The Huntress
Huntress (Helena Wayne).
art by Joe Staton.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceDC Super Stars #17 (November/December 1977)
Created byPaul Levitz
Joe Staton
Joe Orlando
Bob Layton
In-story information
Alter egoHelena Wayne
SpeciesHuman
Place of originEarth-Two
Team affiliationsBatman Family
Infinity, Inc.
Justice Society of America
Justice League
PartnershipsPower Girl
Batman
Robin
Notable aliasesRobin
Abilities
  • Highly skilled gymnast
  • Highly skilled hand-to-hand combatant/martial artist
  • Expert markswoman

The Huntress, also known as Helena Wayne, is a superheroine appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character is the daughter of the Batman and Catwoman (Selina Kyle) of an alternate universe established in the early 1960s and referred to as "Earth-Two", where the Golden Age stories took place. A modern-day predecessor (and retroactive namesake) of Helena Wayne as Huntress with no blood-relation to Batman or Catwoman, Helena Bertinelli, was additionally co-created by the character's co-creator Joe Staton in 1989, originally intended as a reinvention of the character following the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, before being retconned as different characters.

Actress Ashley Scott portrayed Helena Kyle / The Huntress in the 2002 television series Birds of Prey and reprised her role in the annual Arrowverse crossover "Crisis on Infinite Earths".

Publication history

The Huntress was created as a response to All Star Comics inker Bob Layton's suggestion that a revamped Earth-Two Batgirl be added to the lineup of the Justice Society of America.[1] Penciller Joe Staton recounted how the character was designed:

After Paul [Levitz, All Star Comics writer] had described the origin to me, I worked up sketches combining elements of Catwoman and Batman, and went in see Joe [Orlando, editor]. The short version is that Joe and I had a fine meeting, featuring Vinnie Colletta in his role as art director snoring away at full volume on the couch in the back of the room. Joe touched up the bat-elements in my original sketch, particularly the cape, giving it the scallops, and he made the belt emblem a bit more bat-like. Joe opened up his sketchpad and used my sketch as the main element in the cover design for DC Super-Stars, and I went home to pencil the final cover.[1]

Staton also admitted that the character's costume was heavily inspired by the Black Cat.[1] The title Huntress was borrowed from "relatively obscure Golden Age villainess" Paula Brooks.[2][3]: 60  Helena's first appearance was in DC Super Stars #17 (November/December 1977), which told her origin,[4] and then All Star Comics #69 (December 1977), which came out the same day,[5] and revealed her existence to the Justice Society of America. She appeared in Batman Family #17-20 when it expanded into the Dollar Comics format for its last few issues.[6] The bulk of her solo stories appeared as backup features in issues of Wonder Woman beginning with issue #271 (September 1980).[6][7] These stories, almost all of which were written by Levitz and pencilled by Staton, tended to a noir style, with the Huntress typically combating street-level crime rather than costumed supervillains.[1]

Helena's debut on the cover of DC Super Stars #17. Art by Joe Staton.

Following the character's death and erasure from history in Crisis on Infinite Earths #12 (March 1986), DC created a new Huntress (Helena Bertinelli), whose costume and weaponry are similar to that of Helena Wayne, and whose adventures were drawn by Staton.

Post-Crisis Earth-2 version

Following 52 (2007), DC Comics superheroes' fictional world was newly established as a collection of 52 parallel-world "universes". An alternate rebooted version of the Helena Wayne character now resides on post-Crisis Earth-2 and has appeared in Justice Society of America (vol. 3) in issues set on the parallel world of Earth-2.

Fictional character biography

Origin

Helena was born in 1957 to Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle Wayne, and grew up enjoying the benefits of being in a wealthy household. As a youth, she enjoyed a thorough education, as well as being trained by her parents, Batman and Catwoman, to become a super-athlete. As a young girl she was amazed to learn that her father was the Batman and embraced Dick Grayson as her older brother. She also looked up to Alfred as a second father. After Yale College and Yale Law School, she joined the law firm of Cranston and Grayson, one of whose partners was Dick Grayson, alias Robin.

In 1976, criminal Silky Cernak blackmailed his old boss Selina Kyle into resuming action once again as Catwoman, an act which eventually led to her death. Helena, deciding to bring Cernak to justice, created a costume for herself, fashioned some weapons from her parents' equipment (including her eventual trademark weapon, a crossbow), and set out to bring him in. After accomplishing this, Helena decided to continue to fight crime, under the code name "the Huntress".

