Mademoiselle Marie of Checkmate (Tautin) (DC Comics)

Mademoiselle Marie

(Josephine Tautin)


This Mademoiselle Marie appeared in DC Comics’ Checkmate vol. 2 #1-25, a terrific series written by Greg Rucka. It ran from 2006 to 2008.

This version of Checkmate is a United Nation high-octane super-agents outfit dealing with metahuman affairs and major crises. It’s a clear inheritor of the Ostrander/Yale Suicide Squad.

Mademoiselle Marie (Joséphine Tautin) herself is a French military intelligence badass serving as the personal enforcer of one of Checkmate’s directors. She comes with a cool historical background we’re going to explain in detail.


  • Real Name: Joséphine Isabelle Tautin.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Parents (names unrevealed, deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: Former trooper of the Septième Bataillon de Chasseurs Alpins ; Former DGSE agent ; Knight to Checkmate’s Black Queen.
  • Base Of Operations: Checkmate’s Castle, Switzerland.
  • Height: 5’7” Weight: 125 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Brownish red


Powers and Abilities

The current Mademoiselle Marie is an intensively trained and phenomenally disciplined field agent, spy and special operations soldier.

As a Checkmate Knight she occasionally operates as a one-woman commando team. Anything between her and her objective will get blown up, shot between the eyes, murdered and/or brained with a rock, depending upon circumstances and how much ammunition she has left.

Tautin is essentially the Gallic equivalent of Jack Bauer. According to Sasha Bordeaux and her UN handlers she’s one of the very best intelligence officers in the world.

Mademoiselle Marie has not really been seen operating as a spy. But as a commando she’s a machine, capable of delivering four headshots in as many seconds in an open gunfight. Our game stats assume that as an elite agent type she’d be out of her depth against skilled super-humans and near-superhumans, so they’re conservative.

Her performance gives the impression that her military training includes elite mountain infantry (chasseur alpin) training (she’s an excellent rock climber), a GIGN-type small arms training regimen, and CPEOM training with commando-marine experience.

The latter was presumably acquired with special forces unit Commando Hubert . Since she’s both a HALO-qualified jumper and a combat diver.


Other assets

Tautin is in exceptional physical shape, and can fully recover from even severe wounds in a surprisingly short time. She’s also smart and experienced, and reads people accurately.

The weapons have varied in the art. Her main weapon have been a P-90, what may have been an UMP45, what may have been a M4, and what may have been a G36. Our DC Heroes stats assume a weapons selection based on common choices for French special forces.

The Mademoiselle Marie tradition

“Mademoiselle Marie” is a traditional code name in the DCU’s France. Its roots lie in the late XVIIIth century. It is always borne by a woman fighting out of patriotism as a solo agent.

”Mademoiselle Marie” is not an official rank, and seems to be transmitted from one Mademoiselle to the next – or just picked up if the previous Mademoiselle dies before she can designate a successor.

By tradition, Mademoiselle Marie can only have one love — France — and must be ever ready to shed her blood and die for her country. She can know no hesitation or weakness in service. The traditional battle cry of Mademoiselle Marie is simply “Vive la France” (“So that France may live”).

Each Mademoiselle Marie has owned, as a symbol of service, the same relic from the first Marie – a bloodstained white piece of cloth symbolising sacrifice. This was part of the first Marie’s white mask, which she used it to bandage a gunshot wound to the arm.

1790s – Elisabeth de Sainte-Marie

The original Mademoiselle Marie was Madame Elisabeth de Sainte-Marie, a noblewoman who fought during the Revolutionary times to save innocents from the newly-crafted guillotine. She wore a trailing white bandit d’honneur mask. In 1791 saved the Comte de Nevers from summary execution as he fled from France.

Presumably, de Nevers was reacting to the recent laws from the Assemblée Législative criminalising French nobles fleeing abroad.

Note that historically there was no Comte de Nevers in 1791. The line died with Guillaume the fifth in 1181, and the title became a duchy in 1539. Presumably the man in question was Louis-Jules Mancini-Mazarini, Duke of Nivernais and of Donziois and thus Duke of Nevers.

Madame de Sainte-Marie’s other exploits are not known.

