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Harlequin (Molly Maynne) over a white background

Harlequin

(Molly Maynne)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Green Lantern: “I never bargain with criminals… but if you want to tag along while I hunt down those crooks, that’s your business !”
Harlequin (half-mockingly): “Yes, darling !”


Context

Harlequin (Molly Maynne) is a vintage, Golden Age  comics character. She clashed with Green Lantern (Alan Scott) on many occasions, and eventually married him. In several respects she’s Green Lantern’s equivalent of some pre-Crisis versions of Catwoman.

Harlequin might have been mostly forgotten, but during the 1980s Roy Thomas brought her back and closed her “will they won’t they” arc with Green Lantern.


Background

  • Real Name: Molly Catherine Maynne, later Molly Catherine Maynne-Scott. The spelling of her last name was also erroneously given as “Mayne”.
  • Other Aliases: Operative H-9.
  • Marital Status: Single, later Married.
  • Known Relatives: Four unnamed younger brothers, status unrevealed. Later Alan Scott (Husband), Jennifer-Lynn Hayden (aka Jade, stepdaughter), Todd Rice (aka Obsidian, stepson).
  • Base Of Operations: Gotham City, later L.A..
  • Group Affiliation: Former member of the Injustice Society of the World, former associate of the FBI, briefly an associate of the Manhunters.
  • Height: 5’7” Weight: 120lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Red


Powers & Abilities

The Harlequin is a powerful athlete and hand-to-hand fighter. She further benefits from many of her opponents underestimating her since she’s, quote, a dame, unquote. She can outrun even Alan Scott any day of the week.

Miss Maynne is also a trained dactylographer, though I suppose that’s not as spectacular.

As a criminal, she is remarkably competent –

  • Handling pressure well.
  • Flawlessly designing and running complex plans.
  • Directing her hypnotised gunsels without a hitch.
  • Keeping multiple backup measures up her sleeves (which was often facilitated by her illusions).

Harlequin (Molly Maynne) swings her telescoping mandolin

She even apparently taught herself disguise artistry, a common skill in Golden Age Green Lantern stories – though that seemed greatly facilitated by her illusions.

The Harlequin can fluently navigate the underworld and find allies and information. But that was likely facilitated by the hypnotic spectacles, especially early on. She also seems handy with technology, and for some reason can operate single-prop planes and parachute.

Gear

She also carries a mandolin. Though one might assume that it’s just an accessory for her… distinctive costume, it is actually a robust, heavy blunt weapon. She can hit remarkably hard with that thing. Furthermore, there is a hidden switch that telescopes the handle out by about 300% with great force. This makes for an excellent surprise melee attack.

The Harlequin is a champ with her mandolin. She can reliably club even highly competent fighters such as Green Lantern (Alan Scott). She can even do precision batting with it, such as hitting Green Lantern’s captured ring in mid-air to hurl it right into his hand. If the handle of her mandolin is extended, she can routinely make sweeping strikes that will hit 2 or even3 ordinary opponents.

It also has the advantage of being made of wood; an important asset in Golden Age Green Lantern stories. Whether it can actually be played is unrevealed.

The Harlequin’s orange pointed hat is far more robust than any party accessory. It has on occasion been used to force people holding her to let her go by painfully jamming the point into their face, usually as a reverse headbutt.

The Harlequin has a themed automobile. It a bright yellow 1940s roadster with an extravagant, oversized windshield shaped like her glasses. For some reason, it includes clamps that can restrain somebody perched on the spare wheel on the back. It also has a car telephone – a remarkable piece of kit, since the very first model of car phone was released but months prior.

Through the looking glasses, part one

The Harlequin’s main asset are her spectacles. These have various sorts of hypnotic, electric and illusory powers. They can :

  • Alter her appearance to a small extent.
  • Mesmerise ordinary people into becoming her accomplices.
  • Transfix people who do not have Green Lantern’s willpower (and resisting was a gamble even for him).
  • Emit blinding flashes of light (once presented as magnesium flares, plus contact lenses worn by the Harlequin to deflect the glare).
  • See through stone.
  • Cast illusions.

The hypnotic effects manifest themselves as clear white beams with a comic-book-lightning quality.

