Or – “Is That Really Going To Be His Hero Designation?”


Ever since Owen Mercer joined the Outsiders during the One-Year-Later gap, I’ve been jokingly referring to him as Captain Boomerang, Junior. The reasons for this are twofold: first, there’s a proud tradition of calling a younger version of a hero by the Junior name (Captain Marvel, Jr. is the obvious one, but back in the day there was also Captain Battle, Jr. as well as Batman Junior and Superman Junior, the Super-Sons) and secondly, it’s a terrible, horrible, awful, really bad super-hero name. Worse than Bobo… Worse than Hard Drive… Worse even than Cable (which, whether you love him or hate him, you have to agree is a useless codename.) And now, DC has not only made that his name, they actually paid some poor shmendrik to create a LOGO that says “Captain Boomerang, Jr.” I am literally stunned… but, other than that, how was the issue in question?

Previously, on Outsiders: When a joint mission with Checkmate went bad, Outsiders Out1.jpgmembers Nightwing and Captain Boomerang Jr. (Ugh) were captured by Chang Tzu, the mad super-villain known as Egg-Fu. Along with The Black Queen of Checkmate, they were tortured and examined while political concerns kept their teammates from simply waltzing in and pulling them out. Finally, Mr. Terrific (Checkmate’s White King) contacted one person who had both the wherewithal and resources to walk into North Korea and extract three superhumans (as well as having a personal reason to do so): The Batman. Bruce easily pulls the teams out of danger, and Nightwing finally realizes that he’s NOT the right man for the job of leading the Outsiders… but Batman, to his mind, is. Most interesting to me is the fact that Batman indicates that he had already planned to take over the Outsiders, presumably whether Nightwing liked it or not. Unfortunately for the team, Batman has some very… specific ideas about how to make sure the team members are up to the task: pitting them against one another in a series of missions…


Chemo, if case your memory fails you, was dropped on Nightwing’s former home city of Bludhaven during Infinite Crisis, leaving the city a radioactive and poisonous wasteland, after which Superman threw him into space to keep him out of trouble. That trick NEVER works, does it, Sentry? Either way, Nightwing is unhappy that Papa Bat wants his team to prove their worthy of a membership they already have, but Mr. Wayne isn’t used to being questioned. “When you suggested I lead this team, you AGREED to le me LEAD it. This is how you put together a team, Nightwing.” Dick silently broods, but thinks, “No, it’s how YOU put together a team, Bruce.” Nightwing and Boomer board a shuttle from the JLA Watchtower, and the Cap’n asks why Batman holds what Cap’s father did against him. I don’t know, Owen, it could have something to do with you carrying his name and ugly scarf into combat, and that your dad killed his protege’s father? Either way, Nightwing focuses on the mission and dodges the question entirely…


Skulking through the ship in true ‘Alien’ fashion, the Boomer/Wing team hears something moving in the upper levels and goes to investigate. Like in any good horror movie, the lights are out, the sounds are echoing, and there’s no way to tell what they might encounter. “There are so MANY reasons I don’t like this,” says Boomerang as they find the bridge…


So we’re dealing with a bacterial/chemical/radioactive mass that may have Chemo’s sentience? Greeeat. Is anybody else reminded of the old Iron Man story where the virus got loose on the Stark Enterprises satellite? Either way, the attack of the giant glowing slime monster takes a backseat to the daddy issues of our Outsiders, with Owen criticizing Dick’s adoptive father, and Dick reminding Owen that the whole problem stemmed from the actions of Owen’s OWN dad… it’s a vicious, vaguely Freudian circle.


The argument is momentarily halted by the attack of the giant bacteria, and the boys find that their strongest attacks don’t work: they eat anything organic, including Owen’s boomerangs (why would he use wood in the age of polymers and ceramic hybrids?) and they end up working a purely defensive action, trying not to get dissolved. That plan gets less believable when FIVE MORE of the creatures close in from all sides. Suddenly, Boomerang has a plan…


Now, something that has never been explained to me, is the status of Owen’s speed. Obviously, the return of the Speed Force could be to blame, but last issue, Cap made a point repeatedly and loudly to Egg-Fu that his speed powers were gone and had been for some time. If that is indeed the case, we deserved something explaining how he got his juice back, especially since I didn’t think he could sustain his power over distance like this. Either way, he pulls it off, and Nightwing vents the airlock. Captain Boomerang Jr. (Ugh.) returns to the bridge, asking, “Have I proven myself now?” but Nightwing says it’s not about proving yourself. They travel to the center of the docking station and find Chemo, but Captain Boomerang isn’t willing to just blow him up…


And there’s the point. Nightwing and Batman will never forgive Boomerang for the death of Jack Drake, and there’s no point in even trying to discuss it. That’s a nice moral. Boomerang throws a weapon and destroys the keyboard Nightwing is using, and calls him out. Owen is easily outclassed by the Son of the Bat, and Dick takes a moment to goad him. “Stay down, Boomer. It’s over…” Boomerang isn’t impressed, flipped his last two weapons, then nailing Nightwing with a burst of speed when the former Robin dodges his attack. Nightwing pummels him repeatedly, but Boomer holds on, tossing him back into the JLA shuttle.