1830 – Margot de Mortain

The Comtesse Margot de Mortain was seen in action in 1830, during the birth of the July Monarchy . When Charles X proclaimed various coercive laws, the people rose against him and the situation swiftly escalated to a revolution.

For several days, it was unclear whether France would revert to being a Republic or remain a Monarchy (though a more liberal one). The bourgeois wanted Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orléans, to become the next King. Meanwhile, the Republicains were attempting to organise at the Hôtel de Ville.

The hugely popular Maréchal de La Fayette  was a key actor, and having him support the Duke of Orléans was rightly seen as a necessary condition to shift Republican support behind Louis-Philippe. De La Fayette was also courted by Republicans to become President, though he was less than enthusiastic at this prospect.

La Mortain was a personal emissary and enforcer serving de La Fayette, and was escorting Louis-Philippe for a decisive meeting with the Marquis de La Fayette. On DCU Earth, 2 assassins sent by Charles X infiltrated the Hôtel de Ville to kill de La Fayette and d‘Orléans. De Mortain slew both killers using throwing spikes hidden in her clothing, but was run through with a sabre in return.

As she died she ushered de La Fayette and d‘Orléans to appear together on the balcony of the Hôtel de Ville, a moment that cemented the legitimacy of Louis-Philippe and created the July Monarchy.

1910s – Marie Salomon

Marie Salomon was an actress and model operating during World War I, presumably as a spy and seducer. She famously defended la Voie Sacrée  (the Sacred Road) during the Battle of Verdun.

Verdun occured in 1916, when the German forces attempted to defeat the French defences by bleeding them dry in one massive battle. Concentrating their assets, the German troops attacked five-to-one, but the line held.

There was but one way for reinforcements to reach Verdun, using a minor road in poor repair to ferry hundreds of thousand of tonnes of gear and hundreds of thousand of soldiers every month. This road would later be called the Sacred Road, as a reference to a Roman tradition.

Salomon’s role is unknown, through from the art it involved the elite fighter squadrons maintaining air superiority over the Road. Perhaps she acquired intelligence helping to intercept German aerial attacks.

1940s – Zoé Magnier

There were four Mademoiselle Marie during WWII, serving with various arms of the Free French and the Resistance. Those are the best-known ones – today many French people in the DCU, even in the military, believe that “Mademoiselle Marie” was one of the French Resistance code names rather than an older tradition.

Zoé Magnier fought in 1940 and possibly beyond. She served with the General de Gaulle  and one of his key supporters, French-Guyanese administrator Félix Éboué  when they established Free France based on colonial holdings in Africa.

Free France started in Chad and was extended toward the Southwest as the Free French fought Vichy forces with British naval support. Mademoiselle Marie (Magnier) took part in the Battle of Gabon  in October and November of 1940, where rag-tag forces comprising Foreign Legion troops and various African French units took Congo, Cameroon and Gabon.

Magnier was the first to don a red beret that was worn by all four Maries during the war. We assume that it belonged to a British soldier who also fought in Africa, since the red beret was almost solely a British thing back then.

1940s – Simone Michel-Levy

In 1942 Simone Michel-Levy was an agent of the Brotherhood of Notre-Dame , the largest intelligence network of the French Resistance. The Brotherhood was a key source of intelligence for Allied forces from late 1940 until the Libération. Mademoiselle Marie (Michel-Levy) was instrumental in the preparation of Operation : Biting .

The Biting raid in Bruneval was a British commando raid to destroy a key Nazi radar installation, and capture the equipment so as to analyse it. The raid was a complete success, largely thanks to Brotherhood intelligence. Mademoiselle Marie was apparently physically present and fought along with the commandos.

After Bruneval, Allied forces developed means to jam German radar that provided a significant advantage during the rest of the war. Biting was also a key experience that shaped various other raids and commando actions, up to Operation : Overlord.

1940s – Anaïs Guillot

Anaïs Guillot fought in 1943 and 1944, and possibly 1942. She is the best-known Mademoiselle Marie due to her recurrent association with Sergeant Rock and Easy Company during the liberation of France.

