Or – “Awright, Who Goosed The Huntress?”

I have a somewhat embarrassing admission to make about this Huntress limited series:  I didn’t pick it up because of the really unattractive cover to issue #1.  There was a hard-edged unpleasantness to it that really worked against me, snarling angrily at me from the stands.  It’s kind of a shame, too, because DC promises that this one has a monster at the end of this book a surprise climax that will launch other impressive things…

HUNTRESS #6
Writer: Paul Levitz
Penciler: Marcus To
Inker: John Dell
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Editor: Ben Abernathy
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously, in The Huntress:  The Huntress has fallen onto the trail of a drug-and-gun-running ring, only to find that even more horrible crimes are being perpetrated as well.  Chasing the big bads across the length and breadth of Europe, she has had her heroic resolve tested in all the wrong ways, leaving her not only on Interpol’s most wanted list, but with a price on her head as well.  It’s kill or be killed time, and Helena may not have a third option…

“I WILL PAY A BILLION EUROS TO SEE THIS WOMAN DEAD!”

It was a very long time ago (even if it doesn’t really feel like it for me) that the Crisis on Infinite Earths removed the original Huntress from reality.  Well, I say “removed,” but the reality is that Helena Wayne was atomized by evil shadow-creatures along with her adoptive brother Dick Grayson in the battle for the newly alloyed Earth in Crisis #12.  When Helena Bertinelli debuted not so long after, I read the book in irregular intervals, falling away and not returning to the Huntress until she began appearing in Birds of Prey some years later.  This story takes the various bits and pieces that I know about the Huntress and throws it all into the mix, giving us a joyous take on superheroing.  I have to say that the art is top-notch throughout the issue, and the early two-page spread wherein the villain of the piece angrily throws his file full of Huntress information (causing a snapshot of the character to fly into the foreground and frame the scene BEAUTIFULLY) is pretty breath-taking work.  Marcus To’s work reminds me of Nicola Scott (and if you know how much I love Ms. Scott, you’ll know that’s high praise) and he is as adept at drawing men in suits as he is people in tights and even cars…  There’s a lovely chase scene halfway through the issue wherein an unmasked Huntress escapes the police by zip-lining down a mountain side, then steals a speedboat that you simply have to see to believe, and the whole issue is a visual treat.

A FAMILIAR FACE ARRIVES…

The meat of the story seems to be that the Huntress, while tracking minor criminals, has stumbled onto a human trafficking ring, and last issue apparently assassinated the head of said ring.  Sadly, though, his son is a vengeful sort, and has placed a bounty on her head, causing The Huntress to turn her attention to him.  She’s very clever throughout this issue, but Levitz plotting is old-school throughout, and never quite reaches the heights that the art is clearly capable of.  Breaking into the villain’s lair, Huntress proves her bloodlines by sneaking up on the villain, and surprises me with her choices as the issue closes.  I love the costume that this version of Huntress wears, combining her 80’s relaunch look with her cheesecakey Ed Benes suit (and, come on, as much as I love depictions of the female form, that midriff hole was indefensible) and creating a composite Huntress that takes elements of all previous versions into something new.  The issue ends with the appearance of her partner in crime (I won’t spoil it for you, but I’ll make it possible for you to spoiler yourself) and the issue ends with a tag for the upcoming ‘World’s Finest’ monthly title.  I’m actually happy with how well the issue springboards to that, closing up this story nicely and leaving the Huntress on the run with a high price on her head…

THE VERDICT: A NICE OPENING SALVO…

There are several questions left unanswered by this miniseries, which I consider to be a good thing, seeing as how we’re leading into a new monthly title soon.  The original concept of the Huntress (Batman’s daughter picking up the family business, created by this issue’s writer Paul Levitz, one might add) is a strong one, and I’m kind of happy to see that returning to the character’s backstory.  Yes, it creates the whole ‘multiple Earths’ snafu that the original Crisis was supposed to unsnarl, but honestly, New Earth was no less complicated and incomprehensible, and “Batman’s Daughter” is a pretty bad-ass concept with legs.  I’m a little bit disappointed that I didn’t get in on this sooner, thanks to the simply AWFUL cover treatment of #1, but this issue has led me to seek out the previous 5 and add them to my collection.  (Shouldn’t be too hard, I AM my own back issue guy, after all.)  The Huntress #6 is the capstone to a successful relaunch of the character, and sets her into an interesting status quo, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall.  The art is phenomenal throughout the issue, and gives the whole issue a kinetic appeal that even the stumbly portions of script can’t fully undermine…

Rating: ★★★★☆

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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10 Comments

  1. L1701E
    March 9, 2012 at 7:05 pm — Reply

    What I’d like to know is what the heck happened to Helena Bertinelli? If Batman’s continuity was unaffected by Flashpoint, then her existence and adventures still happened. Did she retire or die or what?

