Friday, October 4, 2013

What Goes Around Comes Around

If I told you that Boomerang--who, yes, uses a boomerang as a deadly weapon--would make a good foe for the incredible Hulk, you might begin to wonder what I've been putting in my protein shake. But Marvel has often created villains who, if not a match for the hero(es) they were sent up against, were still interesting concepts. Take Fred Myers, suspended baseball pitcher who decided to make a side-living as a costumed mercenary/assassin, capitalizing on his pitching skill. "Boomerang" may have been our first glimpse of later characters like Bullseye who would be variations of that theme.
were to tell you that a villain who calls himself

Most of you know that Boomerang would go on to make his mark in the Marvel universe, even establishing memberships in the Masters of Evil, the Thunderbolts, and a couple of the "Sinister"-themed groups. And since his early days, he's streamlined his costume and abilities, discarding the metal discs that once covered his sleeves in favor of specialized boomerangs that are attached to his costume within easy reach.

But, oh, those early days, in that clown-suit costume. Even so, he was building a solid rep. Functioning mostly as an operative of the Secret Empire, Myers was something of a "Spymaster" who was sent to steal government or military secrets. In fact, he was surprisingly effective against military opposition, to General Ross's astonishment:

Yet, as confident as he was in his weapons and skill, Boomerang facing the Hulk in his premier appearance was virtually suicide, given that Boomerang's "power" was mostly in his array of thrown weapons. After all, the military had hit the Hulk with far more powerful weapons, for all the good it did--how the heck is Boomerang going to improve over bombs and missiles? I suppose the thing to remember about Boomerang vs. the Hulk is that the villain probably would have chosen to avoid a confrontation with the Hulk, if it had been possible. But when Boomerang took Betty Ross as a hostage in the hopes of getting his hands on the military's new Orion missile, there was no avoiding a fight once the Hulk spotted him. Though Betty tries to convince him to throw in the towel, for his own good:

But Boomerang is really cocky in this fight, trusting in his weapons and skills to pull this one out. He doesn't really need to defeat his enemy--he knows that all he really has to do is to effectively hog-tie the Hulk long enough to make his escape and foil the brute's pursuit. And that's a good plan, for the short term--but Boomerang has underestimated the Hulk's strength, which doesn't give him the delay he'd hoped for:

I think Boomerang is finally getting the message that nothing stops the Hulk. And so he does the only thing he can, if he wants to salvage his plan--retrieve Betty and take to the air again. But the Hulk is relentless, and eventually he must cut his losses:

It's not the satisfying defeat that we thought we'd see Boomerang suffer at the hands of the Hulk, but still one for the Hulk's win column no matter how you slice it. The Hulk saved Betty, and he also unknowingly foiled the plans of both Boomerang and the Secret Empire. Still, just in case you were hoping for Boomerang to get a proper comeuppance from the Hulk, will this later encounter do?

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