Huntress (Helena Wayne)
Art by Joe Staton
|First appearance||DC Super Stars #17 (November/December 1977)|
|Created by||Paul Levitz
|Full name||Helena Wayne|
|Place of origin||Earth-Two|
|Team affiliations||Batman Family
Justice Society of America
|Notable aliases||Robin, Helena Bertinelli|
The Bronze Age Huntress, also known as Helena Wayne, is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character is the daughter of the Batman and Catwoman of an alternate universe established in the early 1960s (Multiverse) where the Golden Age stories took place. In the comics, Helena Wayne assumes the Huntress identity.
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. 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.
Staton also admitted that the character's costume was heavily inspired by the Black Cat. Helena's first appearance was in DC Super Stars #17 (November/December 1977), which told her origin, and then All Star Comics #69 (December 1977), which came out the same day, 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. The bulk of her solo stories appeared as backup features in issues of Wonder Woman beginning with issue #271 (September 1980). 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.
Following the character's death and erasure from history in Crisis on Infinite Earths #12 (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.
A trade paperback collection entitled The Huntress: Darknight Daughter was published in December 2006. It collects DC Super Stars #17 and stories from Batman Family #18 - 20, as well as the backup stories from Wonder Woman #271 - 287, #289 - 290 and #294-295. The cover art is drawn by Brian Bolland.
Post Crisis Earth-2 version
Following 52 (2007), the DC Multiverse system was restarted with 52 specific alternate universes. An alternate rebooted version of Helena Wayne character now resides on Post Crisis Earth-2 (separate from the original Pre Crisis Earth-Two), and has appeared in the Justice Society of America (vol. 3) in issues set on the parallel world of Earth-2.
One of the primary differences between the Bronze Age Helena of Earth-Two and the Post-Crisis Helena of Earth-2 is that Post-Crisis Earth-2 Helena is romantically attracted to Richard Grayson (Robin) and Grayson to her as stated in Justice Society of America (third series) Annual 1. This is a complete reverse of the Pre-Crisis versions who were written as considering themselves (as both being raised by their Bruce Wayne), to be brother and sister as stated in Wonder Woman (first series) #283. It is unclear if Post-Crisis Helena was raised as Wayne's daughter openly.
Fictional character biography
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 Batman and embraced Dick Grayson/Robin as her older brother. She also looked up to Alfred as a second father. After finishing 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, 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 adversaries
After her father'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 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 consisted of Thinker, the Joker, Lionmane (one of her mother's embittered former minions), Karnage, Crime lord, Boa and 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 familiar 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 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, Phantom Lady, Madame Xanadu, Power Girl, Black Canary, Wonder Girl, Raven and Starfire.
Despite the fact that she did love her mother and became Huntress to avenge her death, she secretly feared that she might follow her mother's footsteps. Either fighting a demonic version of her mother in a drug induced haze or fighting her mother's Earth-One counterpart who had never reformed, 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 Catwoman would reform.
Death in Crisis on Infinite Earths
In the months leading up to the 1985 miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths Helena Wayne had grown popular enough to merit talk of her own series instead of backups in issues of Wonder Woman but her last solo appearance ended with Harbinger contemplating the coming Crisis.
Huntress participated in the battle to save all Creation from 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 multi-verse. While parts of Earth Two, along with other Earths, was grafted onto Earth One creating the post-Crisis Earth, Earth Two itself was destroyed. 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 nevertheless galvanized herself for the last battle where in 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 Humanite having briefly trapped Superman and Batman's minds in the bodies of their cousin and daughter respectively.
Return in Infinite Crisis
In Justice Society of America Annual #1, Power Girl is sent to Earth-2 by Gog. There, she is discovered by 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. Huntress re-initiates Power Girl into amalgam Justice Society Infinity (Infinity Inc. and Justice Society merger) and brings her to speed on her life. Following the death of Alfred, Huntress has become more estranged from her friends; Robin serves in Batman's place as a global protector, while Huntress protects the streets of Gotham. As all her father's rogue's gallery have begun to pass away, an aged Joker makes plans to recreate Two-Face by scarring acid on Huntress' would be fiancée, D.A. Harry Sims. Huntress attempts to kill him, and is stopped by Power Girl; Joker's plan to take Huntress out with him backfires, and he dies of old age and prolonged exposure to his own chemicals. However, 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".
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 Batman; however, 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 Batman's arrangement for fear she would be unable to protect her.
A month after Helena is placed with a new family, 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
The Helena Wayne 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.
In the Post-Flashpoint Earth 2 continuity, Helena Wayne was the daughter of The 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. As well as Catwoman of Earth 2, who dies in an attack on a Gotham building under crossfire, The 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 main DC Earth and their attempts to return to their source Earth. It starts five years after their arrival.
|Title||Material collected||Publication date||ISBN|
|Huntress: Darkknight Daughter||DC Super-Stars #17, Wonder Woman #271–295||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
- The Helena Wayne incarnation of Huntress's first appearance outside of comics was in the 1979 NBC Legends of the Superheroes TV specials with actress Barbara Joyce portraying the character. Huntress and Black Canary are the only two superheroines featured among a cast of some of DC's biggest heroes, including Batman, the Flash and Captain Marvel.
- The Helena Wayne incarnation of Huntress appears as a featured character in the short-lived live-action series Birds of Prey, played by Ashley Scott. This version was mostly based on the Bronze Age Helena Wayne version, but she is named Helena Kyle, the daughter of Batman and Catwoman. She was raised by her mother without ever knowing who her father was until the former was murdered. Huntress in this series worked with Oracle and Black Canary's daughter as the primary crimefighters in Gotham City. Unlike the previous versions, this version possessed low-level superpowers, mainly enhanced strength and agility.
- In 1999, Bruce Timm spoke of bringing the Helena Wayne incarnation of Huntress into Batman Beyond as she would make a good alternative to having a Batgirl Beyond.
- Helena Wayne's Huntress costume is worn by Helena Bertinelli in Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
- Callahan, Timothy (February 2010). "The Huntress: The Daughter of the Bat and the Cat". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (38): 71–78.
- 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.
- 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."
- Huntress (Helena Wayne) appearances at the Grand Comics Database
- 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."
- Paul Levitz, Roy Thomas (w), Colan, Gene (p), McLaughlin, Frank (i). "Judgement in Infinity!/Horsemen Four!" Wonder Woman 291 (May 1982)
- Cavalieri, Joey (w), Bair, Michael (p), Giacoia, Frank (i). "Side Effects" Wonder Woman 307 (September 1983)
- Rozakis, Bob (w), Heck, Don (p), Wiacek, Bob and Colletta, Vince (i). "Horoscopes of Crime!" Batman Family 17 (April–May 1978)
- Rogers, Vaneta (January 13, 2012). "Paul Levitz Explains More About Worlds' Finest, Earth 2". Newsarama. Archived from the original on January 29, 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2012.
- "EARTH 2 CHARACTER DESIGNS - ROBIN". DC Comics.
- "Huntress". Retrieved 2007-01-28.