Harlequin (Molly Maynne) and Green Lantern (Alan Scott) bump into each other

The glasses can electrify themselves with a powerful current, though the Harlequin is safe if she’s holding them by the temples. This cannot quite be used in combat, but the Harlequin can for instance electrify a car by touching its body with her specs. They can also project electrical eyebeams even when worn, but these seem noticeably less powerful than contact electrocution.

If somebody tries to take the glasses off Harlequin, they will be electrically shocked but Molly will not be harmed by the current. She can apparently turn on and off the current by thinking about it.

Through the looking glasses, part two

The illusions cast by the glasses can be huge. The can make a large building appear to explode and collapse, or even have a tidal wave appear and threaten to engulf an entire stadium. These illusions aren’t used often, and almost always on a large scale.

Our game stats assume that they require exceptional effort to “launch”, and are thus reserved to escape from a bad situation – or as the special schtick to carry the current plan. These illusions do not seem mobile, though it is possible to cheat a bit (by, say, having the tidal wave grow larger to give the impression that it’s moving closer).

One simpler, effortless sort of illusion uses a different system. It creates the impression that one or two given objects are a few metres away from their actual location. This is particularly useful to escape and/or to avoid gunfire. The Harlequin has used this on herself when shot at, or on doors she was fleeing through (leaving her pursuers crash into walls where they thought the door was).

Another trick with this system is to make it look like an item such as a chandelier or a fire escape is falling. This system has been presented both as “mirrors” and “Oriental hypnotism” akin to fakirs’.

Despite having such powerful abilities sitting on her nose, during her career the Harlequin increasingly just used flashes of light to daze and temporarily blind her foes so she could escape. This mirrored Green Lantern’s preference for not using most of his ring’s magical abilities most of the time.

Through the looking glasses, part three

How the spectacles work is unknown. Harlequin eventually demonstrates a button hidden in the palm of her glove, but it can’t be the main control and is presumably just a back-up switch.

The material implies some sort of telepathic or magical activation, and the specs seem very easy to operate. Random thugs could use them, and Alan Scott understood how to create an illusion of displaced objects within seconds.

Even if Harlequin isn’t wearing the glasses, she can touch them to have them shoot a specific beam (which will continue even if she stops touching the glasses).

The spectacles seem robust, and it takes a strong man to break them.

Harlequin (Molly Maynne) attempts to marry Green Lantern (Alan Scott)

The spectacles’ hypnotic powers make it trivial for the Harlequin to recruit gangsters, from ordinary gunsels to people with more specialised skills. However, they often do not remain loyal if they are away from her long enough for the effect to wear off.

The illusory powers also seem to facilitate her disguise artistry.

Through the looking glasses, part four

Of course, in the Clark Kent tradition, the spectacles make it impossible for anybody to tell that the tall, athletic-yet-busty, statuesque red-headed Molly Maynne is the same person as the tall, athletic-yet-busty, statuesque red-headed Harlequin.

Furthermore, nobody ever thinks of depriving her of her spectacles when she is captured, even though they are known to be a powerful artefact. Albeit this is a Golden Age genre convention, one could make a case that there is some sort of quasi-mystical hypnotic influence ensuring that. Only the Wizard ever deprived her of her glasses after defeating her.

The way the spectacles work is completely plot-driven. Thus, merely listing everything that the glasses can do without qualifiers wouldn’t be very useful in game terms, or to otherwise create stories featuring the Harlequin.

Much like classic Supergirl routinely under-utilised her super-powers, Molly uses only a small portion of her spectacles’ capabilities as convenient for the story. Yet she’s presented as very capable and clever.

Our game stats thus hypothesise numerous limitations for the spectacles, which explain Molly’s tactical choices. For instance having her more powerful abilities only be useful at short range, explaining why she uses other powers against distant adversaries. These powers might also require exceptional effort.

While these limitations all match the published material to a T, they are hypothetical in that there’s never any mention of them being a thing.

The illusions formed by Marcie Cooper in the 1980s when she stole Harlequin’s spectacles were of a different kind than what was produced by Molly Maynne. They thus will not be covered in this entry. As often, the special equipment worked differently for different persons.

Stubborn like a molly

During her 1988 confrontation with Marcie Cooper, Molly Maynne-Scott demonstrated significant physical power despite being nearly 60. Though she occasionally complained that she was out of shape, she never actually had a problem putting on her old Harlequin costume despite being 40 years older.