Guillot was a feared spy and fighter, and the leader of her own Resistance network, presumably associated with the FTP (Francs-Tireurs et Partisans – Snipers and Partisans) Communist Resistance networks.

This Mademoiselle Marie fought during the Battle of the Vercors – a wild mountainous area in central France where several Maquis networks built up their strength. Though this was a strategic mistake (the partisans would have been more efficient in smaller, more mobile groups) the Vercors maquis did the job when they were activated in parallel to Operation : Overlord.

The fighting in Vercors against the occupier throughout July, 1944 created a huge diversion and forced thousands of German troops to remain in central France, away from the actual attack.

Guillot emerged alive from the Battle of the Vercors, but was executed on the 7th of October, 1944. She died whilst attempting to kill the Colonel commanding the Abbey of Fontevraud.

This famous building, built in 1101, had been transformed into a prison by Napoleon I and used as such by the occupier in the 1940s. It was a particularly harsh prison were many partisans died, and the Colonel was known as the Butcher of Fontevraud.

Sabine Roth

When Guillot fell, a schoolgirl named Sabine Roth took the beret of the heroine. Since she fluently spoke German, Roth served as a handmaiden for the Nazis. Hiding the prized beret in her clothing, she discovered that an assassin’s garrotte had been sewed inside, and used it to kill the Butcher of Fontevraud.

Roth is the only Mademoiselle Marie who survived the war. How Magnier and Michel-Levy fell is unchronicled.

The rest of Roth’s exploits during the Liberation is unknown. It seems that she eventually joined French intelligence services, at this time the SDECE. When she was seen in the late 1990s, as an old woman, she obviously had significant pull within the French military and intelligence world.

Roth owns a crypt in the French Alps. This was a large medieval basement holding the tombs of the previous Mademoiselle Maries and a small private museum with many of the weapons and distinctive pieces of clothing they used. How many Mademoiselle Maries there were is unrevealed.

From a remark Sasha Bordeaux made, it would seem that even Checkmate thinks that “Mademoiselle Marie” is a DGSE title rather than a much older tradition.


Joséphine Tautin apparently enlisted with the military of her native France when she was 18 or 19. She joined a well-regarded mountain infantry unit with a long history, the Seventh Battalion of Chasseurs Alpins (whose motto is “battalion of iron, battalion of steel”).

Mademoiselle Marie (Josephine Tautin) parachuting

An intelligent, physically gifted soldier, she was considered to be a very strong potential for intelligence and special operations work.

The young Tautin became the lover of one Thierry Desmarais, a French civil servant who was apparently working with French intelligence agency the DGSE. At 21, she was recruited by the DGSE, achieving top marks during her training courses.

Desmarais also introduced Tautin to one “madame Sabine”. Though the insolent Tautin did not realise that the elderly woman was Resistance heroine Sabine Roth, Roth came to consider that Tautin was potentially the next Mademoiselle Marie.

Tautin became a top intelligence agent, working undercover for 3 years in North Africa as part of Operation : Red Flag. She also single-handedly rescued and evacuated a cell in Turkey in unknown circumstances. Twice decorated and with a special recommendation, she was seconded to the Action Division.

As such, she was a special operations soldier detailed to the intelligence services. Tautin received a second special commendation after a DGSE operation code-named Sweephand.

(Unless the timing was different in the DCU that would indicate that Tautin was with the DGSE in the 1980s, since the Action Division was phased out 1987. Presumably she ages at comic book rates.)

Tautin remained Desmarais’s companion, and was monitored by Ms. Roth. However, she also acquired a track record of reprimands and disciplinary actions for her insolence and mediocre ability to actually follow orders. One assumes that she was only retained due to her exceptional efficiency in the field and initiative-taking ability.

La vie en rouge

Durng the 1990s Roth showed her crypt to Tautin. She explained that, whilst Joséphine had the skills she obviously lacked the discipline to be Roth’s successor. Roth obliquely told Tautin that she still had a chance to bear the name, by sacrificing her private life in a demonstration of self-control and turning her life around to learn true discipline.

Tautin initially let go of the implicit offer, being unwilling to abandon her life with Thierry Desmarais in the name of patriotism. However, a short time later, Thierry proposed marriage, and Joséphine realised with a sinking feeling that she couldn’t live with herself without being Mademoiselle Marie.

