Green Lantern I

The Harlequin

Created by Bill Finger & Martin Nodell

Green Lantern I

NAME + ALIASES:
Alan Wellington Scott, Sentinel, The White King

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Molly Maynne Scott (Harlequin, wife), Rose Canton (aka Alyx Forin, ex-wife, deceased), Jennie-Lynn Hayden (Jade, daughter, deceased), Todd James Rice (Obsidian, son)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Justice Society of America, Sentinels of Magic, Checkmate

FIRST APPEARANCE:
All-American Comics #16 (July 1940).
As Sentinel: Showcase '95 #1 (Jan. 1995)

Harlequin

NAME + ALIASES:
Molly Maynne Scott

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Alan Scott (Green Lantern, husband)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Injustice Society

FIRST APPEARANCE:
All-American Comics #89 (Sept. 1947)

History

Unlike others who bear the name "Green Lantern," Alan Scott's power does not come from the Guardians of the Universe, but from the Starheart, an magical entity once imprisoned by the Guardians. Millennia ago, the Guardians gathered "the mystic force loose in the starways" and "locked it in the heart of a star, there to remain forever." (Green Lantern #111) Unknown to them, the magic energy had become sentient and, as the Green Flame of Life, it siphoned off a small portion of its energy to serve as a force for good. (#112)

It arrived on Earth hundreds of years ago, in China, as a glowing green meteor. It proclaimed: "three times shall I flame green! First—to bring death! Second—to bring life! Third—to bring power!" A sorcerer named Chang retrieved the meteor and forged it into a lamp. Fearing that Chang's actions would anger the gods, the villagers murdered the lamp maker and, in so doing, fulfilled the Green Flame's first prophesy.

The Green Flame's eventually intersected with the fate of Yalan Gur, a dragon-like member of the Green Lantern Corps who was assigned to Earth's space sector. Gur was one of the Guardians' favored and so decided to remove his power ring's weakness to yellow. But Yalan Gur quickly became corrupted by power and attempted to dominate the people of China. They rose up against their oppressor with help from the Guardians, who altered the composition of his power battery and ring. They make its power vulnerable to wood—"the sticks of peasants, the humblest of all weapons." The wounded Green Lantern flew into Earth's atmosphere cursing the Guardians and then, losing consciousness from his wounds fell back to the planet's surface and burned on reentry. (Green Lantern v.2 #19). Simultaneously, the piece of the Starheart found Yalan Gur and merged with the dying hero, "granting him absolution if not resurrection." (Green Lantern Corps Quarterly #7) NOTE: Green Lantern #19 did not involve the Starheart, identifying the meteor as Yalan Gur's molten lantern and the voice of the Green Flame as Yalan Gur himself. The G.L.C. story reconciled the two stories.

The lantern was also said "to the bad, it brought destruction ... to the good ... luck and fortune." In the mid-1930s, the lamp was discovered by Spike Spalding and Ryan Patrick (characters inspired by Milton Caniff's "Terry and the Pirates") and it wound up in Gotham's Arkham Asylum. There, it cured the madness of an inmate named Billings, giving him a second lease on life. (Secret Origins v.2 #18)

The First Green Lantern of Earth

In 1939, the Starheart was found by Alan Scott, a construction engineer. Alan was riding a train during a test run to gauge the effectiveness of "a newly-constructed trestle bridge." But his company had underbid a rival engineer, Albert Dekker, who planted explosives along the track with the intention of killing all aboard. Alan survived only because of the train's green lantern that he'd been holding at the moment of impact. The young engineer collapsed into unconsciousness as the magic lantern filled his mind with its story.

At the lantern's mental direction, Alan fashioned a ring from it that allowed him to tap the Starheart's great power—its third promise. Perhaps influenced subconsciously by the Starheart's history, Alan adopted the identity of Green Lantern (the name of the great Corps administered by the Guardians). Fashioning a ring to channel the lantern's power, Alan used it appear as an emerald phantom. He passed through the wall of Dekker's quarters like a wraith ("I have the power of going through the Fourth Dimension") and was capable of deflecting bullets and knives when he was solid. After a wooden club dazed him, Alan jumped to the conclusion that "I'm only immune to metals." (All-American Comics #16, Secret Origins #18)

The new Green Lantern continued to walk through walls and deflect bullets. He also used the ring to create a wall of emerald force and melt steel but wood continued to defeat the hero. Scott's ability to make become intangible was on display in nearly every episode during his strip's first few years. (All-American #17)

