Huntress (Helena Bertinelli)
The Huntress, also known as Helena Rosa Bertinelli, is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. She is the third DC character to bear the name Huntress. The character was also the third incarnation of Batgirl and was a longtime member of the Birds of Prey. In DC Comics New 52 continuity, Helena Bertinelli is an alias used by Helena Wayne while the real Helena Bertinelli is an agent of the spy organization Spyral.
|First appearance||As Huntress:|
The Huntress #1 (April 1989)
Batman: Shadow of the Bat #83 (March 1999)
|Created by||Joey Cavalieri|
|Alter ego||Helena Rosa Bertinelli|
|Team affiliations||Justice League|
Birds of Prey
Justice League International
|Notable aliases||Batgirl, Matron|
In the first two seasons of Arrow, Helena Bertinelli is played by actress Jessica De Gouw. The character will make her cinematic debut in the upcoming DC Extended Universe film Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), portrayed by Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional character biography
- 3 Other versions
- 4 In other media
- 5 References
- 6 External links
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".
Fictional character biographyEdit
In the 1989 Huntress series, Helena 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was kidnapped as a child (aged 6) and raped by a rival mafia don purely to psychologically torture her father, and is a withdrawn girl.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 parents 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 BloodEdit
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. Helena is framed for two murders, which puts her in direct conflict with Batman and Nightwing. 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 OneEdit
Huntress starred in her own six-issue biweekly Year One miniseries from May to July 2008 by Ivory Madison and Cliff Richards. 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, predominantly 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 BatmanEdit
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. Although League members help her on one of her own cases and she gets a tour of the group's New York City 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, 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. She is later forced to resign after Batman stops her from killing Prometheus while he is incapacitated.
Career in GothamEdit
No Man's LandEdit
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. 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.
Huntress teams with former police officer Petit and his men, who had broken off from the group led by former commissioner James Gordon. Petit believed that extreme force was the only way to survive No Man's Land. Batman intentionally drove Huntress to join Petit, knowing she could keep Petit in line and prevent him from hurting innocent people. On 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 his men overrun the compound. Batman and Nightwing intervene in time and Huntress is taken to a field hospital operated by forces who want to rebuild Gotham City.
Birds of Prey and the OutsidersEdit
Huntress becomes involved with Oracle and Black Canary in the comic series Birds of Prey. She bonds with Black Canary when they oppose a man called Braun, who had seduced and left them both. Huntress continues to work with the group, although her relationship with Oracle is strained and sometimes antagonistic due to Huntress' recklessness and Barbara's controlling nature.
She is made one of Oracle's full-time agents in Birds of Prey #68, after responding immediately to Barbara's intercepted call for help (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 her childhood dream of teaching gives Helena a great sense of fulfillment and inspires her 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  and leaves the group. She later rejoins along with newcomer Lady Blackhawk who becomes 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, and field commander.
Huntress appeared in the Hush storyline. She saves Batman's life from a criminal gang after he suffers a fractured skull in a fall. Batman realizes that she is "so much like I was when I started out", and "she's better than she knows..." In the story, Huntress continues a feud with The Scarecrow. She later appears 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.
One Year LaterEdit
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.
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. 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. 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.
The New 52Edit
In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, in the relaunch issue of Worlds' Finest, the Huntress is Helena Wayne from Earth 2. The Helena Bertinelli Huntress did exist, but has been long dead, with all her exploits having been committed by Helena Wayne acting in her name.
In May 2014, writers Tim Seeley and Tom King of the DC series Grayson, revealed that a new Prime Earth Helena Bertinelli will be in The New 52 continuity, appearing in the series as a spy and partner of Dick Grayson. 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. 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 storyline 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. 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 to 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.
Minos sends Helena and Dick to retrieve Paragon's brain, which holds Martian Manhunter's telepathic abilities, but they are too late. Dick later disappears and Helena learns that the Fist of Cain took the Brain and plans to unleash a psychic attack at a 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.
