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 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, where the Golden Age stories took place.
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), DC Comics superheroes' fictional world was newly established as a collection of 52 parallel-world "universes". An alternate rebooted version of the Helena Wayne character now resides on "Post-Crisis" Earth-2 and has appeared in Justice Society of America (vol. 3) in issues set on the parallel world of Earth-2.
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 the Batman and embraced Dick Grayson/Robin as her older brother. She also looked up to Alfred as a second father. After Yale College and Yale Law 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 the 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 weapon, 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 enemies
After her mother’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 both 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 were the Thinker, the Joker, Lion-Mane (one of her mother's embittered former minions), Karnage, the Crimelord, the Boa and the 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, the Phantom Lady, Madame Xanadu, Power Girl, the Black Canary, Wonder Girl, Raven and Starfire.
Despite the fact that she did love her mother and became the Huntress to avenge her death, she secretly feared that she might follow in her mother's footsteps. Either fighting a demonic version of her mother in a drug-induced hazeor 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 the 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 the Harbinger contemplating the coming Crisis.
The Huntress participated in the battle to save all Creation from the 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 multiverse. While parts of Earth-Two, along with other Earths, were grafted onto Earth-One creating the Post-Crisis Earth, Earth-Two itself was destroyed. The 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 galvanized herself for the last battle wherein 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 Ultra-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 the 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. The Huntress re-initiates Power Girl into an amalgamated Justice Society Infinity (an Infinity Inc. and Justice Society merger) and brings her up to speed on her life. Following the death of Alfred, the Huntress has become more estranged from her friends; Robin serves in the Batman's place as a global protector, while the Huntress protects the streets of Gotham. As all her father's rogues gallery have begun to die, an aged Joker makes plans to recreate Two-Face by scarring acid on the Huntress' would-be fiancée, D.A. Harry Sims. The Huntress attempts to kill him, and is stopped by Power Girl; the Joker's plan to take the Huntress out with him backfires, and he dies of old age and prolonged exposure to his own chemicals. However, the 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".
The 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 the Batman; however, it is eventually claimed that the father was Slam Bradley's son. Despite initially quitting being the Catwoman to care for her, Selina ultimately puts Helena up for adoption under the Batman's arrangement for fear she would be unable to protect her.
A month after Helena is placed with a new family, the 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.
In the 2016-2019 run of Batman penned by Tom King as part of the DC Rebirth era, Selina and Bruce reconnected and fell in love once more, with the two almost marrying. Sometime after saving the city from Bane, Selina falls pregnant with Bruce's child. Initially hesitant to be a mother, Selina eventually has her heart stolen by the baby and raising her becomes easy. The child grows into a woman, a new Helena, and in a flash-forward she helps her widowed mother come to terms with Bruce's death.
Powers and abilities
The Huntress is a highly skilled gymnast and is also skilled at hand-to-hand combatant. In addition, the Huntress is an expert marksman, with her trademark weapon being a crossbow.
The Helena Wayne incarnation of the 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 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, 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 the mainstream DC Earth and their attempts to return to their source Earth. It starts five years after their arrival.
In January 2020, coinciding with the film Birds of Prey, DC Comics published The Huntress: Origins (ISBN 978-1-77950072-4), a trade paperback which was a re-release of 2006's Huntress: Darknight Daughter under a new title (see below).
|Title||Material collected||Publication date||ISBN|
|Huntress: Darknight Daughter||DC Super-Stars #17; Batman Family #18-20; the Huntress back-up stories from Wonder Woman #271-287, 289-290, 294-295||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 the Huntress' first appearance outside of comics was in the 1979 NBC Legends of the Superheroes TV specials with Barbara Joyce portraying the character. The Huntress and the Black Canary are the only two superheroines featured among a cast of some of DC's biggest heroes, including the Batman, the Flash and Captain Marvel.
- Bruce Timm spoke of bringing the Helena Wayne incarnation of the Huntress into the animated TV series Batman Beyond, as the character would make a good alternative to having a "Batgirl" Beyond.
- The Helena Wayne incarnation of the Huntress appears as a featured character in the short-lived live action TV 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 the Batman and the Catwoman. She was raised by her mother without ever knowing who her father was until the former was murdered. The Huntress in this series works with the Oracle and the Black Canary's daughter as the primary crimefighters in Gotham City. Unlike the previous versions, this version possesses low-level superpowers, mainly enhanced strength and agility. Scott would reprise her role for the Arrowverse crossover event "Crisis on Infinite Earths".
- 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.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- 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". Archived from the original on 2007-01-28. Retrieved 2007-01-28.
- Ausiello, Michael (September 26, 2019). "Birds of Prey's Ashley Scott Will Bring Huntress to the Arrowverse 'Crisis'". TV Line. Retrieved September 26, 2019.