Captain Boomerang Jr (Ugh.) has made his choice, choosing his father’s legacy and the Suicide Squad over the Outsiders and the Bat-family who refuse to forgive him for an action he didn’t even take. Dick bitterly takes off in the shuttle, having successfully completed the mission objective of stopping the bacteria, but he’s also learned something unpleasant about himself… when the chips are down, he acts just like his old man. “We chased Owen off our team, and onto Waller’s. All because we asked him to prove himself one time too many…”


So, Batman’s first “prove you belong on the team” mission has ended in BOTH members deciding that they want no part of his new Outsiders… There’s a glowing recommendation for ya. I’ve never been a fan of the jackass manipulative version of the Batman, and had been enjoying his more open and human portrayals over the last year or so, so this issue feels like a step backwards. Unless he INTENDED to get rid of his two biggest behavioral problems, this has to go down as a black eye for the new Outsiders before they even get started.

I had some issues with this story, rehashing a lot of old business without really making much of it’s own statement. The issue seems to imply that no one can really ever change or better themselves, and it’s best that they just go with their initial impulses and be a criminal if they think they’re better at that. I was irritated by Batman (and Nightwing) berating Owen for his father’s actions when he’s already BEEN an Outsider for over a year. For a man who was willing to let the murderous Two-Face protect his city, Batman isn’t feeling very charitable here. Freddie Williams II’s art isn’t bad, his faces are expressive, but his Nightwing leaves me cold. I don’t know if it’s the whole grimacing angry buzz-cut thing he has going on, but it’s a little disappointing. Since most of the book only has two characters in it, having one of them look just a little bit off throughout detracts from my enjoyment. As an Outsiders regular, I had hoped that the change in direction wouldn’t immediately reverse everything that I’ve liked about Judd’s Outsiders, but this issue makes me worry. Certainly it’s not a terrible book, just one that was somewhat disappointing in terms of both story and art, leaving me wondering where we’re headed with our new team. I’ll reserve final judgement until I see the final team line-up, but I can’t give this particular book more than 1.5 out of 5 stars…



About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Superman Junior and Batman Junior, the Supersons? Please tell me you’re kidding. Actually, considering one of the DC teams has a talking chimp, I can believe it……

    Bats rates pretty high on the Batman dick scale in this issue.

  2. Maximus Rift on

    I agree that I like the more humane Batman, but I don’t think you can have Batman without a little bat-dickness in him.

    Look at it this way. For what the team is going to be for, it’s not OOC for him to act this way. It is going to be a team that “does the dirty jobs the others can’t do”. This is the team that is going to butt heads with Checkmate and the Suicide Squad. It really isn’t going to be a “nice” team.

  3. I thought it made sense for Batman to behave this way and I loved this issue.

    If you think about it, Batman’s intending to create a black ops team that can do the unpopular work the JLA, JSA, and Teen Titans cannot, the kind of work that makes them look like the bad guys. Obviously in order for this team to be successful, Batman needs a team of people who already look bad in the public eye. He definitely wasn’t about to convince Nightwing to leave the team he helped build through words, so the best way to convince someone you’re the right man for the job is to put them to the test and make them see that for themselves.

    Nightwing and Captain Boomerang weren’t popular choices for Batman for good reasons. Nightwing is a protege of Batman’s and his adoptive son, he obviously doesn’t want his image as a hero spoiled by what he has planned for his black ops team. Captain Boomerang has already been forgiven by Tim Drake, so I don’t think Nightwing and Batman have a good reason for hating him or kicking him out of the Outsiders, other than to try and show him that trying to live-up to his father’s legacy while being a hero is impossible.

  4. Ooh! Batman JR and Superman JR! You think they’re on one of the other 51 Earths? God, I hope so. Any chance of a hero history on this pair? You can leave out the last installment tho’…

  5. Captain Boomerang, Junior… it’s a terrible, horrible, awful, really bad super-hero name.

    The guy is headed for the Suicide Squad, Waller will call him Boomerbutt Junior, anyway. He’ll be so pissed, he’ll pie her like his dad used to do. I want to see the Wall pied at super speed. :-)

  6. Matthew Peterson on

    If you check the cover of Previews this month, it features a shot of a BATO team that bears no resemblance to the one in the ad. It was, apparently, a swerve by DC editorial to get people talking…

  7. how about we just call him CBJ? or maybe we can all suggest some names for him here, and hope that DC would somehow catch on? hehehehe

    how about these?
    * Ricochet – sounds like an Erik Larsen character, but its nice…
    * Trick Catch – this one sounds more like a GIJoe codename…
    * Windshear – i like this the best… but i think Marvel has a character by this name…

    or if CBJ really wants to annoy Batman… how about…

    * Captain Batarang?

    that would really piss Bats. hehehehe

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