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Flash 124
"Space-Boomerang Trap"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND November, 1961

Story: John Broome Art: Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella

The fastest man on Earth and the Elongated Man have joined forces with the rogue known as Captain Boomerang to fend off an alien invasion of Earth... The heroes are aware that their truce is a temporary one, and that they would soon have to deal with Captain Boomerang and his sinister... "Space-Boomerang Trap!" On the splash page, the two heroes and the rogue come face-to-face with five orange hairy aliens wearing green shorts and boots, as well as wielding unusual ray-guns! (Holy Orange Julius, Batman! Who dresses these guys, anyway?)

Relaxing at a seaside resort, Ralph Dibny is reading a letter from the Flash about Captain Boomerang being released on parole! Now that the rogue is free, the scarlet speedster is sure that he will soon see another unusual boomerang-type crime, and he checks the paper to see if anything will appeal to the Captain. The fabulous crown jewels of Hormark is a likely attraction for Captain Boomerang, and the Flash heads for the exhibition hall... He may have been a model prisoner, but the rogue had been an impressive criminal prior to that! A sensational crime during the first week of his release would be Boomerang's style. In the hall, the Flash sees Captain Boomerang -- in uniform! The rogue tells him that as a member of the general public, he is allowed to attend the exhibition, and there is no law against wearing his uniform. The scarlet speedster is unnerved by the Captain's wry smile.

The Captain invites Flash to check out the crown jewels together, while the scarlet speedster awaits his foe's first move... From the doorway, a -- boomerang flies through the hall, snatching the Hormark Jewels before even the fastest man alive can recover -- and heads for the open window! Outside, the Flash follows at super-speed, but the boomerang is now in the air -- and gaining altitude, while an editor's note informs us that the scarlet speedster is fast, he cannot fly! The boomerang disappears from sight, and Flash returns to the hall... where Captain Boomerang claims to be innocent of the crime.

He points out to the scarlet speedster that even though he's adept with a boomerang, Flash was with him all the time when the crime took place. Even though it may seem impossible for the rogue to have thrown the boomerang, in some strange manner, he did! Ralph continues to read Flash's letter and learns about two more gem robberies, where Captain Boomerang had an air-tight alibi... Since the scarlet speedster is unable to solve the mystery, the Elongated Man decides to take a trip to Central City. With Sue Dibny waving goodbye to her husband, Ralph promises to be back before she knows it.

At his hide-out in Central City, Digger Harkness smiles as he recalls how he spent his prison time coming up with a way to outwit the Flash with his latest stunt! In his cell, Harkness came up with a time-traveling boomerang!! When he throws it in a certan manner, the vibrations carry the boomerang into the future! By giving it just the right twist, Harkness can make it do whatever he wants it to do -- even return to him after twenty-four hours -- a day later!! He vows to use this strange device when he gets out of prison. Yesterday, he threw one of his time-traveling boomerangs into the future, and it is due to re-materialize in thirty minutes... He must be in the area when the plan takes place! Since everyone will see him, no one can accuse him of being responsible for the crime! In another dimension, a scientific society has studied the strange foreign object which has been seen passing through their space! Their dimensional astronomers are aware that the object has been following a time-warp...

The object's course has carried it through their world, and the alien scientists see its sudden reappearance... as well as its disappearance before they can examine it! The other-dimensional scientists come to the conclusion that the unidentified flying object is designed to spy on them! Figuring that the world from where the object comes from must be getting ready to attack them, the aliens intend to attack first! The Elongated Man has arrived in Central City... and receives a message from Flash at police headquarters -- then heads for the city museum... A new wing is being opened for some precious Chinese Jade, and as he drives off, Ralph Dibny enjoys the attention he receives from a befuddled police officer. The two heroes soon meet at the museum...

The scarlet speedster tells the Elongated Man that the Chinese Jade is an irresistable target for the mysterious boomerang -- just as Captain Boomerang arrives on the scene once again. He tells the duo that he is establishing an alibi in case anything happens -- or else he'd be the prime suspect! (Holy Smoke and Mirrens, Batman!) Flash figures that the rogue is challenging them -- mocking them, but Ralph figures that between the two of them, they'll be able to solve the puzzle! (Holy Trebek, Batman!) The fastest man alive watches the jade, while the ductile detective watches Captain Boomerang. CRASH! The mystery boomerang suddenly re-appears behind Flash -- and hooks the necklace! It heads through the open window, with the scarlet speedster and the Elongated Man in pursuit!

As the boomerang heads skyward, the Flash chases after it, with Ralph Dibny perched on his shoulders. The long arms of the ductile detective manage to reach the fleeing object, and after the necklace has been returned to the museum wing, the scarlet speedster tells his friend that they may finally have a way of trapping Captain Boomerang. If the crafty rogue is indeed behind this clever stunt, his fingerprints will be on the boomerang, and if they are, they've got him! Digger Harkness has handled the time-traveling boomerang without kid gloves, and attempts to flee, but is caught by the fastest man alive... Just as the crimson-gloved hands begin to grasp onto the fleeing felon's shoulders, both men see...

