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Huntress (Helena Bertinelli)

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Huntress (Helena Bertinelli)

Huntress
Art from the cover to Birds of Prey #91, by Jesus Saiz
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance The Huntress #1 (April 1989)
Created by Joey Cavalieri
Joe Staton
(based upon the Helena Wayne character by Paul Levitz, Joe Staton, Joe Orlando, & Bob Layton)
In-story information
Alter ego Helena Rosa Bertinelli
Team affiliations Birds of Prey
Batman Family
Justice League
Outsiders
Checkmate
Spyral
Partnerships Black Canary
Batman
Dick Grayson
Robin (Tim Drake)
Notable aliases Batgirl, Matron[1]
Abilities Excellent athlete, marksman, and hand-to-hand combatant.

The Huntress (real name Helena Rosa Bertinelli) is a fictional character in the DC Universe. Based upon the Earth-Two character, she is one of several DC characters to bear the Huntress name. She was also for a time one of the versions of Batgirl and was a longtime member of the Birds of Prey. Within the current DC comics continuity, Helena Bertinelli is an alias used by someone else while the real Helena Bertinelli is an agent of the spy organization Spyral.

Contents

  • Publication history 1
  • Fictional character biography 2
    • Origin 2.1
      • Huntress series 2.1.1
      • Cry for Blood 2.1.2
      • Huntress: Year One 2.1.3
    • Relationship with Batman 2.2
    • Career in Gotham 2.3
      • No Man's Land 2.3.1
      • Birds of Prey and the Outsiders 2.3.2
      • One Year Later 2.3.3
      • Brightest Day 2.3.4
    • The New 52 2.4
  • Other versions 3
    • Flashpoint 3.1
    • Earth 2 3.2
  • In other media 4
    • Television 4.1
    • Film 4.2
    • Video games 4.3
    • Miscellaneous 4.4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Publication history

Helena Bertinelli was introduced in her own Huntress series, written by Joey Cavalieri and drawn by Joe Staton, co-creator and long-time artist of the Helena Wayne Huntress. Staton recalled, "I think Paul [Levitz] realized that I felt my involvement with Helena had been abruptly cut short [by the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths], so I was always in line to be a part of any reworking of the character. I don’t recall how Joey Cavalieri came to be the writer on the Helena Bertinelli version, but I think we did some nice work on that run. Helena Bertinelli could never have the deep resonance of Helena Wayne, because she didn’t have the whole Batman/Catwoman backstory at her command, but Joey worked her into a different mythos, that of the mob, also dark, noirish."[2]

Fictional character biography

Origin

Huntress series

In the 1989 Huntress series, Helena Rosa Bertinelli was born into one of Gotham City's most prominent Mafia families. In this iteration of the character, she was kidnapped as a child (aged 6) and raped by a rival mafia don purely to psychologically torture her father, and is a withdrawn girl. Her parents, Guido and Carmela, send her to a boarding school and assign a bodyguard for her protection where she learns all forms of combat. After she witnesses the mob-ordered murder of her entire family at the age of 19, she crusades to put an end to the Mafia. She travels, accompanied and trained by her bodyguard Sal, before returning to Gotham to make her debut as the Huntress.

Cry for Blood

Huntress' origin was revised in 2000 in the six-issue Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood limited series written by Greg Rucka, art by Rick Burchett and Terry Beatty. Helena Rosa Bertinelli witnesses the murder of her entire family in their home when she is aged 8; a young Helena Rosa Bertinelli believes Franco Bertinelli to be her father, but her father is actually Santo Cassamento, the don of a rival mafia family, who was carrying on an affair with Helena's mother, Maria. The story revolves around Helena's exile from Gotham, ordered by Batman, who finds her to be too violent and out of control. In an extended retreat with Richard Dragon and Vic Sage (The Question), she tries to achieve better emotional balance, returning to Gotham to confront her true father and learn more about her family's murder. She faces a choice between the more ethical woman she is becoming and the earlier Helena, who still hears the vengeance call as "blood cries for blood."