Though there wasn’t enough material to hazard DC Heroes stats for the senior Molly, having all her Attributes and Skills at 03 (except for her STR at 02 and her Weaponry Subskills at 04) would be reasonable. She might have 10 Hero Points  or so left. The spectacles were destroyed in 1988 and the mandolin probably was lost after Marcie Cooper stole it.

Molly likely replaced her Golden Age Connections with a Low Connection to L.A.’s broadcast media scene, and a Low Connection to Jade and Obsidian. By the 1990s Molly has a Low Connection with most people connected with Sentinel, as well as their phone numbers. These included the JSA, their families (for instance she’s a friend of Joan Garrick), Earth Green Lanterns such as Kyle Rayner, etc.


History

Born circa 1930 in an Irish-American family, Earth-Two’s Molly Maynne was an unusually capable and strong youth. She a natural athlete and hand-to-hand fighter. However, males found her physical power frightening, and Molly ended up hiding her gifts.

As she grew up she adopted the persona of a mousy secretary. She hoped that this way she could have a normal life and get married – or even just get a date. She came to work at WXYZ Radio in Gotham city as a dactylographer. One suspects that she lied about her age and wasn’t even 18 at that point.

Harlequin (Molly Maynne) with her themed car

In 1947, the main commercial sponsor of WXYZ, one J.Q. Lentil (later J.J. Lentil), wanted to promote his department stores chain by having Green Lantern appear on WXYZ. He asked WXYZ’s program director Alan Scott to arrange for this – though he was unaware that Alan Scott secretly was Green Lantern.

In the radio serial, Green Lantern would be opposed by a character created by Lentil’s nephew, a “beautiful doll in a Harlequin costume, glasses and gimmicks”. Since Lentil’s money kept WXYZ running, Scott had little choice but to agree.

(Such a show was presumably inspired by the hugely popular Superman radio show of the 1940s.)

When Green Lantern came to WXYZ to agree to participate, he met with young Molly. She immediately developed a huge crush on him. Wanting to spend more time with the inaccessible Green Lantern, she boldly became the Harlequin in real life. Her plan was to commit spectacular but harmless crimes so she’d get to meet Green Lantern when he’d respond.

Within days, the Harlequin had her costume, a themed car and extraordinary spectacles with special powers.

Where does she get those wonderful toys ?

In true Robert Kanigher  fashion, the origin of Harlequin’s gear was never explained. She just had it. Since Molly demonstrated some technological skills, it is possible that she built some pieces herself, such as the Harlequin Car and the mandolin.

The spectacles, however, are clearly impossible with normal Earth technology. There are further items in the stories, such as electrified lifelike Harlequin mechanical dolls used just for flourish, that point toward some super-advanced source behind Molly’s gear.

This source was finally revealed in 1988 in — what else — a Roy Thomas story. Molly had been contacted by the Manhunters, and talked directly to the Grandmaster of the cult. Their goal was apparently to plant an agent close to Green Lantern. They were the ones who gave her the Harlequin spectacles — based on alien Manhunter tech — and perhaps other bits of equipment.

Harlequin (Molly Maynne) recap panel

Molly stated that the Manhunter never really asked anything of her, and that she had no idea why the Grandmaster had helped her in the first place. Since she apparently wasn’t summoned into service during the Millennium crisis (though the Manhunters had their new Harlequin (Marcie Cooper) agent try to murder her), there’s a good chance that it was true.

The Grandmaster of the Manhunter cult on Earth later stated that the plan was for the Harlequin to use Manhunter equipment to kill Green Lantern. But when it became clear she would never do that they more or less forgot about her and the spectacles. Why Molly was armed but apparently never was indoctrinated or given missions remains unrevealed to this day.

Interestingly, just before the Crisis on Infinite Earths she offhandedly mention that she whipped up the glasses herself. But after the Crisis she states that they were a gift from the Manhunters as explained above – which might indicate that the Manhunters version of the spectacles was specific to New Earth and not Earth-2.

Comedia dell’arte

For her first outing, Harlequin took over the gang of a man recently arrested by Green Lantern, by mesmerising the gangsters with her specs. When Green Lantern came in she actually defeated him with her trick wooden mandolin. Scott was defenestrated and knocked out, but Maynne lowered him to safety.

