All-American 89 – the Harlequin debuts, Black Pirate and the inventor, and Dr. Light returns

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The late 40’s were a boom time for female villains who were also the romantic interests of the heroes they faced – all of them falling pretty much into the pattern set by Catwoman.  Robert Kanigher and Irwin Hasen give Green Lantern one of these, the Harlequin, who debuts in All-American 89 (Sept. 47).

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Alan Scott has a new job, and a new secretary – and he even appears to be at a new station, WXYZ.  A department store has decided to sponsor a radio show about the adventures of Green Lantern, but decide that the station needs to create a female villain for him, the Harlequin.

Molly Mayne, who has an unrequited crush on Green Lantern, is assigned to cast this new character, but instead adopts the identity herself.

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Thus begins a really entertaining twist on the standard format.  Alan Scott and Molly Maybe work together, yet neither is aware that the other has a secret identity.  Molly takes the role of the Harlequin for the radio program as well, and Green Lantern, playing himself, is not sure if she is the one leading the criminal gang, or simply an actress.

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The Harlequin’s crimes are non-violent, and intended solely to attract Green Lantern’s attention. Her gang has different motives, and are amused when she puts a pillow under the Lantern’s head in case he should fall.  She is enraged when she learns that they have planted bombs in the department store, at which point the men turn on her.

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Green Lantern does an impressive job evacuating the building with his ring, and rounds up the gang, but the Harlequin gets away.  She doesn’t go far, though, as we see Molly at work the next day.  The Harlequin returns in a couple of months.

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The Black Pirate also gets a good story in this issue, by Everett Kinstler.

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A young lad has invented a new ship that will be able to cross the ocean much faster.  His design gets stolen by his superior, and the boy is tossed into prison to keep him quiet.  He escapes, and the Black Pirate (and son) set out to get him the credit he earned, and show the lord for the thief he is.

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Rather than aliens and anachronisms, we are treated to sword fights and castles, ships and moats, all the things one ought to see in a Black Pirate story.

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Dr. Mid-Nite has a new logo for his series, emphasizing the doctor’s medical nature, in this story by Frank Harry.  I should point out that Dr. Mid-Nite is one of the few heroes to use that title who actually possesses a medical degree.

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Dr. Light returns.  I bet he didn’t graduate med school.  He doesn’t even use his light gimmicks in this story, instead making Mid-Nite believe that he was somehow transported back in time to ancient Rome.

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The story never really explains how this was done, or even the real goal of doing it.  Sure, we learn that Rome was a set in the basement of a department store, but how they got Mid-Nite there without him realizing it, or why, are never explained.

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