Allies and enemies

After her mother's death, Helena moved out of Wayne Manor and into a Gotham City apartment. She soon found herself involved with the Justice Society of America (her father's old team) and formally joined the group in All Star Comics #72. Helena was also briefly associated with the superhero group Infinity, Inc., a team made up of second-generation superheroes, mostly the children of JSA members.

Helena also struck up a friendship with fellow new superheroine Power Girl, who was also a part of both the JSA and Infinity Inc. In addition to Power Girl, Helena frequently worked with Robin and with a new hero named Blackwing. Some of her foes were the Thinker, the Joker, Lion-Mane (one of her mother's embittered former minions), Karnage, the Crime lord, the Boa, and the Earthworm. Her lover for a time was Gotham District Attorney Harry Sims. Despite the fact that she proposed a partnership ("I nail'em, you jail'em"), their relationship grew difficult in that he knew of her secret identity and was constantly worrying about her safety. She briefly flirted with Robin who, cited her father's choice in looking for a wife, told her that a normal man would not be able to satisfy her.

She made several visits to Earth-One. Her first was in Batman Family #17, where she met the Earth-One Batman, Robin, Batgirl, and Batwoman, and fought the Earth-One Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Madame Zodiac. Seeing in him her father returned to her, she took to calling the Earth-One Batman her "Uncle Bruce", and built a familial relationship with him. As a member of the Justice Society, she participated in several of the annual JLA/JSA meetings, most of which took place on Earth-One. She also participated in the battle against the Adjudicator[8] as part of the female force of multiple Earths led by the Earth-One Wonder Woman. Other heroines involved in this adventure included Zatanna, Supergirl, the Phantom Lady, Madame Xanadu, Power Girl, the Black Canary, Wonder Girl, Raven and Starfire.

Despite the fact that she did love her mother and became the Huntress to avenge her death, she secretly feared that she might follow in her mother's footsteps. Either fighting a demonic version of her mother in a drug-induced haze[9] or fighting her mother's Earth-One counterpart (who had never reformed),[10] Helena had a difficult time coming to grips with her mother's criminal career, even going so far as to seek therapy. Looking at her mother's Earth-One counterpart, she secretly hoped that one day that the Earth-One Catwoman would reform.

Death in Crisis on Infinite Earths

Helena's last solo appearance was before the 1985 miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths; her storyline ended with the Harbinger contemplating the coming Crisis.

The Huntress participated in the battle to save all Creation from the Anti-Monitor and while she, along with dozens of other heroes, succeeded in preventing the villain from erasing the universe from having ever existed, she nevertheless failed to prevent the end of the multiverse. While parts of Earth-Two, along with other Earths, were grafted onto Earth-One creating the post-Crisis Earth, Earth-Two itself was destroyed. The Huntress was traumatized to learn that her Earth and her family not only no longer existed but, with history rewritten, had never existed.

Despite collapsing in her Robin's arms at one point, she galvanized herself for the last battle wherein she (along with her Robin and Kole) died saving several children from the Anti-Monitor's shadow demons. After Crisis ended, Helena Wayne, like her parents and Earth-Two's Dick Grayson, disappeared and was forgotten.

Her last appearance was in Superman/Batman #27, wherein Power Girl, whose memories of Earth-Two were restored, recollects an adventure she had with the Huntress in which they clash with the Ultra-Humanite and Brainwave, the Ultra-Humanite having briefly trapped Superman and Batman's minds in the bodies of their cousin and daughter, respectively.

Return in Infinite Crisis

Following the events of Infinite Crisis and 52, the multiverse is effectively restored and among those universes is Earth-2, complete with the Huntress.