Green Lantern intercepted her again as she was threatening J.Q. Lentil’s newest department store. She again took him out. However, her gang turned against her when she refused to kill shoppers at Lentil’s. Green Lantern stopped them, and Harlequin escaped in the confusion.

Being a Catholic, Molly confessed her deeds to one Father Philips in her childhood parish. She would continue to do during her Harlequin career.

Alan Scott and Molly Maynne read about Green Lantern and the Harlequin

Harlequin then staged another encounter with the Green Lantern. As Scott dealt with her gang she changed into her civvies and jumped off a roof, pretending that Harlequin had pushed her off whilst fleeing. Though Green Lantern did save her, he did not pay any attention to her. Rather, he was fuming that saving Miss Maynne had allowed the Harlequin to flee.

Big wedding

The secretary realised that Green Lantern only paid attention toward crime-fighting. Thus, she could only catch his attention as the criminal Harlequin. Harlequin thus took the bull by the horns and posted a classified. Either Green Lantern would marry her and she would stop her crimes forever, or she would blow up the State Treasury.

Why, yes, it’s a Robert Kanigher story. Why do you ask ?

The confrontation at the State Treasury looked like a disaster. The Harlequin took mental control of Doiby, who seemingly acquired super-strength and wrecked the building. Her gang attacked the police to rob the ruins, and as he intervened Green Lantern was knocked out by an explosion.

When the emerald gladiator returned to the fray, the Harlequin led him through a secret underground passage to city hall. Once there she hypnotised him into compliance and had the marriage ceremony take place.

Green Lantern’s ring was used as the wedding ring. But when it was on the Harlequin’s finger, it subjected her to intense mental stress. She threw the ring away and was forced to flee. As he recovered his free will and his ring, Green Lantern discovered that the State Treasury was intact. Its wrecking had been an illusion cast by the Harlequin’s glasses.

Repent, Harlequin ! said the master of light

Harlequin soon issued another challenge to Green Lantern through the press. This was big news, as their clashes were the talk of the town and the Harlequin was popular. She announced that the Green Lantern hadn’t arrested her because he secretly loved her, and that she could even have him help her commit a crime out of love.

As they discussed over the newspaper, Miss Maynne bet her boss Alan Scott that the Harlequin’s word would be true.

She won. The Harlequin disguised herself as an old lady, and “accidentally” fired Doiby’s flare gun to summon Green Lantern. She then pretended to be attacked by the Harlequin gang. When she dropped her disguise/illusion, GL realised that he had been helping Harlequin escape with a satchel full of stolen banknotes.

Molly Maynne and Alan Scott reminisce

The police arrested Green Lantern, but the Harlequin came back. She captured Green Lantern while he was in the police cruiser. Molly then drove around town so everyone could see the still-stunned Green Lantern riding next to her in the Harlequin Car.

Wanting to prove that Green Lantern secretly loved her, she had her gang tie her to a windmill. She then had them go rob a store – telling them that Green Lantern would rather save her from the windmill than stop the robbery.

Why, yes, it’s a Robert Kanigher story. Why do you ask ?

Her gang betrayed the Harlequin, planning to kill Green Lantern and let her die. Green Lantern defeated them before they could steal precious jade pieces, then came back to free and arrest the Harlequin. He saved her life from the treachery of the gangsters then took her to the hospital… where she immediately escaped.

Injustice Society

Further wacky hijinks along a similar vein ensued during the whole of 1948.

One case stands out. For a brief time the Harlequin joined the second roster of the Injustice Society assembled by the Wizard (Huntress (Paula Brooks), Sportsmaster (“Crusher” Crock), Icicle (Joar Makent), and Fiddler (Isaac Bowin)).

Recruited as an apparent super-villain, the Harlequin almost immediately betrayed the Society. She was afraid that they would hurt Green Lantern. She went to the Justice Society and warned them of the “patriotic crimes” competition the villains were about to launch – but Sportsmaster and Icicle captured everyone.

As JSA ally Black Canary (Dinah Lance) investigated, she was also captured. However, she and the Harlequin teamed up to escape and free the other heroes. Though the JSA and the Harlequin were recaptured, Molly and Dinah engineered another escape and the good guys prevailed. Harlequin vamoosed in the aftermath, and Black Canary joined the JSA.