Huntress: Year One

Huntress starred in her own six-issue biweekly Year One miniseries from May to July 2008 by Ivory Madison and Cliff Richards.[3] The story recounts and expands upon the beginning of Helena's vigilante career. She is in Sicily, days from turning 21 and receiving the inheritance from the murder of her family, which occurred before her eyes when she was eight years old. Learning more about her family's murder, Helena adopts a costume disguise and weaponry to seek revenge, confronting not only the men who ordered her family's death, but the assassin himself.

In the process, she establishes herself as angrier and more violent than a standard costumed hero, foreshadowing the conflicts with more mainstream heroes, predominately Batman. She crosses paths with Barbara Gordon (destined, as Oracle, to be a close friend and colleague), Catwoman, and Batman, who will become partial mentor, partial antagonist during her subsequent career as a Gotham superhero. She states that her compulsion derives from the moment before her family was murdered, when she believes she could have acted to save them. The story ends with her renouncing the Bertinelli legacy of crime and “baptizing” herself The Huntress.

Relationship with Batman

Cover to Batman Chronicles #18. Art by Dale Eaglesham.

Batman rarely accepts the Huntress, regarding her as unpredictable and violent. However, when Commissioner Gordon questions Batman about his attitude towards the Huntress, Batman replies; "You know exactly why I don't approve...You're not the only one she reminds of Barbara"—in reference to Barbara Gordon, who had previously fought crime as Batgirl. Others in the Batman family feel differently; for instance, Tim Drake has a good relationship with her. Early in his career, he works with the female vigilante, and later clears her name in a murder case.

Huntress is briefly involved with the Justice League International when she happens upon a brainwashed Blue Beetle attempting to murder Maxwell Lord. The League is impressed, and asks her to join. However, besides League members helping her on one of her own cases and getting a tour of the group's New York embassy, she never officially joins the team.

During the League's restructuring following the Rock of Ages crisis, Batman sponsors Huntress' membership in the Justice League,[4] hoping that the influence of other heroes will mellow the Huntress, and for some time, Huntress is a respected member of the League. Under the guidance of heroes such as Superman, Helena grows in confidence, even playing a key role in defeating Solaris during the DC One Million storyline; inspired by the time capsules students in her class had been making, she realises they had over 800 centuries to set up a plan that would result in Solaris's defeat in the future. She also helps the League defeat foes like Prometheus and encourages Green Lantern to fight the Queen Bee's hypno-pollen during her invasion of Earth. However, she is later forced to resign after Batman stops her from killing the currently-incapacitated Prometheus.[5]

Career in Gotham

No Man's Land

In the 1999 No Man's Land storyline, an earthquake levels Gotham City. The United States government declares Gotham City a "No Man's Land," and Batman disappears. To bring order to the city, Huntress assumes the mantle of Batgirl, and she discovers criminals fear her more as Batgirl than they do as Huntress.[6] However, Batgirl fails to protect Batman's territory from Two-Face and his gang of more than 200 criminals, leading to an argument between her and Batman. Huntress refuses to follow Batman's exact orders and gives up the Batgirl costume.[7]

Huntress then ends up with former police officer Petit and his men, who had broken off from the group led by former commissioner James Gordon, Petit believing that extreme force was the only way to survive No Man's Land. Batman intentionally drove Huntress to join Petit, knowing she could keep him in line and prevent him from hurting any innocent people. During Christmas Eve, the Joker attacks Petit's compound. Petit is killed and the Huntress stands her ground, barely surviving the attack as the Joker and twenty of his men attempt to take control of the compound. Batman and Nightwing intervene in time and Huntress is taken to a field hospital operated by forces who wanted to rebuild Gotham City.

Birds of Prey and the Outsiders

Detail from the cover for Birds of Prey #80. Art by Ed Benes.

