Sunday, June 23, 2019

Huntress and Batgirl Blog

After reading 12 issues of the original run of the post-crises Huntress, Helena Bertinelli, my expanding love for the character continues to...expand.  My memory is fuzzy at best, so I can't remember if my first exposure to the character was in Batman: No Man's Land, Birds of Prey, or Hush. Based on the aforementioned stories I just...mentioned, one can see that I discovered the character in the early 2000's.

Helena's spunk, pluckiness, and "don't back down" swagger are just too endearing for me to ignore.  She doesn't have meta-human powers, nor was my favorite hero injected with something to augment her physiology.  Of course she is trained, but The Huntress is not ever mentioned in DC's top tier hand to hand combat fighters; however, when written well, when this character is faced against odds not in her favor, I for one always believe she's going to pull through in the end.  Might not be pretty or graceful, but definitely able to live to fight another day.

Back in the Summer of 2018, I cracked open, well I read the book digitally, so let us say that I clicked on issue 1 of The Huntress, which I found disturbing, thrilling, and compelling.  Each page contained that late 80's/early 90's grit that I was all too familiar with having grown up during this time period. Joey Cavalieri, the writer, captures the sounds, cadence, and heartbeat of the landscapes one would imagine while listening to Nas's first song on his debut album, "New York State of Mind".

Being that this was the early 90's, The Huntress didn't fight aliens from outer space, megalomaniacs, or peers with powers greater than her own.  In these twelve issues she is facing the mob, drug lords, street gangs, existential threats, and the inner demons from her own bloodline.

Pre-Crises Huntress, Helena Wayne is a legacy character, the offspring of Batman and Cat Woman.  In Helena Bertinelli's case, her father was a powerful mafioso. Not something you would brag about when walking the corridors of a prestige college or the Justice League.

There is something quite intriguing about a character who didn't have to do this, being a hero and all.  Taking her family's inheritance and living her best life was an option. She didn't have to be a fighter for those who could not defend themselves.  She didn't have to be a voice for the voiceless. She didn't have to stand with those who stood alone. On the opening pages of issue 1, she saves a woman from an assailant, reflecting back on when she, Helena, used to be the victim.  Now, as the Huntress, where she finds inner peace and outer strength, she swings roof top to roof top, not to show off, but to show those who prey on the innocent, that she is the darkness that will bring justice to light.

- Ashford

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