them with the ring. He’s clearly out of control.

And it’s all due to the red herring from the previous story, the Aurora Borealis that Hal saw while he was eating the tainted chili. Here, the conjecture is that this is what’s been causing his ring to malfunction, and him to act like a jerk. And now there’s a trapped family that needs his help, and he doesn’t know if he can trust himself to rescue them. This story confused me when I first read it. I didn’t understand the change from the previous events, and wasn’t worldly enough to be able to hone in on the drug reference in the previous story as the likely culprit. And even today, an additional two chapters seems like an excessive overreaction to what was a very innocent little tale. But who knows what concerns were driving DC’s staff at that moment?

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