Before I look at Huntress in teams like JLA and Birds of Prey I thought it would be a good idea to take a deeper dive of Huntress team titles. I will be covering Robin III: Cry of the Huntress (1992), Nightwing/Huntress (1998), Batman: Huntress/Spoiler - Blunt Trauma (1998), and Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood (2000). What I hope to discover is Helena’s personality with other people and how it changes depending on the situation. I am also hoping to see her character mature, which was something I felt was missing from the Helena Wayne stories that I have read.
Robin III: Cry of the Huntress (1992) finds Robin teaming up with Huntress. I have not read many books with Tim Drake as I am admittedly not a big fan of Batman. Oddly, I love the world surrounding Batman. This title came out in 1992 so it was between The Huntress (1989) and The Huntress (1994). The only reason I mention this is because Huntress is searching for a crime boss that she continues to search for in the 4 issue mini-series. Huntress teams up with Robin and the first thing she asks is if Batman has said anything about her to Tim Drake. This fits with her character that I briefly mentioned previously, one of the things that drive Helena Bertinelli is Batman’s approval. This will all come to a head in JLA. However, for the time being, it is interesting that someone who finds confidence in her hero persona seeking validation. I believe this deals with Helena Bertinelli’s insecurities, which I never want to imagine what it is like watching your family be killed by ruthless mobsters.
To no one’s surprise, Robin III: The Cry of the Huntress focuses more on Robin/Tim Drake than it does Huntress. Throughout the book, Huntress complains that Batman never utilizes her and she often comes off as jealous of Tim Drake for being chosen as Robin. As for my purposes, Huntress works pretty well with Robin. You can tell he annoys her and her grievances range from Robin’s age to Robin knowing more about her than she knows about him.
Now onto Nightwing/Huntress from 1998. I am not going to lie, I got a good laugh to see Grayson was the writer of this title. Devin Grayson, that is.
In an interesting turn of events between Robin III and Nightwing/Huntress, apparently Batman approves of Huntress. It also seems that Huntress has given up on caring what Batman thinks as she says, “You know, that’s your problem right there. You think there’s only one way to things: HIS WAY.” In the evolution of Helena Bertinelli’s character, this is an interesting evolution. However, I think the JLA storyline was before this book so it does make sense.
It should also be noted this the first time Helena Bertinelli is seen having a love interest in the books I have read today. It is nice to see her character grow in more ways than one. After all, I have read multiple titles today where she is seeking for Batman’s approval and not comfortable in her own skin.
I should mention that this romance will later play into a minor subplot of Barbara Gordon trusting Helena in Birds of Prey, as Babs and Nightwing also have a history. To make matters even more complicated, there is a scene where Dick calls Babs from Helena’s apartment and things get a little messy with Helena saying, “Tell Oracle I say ‘Hi.’ Oh, and make sure she knows…” In conclusion, Helena is her own woman and isn’t afraid of competition or confrontations. She has grown a lot from her first series and mini-series. Come to think about it, the sass levels are what I have grown to expect and love from Helena during her time in Birds of Prey.
I do want to say that Nightwing/Huntress is my favorite read of the day, up to this point. There is a lot of character work for Huntress done on these pages. There is also a lot of character work for the GCPD detectives and Nightwing. The crime that Huntress and Nightwing are working together is rather riveting. There are a lot of moving pieces that help give it a noir vibe. The art is also top-notch, then again I am a sucker for the look of late 90s comic art.
Next up on my Huntress team-up books is Batman: Huntress/Spoiler - Blunt Trauma. This is a “Cataclysm” one-shot according to the DCU description. I have not read anything from the Cataclysm storyline, outside of this title. Needless, to say this title is a part of a greater storyline that I might read one day. This is actually the first time I have read anything that featured Stephanie Brown and I like her a lot. To get back on topic, there is some small chat with Huntress and Spoiler about Robin.
I found this interesting, especially as this was an ongoing conversation between Huntress and Nightwing in Nightwing/Huntress. One thing that stuck out to me was the way Stephanie Brown describes the way Huntress fights:
I am not sure if that whole page will be clear to read so here is the main part that grabbed my eye, “Huntress moves like a tiger. Cold. Professional. And maybe a little bit cruel. Way past anything I’ve ever seen the guys to a hood. With her, it seems more personal.” The question of how Huntress gets the job done has been speculated by the Bat-family…often. Considering this is Spoiler’s first encounter with Huntress, to see her say these things it helps ensure this characteristic of Huntress is a vital part of her character. Regarding Huntress’ teamwork in this story, it is pretty solid. Upon the discovery that the main bad guy is Spoiler’s dad, she remains determined to take him down and to not go easy on him.
Her reaction could be because her own father was not a good man or she is just a vigilante bent on taking down the bad guy.
Now to read something that was actually on the @TurokSonOfStone1950’s required reading list. This was my first real introduction to Huntress. Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood. I picked up the trade years ago at a comic shop because it was on sale.
To let my tablet charge I will be reading my book. If there are scenes I want to highlight I will be going to my tablet for the screenshots.
The first issue sets up Helena Bertinelli’s origin story better than anything else I have read today and I have read a lot of Huntress comics today. There are details of each crime family and her personal relationship with members of each family. @msgtv asked earlier what books he should read and I would have to say Cry for Blood is the front runner. I also got a laugh out of Helena’s reaction to an artist rendering of Huntress in book 2.
Throughout my reading, one thing I have been sure to point out was Helena’s need for acceptance from Batman. In issue 4 more detail is given to show the catalyst for her need for validation.
I need to mention The Question as he was instrumental in helping Helena when her back was against the wall. The Bat-family are all under the suspect she is guilty of murdering her cousin and a reporter. Vic Sage takes her away to Canada to be trained by Richard Dragonfly and then he helps her clear her name. I should also mention Babs is easily swayed to believe she is guilty of murder. Once again, Nightwing is a factor in Babs’ thoughts as she cannot understand why he would even give her a chance.
One thing that I have wanted to comment on is Huntress’s costume but I have held back. I haven’t really mentioned that she is a very religious person. To be honest, that has not come up too often in the books I have read. However, in Cry for Blood book 5, she mentions that she sees herself as a nun. “Totally devoted to my quest.” With this piece of the puzzle unlocked, seeing her costume there is definitely a nun theme present.
This is not the best drawing but it works as an example:
The 80s to early 90s costume was a variation of Helena Wayne’s costume and a little redder.
Here is another example of the evolution of Huntress’s costume.
While neither is perfect or complete in my opinion it does show that Helena Bertinelli always had a cross on her costume.
I thought I would be done with my Huntress binge reading for the day after Cry for Blood but then I noticed one more book within the modern comic timeframe.
Huntress: Year One (2008) is okay at best. After reading the great Cry for Blood, Year One just seems unnecessary. It does strike me odd that there was another origin story being told for Helena Bertinelli, especially as this takes place after she has joined Birds of Prey. One aspect of this story that I did like was that it takes a deeper look at Helena’s religious beliefs. Another thing I liked about this story is that we see a little more of Helena’s feminist beliefs at work. There are moments all the way back in the original series and the 4 issue mini-series that this was present. However, it was never discussed as open as it in this series.
I still have the Birds of Prey and JLA books to read which I am saving for tomorrow or later tonight. I hope it was okay to do a deep dive on Helena Bertinelli in the modern age here. I also thank you if you have read everything I had to say about these books. I tried to be as vague as possible to not give away too much but still include as much as I could to show her evolution.