In the aftermath of Minos's betrayal of Spyral and death at the hands of Agent Zero, Helena became the new Director of Spyral. However, this put her at odds with Grayson, who after Batman's disappearance after his battle with the Joker in "Endgame," began dismantling Spyral with the help of Agent 1, the Tiger. Grayson and Bertinelli were pawns in the twisted mind of Dr. Otto Netz, who used his two daughters to play the world's super-espionage agencies against each other in a bid to take over the body of someone he considered a worthy receptacle. Initially choosing Bertinelli, Netz then attacked Grayson's mind, but Grayson destroyed the villain mentally. In the aftermath, and as part of the DC Rebirth event, Helena left Spyral and assumed the mantle of Huntress, appearing in Batgirl and the Birds of Prey.
This article needs to be updated.August 2017)(
At the beginning of the DC Rebirth era, Helena Bertinelli crosses paths with Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) and Black Canary (Dinah Lance) in Gotham City. Issue 4 details her origin story as a mafia princess seeking revenge for her family's murders. Huntress, Batgirl, and Black Canary cooperate to fight common enemies, there she discovers her mother was in charge of the operation and confronted her only to have her arrested.
Injustice: Gods Among UsEdit
In the prequel comic to Injustice: Gods Among Us, Helena is a member of Batman's insurgency, that combats Superman's One-Earth regime, she was very close to Kate Kane and Renee Montoya, Helena is killed in a battle against Wonder Woman, thus angering Kate and strengthening her resolve to fight the regime. She is one of the few deceased members alongside Green Arrow, Dick Grayson, Renee, James Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth.
In the Arrow tie-in comic, after the death of her boyfriend Michael, Helena goes to Sicily in Italy where she discovers the existence of La Morte Sussurrata (The Whispered Death), an organisation of killers trained by the Hashshashins of Persia when they migrated to Italy. Helena begins to have sex with various members to earn their trust, one of them being Silvio, who trains her to become an effective killer. She uses those skills to take down her father's criminal empire and her father.
In Arrow: Season 2.5 comic, Helena is released from prison by Lyla Michaels and Roy Harper after Felicity Smoak was taken by Renegades and Oliver having no backup. She helps him to take down the enemies including Lyle Bolton and back Felicity. After their rescuing, they go to helicopter, but Clinton Hogue (former bodyguard of Sebastian Blood) threatens to kill Roy. He is defeated when he is knocked out of the plane towards to the ground. Helena returns to prison, believing that she knew what justice required. As Oliver leaves, she tells him not to let Felicity get away.
Midnight Prince: DarknessEdit
In Midnight Prince: Darkness, Helena Bertinelli disappears from Midnights life when Midnight is 4, to run away with her lover Eli Lance, and her 4 year old son, Jacob. She reappears during the Battle of Justice Hall with her now-husband and 3 kids, Jacob, Olive and Zach Lance Bertinelli. Throughout the series, she appears as a minor character, mainly taking the role of Jacob and Olive's mother and the wife of Eli.
In other mediaEdit
- The Helena Bertinelli version of Huntress has appeared in Justice League Unlimited, voiced by Amy Acker. In the episode "Double Date", her thirst for revenge against Steven Mandragora results in her expulsion from the Justice League by Martian Manhunter. Green Arrow and Black Canary chase Huntress only to find her ready to kill Mandragora until the Question talks her down and Mandragora's rescued son is revealed. Subsequently, she turns into Question's love interest and partner. In the episode "Question Authority", Huntress helps Question uncover a government conspiracy. After Question has been captured and tortured for information, she contacts Superman via Jimmy Olsen's communicator and they rescue Question from Dr. Moon's clutches. In the episode "Flashpoint", Huntress rescues Question while Superman fights off Captain Atom and she later has a moment with her injured love interest. In the episode "Panic in the Sky", Huntress defends Question when the Ultimen clones attack the JL satellite (albeit unsuccessfully) until Captain Atom has recovered enough to save them both. Huntress also appears in the episode "Grudge Match", in which she uncovers Roulette's plot to use mind-controlled female Justice Leaguers in metahuman cage matches and her rivalry with Black Canary comes to a boil. She plays a significant role in freeing the other heroes and shutting down the organization behind the brawls. At the end of this episode, Black Canary offers to advocate that Huntress be reinstated as a Justice League member, but Huntress graciously turns her rival offer down. Instead, the two decide to get the aggression out of their systems by going one last round, the winner being determined by 'two falls out of three'.