Huntress becomes involved with Oracle and Black Canary in the comic series Birds of Prey, establishing a close friendship with Black Canary in the process as their initial storyline featured them going up against a man called Braun who had seduced and left them both. Huntress continues to work with the group, although Oracle and herself share a strained and sometimes antagonistic relationship due to Huntress' reckless tendencies and Barbara's controlling nature.

She is made one of Oracle's full-time agents in Birds of Prey #68, after responding immediately to a call for help sent by a captive Barbara (albeit only being there to hear it due to having broken into Oracle's base, and the call having been intended for Dinah Lance). With two active agents on rotation, the lighter work load allows for Oracle to set up day jobs for Huntress and Black Canary; as an elementary school teacher and florist, respectively. The realisation of a her childhood dream of being a teacher gives Helena a great sense of fulfillment and inspires within her a stronger sense of protectiveness. For a time her straightforwardness continues to put her at odds with Barbara and even the accommodating Dinah, but eventually her selflessness and desire to help her colleagues without hesitation wins their trust, and she becomes a valued and integral member of the team.

During the Birds of Prey "Hero Hunters" arc, Huntress realizes Oracle has been manipulating her psychologically in order to make her "behave" properly, in the same way a teacher attempts to reform a troubled child [8] and leaves the group. She later rejoins along with newcomer Lady Blackhawk who becomes the pilot and another core member for the team. Upon Black Canary's departure of the team in Birds of Prey #99, Huntress becomes Oracle's most senior and trusted operative, as well as field commander.

Huntress also appeared in the Hush storyline. In the storyline, Huntress saves an immobilized Batman's life from a criminal gang when he suffers a fractured skull from a fall after his batrope is cut over Crime Alley. Batman thinks to himself how she is, "so much like I was when I started out", and "she's better than she knows..." In the story, Huntress continues her semi-feud with The Scarecrow. She eventually returns with a new costume and equipment, paid for by Thomas Elliot. While under the influence of Scarecrow's fear toxin, she fights Catwoman, thinking her to be her old self and wants to be more like the Dark Knight.

Huntress is also asked to serve to fill in an empty spot for the Outsiders after Arsenal sustains major injuries on a mission.[9] However, she quickly leaves the team after just one stint.[10]

One Year Later

In 2006, the narratives of most DC Comics superhero series skipped one year. In the One Year Later stories, Huntress works with Oracle's group. With Black Canary's departure from the team (issue #99), in issue #100 Huntress becomes the team's field commander.

Huntress later returns to Gotham after the Birds disband, aiding Cassandra Cain in maintaining order after Gotham descends into chaos during the midst of the Battle for the Cowl event.

Joined by Lady Blackhawk and Grace Choi, Huntress later assists her then love interest Catman and his team the Secret Six in a massive supervillain battle to steal Neron's Get Out Of Hell Free Card.[11]

Brightest Day

During the Brightest Day event, Oracle gathers the Birds of Prey back together in Gotham. In addition to getting the band back together, Oracle adds Hawk and Dove to the team. Huntress aids Black Canary (who had now left the Justice League), in a battle against a new villainess calling herself the White Canary.[12] The Birds soon strike up an uneasy alliance with the Penguin, who ultimately betrays them and severely injures Zinda and Hawk. He attempts to kill Huntress as well, but she and Dove easily defeat him.[13] While Dove takes Hawk and Zinda to a hospital, Huntress binds and gags the Penguin with duct tape, intending to take the villain prisoner in order to interrogate him. After being informed by Oracle that she has to leave the Penguin behind, Huntress considers murdering him in cold blood, but instead opts to leave him alive.[14]

Helena Bertinelli of Earth Prime. Grayson Annual #1

The New 52

In the premiere issue of Worlds' Finest (of DC's The New 52 reboot), it is revealed not only that the Huntress of the post-Flashpoint universe is Helena Wayne from Earth 2, but that Helena Bertinelli has been long dead and that all the exploits of Helena Bertinelli's Huntress were committed by Helena Wayne acting in her name.

