Monday, April 22, 2024

Aw, from the silhouette on the cover, I thought Yellowjacket was rejoining the team.

Wait, that's not right...spoiler alert after the break! From 1975, Justice League of America #117, "I Have No Wings and I Must Fly!" Written by Elliot S! Maggin, pencils by Dick Dillin, inks by Frank McLaughlin.
The returning hero would in fact be Hawkman, and this issue would be referenced in his continuity, geez, for years afterwards; but it also feels like an early example of the "no time to explain, so I'm going to do something that seems super wrong, and catch you up later" kind of story that's like team books' bread-and-butter. Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Batman, Superman, and the Atom take off towards Mars, where GL has spotted Hawkman's Thanagarian ship: there's also a "photon-mirage" of Hawkman, that fails to lure them to Mars, but they go anyway. The team makes a surprisingly poor showing, though; with Supes and GL downed, Green Arrow missing two shots, but Batman now seemingly able to tear steel? The Atom misses what should be a standard jump from an arrow, and Batman is defeated by a dark-haired man claiming to be Hawkman...although he was noticeably shorter. He deposits the unconscious Leaguers on Mars, noting this would let him turn the disease to his advantage.
When the Leaguers wake up, the most noticeable change was that they were all about same height and weight, about five feet tall! (The Atom's shrunken stature brought the average down: Ray was six feet tall normally, and I'd guess the other guys there were at least that tall.) Superman and GL were noticeably diminished, but Batman could fly? Hawkman had been infected by microbes from the alien Equalizer--not that one! Or that one. Or that one! He was a odd-looking sort, and had microbes "that affect people when they exert themselves--making them physically equal to everyone around them!" Hawkman was no longer big and strapping, and couldn't even wear his wings; but had stolen some of the Leaguers' powers, so he could stop the Equalizer from infecting earth. But the microbes seemed to affect the Leaguers mentally as well: Batman had lost much of his deductive abilities, while Green Arrow was far more of a team player than he ever was. He rallies the heroes into concentrating their willpower, to use GL's ring and follow the Equalizer--meaning Hawkman, they hadn't learned of that alien yet!
Despite his borrowed powers, Hawkman is no match for the Equalizer, who counters his every move with equal force, before destroying his ship. The heroes arrive, to join their old friend, and aren't really getting anywhere, until they try hate: waves of hate, aimed at the Equalizer, which is countered by if not love, then restitution; as the heroes are restored to their usual selves. But, Thanagar was still infected, including Hawkgirl, and he was left with nowhere to go except back to the JLA, which elects to reinstate him. 

The Equalizer's goal, if any, isn't explained here; this might have been his only appearance? But, we saw his equalizing plague mentioned in Showcase #103, and I'm pretty sure it was still a plot point in 1982's World's Finest #278, and possibly into 1985's the Shadow War of Hawkman.


Mr. Morbid's House Of Fun said...

You can't tell me the Dillin didn't know what he was doing by purposely misleading potential readers into thinking Hank Pym jumped universes.

Anyhoo, I'm not sure exactly how this Equalizer guy is necessarily a bad guy, except for the purpose of this story, which admittedly is pretty flimsy in terms of painting him as true villain. Could he use his powers & abilities for bad? Sure, but he also seems like someone who more times than not, lives up to name and levels the playing field between two combatants.

H said...

Can you really spoil a 50 year old comic though?

I’m pretty sure the Equalizer showed up (not that much later, in fact) to try for Earth again. I think it was a two-parter and Hawkman went back to his home planet again, so I guess Maggin just brought him back to argue with Green Arrow for old times’ sake.

Anonymous said...

As if Ollie EVER really needed a legit reason to argue with Hawkman 🙄