Born into a mob family, Helena Bertinelli lost her family at a very young, becoming the sole survivor with the Bertinelli last name due to a systematic assassination on her entire family. Years later, after being trained by a family of assassins who took her in while she was hiding in Sicily, Helena is inspired by Batman to become the face of fear, cutting down mob members, people who she’d thought of as her “family.”
At the start of this arc, she’s already taken down the men who killed her family, including the man who ordered the hit. However, she still has more questions than answers, and her unmethodical, vigilante ways have steered her down a path of anger and brutal violence, acts that have put her at odds with the Bat family. Now, someone is framing her for the murders of mob members, putting her in a direct collision course with Batman.
This was another recommendation from a Google Buzz friend. Greg Rucka is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. This story was amazing and left me feeling much more satisfied with where it went and how it was resolved than The Hiketeia. Rucka has a way of getting to the heart of the character and making them seem so very real, so very human. He knows how to pace his action and character-building without sacrificing the of the enjoyment of the story by droning on and on.
You might as well call me a Huntress novice. Even though I knew of the character, I knew very little about her history—mainly because she seems to have many back stories. She was just never a DC character that I heard much about in my very little dealings with the DC universe. Rucka has taken this character, though, and given her a cohesive, complex story that really shapes her as a character. I came out of this arc with a new respect for Huntress and a newfound favorite DC heroine.
I hadn’t read any of No Man’s Land when I finished this and knew very little about the events that happened during that massive arc (just finished Batman: Cataclysm, as of this writing), but there was mention of how out of control she was during that, and it was shown in this story, too, but not nearly as brutal. She’s really at odds with herself here. She maintains her innocence, but doesn’t make it much of a secret that she’s glad these men are being killed. The mob has made her who she is, and she finds herself tasked with the duty of bringing down the “family” that destroyed her and took care of her while continuing to interact with them.
But this is a story about self-discovery and personal peace for Huntress as much as it is a story about her proving her innocence to Batman. I loved how her history, her background, was taken to make this such a complex history. She explains how things worked in her circle, how injustices are dealt with where she comes from. You see her hardness, her pain, juxtaposed against a woman who teaches high school in her day-life. So many layers were added to Huntress.
There was not one thing that was out of place in this story for me. There were no needless words or actions. Everything that was said and everything that was done helped the story progress and would’ve lacked if anything had changed in the story in the slightest. And just as with The Hiketeia, this provides a great basis for learning about Huntress and her struggle with everything that’s happened to her, and I came out of this story completely satisfied. It didn’t feel as if it could’ve gone any other direction.