    • March 9, 2012 at 8:21 pm — Reply

      If Batman’s continuity was unaffected by Flashpoint, then her existence and adventures still happened. Did she retire or die or what?

      Well, that’s kind of a misnomer. Batman’s current reality was relatively unchanged, but there were adjustments (as seen in the early issues of Batwoman, for one.) I don’t know of any appearances of Helena Bertinelli, but I believe earlier issues of this book established “Bertinelli” as an alias of Helena Wayne, who is really from Earth-2, apparently.

      • ~wyntermute~
        March 11, 2012 at 6:34 pm — Reply

        Yeah, I love how they said “Some books won’t get not-rebooted, like Bat-family titles and Green Lantern Corps books”, and now we have a FAMILY OF BATMAN FROM ANOTHER EARTH. Nope. No not-reboot here, folks. ^_^ The Wheel of Comic Book Time turns, and we recycle what used to be uncool while trying to keep what’s cool. I fear that, despite all the work they seem to be trying to do to properly establish alternate worlds, this is going to be messier than the original Multiple Earths.

  2. Walsh
    March 10, 2012 at 11:47 am — Reply

    Helena Wayne sucks.

    No Bertinelli, no sale.

    • Walsh
      March 10, 2012 at 11:56 am — Reply

      Actually, let me tack on some more to that…before I get, “How can you hate the character without reading the book.”

      I did read this series, because I didn’t know this was only a reintroduction of Helena Wayne. I was bushwacked with that news four issues in. So that’s cash and time I won’t get back.
      Total bait & switch. They started this series implying nothing really had changed about the character and setting the story in Italy–luring Bertinelli fans in, thinking we were getting a knew solo tale to establish where she is post-nu52 crap.

      But no. Trns out, I’m stuck with Batman’s f**king daughter and what in blue hell to I care about Batman’s f**king daughter?

      I preferred the INTERESTING Huntress.

      And frankly, I found the story itself mediocre. Not horrible, but not great. The only thing that gave it a pass, for me, was that it was the Huntress and I like the Huntress.
      But since it’s the wrong Huntress…..screw this book.

      • L1701E
        March 11, 2012 at 6:32 pm — Reply

        What I don’t understand is why couldn’t DC keep Bertinelli as the DCnu-Earth Huntress, and had Helena Wayne stay on Earth-2 as it’s own Huntress? Would it really be that confusing?

        • websnap
          March 12, 2012 at 11:01 am — Reply

          You are implying that won’t happen.

          Just because Earth-2 Huntress is a Wayne – that doesn’t mean that the current DCU-52 doesn’t have a Bertinelli somewhere with a story yet to be told. This, to me, just sounds like more of the “I want to know the future plans” of DC editorial (which is understandable, we all get excited about characters we like). It’s like how there is a Karen Starr (no powers?) in Mr Terrific and a Karen Starr who is friends with Huntress in Earth 2. Just because we don’t know what the plans are for DCNU Karren Starr doesn’t mean there aren’t any… same can be said for Huntress. I think it’s still early days in the New 52. Besides, if the writing is compelling and her “character” is as strong, loyal & smart as Bertinelli was, I’m in.

  3. c
    March 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm — Reply

    New 52 is so confusing. (I also prefer Bertinelli)

    • ~wyntermute~
      March 11, 2012 at 6:40 pm — Reply

      The ironic part is that they expected this “not a reboot” to be the thing that “simplifies comic books for the non-comic book fan” and “makes the comic book media form more approachable” and “help eliminate the cluttered continuity messes existing as a result of 50+ years of changing writers & artists & editors”. Here we are, however, getting back to a world with multiple earths, new characters based on old characters (or old characters based on new characters, depending on how you wish to perceive SuperPowerGirl and HuntRobin, let alone “Jay Garrick of Earth-2”), crossovers that seem to be all-encompassing and require people to buy books they don’t want (“City of Owls”), etc.

      In short, this whole “New 52” thing is the modern version of the “special” Alternate Foil #1st Issue RARE~!!!!!!!! Covers trend that we went through in the 90s, despite all the stated noble ambitions of the editorial crew. ^_^

  4. Brian Dieter
    March 26, 2012 at 5:54 pm — Reply

    This is comics, did you really expect anything to change? Do you really want anything to change? True change means that the core readers, us, don’t like it and stop reading. Let’s make Superman and energy being and split him in two. Let’s break Bruce Wayne’s back and have some new violent jerk take over. Remember how well those big changes went over. Don’t ask for what you don’t really want.

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