In Justice Society of America (vol. 3) Annual #1, Power Girl is sent to Earth-2 by Gog. There, she is discovered by the Huntress who recognizes her as the Power Girl from their world who went missing after the first Crisis. In this new Earth-2, the citizens remember having been the only Earth in existence following the Crisis. The Huntress re-initiates Power Girl into an amalgamated Justice Society Infinity (an Infinity Inc. and Justice Society merger) and brings her up to speed on her life. Following the death of Alfred, the Huntress has become more estranged from her friends; Robin serves in the Batman's place as a global protector, while the Huntress protects the streets of Gotham. As all her father's rogues gallery have begun to die, an aged Joker makes plans to recreate Two-Face by scarring acid on the Huntress' would-be fiancée, D.A. Harry Sims. The Huntress attempts to kill him, and is stopped by Power Girl; the Joker's plan to take the Huntress out with him backfires, and he dies of old age and prolonged exposure to his own chemicals. However, the Huntress confesses to Power Girl that it is Robin she truly loves, but Sims' injuries leave her feeling obligated to remain with him as he suffered his burns after he had proposed to her, but before she had the chance to say "No".

Selina Kyle holds her child, Helena, in Catwoman (vol. 3) #53 (May 2006), art by David Lopez.

The Huntress has not only returned along with Earth-Two but, as Helena Kyle, she has even been born into the mainstream DC Universe. Her mother is still Selina Kyle, though Helena's father is initially unknown. Many assume it is the Batman, but it is eventually claimed that the father was Slam Bradley's son. Despite initially quitting being Catwoman to care for her, Selina ultimately puts Helena up for adoption under the Batman's arrangement for fear she would be unable to protect her.

A month after Helena is placed with a new family, the Catwoman asks sorceress Zatanna to erase her memories of Helena and to make her stop thinking of herself as a heroine. Zatanna refuses, because such an act would be cruel to both mother and daughter and because Selina was already on the path to becoming a heroine on her own.

The New 52

Helena Wayne as Huntress in Huntress (vol. 3) #2 (January 2012), art by Marcus To.

The Helena Wayne incarnation of the Huntress returned in the wake of DC's The New 52 relaunch with a six-issue Huntress miniseries that was released in October 2011. Alongside Power Girl, she later starred in a revival of the Worlds' Finest series, written by Paul Levitz and drawn by George Pérez and Kevin Maguire.[11] In the post-Flashpoint Earth 2 continuity, Helena Wayne was the daughter of Batman and Catwoman (Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle Wayne). She was also the only Robin to her father's Batman identity and a more ruthless character than previously seen.[12] As well as Catwoman of Earth 2, who dies in an attack on a Gotham building under crossfire, Batman of Earth 2 is killed along with that world's Superman and Wonder Woman during an attempted Apokoliptian invasion. Helena only adopts the Huntress identity after accidentally arriving on Prime Earth through a Boom Tube, along with the Earth 2 Supergirl who changes to her subsequent Power Girl identity several years later. The Worlds' Finest storyline explores how Helena and Power Girl arrived on the mainstream DC Earth and their attempts to return to their source Earth. It starts five years after their arrival.

DC Rebirth

In the 2016–2019 run of Batman penned by Tom King as part of the DC Rebirth era, Selina and Bruce reconnected and fell in love once more, with the two almost marrying. In the possible futures of the story called "Last Rites" (in Batman (vol. 3) Annual #2)[13] and the series Batman/Catwoman, Selina falls pregnant with Bruce's child whom they name Helena. After Bruce's death in a flash-forward she helps her widowed mother come to terms with it and ends up becoming the new Batwoman.[14]

