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Comic Book Detectives: What is the Thanagarian Equalizer Plague?

by  in CBR Exclusives, Comics, Comic News Comment
Comic Book Detectives: What is the Thanagarian Equalizer Plague?

This is the Great Comic Book Detectives, where readers send in requests for the names of comic books that they remembered reading years ago and I try to find them for them! Send any future requests to brianc@cbr.com!

My pal Anj wrote in to ask:

As a kid growing up reading comics in the late 70s, I devoured DC team books. I especially loved the Dick Dillin drawn Justice League of America. These were comics that I bought at yard sales and flea markets, often without covers, and certainly gone from my collection now.

One story that scared the heck out of me back then was of the Thanagarian Equalizing Plague, a disease which had the entire populace regress to the mean, robbing the world of all creativity and innovation. The Plague was cured by old League nemesis Hyathis who then was named ruler of Thanagar for saving them.

Now in my mind, I have a series of panels where Hyathis arrives on Thanagar, tells them that their days of illness are over, and delivers the cure for the plague in the form of rain, a sort of curing baptism for the people. I seem to recall she is on a mountaintop, yelling down to the citizens of her cure. And also, in my mind at least, it is clearly Dillin drawing this sequence. But please remember, these are the memories of a 8 or 9 yr old boy, made hazy by the patina of nostalgia. For all I know, this doesn’t even exist – although it is so vivid in my mind I think it has to.

Hyathis was introduced in “Justice League of America” #3, as one of the rival villains that Kanjar Ro was tricking the Justice League into defeating for him…


Here she was getting defeated by Aquaman and Wonder Woman…


Okay, so years later, in “Justice League of America” #117 (by Elliot S! Maggin, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin), we first learn about the Equalizer Plague, which has hit Thanagar…



Hawkman and his old friends defeat the Equalizer…



However, the plague remained on Thanagar, messing things up.

The plague was cured in “Showcase” #103 (by Jack C. Harris, Al Milgrom and Murphy Anderson) by Hyathis, who was given control of the planet in return. Here is the sequence you asked about Anj. Not Dillin artwork, but otherwise your childhood memories were pretty spot on!





Superman and Batman later helped Hawkman overthrow Hyathis.

Okay, that’s another case solved! Thanks for the request, Anj! If anyone else has a comic book from their youth that they can’t recall now, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com and I’ll see if we can find out the comic you’re missing!