It starts with Boomerang killing someone by literally blowing up their entire apartment. Cool. We then see him go to Kingpin and tell him, “Hey, I just killed an enemy of yours so you should use me to be your lead assassin.” The last guy, Bullseye, got dropped off a roof and is now in a full bodycast. I like the idea of other villains rushing to occupy the Bullseye-shaped hole.
In 1982, Frank Miller killed Elektra. The issue was one of the most influential comic books of all time. But his run, too, made seismic changes in the industry. Hannigan’s fight page is right out of Miller’s playbook. The widescreen layout, detailed combat, the characterization of Kingpin, the inking and shading, the curling smoke from Kingpin’s cigar…And it’s worth noting that this looks nothing like Ed Hannigan’s other art in other comics–or even in other pages of this same comic book. Jim Shooter, Marvel’s editor-in-chief at the time, was known for forcing creative teams to work in a particular style. I wonder if he dictated that the page look this way?
Kingpin’s not impressed, though. He summarizes Boomerang’s entire history in one panel…
…Which should have been humiliating enough, but then, after beating up three henchmen, Boomerang actually attacks Kingpin…
…And gets humiliated again. Pro tip: If you want a job, don’t throw stuff at your future boss. Unless he’s Kingpin, in which case he’ll hire you.
Kingpin then sends Boomerang out to kill Spider-Man, knowing full well he’ll fail but not really giving a sh!t because, hey, Boomerang’s been acting like an asshat for the entire job interview.
Naturally, Boomerang can’t beat Spidey. The entire conflict lasts 9 pages, which is still too long—it should have been 9 panels—but it’s a fun fight scene and to be fair Spider-Man gets interrupted by the policy halfway through the battle, which slows him down.
Over thirty years after this book is published, Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber will publish a truly fantastic comic starring Boomerang, titled The Superior Foes of Spider-Man. Do yourself a favor and go get the omnibus. It’s wonderfully wonderful. But other than that, Boomerang is just pain stupid and lame, and should be treated as such.
As for this issue of PPTSS…It’s actually pretty good. It should have been done as a comedy, but instead Mantlo writes it straight. And Ed Hannigan keeps drawing much better than I remembered.