Dawn of DC

A version of the character is reintroduced in a flashforward depicted in Geoff Johns' one-shot The New Golden Age, which deals with never-before-seen characters being returned to history after having been removed, changing the DC timeline. In a future scene, a young Helena is being stalked by "The Stranger". Late one night, Helena spots Batman in her home and stabs him, only for him to reveal himself as her father Bruce. Her mother Selena is furious, knowing that this will start Helena down the tragic road taken by various Robins in the past. Because of this, Bruce retired from being Batman. Further in the future still when Bruce is murdered, an adult Helena swears vengeance, becoming Huntress.[15][16] When Huntress and her makeshift incarnation of the JSA confronted the Stranger, he killed most of its members which also resulted in Huntress being sent back in time to the 1940s where Johnny Thunder and Thunderbolt find her body.[17] When she meets the Justice Society of that time, Doctor Fate tried to find out who the enemy she faced was only to suffer some electrical feedback that knocked everyone down. Huntress was later flung to the present where she meets the Khalid Nassour version of Doctor Fate, Deadman, and Detective Chimp.[18] After telling them about what happened in her future, Doctor Fate takes Huntress to the Justice Society of America while Detective Chimp and Deadman take the snow globe she had to Madame Xanadu to see if she can provide them with some answers. Upon arriving, Huntress helps the JSA out by defeating Angle Man causing the Bizarros that he summoned from another reality to disappear. They hear her story of what happened in her future and her encounter with Per Degaton as they decide to call in the rest of the JSA. Just then, Per Degaton arrives with plans to take out the JSA.[19] As Per Degaton goes on the attack, Huntress saves Power Girl from the Kryptonite ring on Per Degaton's hand by shooting the finger that has it enabling Power Girl to attack Per Degaton enough for him to retreat. Afterwards, Power Girl thanked Huntress for saving her life. Power Girl later informs the Justice Society of America, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, and Detective Chimp that Huntress is en route to Gotham City. Later that night, she finds Batman subduing Mister Toad. Huntress states that she is his daughter from an alternate timeline and is here to save him.[20] After Huntress explained herself to Batman, the JSA, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, and Detective Chimp catch up to them. Madame Xanadu explains that the snow globe in question is keeping her alive and that it's the same snow globe that Batman stole from the Time Masters. They are then attacked by Per Degaton and the different versions of the Time Masters. When Doctor Fate got ahold of the snow globe, she summoned the JSA members from across time including the ones from the possible future that Huntress comes from. Once Per Degaton is defeated and imprisoned in the Flashpoint reality within the snow globe, the possible future that Huntress comes from disappears with her still existing. Her narration states that Batman has mentioned that she is among the paradoxes that shouldn't be remaining and doesn't want her to move in with her as Huntress takes her leave.[21] Bruce does move Helena into her own place in New York City until the Hourman android can find an alternative. Helena does mention to Bruce that Catwoman is unavailable to hear about what transpired. Huntress later talks with Power Girl about the growing ranks of the Justice Society of America and how it's version in her time had Gentleman Ghost, Harlequin's Son, and Red Lantern's daughter Ruby in their ranks. She states that if that ends up happening, they should start with getting Solomon Grundy on their side.[21] Huntress, Green Lantern, Doctor Fate, Stargirl, Batman, and Salem the Witch Girl confront Solomon Grundy as Doctor Fate tries to reason with him. This attempt went awry when Salem the Witch Girl tries to use a Limbo Town spell to regress Solomon Grundy back to Cyrus Gold only for her Limbo Town curse to affect the spell and reduce Solomon Grundy to a skeleton. Huntress scolded Salem the Witch Girl for what happened as Salem the Witch Girl states that her Limbo Town curse causes harm to anyone she encounters.[22] Huntress later mentions how her makeshift group had included the daughter of Red Lantern as Alan Scott is reluctant to try to persuade her to join the ISA. As Alan Scott goes to confront the second Red Lantern, Huntress is told by Flash that Mister Terrific is working on the power restraints that will be used on Icicle and that Jack Knight has retired. She also brought up with them that his son Kyle Knight is in the group as Stargirl mentions that Kyle is currently 6-years-old. After Huntress claims that she'll return to the swamp and try again with Solomon Grundy on Monday, Stargirl brings up the activities caused by Harlequin's Son.[23]

Powers and abilities

The Huntress is a highly skilled gymnast and is also skilled at hand-to-hand combat. In addition, she is an expert markswoman, with her trademark weapon being a crossbow.

Collected editions

In January 2020, coinciding with the film Birds of Prey, DC Comics published The Huntress: Origins (ISBN 978-1-77950072-4), a trade paperback which was a re-release of 2006's Huntress: Darknight Daughter under a new title.

Title Material collected Publication date ISBN
Huntress: Darknight Daughter DC Super-Stars #17; Batman Family #18-20; the Huntress back-up stories from Wonder Woman #271-287, 289–290, 294-295 December 2006 1-4012-0913-0
Huntress: Crossbow at the Crossroads Huntress (vol. 3) #1–6 October 2012 1-4012-3733-9

In other media

Television

Barbara Joyce as the Huntress as she appears in Legends of the Superheroes.