Mademoiselle Marie (Josephine Tautin) bleeding after her recruitment test

She painfully declined his proposal and told Roth that she was ready. Desmarais became an UN employee and eventually married another woman. They had a daughter, Madeleine.

In 1999, Roth took Tautin to the crypt and sworn her in to be the new Mademoiselle Marie.

Tautin’s activities as Mademoiselle Marie are unrevealed. It is possible that she worked outside the normal chain of command and directly for Roth, if Roth is indeed a senior DGSE officer.

Le machin

In 2006, the Checkmate organisation was repurposed as a UN agency monitoring superhuman activities. It employed a carefully balanced mix of human and superhuman agents. These were code-named after chess pieces – a tradition inherited from the previous version of Checkmate.

Each of the Kings and Queens was given one Knight (two black Knights, two white Knights) to serve as a bodyguard, enforcer and special agent. The Knight recruited to serve the Black Queen (Sasha Bordeaux) was one Jonah McCarthy, an intelligence agent who had worked for the previous version of Checkmate. However, McCarthy was shot dead while storming a Kobra base.

Checkmate called for all UN member countries to submit their best and brightest operatives to become the Black Queen’s Knight. The chance to place an agent at a high level within Checkmate being of strategic importance, the applicants were indeed the best, and the selection process was particularly tough.

Tautin beat the entirety of the brutal selection process. She emerged as the last person standing out of 40+ candidates. Joséphine became the new Black Queen’s Knight and Sasha Bordeaux’s personal agent.

Black Queen’s Knight

As one of the 4 Knights, Tautin was detailed to a joint Checkmate/Outsiders operation on Oolong Island. There, she worked in the field with the Black Queen. During the operation, the dutiful Tautin was ordered by the Black Queen to leave her behind to be captured, in order to complete the mission.

The joint team that included Tautin was successful. They then doubled back to recover the prisoners – the Black Queen and two Outsiders. They were tricked and walked into another trap, but they fought their way out and located the prisoners. Thanks to Batman, all prisoners were recovered, though Bordeaux was in pretty bad shape.

The regenerated Black Queen then investigated the clandestine operations of the White Queen (Amanda Waller). It became clear that Waller and her staff were still involved with US government black ops conflicting with Checkmate’s mandate.

While investigating a suspect site, Bordeaux and Tautin were sniper-ambushed by Deadshot, from Waller’s Suicide Squad. However the shot had to be taken from an extreme range, and the lucky and exceptionally robust Tautin narrowly survived the hit without permanent damage.

The trap had been set by Waller and the US Department of State to weaken the Black Queen’s political capital. It ultimately failed and backfired, with Waller (plus her Knight (Werner Vertigo) and her Bishop (King Faraday)) being forced to resign and the US’s influence over Checkmate weakened.

The Black Queen’s Knight recovered remarkably quickly and soon resumed her hideously intensive training and readiness routine.

À feu et à sang

The Secretary General of the UN then asked a favour from Checkmate. Thierry Desmarais, now a senior UN official, was coordinating humanitarian efforts in the ravaged country of Bialya after it was attacked by Black Adam. The camps he was running were the only hope of survival for a quarter-million Bialyans.

Despite the dire situation, Bialyan nationalists wanted the UN out. They kidnapped Desmarais’s daughter Madeleine. Since none of the UN’s people could hope to beat the ludicrous 48 hours deadline, Bordeaux detailed her Knight to handle the matter.

Mademoiselle Marie (Josephine Tautin) with a smoking assault rifle

Using old DGSE contacts, Tautin located the hostage in record time, leaving a trail of bodies after an informer tried to double-cross her. She single-handedly stormed the nationalist camp and killed all armed opponents therein, rescuing Madeleine Desmarais and returning her, unhurt, to her parents.

During her assault she ran into a camera crew. When one of the nationalists tried to take a journalist hostage, Tautin shot the hostage-taker dead without breaking stride. This slaying was caught on-camera, triggering a minor scandal for the UN.

The Secretary-General had to ask for Tautin to be disciplined and fired. Bordeaux retained her services without even a slap on the wrist, considering that Jo had delivered a hell of a job.