G-Maynne

A few months later, after he once again arrested Harlequin, Green Lantern learned the truth. Harlequin had been actually working undercover for the FBI as Operative H-9. This had probably been the case since the fake demolition of the State Treasury.

Harlequin (Molly Maynne) and Lois Lane

At the close of 1948 Molly finally admitted to herself that this wasn’t going anywhere. She’d never be in a relationship with Green Lantern. She seldom interacted with him again, though she worked a few more times for the FBI. One also gets the impression that she left her job at WXYZ Radio in 1949.

From an interview she gave in 1993, it seems that she became a studio intern at the Gotham Broadcast Center. From there she had a long career with the then-nascent television industry.

During the early 1950s, Harlequin helped the FBI break a Communist espionage ring in Gotham. Though she was reluctant to get involved, the spies held a baby hostage to protect their secret, forcing her hand. Green Lantern and the Harlequin took out the spies, and Maynne carried the baby to her Federal handlers.

She again told Green Lantern that she loved him, and for the first time Scott realised that it was mutual. But by the time he could react she was gone.

(The captions have this story take place in 1949. This isn’t coherent with other captions and bits of dialogue – so it probably took place a few years later.)

At an unclear point (the late 1960s ?) Molly led a sting operation for the Bureau. This turned to be a trap – the Sportsmaster had organised it so he could kill her in revenge for her betrayal of the Injustice Society of the World back in ’48.

However, Green Lantern had asked Superman (Clark Kent) to protect Harlequin, which he easily did. Especially after Harlequin saved Kent’s wife Lois from her bloodthirsty “accomplices”.

(The DC First- Green Lantern/Green Lantern one-shot features an appearance of Molly that is chronologically impossible, especially since it’s a retelling of a 1965 story. Molly’s very minor appearance in this book will be ignored here.)

Crisis on infinite hearts, part 1

Circa 1983, Molly met one Rose Canton, presumably on the island of Tashmi. Rose had been a Golden Age super-villain when under the control of the Thorn, her evil personality. In unknown circumstances, Rose told her whole life story to Molly.

Among others things, Ms. Maynne learned that Alan Scott was Green Lantern. Furthermore Rose, under the fake identity “Alyx Florin”, had married him. The marriage was brief as “Alyx” seemingly died in a conflagration. Molly also learned, with more details than she would have liked, that Rose had been left pregnant with twins. She abandoned them to keep them safe from the Thorn.

Not too long later, Molly saw Jade (Jennifer-Lynn Hayden) on TV. She came to suspect that she was one of the two children whom Scott didn’t know he had. After learning that Jade had a super-powered brother named Obsidian (Todd Rice), Harlequin decided to have a closer look at them.

As Harlequin, she attended the 1985 press conference organised by the kids’ team, Infinity, Inc. After a brief clash with the Infinitors she vanished.

Marriage of Harlequin and Green Lantern

A short time later, the Thorn attacked Scott, Hayden and Rice – even though Maynne, who discovered that she had reverted to her villainous persona, had warned her not to. As the Harlequin, Molly foiled the Thorn’s murder attempt, but the villainess then regained the upper hand. Thorn was only stopped by Rose Canton retaking control and committing suicide to prevent her evil side from murdering her children.

Crisis on infinite hearts, part 2

Molly told Green Lantern, Jade and Obsidian everything she knew about Rose.&esmp;Hayden and Rice thus learned who were their biological parents. She also unmasked, telling Scott that she was retiring as the Harlequin since she was now well in her 50s. This time Scott stopped her in time to tell her that he loved her. They decided to marry with Jade’s encouragements.

The ceremony took place but days later. It was attended by the full roster of the JSA and Infinity, Inc. – and even Doiby Dickles, who now lived in another galaxy. Maynne and Scott again used the Green Lantern ring as a wedding ring for the ceremony, without ill effects this time since Molly’s action weren’t unethical.

The post-wedding reception ended with a bang. Harbinger (Lyla Michael) teleported out Molly and most heroes present to fight on the side of the Monitor during the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

During the Crisis, Harlequin’s native Earth-2 was erased from existence. She and Alan were now natives of New Earth. As far as can be determined, the retcons  had very little effect on her life.

(Harlequin is briefly seen among the villains during Crisis. A possible hypothesis is that this person was a therefore unknown Harlequin from another Earth.)

