May 30, 2024
Technology

Green Lantern Lore Changes Forever, As DC Reveals the Wild Technology That Changed Everything


Summary

  • Justice Society of America
    #9 makes a significant change to DC lore, revealing that most illusion-casting technology used by modern villains is derived from the original Harlequin’s tech – which, more shockingly, can be traced back to the Guardians of Oa.
  • Harlequin’s “hypnotic illusion” casting glasses were given to her by the Manhunters, who were themselves creations of the Guardians, meaning the creators of the Green Lantern Corps are also responsible for troublesome tech proliferating the Earth in the present day.
  • Supervillains like Doctor Light and Mirror Master are able to menace DC’s heroes thanks to the “trickle down” effect of technology in the DCU.



Warning: Spoilers for Justice Society of America (2022) #9 ahead!

As the Justice Society of America does its best to help the displaced protégés of heroes and villains alike, they have come across a quiet but stunning revelation, one with major implications for Green Lantern lore. In trying to apprehend the legacy anti-hero Harlequin’s Son, the JSA discovers that Oa’s Guardians have inadvertently had a major influence on Earth’s technological development.

Justice Society of America (2022) #9 – written by Geoff Johns, with art by Mikel Janín, Jordie Bellaire, and Rob Leigh – finds the JSA continuing to recruit former villains at the behest of a time-displaced Huntress. While they do their best to appeal to Harlequin’s Son, he proves unwilling to cooperate, leading Power Girl, Stargirl, and Salem on a wild rooftop chase while bedeviling them with illusions.


As he flees, Harlequin’s Son gloats that “most of the illusion-casting tech all the super-villains use today was ripped off from [Harlequin’s] original glasses, reveling in the power he has inherited from his mother, Molly Mayne.

Related

Martian Manhunter’s Name Proves His Shocking Origin Link to Green Lantern

The Martian Manhunter is one of Earth’s greatest heroes, yet his name has a shocking connection to classic Green Lantern villains.

The legacy of Harlequin, Molly Mayne, is intricately tied with that of Green Lantern and the Manhunters.


The Surprising, Long-Lasting Legacy Of An Old-School DC Villain

Molly Mayne, AKA The Harlequin


As ‘The Harlequin’s Son,’ Michael is a talented acrobat and actor, allowing him to pair his stagecraft with his mother’s illusion glasses for mind-boggling results.

The legacy of Molly Mayne – Harlequin – is intricately tied with that of Green Lantern and the Manhunters. As one of the original villains (and later, wife) of Green Lantern Alan Scott, Harlequin made her debut in All-American Comics (1939) #89 as an acrobatic criminal with a pair of glasses capable of casting “hypnotic illusions.” These glasses were later retconned into being a gift from the Manhunters in Infinity Inc. (1984) #46, explaining how Molly, a secretary at the time of her supervillain debut, could get her hands on such incredible technology.


Molly’s legacy and glasses returned in The New Golden Age (2022) with a splash page dedicated to the character ‘The Harlequin’s Son’ as a precursor to the ‘Lost Children’ arc. In Huntress’s alternate timeline, Molly’s son Michael took his mother’s glasses to pursue vigilante justice and later became a member of the JSA. As ‘The Harlequin’s Son,’ Michael is a talented acrobat and actor, allowing him to pair his stagecraft with his mother’s illusion glasses for mind-boggling results – although Justice Society of America (2022) #9 will be the first time that readers have seen him in action.

The
All-American Comics (1939)
#89 story ‘The Harlequin’, is by Robert Kanigher and Irwin Hasen;
Infinity Inc. (1984)
#46 is by the team of Roy Thomas, Dann Thomas, Vince Argondezzi, Tony de Zuñiga, Liz Berube, and Jean Simek.


Before The Lanterns, The Guardians Of The Universe Created This Dangerous Faction

The Manhunters, Explained

Oan's Manhunters commit the Massacre of Sector 666

Many notable characters have been revealed or retconned to have ties to the Manhunter cult, including Molly Mane: her glasses were intended as a bribe to help recruit her into the sect.

However, it is the Manhunters who are the key to the Harlequin’s glasses – and, therefore, the entire Harlequin lineage. Originally a vigilante amalgamation of two 1940s characters previously named ‘Manhunter’ (Paul Kirk and Rick Nelson), the entire ‘Manhunter’ identity was retconned in Justice League (1960) #140-141 to be the android precursors to the Green Lantern Corps, robotic servants of the Guardians designed to police the cosmos with freedom from emotion, combined with the physical strength the Guardians lacked. After the Manhunters rebelled (later retconned to include the slaughtering of an entire space sector), the Guardians cast them into exile.


