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The Huntress has come a long way from the Bronze Age lovechild of Batman and Catwoman to say nothing of her earliest appearance as a one note villainess in 1947 In her current post Crisis, pre New 52 incarnation, the purple clad heroine is a mafia princess orphaned as a little girl by the mob and now wages war against organized crime In The Huntress Year One, newcomer Ivory Madison tenders a six issue miniseries detailing the origins and inaugural year of Helena Bertinelli s alter ego, the Huntress, a deliciously badass character deserving of her own monthly title but, regrettably, still struggling to find her proper place within the DC Universe.As the eight year old daughter of a Sicilian crime family, Helena Bertinelli was unaware of the dangerous life she lived that is, until a masked assassin guns down her parents and older brother during a quiet pasta dinner, leaving her the only survivor The silent panels sequencing her family s annihilation are powerful and underscore the merciless violence Rather than killing her, the hitman makes off with Helena s crucifix as she cries alone amidst a splatter of bloodied corpses and spaghetti sauce Fast forward twelve years, on the eve of her twenty first birthday, Helena, now the ward of the Asaro family, is about to receive a substantial inheritance But the aging mafia dons have other plans for the Bertinelli fortune Donning a sleek costume and a handy crossbow, the hunted has become the hunter, and like a wraith in the night Helena tracks both the man who ordered the hit on her family and the triggerman himself An initially intriguing story takes a decisive nose dive after a deadly confrontation with her family s killer during the Venetian Carnival leaves the fledgling heroine with no choice but to return to Gotham City, thereby ensuring a fateful rendezvous with Batman.In the course of the story, Helena reveals both her resourcefulness and ruthlessness As a woman of principle and faith, she is demonstrably violent than most heroes a vigilante in the truest sense Helena is a survivor, a fierce warrior whose beginnings greatly echo those of Bruce Wayne though in Helena s case, witnessing the deaths of her beloved kin has instilled in her a righteous anger that fuels Helena s penchant for bloodshed, as evidenced in a literal cat got your tongue moment near the end of the book Helena s wrathful vengeance is a stark contrast to Batman s cool restraint The second half of the book features cameos from the Bat Family, though it seems like Madison went out of her way to cram every familiar character Bruce Wayne Batman, Catwoman, Batgirl, Alfred, stop me if I m forgetting anyone into a rather rushed finale Despite the occasionally campy dialogue, Madison makes superb use of present day Helena s narrative captions, particularly during flashback sequences, thus giving readers a real sense of the character s complexity What s , her Italian American ethnicity and Catholic faith distinguishes her from most other mainstay superheroes.Artistically speaking, Year One is a success Jason Wright s colors are vibrant and hold true to the book s pervasive moodiness and noir ish milieu and the crisp, shadow tinged art of Cliff Richards is than capable of telling a story, even one that does little to redefine the character The Huntress roots were previously explored in Greg Rucka s superior miniseries, Batman Huntress Cry for Blood 2000 , which begs the question as to the purpose of this latter day origin tale outside of its showing readers how Helena acquired her costume and how the Huntress moniker carries certain sentimental value Madison s vision of the Huntress backstory is intelligent and for the most part coherent, though largely uninspired. If you are a girl or boy, don t want to discriminate that doesn t think they could ever enjoy a superhero comic this is the one for you I can honestly say this is the only comic I have ever been able to relate too It has the perfect balance of action, backstory, star crossed loving and revenge a person could ever want in my opinion The storyline is very relatable and give solid food for thought like on page 32 where Hel s uncle says We all think we re the good guys He s trying to explain that her foster brother Sal, the person she adores and idolizes, did what he did because he thought it was right, that does not make it okay I personally agree with that statement, it also sets up a little bit about what ends up happening to Sal towards the end of the comic I don t want to give away too much, but I m sure of you re a fan of D.C Comics, BA hero girls, or mob related revenge, this comic is made for you. One of the darker but still entertaining and intelligently written superhero comics I ve read with a woman in the starring role, and one of the first that s an origin story It s also my first mafia book Huntress Year One is short but satisfying, even in a story involving the mafia where criminal organisations are cross linked and spread throughout the world And in a superhero origin book, there will be a few loose ends.Huntress is a magnificently gritty, hard as nails heroine though she prefers to be called hero who takes shit from no one She is as violent as I ve seen her in Gail Simone s Birds of Prey storylines, although there is less of her devil may care attitude in her Year One introduction Here, she takes things in her tragic life much seriously Helena Bertinelli mafia princess and lone survivor of a family assassination as a little girl takes everything into consideration She seeks revenge and retribution in a man s mob infested world Even when she falls in love with a man against her better judgement, she is still willing to kill him because he is as flawed as the rest in their connections to a mafia crime syndicate