- The Helena Bertinelli version of Huntress 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. In this episode, she, Black Canary and Catwoman are lowered into a tank of sharks. Helena saves them by shooting her crossbow so it ricochets and tears Black Canary's gag off, enabling her to break the tank with her scream.
- The Helena Bertinelli version of Huntress appears in the Arrow live-action television series, played by Jessica De Gouw. Introduced in the season one episodes "Muse of Fire" and "Vendetta", she is depicted as the daughter of high-profile mobster Frank Bertinelli. Some time before the show takes place, Helena, who was engaged to a man named Michael Staton, had been negotiating with the FBI to bring her father to justice. She put all her information on a laptop, which her father found. Believing that the laptop belonged to Helena's fiancée, Frank had Michael killed. Since then, Helena has been systematically destroying her father's organization. While trying to kill a corrupt man working for her father, she nearly kills Moira Queen. Oliver Queen tracks Helena and learns of her secret identity as a vigilante with her own cause. He starts dating her in order to learn more about her motives. When she uncovers his persona as Arrow, they begin a romantic affair. During their brief time together, Oliver tries to change her cause and teach her the difference between justice and revenge, making her his protégé. She assumes a secret identity, wearing the traditional Huntress costume. After killing her father's right-hand man Nick Salvati, Helena turns on Oliver, having learned of his interest in Laurel Lance, and starts a war between Frank's mob and the Chinese Triad. She later makes an attempt at her father's life, but Oliver intervenes. Frank is arrested, while Helena leaves Starling City, vowing revenge. Helena returns some months later, looking to kill her father after learning he is entering witness protection. She eventually locates her father's hideout, but Oliver once again prevents her from killing her father, who manages to escape. Helena returns in season two, once again looking for her father after he is arrested by SCPD. She attacks her father's trial, but Oliver saves her father by pushing him out of the room. Helena and her gang take a number of hostages, including Laurel, and demand that her father is handed over. Oliver eventually agrees to exchange Frank for Laurel. Just as Helena is about to execute her father, a renegade SWAT member opens fire and everyone scatters. After being apprehended by Sara Lance, Helena discovers her father was killed in the crossfire, but not by her. She later admits that seeing her father dead did not change anything. The show's executive producer Marc Guggenheim revealed on his Tumblr page that De Gouw would return as Helena, but the character has not appeared after season two. Helena has been mentioned in the show sporadically and in season seven her mask appears in the personal collection of vigilante hunter Chimera, leaving her fate unknown.
- Helena Bertinelli's name appears in a map in season two of Gotham.
- An alternate version of Huntress made a cameo appearance as one of Superwoman's lieutenants in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.
- In November 2016, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), based on the female superhero team of the same name and set in DC Extended Universe was in development with Christina Hodson signed on as screenwriter. By April 2018, Warner Bros. selected Cathy Yan as director, with Margot Robbie, Sue Kroll, and Bryan Unkless serving as producers for the project. Robbie will reprise her role as Harleen Quinzel / Harley Quinn, with the film being the first theatrical R-rated installment in the franchise and will be made with a significantly smaller budget than some of the other films. The team roster will reportedly include Quinzel, Dinah Lance / Black Canary, Helena Bertinelli / Huntress, Cassandra Cain, and Renee Montoya. Production will commence on January 15, 2019 in Los Angeles. Mary Elizabeth Winstead will portray Helena in the film. Production commenced on January 15, 2019 in Los Angeles for a February 7, 2020 release date.
- 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 can have her custom character pieces in Lego Batman: The Video Game. She is also an unlockable character in the game's Nintendo DS version.
- The Helena Bertinelli incarnation of Huntress appears in DC Universe Online, voiced by Claire Hamilton. She appears both as an NPC in several missions (as an early boss fight for villains or a contact for heroes) 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 mentioned by Vicki Vale in Batman: Arkham City while talking to Mayor Sharp in an interview.
- The Helena Bertinelli incarnation of Huntress appears as a playable character in Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, voiced by Kari Wahlgren.
- The Arrow version of Huntress appears via downloadable content as a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
- 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.
- In Injustice 2, an interaction between Black Canary and Poison Ivy mentions Huntress being killed by Wonder Woman.
- The Helena Bertinelli version of Huntress is a playable character in Lego DC Super-Villains, voiced by Sumalee Montano.
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