The Manhunters would go on to become major foes of the late 1970s and 1980s, featuring in Justice League (1960), Infinity Inc. (1984), and Millenium (1988). These titles revealed that after their banishment, the Manhunters seeded themselves across the galaxy to form revenge cults and strike back against the Guardians. Many notable characters have been revealed or retconned to have ties to the Manhunter cult, including Molly Mane: her glasses were intended as a bribe to help recruit her into the sect. This means that Harlequin’s glasses are Manhunter – and therefore Guardian – technology.

Millennium (1988)
is by the team of Steve Englehart, Joe Staton, Ian Gibson, Carl Gafford, and Bob Lappan.


Harlequin’s Son Is Just One Of Many Villains Using Her Technology

When recontextualized through the lenses of the Harlequin’s Manhunter technology, Doctor Light and Mirror Master’s powers make perfect sense as a byproduct of the Guardians. This connection also fundamentally changes how readers understand the deep history of DC’s vast cosmos.

As DC has revealed, the trickle down of Guardian technology to the people of Earth has had major implications, in no small part because of who the Harlequin’s Son accuses of ripping off his mother’s technology: Doctor Light. As a former S.T.A.R. Labs researcher, Doctor Light’s accomplishments are nothing short of legendary; he is able to manipulate hard-light, project force-fields, holograms, teleport, and drain photonic energy to empower himself. Justice Society of America (2022) #9 attributes these breakthroughs largely to reverse-engineering the technology in Harlequin’s glasses.


Another similar light-and-illusion based villain is Mirror Master. One of the Flash’s more infamous Rogues, Mirror Master’s claim to fame is his Mirror Gun, which gives him access to the Mirror dimension, allowing him to travel through reflective surfaces. Additionally, this mastery of reflection allows him to make convincing illusions and wreak havoc with light-based powers, bending them to his own advantage. If these villains’ powers sound familiar, it is because they are directly from the Guardian’s technology, and form the basis of the powers of the Green Lantern Corps.


Manipulating hard-light is the basic function of a Lantern Ring construct, and goes hand-in-hand with creating holograms. While teleportation or dimensional travel is admittedly something of a stretch, the Lantern Ring is capable of transportation over vast distances, often on interplanetary levels. When recontextualized through the lenses of the Harlequin’s Manhunter technology, Doctor Light and Mirror Master’s powers make perfect sense as a byproduct of the Guardians. This connection also fundamentally changes how readers understand the deep history of DC’s vast cosmos.

The Guardians Have Changed Crime On Earth Forever

This stunning chain of technological development drastically upends the lore of the Green Lanterns, and DC in general, and shows the outsize influence the Guardians have had on Earth – even by accident.


The ripples go even further, as S.T.A.R. Labs is the main technological hub of DC’s Earth. With these breakthroughs having been developed through S.T.A.R. Labs, it follows that at least some of what Doctor Light developed would have been incorporated into S.T.A.R. Lab’s general body of work. This means that, through Harlequin’s glasses, the Guardians of Oa have likely, if inadvertently, had a major influence on the direction of all of Earth’s technology, introducing light-based tech to the planet far in advance of when humanity may have developed it naturally.

To summarize: the Guardians developed the Manhunters, who went rogue. As part of the Manhunter’s crusade against the Guardians, they developed cults and powered them with Manhunter/Guardian technology. When one of these cults attempted to recruit Molly Mayes, they gave her the illusion glasses that let her become the Harlequin. The glasses were subsequently studied by S.T.A.R. Labs, giving rise to villains like Doctor Light and Mirror Master, and jump-starting Earth’s light-based technology. The clarification of this stunning chain of technological development drastically upends the lore of the Green Lanterns, and DC in general, and shows the outsize influence the Guardians have had on Earth – even by accident.


Justice Society of America #9
is available now from DC Comics.

Justice Society of America #9 (2024)

Mr. Terrific views the status of various supervillains through his T-Spheres.

  • Writer: Geoff Johns
  • Artist: Mikel Janín
  • Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
  • Letterer: Rob Leigh
  • Cover Artist: Mikel Janín



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