Film

Helena Wayne / Huntress appears in Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths - Part One, voiced by Erika Ishii.[26]

Analysis and reception

Editor Paul Levitz justified the creation of Helena Wayne by a wish to bring more diversity into the comic books, for the ALL-STAR JSA group, and to give Power Girl (the only female in the groups at the time) someone to contrast with and befriend.[3]: 111 

Reviewers Michael Eury and Gina Misiroglu found the character of Helena Wayne "intriguingly distinguished by her parentage". This incarnation of the Huntress "so enthralled DC readers fascinated by the heroine's lineage and motivation" that she was spun out into her own successful series. When the character was eliminated by DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths series, it "was too popular to fully jettison from the DC universe", leading to the creation of Helena Bertinelli as the next Huntress.[2]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Callahan, Timothy (February 2010). "The Huntress: The Daughter of the Bat and the Cat". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (#38): 71–78.
  2. ^ a b Eury, Michael; Misiroglu, Gina (2012). "The Huntress". In Misiroglu, Gina (ed.). The Superhero Book: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Comic-Book Icons an Hollywood Heroes (2nd ed.). Detroit: Visible Ink Press. pp. 186–187. ISBN 978-1-57859-375-0.
  3. ^ a b Bonadè, Sophie (3 December 2019). Des superhéroïnes à Gotham City: une étude de la (re)définition des rôles genrés dans l'univers de Batman (PDF) (PhD) (in French). Université Paris-Saclay. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  4. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. DC Super Stars #17 (November–December 1977) While writer Paul Levitz and artist Joe Staton introduced the Huntress to the JSA in this month's All Star Comics #69, they concurrently shaped her origin in DC Super-Stars. ((cite book)): |first2= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ DC Super Stars #17 (November-December 1977) at the Grand Comics Database: "Origin and first appearance of the Helena Wayne Huntress, who simultaneously first appears in this issue and All-Star Comics (DC, 1976 series) #69, both released August 24, 1977".
  6. ^ a b Huntress (Helena Wayne) appearances at the Grand Comics Database
  7. ^ Manning, Matthew K. "1980s" in Dolan, p. 187: "The daughter of Batman and Catwoman from Earth-2 found a new home away from home in the pages of Wonder Woman's monthly title...a regular gig as the back-up feature to the Amazing Amazon's lead story. Handled by writer Paul Levitz and artist Joe Staton, the Huntress faced the villainy of the swamp creature Solomon Grundy".
  8. ^ Paul Levitz, Roy Thomas (w), Colan, Gene (p), McLaughlin, Frank (i). "Judgement in Infinity!/Horsemen Four!" Wonder Woman, no. 291 (May 1982).
  9. ^ Cavalieri, Joey (w), Bair, Michael (p), Giacoia, Frank (i). "Side Effects" Wonder Woman, no. 307 (September 1983).
  10. ^ Rozakis, Bob (w), Heck, Don (p), Wiacek, Bob and Colletta, Vince (i). "Horoscopes of Crime!" Batman Family, no. 17 (April–May 1978).
  11. ^ Rogers, Vaneta (January 13, 2012). "Paul Levitz Explains More About Worlds' Finest, Earth 2". Newsarama. Archived from the original on February 2, 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
  12. ^ "EARTH 2 CHARACTER DESIGNS - ROBIN". DC Comics. 28 February 2012.
  13. ^ Holston, Josh (December 7, 2017). "Batman's romantic side on full display in 'Date Nights Last Rites'". Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  14. ^ Batman/Catwoman #3. DC Comics.
  15. ^ The New Golden Age #1 (2022). DC Comics.
  16. ^ McGuire, Liam (11 November 2022). "Geoff Johns Interview - The JSA And The New Golden Age #1". Screenrant.
  17. ^ Justice Society of America Vol. 4 #1. DC Comics.
  18. ^ Justice Society of America Vol. 4 #2. DC Comics.
  19. ^ Justice Society of America Vol. 4 #3. DC Comics.
  20. ^ Justice Society of America Vol. 4 #4. DC Comics.
  21. ^ a b Justice Society of America Vol. 4 #5. DC Comics.
  22. ^ Justice Society of America Vol. 4 #7. DC Comics.
  23. ^ Justice Society of America Vol. 4 #8. DC Comics.
  24. ^ "Huntress". Archived from the original on 2007-01-28. Retrieved 2007-01-28.
  25. ^ Ausiello, Michael (September 26, 2019). "Birds of Prey's Ashley Scott Will Bring Huntress to the Arrowverse 'Crisis'". TV Line. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  26. ^ Harvey, James (December 5, 2023). ""Justice League: Crisis On Infinite Earths, Part One" Release Date". The World's Finest. Retrieved January 9, 2024.