No woman escapes the Manhunters, part 1

A short time after the Crisis, Green Lantern and the rest of the JSA disappeared to another dimension. There, they were to eternally forestall Ragnarok and prevent the destruction of the new universe. Mrs. Scott’s marriage was thus over before she could finish unpacking the wedding presents.

Alan Scott had recently started a new media venture in L.A. – the KGLX radio. He had hired Molly as his associate and HR manager. With him gone, Molly inherited half the business, with Jenny-Lynn and Todd owning the other half.

Since KGLX was more of a youth-oriented station, Molly associated Alan’s children to the running of the station. Though his sister was more concerned with her acting career, Todd helped secure a number of advertiser accounts. Molly also hired Marcie Cooper, a friend of Obsidian and Northwind who was looking for a job.

Harlequin (Molly Maynne) robs a bank with robot dolls

Unbeknownst to Maynne-Scott, Cooper was actually a Manhunters agent tasked with keeping tabs on Infinity, Inc. With Northwind having gone missing, Cooper seduced Obsidian instead. She then stole Molly’s old Harlequin glasses.

As the Millennium crisis erupted, Cooper was activated and revealed herself as the new Harlequin, wearing Molly’s glasses but sporting an original costume. However, her attempt to make Obsidian a Manhunters agent failed.

No woman escapes the Manhunters, part 2

Undeterred, the new Harlequin moved to the next stage of her mission – eliminate 2 loose ends. Her targets were Molly Maynne-Scott and Cooper’s own grandfather Dan Richards, who had been the first heroic Manhunter during WWII. Conveniently, Richards was then visiting Maynne to compare old notes about the Manhunters cult.

Cooper turned Richards’s faithful dog Thor against him, revealing that the canine had been a Manhunter robot all along. Though Richards was too shocked to react, Maynne delayed Thor by stabbing it with a kitchen knife. She then apparently destroyed it by ramming it with her car. However, the Harlequin used an illusion to send Molly’s car crashing.

Dan Richards wasn’t badly wounded and got Molly, who had an arm and a leg broken, out of the wreck in time. In a later confrontation with his granddaughter, Dan Richards destroyed the Harlequin spectacles so Marcie couldn’t use them.

What happened with KGLX is unrevealed, but Molly Maynne-Scott clearly continued working in L.A.’s broadcast media scene. She returned to the television industry when radio became less sustainable. She eventually rose to the position of Station Manager of TV-18.

In 1993, she would receive a National Association of Broadcasters award for her work to promote television coverage of community and minority issues.

Unwidowed

In 1991, Molly and the 3 Green Lanterns of Earth had visions of a soul splinter of Alan Scott. It haunted Alan’s old lantern and declared that the actual Alan to still be alive. Hal Jordan started looking for Scott. Some months later, Waveride (Matthew Ryder) returned the JSA from the dimension where they had been eternally fighting, and Alan and Molly were happily reunited.

They continued to build up a familial relationship with Alan’s children. Alan also resumed being active as Green Lantern. Being men out of their time, the returned JSA members and their immediate family, such as Molly Maynne-Scott, also regularly socialised. Molly was thus present when the JSA and families investigated the fate of Bahdnesia, which had fallen under the control of Pol St. Germain.

Molly Mayne (formerly Harlequin) and Dan Richards (formerly Manhunter) vs. the robot Thor dog

In 1995, Alan was somehow rejuvenated. Minutes later he was accosted by a new Harlequin (name unrevealed). This Harlequin was a deranged young woman with illusion-casting powers who had a romantic obsession about him and wanted to take Molly’s place as his wife.

Green Lantern struggled against her illusions, and when the newcomer assaulted Molly he found enough anger in himself to drive the new Harlequin away. Scott stayed rejuvenated after the fight. He had originally thought that it was an illusion by the new Harlequin, but it was an effect he had subconsciously induced.

After the death of several of his JSA comrades at the hands at Extant, Green Lantern retired. He gave his ring to Kyle Rayner.&emps;But Mr. Scott eventually realised that he couldn’t just stand by. Discovering that he had internalised the green flame and could produce it without wearing a ring, he became Sentinel.