Yes, Helena is a heroine who will torture and kill her enemies though she uses fitting punishments effectively than anything else at her disposal All the while she carries a cross and a belief in God with her This makes her ever the complex and badass, and it s something rarely ever seen in a female lead in anything, much less a superhero comic book Even at the age of eight, just before her family were massacred right in front of her, she prayed at the dinner table for her abusive father to be dead outloud in his presence Huntress s killing policy is one of the things that sets her miles apart from Gotham s prestigious protector, Batman.Misogyny is ripe in the story of Huntress Men beware her crossbow She will not let herself or other women suffer in the patriarchy like she always had.Not all men are evil in Huntress Year One , however, and Huntress isn t a heartless, stoic killer Her relationship with her adoptive brother is wonderfully done that along with her feelings over a doomed romance show her softer, vulnerable side Underneath the violence, Helena is a ball of pain and suffering She is human.Looking at some DC background information, I find it interesting that Huntress was once the daughter of Batman and Catwoman, named Helena Wayne, in Earth 2 until that universe was wiped out from continuity DC and Marvel as well appear to be stubbornly against the idea of superheroes getting married and having children as it shows their age, I presume I would argue that any icon can be made timeless depending on good writing, which heroes with families have shown us in the past Families offer a myriad of opportunities for limitless story and character possibilities the opposite is not true at all Still, Huntress must have been popular enough to be granted a revamped version in the Earth 1 continuity Indeed she is one of the genuinely dynamic DC heroines out there worthy of her own title Huntress Year One loses a point for its portrayal of Batgirl I love Barbara Gordon, so to see her in this comic, where she fails in simple tasks and is scolded by Bruce Wayne like a child, really shook me the wrong way She s a foil for Huntress, but she also seems to exist to make Huntress look competent in comparison I know Barbara is supposed to have only gotten started on her vigilante crusade here However I was thrown from this perspective by how mature she looks in her civilian form, even being directly involved in police work Batman being a big, brooding ass refusing to share crime fighting in Gotham doesn t help matters, even though it is for understandable reasons Huntress Year One is about a woman s crusade to save other women from a corrupt man s world, and yet little love and respect is given to the women victims themselves and nowhere is this apparent than with Batgirl, and Batman s undermining of her This is swept under the rug, obliterating any possibility for Huntress to perhaps talk to Batgirl about becoming her own individual and not letting a man from higher ups get her down like dirt on his shoe Feels like a missed opportunity to me.So yeah, Huntress Year One does not do my Batgirl justice HoweverCatwoman, aka Selina Kyle, is great I never cared much for her character before, but she is a hoot whenever she shows up in this A self confident thief, Catwoman gives Huntress advice and lets her in on Batman s weaknesses Plus she smokes in her costume while up on roofs like no one s business What a cool cat In a way, both Catwoman and Batman serve as parental figures for the orphan Huntress in her origin tale perhaps a nod to them actually being her parents in her earlier incarnation.In terms of how women other than Huntress herself are portrayed, Catwoman makes up for Batgirl s poor, wasted appearance.To conclude, Huntress Year One is a fine stand alone title comic, with sombre and meticulous artwork to accompany the mafia revenge plot It does get confusing in places, as there is the skipping and jumping about in time and trying to keep up with the many bad guys plans But I rolled with it all and it turned out to be fairly simple to follow in retrospect Dark, sophisticated and horrific, starring an anti heroine who doesn t need superpowers to be awesome She gets stuff done, and in a bloody and bizarrely biblical style.Final Score 4 5 The Huntress is one of my favourite characters out of the er, very extended Bat family She s evolved very much since her first appearance on Earth 2 as Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle s daughter Sometimes I find that regrettable, as I like Helena Wayne too Now the only living member of the Bertinelli family, Helena witnessed the cold blooded slaughter of her parents and brother by a hitman when she was a child, and she has been burning to avenge their deaths ever since.I thought Cry for Blood was excellent in giving us a brief background into Helena s origins in the underworld, but Madison s take on it is perhaps grittier and energetic Certainly she makes Helena s mafia connections complex and explores the internal struggle for familial loyalty and personal aspirations.Huntress first encounter with Batman is a turning point in the narrative Clearly there is a great deal of antagonism between the two vigilantes, both with their own agenda in serving justice Batgirl and Catwoman also make appearances, the latter especially acting as a kind of buffer between Huntress and Batman. I LOVE this Huntress origin story My first encounter with the Huntress was Huntress Crossbow at the Crossroads by Paul Levitz, where Helena sorely lacks personality But when I read Gail Simone s version of her in Birds of Prey , I fell in love with her Now, after Huntress Year One , I m loving her even She s darker and bloodier than her other versions, and I like it There are parts in the story where I literally holler because of