In May 2014, writers Tim Seeley and Tom King of the DC series Grayson, revealed that the Prime Earth Helena Bertinelli will appear in the series as a spy and partner of Dick Grayson.[15]

Prime Earth's Helena Bertinelli is revealed to be an agent of the organization Spyral, who is presumed dead by the outside world. This incarnation of the character is a dark skinned Italian woman to keep readers from confusing her with Helena Wayne of Earth 2 according to Grayson series writer Tim Seeley.[16] Her origin is expanded on in Grayson Annual #1 (February 2015). Helena is described as "the most wanted woman in the world," the granddaughter of Frank Bertinelli and the heir to "the entire Sicilian mob", who "disappeared" five years ago; her disappearance is legendary among criminals.

In the Agent of Spyral story line she is the Matron of St. Hadrian's Boarding School for girls and a teacher herself. She rescues Leslie Thompsons from a raid by the Der Faust Die Kane (translating to "The Fist of Cain"), a depopulation terrorist cult made up of serial killers and hitmen.[17] During an interrogation, both the director of Spyral Minos and Helena learn of Batman's secret identity. Later, she is the individual that picks Dick Grayson as a candidate of join Spyral. Minos then enlists Dick Grayson as Agent 37 and Helena's partner. Both are tasked with the duty of retrieving the Paragon Organs, which formerly belonged to Paragon. Each organ grants a different power of the Justice League; however, these organs are also highly sought by other intelligence organizations such as A.R.G.U.S and Checkmate. Both she and her partner run into Midnighter, who attempts to foil Spyral's current agenda.[18]

Later, after Spyral gathers all the organs except one, Minos sends Helena and Dick to retrieve the final one, Paragon's brain which holds Martial Manhunter's telepathic abilities. However, they find they're too late and Helena is forced to use her Hypnos implant to interrogate. Dick later disappears and Helena learns that the Fist of Cain took the Brain and plans to unleash a psychic attack at Peace Rally in Tel-Aviv and force people to kill each other. As she makes her way to Tel-Aviv, she later learns of her partner's fate with the use of Spyral's immense technological capabilities with Hypnos and informs them to send the current plans to Midnighter. As she arrives, she finds herself under psychic attack and due to the stress of previously using Hypnos to interrogate and locate her lost partner, she overworks herself. However, Dick and Midnighter assist. As Helena does her best to stop the crowd from killing each other, she ends up nearly killed by the Fist of Cain's leader, Christian Fleisher. She is saved by what appears to be Mister Minos. After the plan is foiled and Spyral retrieves the brain, she comments that she had various memory gaps from overworking herself mentally. Later, as part of Minos's endgame to out the secrets of Spyral, he shoots her with her own crossbow in an attempt to kill her. She survives and informs Grayson of Minos's plan to kill fellow Spyral Agent 1 (also "Tiger"). After Grayson rescues Agent 1, she reappears and seemingly kills the Minos, unaware that she actually killed a light composite of the real thing.[19]

In the aftermath of Minos's betrayral of Spyral and death at the hands of Agent Zero, Helena is set to become the new Director of Spyral.[20]

Other versions

Flashpoint

In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Huntress joined with the Amazons' Furies.[21]