Soulless eyes

However, Alan’s rejuvenation had created a rift in their marriage. After several months of increasing unease, Molly received a black candle and, in a moment of despair and anger at the effects of age, wished to have her youth back. The deal was granted, but it cost her her soul — which her husband immediately realised.

Molly was again a young, beautiful Harlequin, with a new costume and a power to manifest nightmares. But her eyes were devoid of their spark and she didn’t have Molly’s personality.

The universe was then reeling from the evil magic of the Hell-Lord Neron, who among many other things had sent the candle. The mysterious Phantom Stranger agreed to help Sentinel assemble a team to go to Hell and recover Molly’s soul. The team was Jim Corrigan (host of the Spectre), Zatanna Zatara, Fate (Jared Stevens) and Deadman (Boston Brand).

At the conclusion of the Neron crisis, there were two Mollies — the young soulless one and the real one. Being split into two persons and her experiences in Hell left the real Molly sick and weakened. Sentinel resolved to destroy the soulless one to magically revitalise her wife, and kidnapped the new Harlequin with Kyle Rayner’s help.

The soulless Harlequin conjures the undead against Green Lantern (Alan Scott)

The soulless Harlequin using her nightmare power.

The Harlequin was as obsessively in love with Alan as Molly had ever been. She pleaded that her life had just begun whereas the real Molly was near death. Scott steeled himself and used the green flame and drain the Harlequin’s vitality and give it back to his wife. Molly recovered the full health that she had before the new Harlequin was created from her, though she kept her real age.

The experience healed part of the rift between them. Alan started using the green flame to look his real age when he was with Molly.

In 1999 Alan lost control of the green flame, and thought that it would consume him. The intervention of Green Lantern (Jennifer-Lynn Hayden) and Green Arrow (Connor Hawke) helped him reject the green flame without major damage. The rejuvenation wore off, and he essentially found himself back with his Golden Age Green Lantern powers.

Ten years later, Solomon Grundy attacked the Scotts’ home to destroy Alan’s lantern of power. Molly attempted to stop him and had to be hospitalised. Though she had nothing broken, the home they had built was now a crater. It was soon rebuilt, though.


Description

See illustration.


Personality

During the Golden Age, the Harlequin’s goal is to catch Green Lantern’s attention and flirt with him. Thus, she acts cool, vivacious, clever and flirtatious. She actually seems to have fun conducting her “crimes”, which helps. Or at least it does until her plans go sour, usually because other criminals (often her own gang) turn against her.

Molly is gaga about Green Lantern. She comes across as being both very much in control of her plans and their execution, and childlike in her attempts to have GL like her or force his hand to marry her.

A likely rationalisation is that she’s very young during her appearances, perhaps as young as 16. Being tall and statuesque she could easily lie about her age to be hired by WXYZ radio, and her Gojira-sized crush on Green Lantern does come across as adolescent.

Yes, the behaviour of all Robert Kanigher characters is child-like, but this is a rationalisation. In this hypothesis, being the Harlequin was a teenaged phase. This is also supported by a 1995 story stating that Molly is 65.

Outside of her somewhat pathetic yet pixie-ish attempts at catching Green Lantern’s fancy the Harlequin is courageous, vital and particularly smart. She is often able to think a few steps ahead of her likely opponents and trick them.

On the other hand she tends to be a tad too rash and proud. She is always surprised by her gang’s sudden yet inevitable betrayal as she cannot reapply her mesmeric control on them due to circumstances.

Harlequin, Green Lantern, Jade and Obsidian

An important factor behind the Harlequin’s behaviour was Green Lantern’s own. Scott remained stony-faced and entirely dedicated to the pursuit of justice. He would not accept any distraction from that.

Furthermore he couldn’t consort with a known criminal under any pretext – even though the Harlequin’s “crimes” were nearly harmless and facilitated arresting known criminals.

Nothing but a heartache

The usual Kanigher theme of childlike men avoiding matrimony like Samson avoids hair clippers was also present. This all put the marriage-obsessed Harlequin in a no-win situation. On the other hand, Green Lantern never removed Harlequin’s spectacles before putting her in jail, allowing her to escape within minutes. It all came across as some sort of weird theatre.

The Harlequin was famous for always keeping her word, though she occasionally got creative about it. This was an important part of her popularity with Gothamites.