how satisfyingly bad ass Huntress is being She s a woman growing up in a highly patriarchal society who won t take shit from anyone The telling of her backstory is great, and her journey to becoming The Huntress is riveting.What keeps this from being a five star book is Batman Bruce Wayne and Batgirl Barbara Gordon Normally I love both those characters, but they annoy me here Bruce snaps at Batgirl, acts like a brat who doesn t want to share the playground, and takes himself way too seriously My problem with Batgirl isn t as big just that Helena seems to beat her up far too easily I know Batgirl s still new to the job here, but come on Catwoman, on the other hand, is a delight.The art isn t anything exceptional just the usual comic book art style It s decent The cover makes Helena look sour, so just ignore it.I highly recommend this to anyone interested in Huntress Helena Bertinelli, and who doesn t mind some bloodshed This is a darker story where the protagonist DOES kill, but to me, it s refreshing. This miniseries starts out as a retread of the flashback scenes in Batman Huntress Cry for Blood Helena, who was sent off to Sicily after her immediate family is murdered, is still there and now dealing with the loss of her second family, this time to prison in a crackdown on mob hitmen Aside from an amusing moment where Barbara Gordon is in town for a Mafia Continuing Education Training with a bunch of government lawyers and legal librarians, the first two thirds of the book are Helena creating herself as Huntress against the Sicilian organized crime families It s not about Batman, although it is about Gotham people keep blaming her Gotham upbringing every time she does something unladylike, and when she first puts on her newly commissioned uniform the man she confronts smirks and says, You must be an Americanwe don t have capes in Sicily So that s pretty awesome, and the art is nice it s decent for DC standards these days, and I really like how everything in the entire book is dark I don t think there s anything brighter than twilight through the whole thing, and most of it s at night and or underground.And then Helena chases the mob back to Gotham, runs smack up against Batman and Batgirl, and the whole thing goes a little crazy.Here s an example of Bruce Wayne s dialogue, addressing Batgirl after she breaks in to rescue him in civilian guise from Huntress You re fired Batgirl What Bruce Damn it, you almost blew my cover did you think I couldn t handle it Are you crazy Are you crazy So, yeah Crazy Barbara s mostly in this to give Helena a foil, which means that she gets beat up a lot and accomplishes nothing of any use Although she does get one actual good exchange with Bruce Batman, meeting up with Batgirl on top of a building Bruce had a body bug on Nino, and that s how we were going to find out where the hard evidence is, but now Nino s dead What s the look on your face for Batgirl I think it s funny how you talk about Bruce as if he isn t you Batman It s not funny Batgirl Okay, it s not funny Now, Selena is actually interesting She drops in to partially break up a fight between Huntress and Batman and gives Huntress of page s worth of really good advice on fighting Batman, and then finishes her speech off with Now run You can t beat him Trust me Then she leads Huntress away and gives her another speech about how she wants to see strong women who answer to no one in Gotham.Then there s a lot of violence and the story ends with a whole bunch of unanswered questions about the mob families back in Sicily.On a side note, an odd continuity question There s no mention of Robin, and at one point a mob boss needles Bruce about marrying his date Selina Kyle and having kids which is a funny dig at Earth 2 Huntress, who s Bruce and Selina s daughter although it could be explained by having a ward not considered a proper heir It also explicitly breaks continuity with Batman Huntress Cry for Blood in that Helena never sees Batman until she s already Huntress, but I like that change even though in general I think that Cry for Blood is a better story The one thing I really liked about this miniseries was how it used Helena s origin story to inform so much of her vigilante style Of the assassin who killed her family when she was eight she says The man stood in the doorway In hindsight, there was a moment when I could have done something I don t let that moment pass any These days, I tend to pistol whip first, ask questions later Call me crazy, butno onewill everdo that to me Never, ever again. |Free Epub ♦ Huntress Year One ♹ As The Last Survivor Of A Crime Family Eliminated By Bloody Rivalries Among The Mobs Of Gotham City, The Orphaned Helena Bertinelli Grew Into The Mysterious Vigilante Known As The HuntressNew Writer Ivory Madison Shines A Light On The Dark Underbelly Of The Mob World Spanning From Gotham To Sicily, Exploring Exactly What Led Helena Away From A Life In The Cosa Nostra Criminal Society And Set Her On A Path Of Vigilantism Also, Find Out About Batman S First Meeting With The Fledgling Female Crime Fighter And Why, To This Day, They Struggle To See Eye To Eye I couldn t decide between two or three stars at first It had its good moments the religious themes were interesting and the Huntress journey of vengeance was not a bad read But then there are moments where she expresses repetitive feminist sentiments to the point of sounding like a broken record There s also an out of place romance thrown into mix and a muddled web of mafia nonsense. Every character in this book is an unlikeable, annoying, hypocritical idiot that I didn t care about at all, the story doesn t try very hard to make sense and the art is unimpressive to say the least There is absolutely nothing I liked about this comicbook. Very well done Nice art, good story 3.5 stars.