Later in 1940, APEX radio announcer Jim Tellum was "machine-gunned to death" on the streets of Gotham. Determined to avenge the deaths of Tellum and, subsequently, his wife, Alan considered the dead man's profession. "I'm a radio engineer. If I could get a job at APEX, I might be able to get some helpful clues on this case ... And come to think of it, working for a radio broadcasting system would be a great help to me in all my activities as the Green Lantern. I'd get all the news reports first hand." (#20)

APEX's assistant manager, Mister Gates, brushed Alan aside but on his way out, Scott encountered Irene Miller, a young woman he'd recently met at the World's Fair. (#18) Irene worked at the station and was as determined to find the Tellums' killer—which turned out to be Gates. Alan's role in solving this case (and saving Irene's life) garnered the attention of the station manager, who rewarded Alan with a job (not a radio engineer, but one that utilized the electronics experience).

When an announcer at APEX fell ill at the radio station, Alan revealed hidden talents filling in for him. The company's president thanked him, commenting that "your speaking voice, incidentally, turned out to be surprisingly good... good enough to go on the air! Therefore, I'm going to let you handle the interviewing on the 'man on the street' program!" (Green Lantern #2)

Upon his discharge from the army, Alan seemed to drift from station to station: WXK (GL #10) and WCMG (#12), occasionally identified as a trouble shooter. Eventually he settled in at WXYZ, where he met his new sidekick, Charles "Doiby" Dickles. Scott was a jack-of-all-trades at WXYZ, and the manager, Mr. MacGillicuddy, told him he was "trying to do too many jobs at once… You're a good sound engineer—stick to that!" Soon after, Alan was fired when he was framed in a scam involving a gang that used radios as listening posts.

A climactic fight between Green Lantern and the thugs wrecked the WXYZ studio. Alan arrived, repaired the equipment, wrote copy for a news program and worked in the sound booth and as emcee on a new variety show. MacGillicuddy not only rehired Alan but declared him "too valuable to lose. From now on, you can hold every job in the place if you want to! You can do anything you want around here — because you can do anything!" In the final panel, Doiby walked into the office of WXYZ's new general manager—Alan Scott! (GL #20)

Postwar

Alan was a founding member of the Justice Society (All-Star Comics #3) and was instrumental in many wartime battles. After the war, he had a flirtatious relationship with the costumed villainess the Harlequin (who unbeknownst to Alan, was secretly his secretary, Molly Maynne). (All-American #89) Molly even admitted that her career as a "criminal" was just a ruse to get close to Green Lantern. (All-Star Comics #41) The Harlequin eventually turned over a new leaf, becoming an undercover agent for the FBI. (Green Lantern v.1 #34) She left Alan's life without confessing her true identity or her real feelings.

Alan subsequently met and quickly married a young woman named Alyx Florin. He was unaware that she was actually Rose Canton (a.k.a. The Thorn), a schizophrenic but reformed enemy of the Flash (Flash #89). Alyx disappeared on their wedding night, starting a fire that led Alan to believe she had died. In fact, she survived and discovered that she was pregnant with twins. The children were born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and raised separately by adoptive families as Jennifer-Lynn Hayden and Todd Rice. (Infinity, Inc. #5-6) Alyx was taken to the Amazons' Reformation Island. (Lois Lane #113)

Silver Age Revival

The Harlequin ducks out after a charade to take down the Sportsmaster. From Superman Family #206 (1981); art by Kurt Schaffenberger and Frank Chiaramonte.

Come 1965—when Alan met his successor, Hal Jordan—he was president of the company, which now included television. (Green Lantern v.2 #40) The name of the station changed one final time, to GBC (the Gotham Broadcasting Company). NOTE: Post-Crisis revisions named GBC as the station as the '50s. (Secret Origins #50) By the time Batman came on the scene, Alan had additional stations in New York and California that kept him from his home town for long stretches of time. (Batman: Gotham Knights #10)

Alan eventually paid the price for his neglect of this cornerstone. A half million dollars in debt, Alan lost control of Gotham Broadcasting. (All-Star Comics #64) It left him despondent and Green Lantern fell prey to the Psycho-Pirate, (#65) who caused him to rampage (#66) along with other members of the JSA, until Wildcat broke the spell. (#68) Relocating to Keystone City (GL v.2 #108), the humbled Alan Scott accepted a position as Jay Garrick's (the original Flash) research assistant. (Infinity, Inc. Annual #1) NOTE: At the time of publication, these stories were set on Earth-Two; it was merged with Earth-One in the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Around this time, Alan was confronted by Lo-Lanke, the immortal wife of Chang. She revealed that Chang's "servants perished at the first flame of the green fire, but he survived." Chang retained a small piece of the meteor which preserved him. When Alan's spirits were dimmed over the loss of GBC, he unwittingly enabled Chang's power to surface. In a final battle with Green Lantern, Chang was crushed to death by a huge tree; Lo-Lanke had never told her master that the emerald energy didn't work against wood. (Green Lantern #108–110)