Earth 2

In other media

Television

  • The Helena Bertinelli version of Huntress has appeared in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, voiced by Tara Strong. While this version's real identity is Helena Bertinelli, her costume resembles the Earth-Two incarnation's costume, and is portrayed as a young college professor rather than a high school teacher. In the episode "Night of the Huntress!", she helps Batman and Blue Beetle stop the gangsters Baby-Face and Mrs. Manface. Blue Beetle develops a crush on her in the episode. Huntress later races for Earth's survival among other heroes and villains in the episode "Death Race to Oblivion!", where she strikes up a rivalry with Catwoman. She fakes her death during the race to help Batman win. During the episode "The Siege of Starro! (Part One)", she is shown as one of the numerous heroes under Starro's mental control. She and Blue Beetle are shown attacking the students at the university, and bringing them under Starro's command through the use of small parasites. She later attacks Captain Marvel, but is easily defeated. She is shown alongside the other heroes in a non-speaking role in the episode "The Siege of Starro! (Part Two)", having been freed from Starro's control at this point. Huntress appeared in the episode "The Mask of Matches Malone!", a Birds of Prey-themed episode written by Gail Simone with Catwoman and Black Canary.
Jessica De Gouw as Helena Bertinelli in Arrow.
  • The Helena Bertinelli version of Huntress appears in the Marc Guggenheim revealed on his Tumblr page that De Gouw would return as Helena, but the character has not appeared in season 3. She did appear in chapter 13 of Arrow season 2.5.[22]

Film

Video games

  • The Helena Bertinelli incarnation of Huntress is an unlockable character in Justice League Heroes, voiced by Vanessa Marshall. She can be unlocked by paying 53 orange shields on the menu screen.
  • The Helena Bertinelli incarnation of Huntress appears in DC Universe Online, voiced by Claire Hamilton. She appears both as an NPC in several missions or as a playable character in Legends, a PvP mode where players can use iconic characters in battle simulations. The solo instance "The Hunt" allows players to simulate the confrontation between the Huntress and Santo Cassamento, where she learns that the Cassamento Don is her real father.
  • The Helena Bertinelli incarnation of Huntress is featured in Batman: Arkham Knight on an instant message chat box on the top floor of the Clock tower.

Miscellaneous

The Helena Bertinelli incarnation of Huntress has appeared in two DC Animated Universe spin-off comic books. She appears in Justice League Unlimited #2 and Batman and Robin Adventures #19.

References

  1. ^ Grayson (Vol. 1) #1
  2. ^ Callahan, Timothy (February 2010). "The Huntress: The Daughter of the Bat and the Cat".  
  3. ^ Steve Ekstrom IVORY MADISON: TALKING ABOUT HUNTRESS: YEAR ONE NEWSARAMA March 10, 2008 http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=149603
  4. ^ JLA Secret Files #2
  5. ^ JLA #40
  6. ^ Batman: No Man's Land #0
  7. ^ Legends of the Dark Knight #120
  8. ^ Simone, Gail (w). Birds of Prey 80 (May 2005), DC Comics
  9. ^ Outsiders #8
  10. ^ Outsiders #12
  11. ^ Secret Six (Vol. 2) #7
  12. ^ Birds of Prey (Volume 2) #1-2
  13. ^ Birds of Prey (Volume 2) #4
  14. ^ Birds of Prey (Volume 2) #5
  15. ^ Rodgers, Vaneta (May 14, 2014). "GRAYSON Creators: Super-Spy DICK WILL Carry Gun, Have a Surprise Partner". Newsarama. Retrieved May 15, 2014. 
  16. ^ Rogers, Vaneta. "SPOILERS! GRAYSON Writers Establish HELENA & DICK's New Status Quo & MIDNIGHTER's Role."10 July 2014. Web. 23 July 2014. Newsarama.com. http://www.newsarama.com/21536-spoilers-grayson-writers-establish-helena-dick-s-new-status-quo-talks-that-surprise-cast-member.html
  17. ^ Nightwing (Vol. 2) #30
  18. ^ Grayson (Vol. 1) #1-4, Annual #1; Secret Origins #8
  19. ^ Grayson (Vol. 1) 5-8
  20. ^ McDonald, Joshua (March 17, 2015). "June 2015 Solicitations". Batman-News. Retrieved April 21, 2015. 
  21. ^ Flashpoint: Wonder Woman and the Furies #2 (July 2011)
  22. ^ [2]

External links

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