As an older woman, Molly no longer is an adventurer. She has ordinary concerns with her job and home life. Being out of practice, she has no exceptional ability to deal with the supernatural and other horrific crises in Sentinel’s life.

On the other hand, she has been around the block once or twice, so she worries but doesn’t freak out in less creepy situations. She proved able to physically deal with such scary and violent events as being unexpectedly attacked by the canine equivalent to a Terminator. A kaiju  attack did not particularly impress her either.


Quotes

(Barging into a criminal hideout) “Meet your new boss — the Harlequin. Now that ‘Kill ’em’ Kid’s in jail, I’m taking over ! Drop that gun !”

“That’s only the beginning, Green Lantern ! You saw what Doiby can do ! And I’m the only one who can control him ! Now — are you ready to give up and marry me ?”

“It’s no use fighting against it, Lantern ! You know you’re in love with me, admit it !”

“All right ! I’ll show him ! I’ll *make* him look at me !”

(In 1995, to Jade) “When I married your father, it wasn’t for the quiet home life.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Harlequin (in her prime)

Dex: 06 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Thrill
Int: 05 Wil: 05 Min: 05 Occupation: Secretary
Inf: 06 Aur: 05 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 019 HP: 040

Skills:
Artist (Actress)*: 05, Gadgetry (Identify Gadgets)*: 05, Martial Artist: 05, Thief: 06, Vehicles (Air, land): 05, Weapon (Firearms): 04, Weaponry (Mandolin): 08

Advantages
Familiarity (Quick change artistry ; Green Lantern (Alan Scott) lore found in the press and on the grapevine ; Parachute jumping).

Connections:
Underworld (Low), Federal Bureau of Investigation (Low).

Drawbacks:
Secret ID.

Equipment:

  • Mandolin [BODY 05, EV 03 (04 w/STR, 06 w/Martial Artist)] w/Telescoping handle [BODY 02, Enhanced Initiative: 06, Ammo: 01, Bonus: Once extended the Mandolin has Multi-Attack 1 ; Note: the Ammo lasts for but one Attack ; using Enhanced Initiative must be committed to during the previous Phase and the Ammo will be expanded no matter what].
  • Pointy hat [BODY 04, EV 02, Bonus: EV can reinforce the Harlequin’s EV when she is Grappled or Wrestled, as per melee weapons rules].
  • HARLEQUIN CAR [STR 06 BODY 06, Flash: 04, Radio communication: 09, Running: 06, Advantage: the car can use its STR to restrain a person perched on the spare wheel, Limitations: Flash only for steady front illumination, Radio communication uses the telephone network].
  • 3 APs Omni-Gadget ABCD. Examples have included a trick pen doubling as a low-powered cutting torch (Heat Vision), or a string from her mandolin that could be used as a lasso (Stretching).
  • Special spectacles [BODY 03, Chameleon: 01, Flash: 07, Hypnosis: 08, Illusion: 11, Invisibility: 04, Lightning: 09, Mental Paralysis: 12, X-Ray vision: 09, Bonuses & Limitations:
    • Chameleon negates the penalties from lack of time and equipment when the Harlequin uses Actor (Actress) to disguise herself.
    • Flash can also be used without a Range, and will then affect anybody looking at her within 6 APs of Range.
    • Hypnosis has a Range of but 01 AP.
    • Illusion has a +12 Special Volume Bonus.
    • Illusion is stationary, and has a Range of 06 APs.
    • Illusion is not picked up by artificial sight, such as video cameras – and presumably doesn’t affect robots.
    • Illusion is Minor Marginal unless it is simply used to create an illusion that something is a short distance away from its actual location.
    • Invisibility consumes one Dice Action and one Automatic Action per Phase of use. It can be shared with somebody she is holding, but this person will also lose these Actions.
    • Invisibility is broken if the invisible person experiences pain, or otherwise has their concentration broken.
    • Lightning is Diminishing.
    • Lightning can be used to shock people trying to get the glasses off her – this is but an Automatic Action using full APs of Lightning as the AV, but Harlequin must be wearing the glasses.
    • Mental Paralysis is Minor Marginal and has a Range of but 01 AP.
    • X-Ray Vision only works through unprocessed stone, and is apparently Always On.]

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: DC Universe (primarily Golden Age stories).

Helper(s): John Colagioia, Darci.

Writeup completed on the 27th of October, 2013.

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