Citizens on the ground -- crawling on their hands and knees as if they can barely move --! The three listen as the dazed citizen tells them about the strange alien beings from another world... and the odd weapons they use... Ralph tells Flash and Boomerang to check out the television news bulletin about the mysterious radiation which has neutralized all of Earth's weapons! The military is helpless and the government is being forced to surrender! The other-dimensional beings are using fatigue guns, weapons which shoot out rays which cause paralyzing weariness in its victims! (Holy Jemas, Batman!)

Flash suggests that he and Ralph combine their abilities to fight the invaders, and the Elongated Man readily agrees -- while Captain Boomerang insists that they make it a trio! The scarlet speedster can hardly believe what he's listening, but Digger Harkness is sincere in his desire to protect their world from the alien beings. It is agreed and a truce is declared between them... but as soon as the invasion is over, the fastest man alive will chase down the rogue, and this too, is understood!

At Flash's suggestion, Ralph stretches upwards to do some scouting in his own unique manner, and soon spots the aliens taking over city hall and the surrounding area with armed guards. Once the Elongated Man descends... the three split up and plan to send the aliens back from whence they came!! Captain Boomerang heads for the boulders near city hall which he can use as cover, while the scarlet speedster takes the direct approach since the aliens won't be able to see him... and Ralph peers at the alien guard across the lake before he can go further!

Stretching his way underwater, the Elongated Man re-surfaces and delivers a surprise punch to the alien's jaw! At the same time, Captain Boomerang is taking are of another guard... by fixing the creature's exact location in his mind's eye ... then throwing one of his boomerangs ... and from the sound of the groan ... URLGGG! he got him! In front of city hall, the fastest man alive whirls around the alien sentry at super-speed, causing the confused creature to try and see him from several angles... finally causing him to drop!

The trio subject the aliens to a three-pronged attack with their own fatigue guns! Inside the captive city hall, the alien leader learns that half their force has already fallen to the surprise attack! They retreat before they are completely wiped out! The signal is given to return to their own dimension! The Flash watches as the fleeing aliens pass into their own dimension through a slit in space -- then vibrates at super-speed to bring the sub-atomic particles in the aperture together -- sealing it forever from another invasion of Earth!

Returning to Central City, the scarlet speedster sees that Ralph Dibny has been hit by a fatigue gun, but before he can get him to a hospital, he is shot from behind by Captain Boomerang! When he revives, Flash finds himself tied to a giant boomerang, and Captain Boomerang regrets that he must do this to a former ally... but not too sorry! The fastest man alive tells the rogue that he's not beaten yet, and Captain Boomerang is confident that his space-boomerang will succeed in carrying the hero into a perpetual orbit around the moon!

At that moment, the Elongated Man recovers in time to see the bound figure of Flash being shot into the air -- on the giant boomerang! As it heads upwards, Ralph again stretches after it, with his friend's life at stake! He succeeds in tearing the ropes holding Flash, while the boomerang continues on its lunar course! (Holy Armstrong, Batman! Should that be Neil or Stretch?)

Ralph sets the scarlet speedster on the rooftop... and naturally, he is able to catch up with the fleeing felon -- the hurricane winds caused by his approach send Captain Boomerang's legs from under him! The citizens of Central City recover from the effects of the fatigue guns - - and Flash notes that the only one who'll end up a loser on this day will be -- Captain Boomerang! Later, the public cheer the heroics of the fastest man alive and the ductile detective... who learns that the police found the fingerprints on the mystery boomerang! It is still unknown how Digger Harkness was able to control such a device, but he won't be able to leave prison for many, many years! Ralph figures that society is better off with the rogue behind bars -- even if he helped them against the aliens!

Captain Boomerang is one of my favorite characters, especially when he was in the Suicide Squad, and written by John Ostrander. I regret that Digger Harkness didn't get to appear alongside Gorilla Grodd and Captain Cold in "Challenge of the Super Friends" or have Tristan Rogers play him on the CBS Flash TV series. It would have been great to see the sultan of speed up against the baron of boomerangs in live-action.

We learn in this story that the Flash can run but he can't fly after a fleeing boomerang.

Interesting that Digger Harkness came up with a time-traveling boomerang, and with the other dimensional attention the object attracted, it makes sense that he never used it again.

In the Marvel Universe, there is the bombastic villain called Boomerang, who was an operative of the Secret Empire.

In addition to their unique appearance, the aliens have three long fingers on their hands, as well as a yellow mark on their leader's forehead.

It's touching that Captain Boomerang volunteers his aid to protect his world, and that the heroes take him up on the offer.

He does betray Flash and Ralph, but only after the emergency and the truce is over.

I first saw the Space-Boomerang Trap when it appeared in Captain Boomerang's 1985 Who's Who Entry, by Carmine Infantino and Dennis Jensen, I believe.

It's one small stretch for Ralph, and one giant leap for the Elongated Man, as he saves his friend from a fiendish trap. Interesting that no one in Central City paid heed to the giant boomerang on the roof, or asked to see a permit for such a thing.

Among my favorite Elongated Man stories is the two-part Detective Comics story by Bob Rozakis and Kurt Schaffenberger from the '70s where Ralph Dibny loses his stretch, and he must make way for Sue Dibny, the Elongated Woman!

Too bad Digger Harkness didn't get to share in the public ovation by the citizens of Central City, but perhaps he got some time knocked off of his sentence for his heroism against the aliens.

Steve Chung
"Space-Boomerang Review"