A regular in Birds of Prey, Huntress is the sort of character who needs a clear origin story. In her typical comic appearances, it's often hard to get a grasp of who Huntress is, aside from being a superhero who likes purple and uses a crossbow. That's a pity, because she's one of the rare superheroes who can defy Batman on his own turf and follow her own conscience. Madison and Richards's take on Huntress is fast paced and coherent-a strong, solid crime story that's a bit Godfather with capes. Helena Bertinelli lost her entire family to Mafia violence, but her family were Mafia themselves. Unlike her equally young and innocent brother, Helena was spared since the killer assumed that a girl was no danger. Obviously, they were wrong, and Helena becomes Huntress. Although she enters the world of the more familiar vigilantes of Gotham, by the time they meet, Huntress has killed without remorse and will kill again, and so can never join Batman's crew. Madison's focused writing, ably assisted by Richards's clean and striking art turn Huntress: Year One into more a mob story of misogyny, money, faith and betrayal than a superhero tale. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Huntress Year Oneby Ivory Madison, Cliff Richards (Illustrator)
New 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
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 Huntress.
New 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 more about Batman's first meeting with the fledgling female crime-fighter and why, to this day, they struggle to see eye-to-eye.
- DC Comics
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- 6.40(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.30(d)
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I enjoyed reading Ivory Madison's take on Helena Bertinelli, but it was not without its flaws which were significant and perhaps almost fatal. The first thing to know is that despite the clarity of the title, Madison's story takes place in less than two months and only at the very end does protagonist Helena Bertinelli adopt the Huntress persona. Titles should say something about the story; in this case 'Origins' would have been far more appropriate than 'Year One', which since Frank Miller's use of it has become more like a name brand than a description of the story being told. Second, as noted above, the book's time frame is less than two months, divided between Sicily and Gotham City, requiring a lot of exposition and action driving the characters rather than the characters driving the action. The final chapters with Helena dealing with her love interest and the Gotham mob's plot felt contrived and not organically growing from the earlier chapters. Batman's appearances were especially heavy handed and the resolution of the story didn't ring true at all. Third, the portrayal of Helena's Catholic faith is troubling. Throughout the story, Helena is shown to be pious and is described as a good Catholic girl. At the same time, she is shown to be a strong female hero, a true feminist, fighting against a chauvinistic culture. These two aspects are certainly not mutually exclusive. Madison though brings them into conflict by showing Helena resenting the use of masculine pronouns for describing the Divine Person. This just seems false and contrived with all the other efforts to describe Helena as a real Catholic struggling with her faith as she fights the mob. The art by Cliff Richards is what keeps the story moving. I especially liked Helena's costume with its darker tone compared to the usual lighter shade of purple. She was attractive and curvy without the feminine aspects of her form being exaggerated and Richards makes sure Helena is a true beauty. The action and fighting were well drawn and easy to follow. Basically, I don't dislike Huntress: Year One. It has some major flaws in terms of story and pacing, but it is a good psychological look at Helena Bertinelli and has excellent drawing. I recommend 'Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood' as a better origin story for Huntress.