All Knights were later deployed to support Superman while storming a Kobra base to foil an apocalyptic plot, then joined Operation : Grassbeater, the enormous international effort to fully defuse the Kobra machination.

Tautin has not been seen since – it is possible that she has been detailed by Bordeaux on some undercover work.


Tautin is a muscular, very fit and athletic woman in her early 30s, of average height.

She has marked shadows under her eyes and practically never smiles.

With some preparation (and foundation to hide the eye shadows and minor scars) she can become remarkably attractive.


A very thorough, highly professional soldier and secret agent. She trains incessantly, works extremely hard and is utterly serious about her work.

The Black Queen’s Knight is brutally efficient and completely dedicated to accomplishing the job, by any means necessary.

Though she’s essentially a fanatic, Tautin doesn’t come across as particularly creepy to people who know her. She seems appreciated by her colleagues, and Bordeaux obviously likes and respects her.

Other traits

Though the costs of being Mademoiselle Marie are high, and the standards of conduct crushing, Tautin is very proud of bearing the name. It seems to be a mixture of patriotism, knowing that it means that she’s the best, and personal admiration for the previous bearers of the name.

Mademoiselle Marie has no mercy against the enemies of France (and by extension Checkmate). She keeps herself in an impressive state of combat readiness and projectability. She’s high speed, low drag all the way. Tautin follows her orders to the letter and without emotion, and can’t be swayed from her objectives.

The younger, far less disciplined Tautin was usually smirking, sexy and downright insolent. She had a well-established track record of not following orders terribly well as the whiz kid of French intelligence. That dramatically changed when she decided to fill the Mademoiselle Marie shoes, though.


Count Vertigo: “…what are you doing ?”
Tautin: “Whatever it takes.”
Count Vertigo: “Are you mad ?!”
Tautin: “Whatever it takes.” (Sacrifices her partner to achieve the objective)

“I will expect you at the RZ with the information I need. One hour. Don’t make me come find you.”

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Mademoiselle Marie (Joséphine Tautin)

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 05 Motivation: Soldier
Int: 06 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: Field agent
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 003
Init: 018 HP: 025

Regeneration: 01

Bonuses and Limitations:
Regeneration is Form Function.

Acrobatics (Climbing): 05, Artist (Actress): 05, Charisma: 05, Medicine (First aid): 04, Martial Artist*: 05, Military science: 05, Vehicles (Sea, land): 05, Thief: 05, Weaponry (Infantry weapons): 06

Credentials (Checkmate, Medium ; DGSE, Low), Expertise (Military equipment and protocols, Wilderness survival, Parachuting, Undercover operations, Special operations tactics), Iron nerves, Language (French, several Arabics, presumably others), Schtick (Quick draw, Speed-shooting, Anti-mooks Schtick).

Sasha Bordeaux (Low), Checkmate (Low, from Credentials), DGSE (Low, from Credentials).

SIA toward Justice and Patriotism, Misc.: Tautin is forbidden from having a personal life.


  • .357 SIG Sig P-226 Pistol w/laser pointer [BODY 05, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 12] w/four extra magazines.
  • Scoped SIG SG-551 SWAT Assault Carbine [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 06, Ammo: 08, Telescopic vision: 03, Ultra-vision: 06, Limitation: Ultra-vision only for night vision] w/four extra magazines.
  • JUMPSUIT [BODY 06, Cold immunity: 01, Flame immunity: 02, Skin armour: 01, Limitation: Skin Armour only vs. bullets and blades].
  • .357 SIG Steyr S Pistol [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 04, Range: 03, Ammo: 10, Miniaturisation: 01, Limitation: Projectile weapon has No Range – use the listed Range instead]. A subcompact backup handgun.
  • Flashbang grenades (x2) [BODY 03, EV 02 (Area of effect 1 AP), Flash: 07 (Area of effect 2 APs), Sensory block (earring): 09, Note : all Powers are Combined, Grenade drawback, R#03].
  • Binoculars [BODY 03, Telescopic vision: 05, Ultra-vision: 07, Limitation: Ultra-vision only for night vision].
  • .338 Lapua Magnum PGM Mini-Hecate Sniper Rifle [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 07, Ammo: 10, Telescopic vision: 05]. This high-powered precision rifle is normally carried in her vehicle.
  • Combat knife [BODY 07, EV 03 (04 w/STR, 06 w/Martial Artist)].
  • Tautin is good at anticipating events and people and can be considered to have a 7 APs ABC Omni-Gadget, as long as it’s something that could reasonably be procured from her employer’s arsenals.