In Metropolis, the Harlequin staged a crime under the direction of her former Injustice Society cohort, the Sportsmaster (he was still angry about her betrayal [All-Star Comics #41]). Superman saved his wife Lois foiled her, but she slipped away. The Green Lantern arrived to explain that the Harlequin actually worked undercover for the police. (Superman Family #206)

Infinity, Inc., Jade, and Obsidian

The wedding of Harlequin and Green Lantern (Dickles is best man). From Infinity, Inc. Annual #1 (1985); art by Ron Harris.

In time, Alan decided to get back into the broadcasting game and formed a partnership with old friend Molly Maynne to purchase TV-18 and radio station KGLX in Los Angeles. The professional relationship soon became a personal and Alan and Molly were wed. (Infinity, Inc. Annual #1) Their honeymoon came to an abrupt end when Green Lantern and most of the other members of the Justice Society were cast into a timeless limbo. (Last Days of the JSA #1) TV-18 thrived under Molly's guidance and, by the time the JSA was freed from limbo (Armageddon: Inferno #4), Alan Scott was able to reaquire Gotham Broadcasting. (suggested by Justice Society of America #2) (Alan's involvement with GBC was at time contradicted in DC stories.)

At some point, the Scotts moved from Los Angeles to Gotham. (between G.L. Corps Quarterly #7 and & Underworld Unleashed: Hell's Sentinel #1). In the aftermath of the Gotham earthquake, they relocated to Manhattan (G.L. Secret Files #2) and "moved what could be salvaged from his Gotham Broadcasting Company building into storage." (G.L. #110) He later changed the name to Scott Telecommunications. (G.L. Secret Files #2)

Elsewhere, his children Jennie-Lynn and Todd developed superhuman powers as a result of their father's connection to the mystic Starheart. They brother and sister did not meet until adolescence, and set out to uncover the identities of their real parents. They adopted the costumed identities of Jade and Obsidian and confronted Alan about their parentage. Truly, Alan hadn't a clue. When Rose Canton resurfaced, she revealed the circumstances of Jennie and Todd's births just before her death.

Alan began to learn a lot more about the nature of the Starheart. To everyone's surprise, the entity restored Green Lantern's youth (GL Corps Quarterly #5), and he took the new name and costume, Sentinel (Showcase '95 #1). He encountered a mysterious new Harlequin (IV), who may have been a manifestation of the Starheart, which became malevolent. The Starheart was apparently destroyed and Alan's powers were diminished and he returned to his original uniform. Jade also lost her powers during this incident. (GL/Sentinel: Hearts of Darkness)

When the Justice Society reformed, Alan was there as always to anchor the team. One of their first major cases pitted Sentinel against his son, Obsidian, who had been seduced by dark forces. Alan was forced to beat Todd into retreat. (#7-9) It soon became obvious (and was confirmed by Dr. Mid-Nite) that Alan had become the living embodiment of the Starheart. Any changes to his age or powers are merely psychosomatic. (JSA #26) Obsidian returned in alliance with Mordru and Eclipso. This time, Alan set things right and banished Todd's dark powers, perhaps for good. After this, Alan reclaimed the name Green Lantern. (#46-50) Todd was taken into D.E.O. custody and vowed to atone for his actions. (#52) The recent events involving his son have made Alan somewhat overbearing and overprotective of the JSA's other "children."

