Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Author: Chris Claremont | Artist: John Byrne | Inker: Dan Adkins
Letterer: Susan Fox | Colorist: Marie Severin | Editor: Archie Goodwin

The S.S. Balaclava, a tramp freighter out of London, moored at Pier 15 on the Manhattan side of the East River.

It’s a bitter cold night, the wind brutal, as it slices off the harbor… a night any sane man would be a home, curled up with his lady love in front of a flaming hearth.

But then, who ever said super-heroes were sane?

The Plot: Iron Fist and Misty Knight arrive at the waterfront in answer to a telegram summons from Alan Cavenaugh. But they're attacked instead by the mercenary Boomerang, who knocks Iron Fist into the sea and escapes.

Meanwhile, Ward Meachum is attacked by Davos, his niece’s bodyguard. Davos orders Ward to divest himself of all interest in the Meachum Corporation, or die. Then, this task completed, Davos declares himself free of Joy’s servitude and vows to kill Iron Fist on the anniversary of his coming of age as a warrior.

Iron Fist emerges from the water and has an argument with Misty over Alan, a known terrorist. Without Misty’s help, Iron Fist tracks Alan down and fights Boomerang again. The boat belonging to Alan’s captors is blown up in the fight and while Alan and Iron Fist survive, all others appear to perish.

Continuity Notes: Boomerang previously appeared in TALES TO ASTONISH issues 81 – 84 and 86 – 88, being nearly killed by the Hulk in 88. Is it just me, or is that a long run of near-consecutive issues for a minor villain like Boomerang?

Ward recalls that his dealings with organized crime were made public by Chaka in issues 9 and 10.

Misty takes an assignment from District Attorney Tower in this issue, to go undercover and bring down a “big-time operator”.

My Thoughts: I've always liked Boomerang, ever since I first encountered him in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #144 when I was nine years old. I think boomerangs are cool, I think Australian accents are cool, and I think he has a really cool costume (why Marvel keeps redesigning it is beyond me). So it's always nice to see him pop up here and there. In this issue he holds his own nicely against Iron Fist during their first fight, thanks to his boot jets. And in the rematch, his use of an enormous explosive boomerang leads to a pretty cool victory for Iron Fist as he twists the thing in mid-air to return to the ship which launched it and blow it up.

Alan Cavenaugh, on the other hand, I never needed to see again. Sure, we've been following a sub-plot about him, intermittently, for several months at this point, but he's kind of a boring character. He's just the typical “guy who used to do bad things but wanted out and doesn't do bad things anymore but is still haunted by the memories of the bad things he did before and is also being hunted by the people he used to work with because they don't let someone go that easily” character. We see this all the time. Also -- last time he saw Iron Fist, Alan hinted at a proposition he had for Danny Rand. I wonder if we'll see that come to fruition before the series is canceled in two issues? I doubt it.

Davos, meanwhile, has his bizarre storyline come to a head here. Let's recap what he's done in the series so far, shall we? He arrived in the United States way back in issue #1, telephoned Ward Meachum, presumably as a way to get close to Danny Rand, but then inexplicably came to work for Ward's niece, Joy. He worked as Joy's enforcer for a little while, even foregoing vengeance on Iron Fist to protect her from the Bronze Tigers. Now, here, he goes on one last mission for her, threatening her uncle, before resigning from her service.

So... was he an indentured servant or something? This is never made clear, but Claremont writes him like he's working for Joy to pay off some debt even though he was the one who reached out to the Meachums and presumably offered his services to them. Did he promise servitude for a year or something in exchange for their helping him find Danny? It's all extremely unclear, though that's not necessarily surprising from Chris Claremont, who occasionally seems to forget that what he has layed out in his head doesn't always translate coherently into his scripts.

And then there's Misty. Claremont and Byrne are playing the budding relationship between her and Danny very slowly. They've become closer over the past few issues, but aren't quite romantic yet. Now, however, a wrench is thrown into their plans when Iron Fist insists on rescuing Alan, a man who black-and-white cop Misty believes to be nothing more than a terrorist (and to be fair to Misty, Alan is specifically a bomb-maker, and she lost her arm to a bomb years earlier). So, after Danny tells her off about it, Misty angrily decides to accept D.A. Tower’s mission when, only a few pages earlier, she was probing Danny for a reason not to take it. This is the sort of soap opera I love in comic books, and it's nice to see IRON FIST finally getting an injection of it… just before the end, of course.


  1. is it just me, or is that a long run of near-consecutive issues for a minor villain like Boomerang?

    It does seem like a long run for Boomerang. Though those old TTA Hulk stories were split features, so that's the equivalent of one two-part Boomerang story followed shortly thereafter by an issue-and-a-half long one, which still seems a bit much, but less egregiously so.

    Because yeah, like you, I've always enjoyed Boomerang, but like my enjoyment of the Wrecking Crew, he works best as a one-off, relatively minor antagonist, not someone you build multi-part stories around.

    1. Good point about the double-feature issues; I hadn't thought about that. I'm pretty sure hat SPECTACULAR issue I mentioned above was part two or three of a three-part Boomerang epic, so I guess building a multi-chapter storyline around him isn't unheard of.