Game Stats — DC Adventures RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Mademoiselle Marie (Joséphine Tautin) — Averaged PL 8.4

01 03 02 04 05 03 02 02


Tactical jumpsuit ● 3 points (Removable) ● Descriptor: Kevlar, Nomex, etc.
– Protection 4 (Limited 1 to Sharp Impact).
– Protection 2, Enhanced Fortitude 2 (both Limited 1 to heat/cold/flames).

Tata flingueuse ● 18 points (Removable) ● Descriptor: Her tactical mission go-bag
Array :

  • .357 SIG Sig P-226 pistol — Ranged Ballistic Damage 3.
  • .357 SIG Steyr-S backup pistol — Ranged Ballistic Damage 3, Reduced Range 1.
  • Sig SG-551 SWAT assault carbine — Ranged Multiattack Ballistic Damage 5, Senses 1 (Extended Visual).
  • Flashbangs — Burst-Area Damage 1 Linked With Burst-Area 2 Visual+Audial Dazzle 6, Limited 1 (two grenades).
  • Binoculars — Senses 2 (Extended visual, Night vision).
  • Fighting knife — Strength-based Piercing Damage 1, Improved Critical 1.
  • .338 Lapua Magnum PGM Mini-Hecate rifle — Ranged Ballistic Damage 6, Improved Range 1, Improved Critical 1, Senses 1 (Extended visual 1), Quirk 1 (Fragile).

Combat Advantages

Chokehold, Close attack 3, Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll 3, Improved Aim, Improved Critical (Unarmed) 2, Improved Critical (Firearms) 2, Improved Critical (Knife) 1, Improved Initiative, Quick Draw, Ranged attack 3, Takedown 1.

Other Advantages

Benefit 1 (DGSE officer), Benefit 1 (Checkmate Knight), Connected, Contacts, Equipment 4 (mission-specific gear), Extraordinary effort, Languages 3 (French, several Arabics, presumably others), Luck 2 (Limited 1 to surviving wounds), Second Chance (Fear/Intimidation), Tracking.


Athletics 7 (+8), Deception 5 (+7), Expertise (Intelligence officer) 8 (+11), Expertise (Military) 8 (+11), Insight 5 (+7), Intimidation 3 (+5), Investigation 5 (+8) (Limited 1 to Search, Gather Information, Surveillance), Perception 5 (+7), Persuasion 4 (+6), Sleight of Hand 4 (+6) (Limited 1 to Concealing and Escaping), Stealth 6 (+8), Technology 5 (+8) (Limited 1 – no Jury-rigging or Inventing), Treatment 3 (+6) (Limited 2 to Stabilise and Revive), Vehicles 4 (+8) (Limited 1 to common land and sea vehicles).


Initiative +6
Unarmed +8, Close, Damage 1, Critical 18-20
Knife +8, Close, Damage 2, Critical 18-20
Firearms +10, Ranged, by type, Critical 18-20 (17-20 with the Hecate)


Dodge 9 Fortitude 8
Parry 8 Toughness 6/3*
Will 9

* Without Defensive Roll


  • Responsibility Jo Tautin is an extraordinarily driven and focused officer who’ll stop at nothing to get her mission accomplished.
  • Responsibility Being Mademoiselle Marie means that she can’t have a personal life.

Power levels

  • Trade-off areas Attack/Effect PL 8, Dodge/Toughness PL 8, Parry/Toughness PL 7, Fort/Will PL 9.
  • Point total 150 Abilities 44, Defences 20, Skills 30, Powers 0, Devices 21, Advantages 35. Equiv. PL 10.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Helper(s): Darci.

Source of Character: DC Universe (chiefly Checkmate volume 2 in the 2000s).

Writeup completed on the 4th of June, 2010.