During the great Crisis created by Alexander Luthor and Superboy Prime, Alan and Jade followed Donna Troy into space to investigate a cosmic rift. When Luthor was defeated, the rift began collapsing and Jennie-Lynn was caught in one of the shock waves. Alan was on Thanagar when she lost her life. He learned afterwards that as she died, she returned the power once given to her by Kyle Rayner. Thus in a way, she continues to live on within Rayner. (Rann-Thanagar War: Infinite Crisis Special)

When the rift collapsed for good, Alan and the remaining heroes were sent reeling through space and time. He and several others reemerged a week later on Earth. Alan was among the lucky ones, having only lost an eye. (52 #4) The JSA had also become a spectre of its former self, and its members became disillusioned about the team's effectiveness. This was underscored by the advent of Lex Luthor's Everyman technology, which awarded powers to a girl who adopted Jade's codename. Alan had to restrain Obsidian from accosting the girl. (#29)

Soon Alan was approached by the spy organization Checkmate, which was reorganizing under U.N. control. They invited Alan to become their White King, which he accepted. (52 #46, Checkmate v.2 #1) His time with Checkmate was brief. On a mission to China, he chose to do the right thing over the official thing and his commission as White King was not renewed. (#4) Another JSA member, Mr. Terrific, succeeded him in the post. (#5)

Meanwhile, Alan was urged by the Justice League to re-establish the JSA as an organization that cares for the legacy of its heroes. When his time with Checkmate came to an end, Alan resumed an active role in the JSA. (JSofA v.3 #1)

Alan and Molly have no children of their own.

Harlequins

Molly returns as the Harlequin, crashing the party. From Infinity Inc. # (); art by Todd McFarlane.

The second person to take the name "Harlequin" is the sometime-villain Duela Dent. Dent has taken many names, including Two-Face's Daughter and Joker's Daughter (claiming such parentage each time). (Batman Family #6) Duela confounded the original Robin many times before actually becoming a Teen Titan herself. (Teen Titans #46) She has since flopped back-and-forth between crime and heroism.

The third Harlequin was Marcie Cooper, granddaughter of the original Manhunter, Dan Richards. (Infinity, Inc. #14) As a youth Marcie Cooper was recruited by the Grandmaster to join the Manhunters, an alien band of androids originally created by the Guardians of the Universe. Her grandfather, not knowing about the Manhunters' new nefarious plan to invade Earth, also encouraged her to join the group as he had years ago. The Manhunters gave her a job working at KGLX radio in Gotham City, alongside Molly Maynne Scott, who was a former agent called Harlequin. Marcie began dating Northwind, and later Obsidian, both of Infinity, Inc., infiltrating the superteam from within.

When the Manhunters began their strike on Earth, Marcie stole Molly's illusion-casting spectacles, becoming Harlequin III. (#46) She failed to recruit Obsidian to the Manhunters, but she did kill her grandfather after he betrayed the Manhunters. Single-minded in her attempt to destroy Infinity, Inc., she joined Injustice, Unlimited and masterminded the assassination of Skyman. She used Solomon Grundy as her pawn in killing Skyman, but when the sometimes-kind Gruyndy realized what he had done, he savagely beat Marcie. She has not been heard from since.

Notes

Alan's constant sidekick, Doiby Dickles, first appeared in All-American #27 (June 1941); Streak the Wonder Dog in Green Lantern v.1 #30 (post-war).

Geoff Johns Says: Like Jay, he’s a mainstay in the DC Universe. He’ll be taking center stage in the last half of the year of Justice Society of America as he comes face-to-face with a new member he sees a lot of himself in Hawkman. (from Newsarama)

+ Powers

Alan controls the mystical power of the Starheart, an ancient artifact created by the Guardians of the Universe. (Green Lantern v.2 #111-112) The Starheart is now fashioned into a ring and lantern that Scott uses to create hard light constructs and project fire-like plasma blasts.

The artifacts mystical properties also imbue Scott with seemingly eternal youth. It has been discovered that Alan's body is composed entirely of green flame. His appearance of aging is only a magical manifestation of his will. (JSA #26)

As the Harlequin, both Molly and Marcie wore special glasses that allowed them to hypnotize people and to create realistic illusions. Marcie also wielded a mandolin with an extending handle that could be used as a weapon.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:

  • All-Flash #14
  • Checkmate v.2 #1-
  • Flash v.2 #268

» SERIES:

  • All-American Comics #16-102 (July 1940–Oct. 1948)
  • All-Star Comics #2-7, 10, 24-57 (Fall 1940 – Feb./Mar. 1951)
  • Green Lantern #1-38 (Fall 1941–May/June 1949)
  • Comic Cavalcade #1-29 (Winter 1942/43 – Oct./Nov. 1948)
  • Green Lantern Corps Quarterly, 8 issues (1992-94)
  • Underworld: Abyss, Hell’s Sentinel #1 (1995)
  • Green Lantern/Sentinel: Heart of Darkness, 3-issue limited series (1996)
  • JSA, 87 issues (1999-2006)
  • Justice Society of America v.3, current (2007-)