I’ll admit it; sometimes I purchase comics because of the hype that is around them. And that is precisely why I bought Nightwing #30. It features the debut of the New 52 (although it feels really odd still calling it that nearly three years later) of Helena Bertinelli, better known as the Huntress.
The issue starts out at a refugee medical camp in the Congo that has fallen under attack by a “depopulationist” group called the Fist of Cain, which is made up of some of the most random looking assassins and murderers they could hire. One is decked out in corpse paint, looking like the lovechild of a Norwegian black metal band and King Diamond. The other looks like he walked straight out of Disney World’s Adventurers Club.
One of the relief workers was Dr. Leslie Thompkins, Batman’s long-time doctor. She is conveniently rescued by Helena, who is wearing some sort of white disco suit and has a bit of a fro going on. Leslie is taken to her headquarters where she talks with a man with an unrecognizable face and might have spilled the beans about Batman being Bruce Wayne. We know this because she’s telling Batman the story, and he doesn’t look too happy. Leslie also mentions the group has a weird insignia that she keeps remembering, an eye at the center of a spider-web.
The story then shifts to the Batcave, where Batman and Nightwing are involved in some sort of weird Fight Club style conversation. Basically in the last few months Nightwing has had his secret identity revealed by the Crime Syndicate, turned into a living bomb and apparently “killed” by Lex Luthor. It has been quite the rough past few months for him. So instead of talking about why he should join the cover black-ops group Spyral, they have a fight to the death to see if he is up to the challenge. Of course he is. The book ends with Dick going off with Valerie, setting up the new Grayson series for next month.
As an issue, it nicely ties up everything from the Nightwing series, but I really could have done without the Bats/Dick fight to the death. It just seemed over the top. I think Batman really needs to learn how to communicate with people without using his fists so damn much.
Over the years, I’ve gained a certain fondness to the Helena Bertinell/Huntress character. And I think the fact that Huntress: Crossbow at the Crossroads pretty much eliminates her in the New 52 DC landscape might have soured my reading experience.
This mini-series is written by one of the creators of the original Helena Wayne Huntress, Paul Levitz, and pretty much sets up the return of that character in DC’s current status quo. Huntress is no longer Bertinelli (Levitz makes a nod to this by having the character use this as an alias) and back to the pre-Crisis Earth 2 version that is the daughter of Catwoman and Batman.
The story itself is pretty run of the mill; Huntress goes to Italy to stop a weapons smuggling ring that is supplying the gangs of Gotham City, only to uncover that there is a related sex trafficking scheme as well. And Huntress–regardless who it is behind the mask–has a problem with that and takes down the crime syndicate. So after her work vacation, she leaves with Power Girl to start the new World’s Finest series.
The result is a kind of dull story that is completely passable. I wonder if Levitz originally wrote this as a Bertinelli story and editorial decided to switch it to a Wayne one at some point. Who knows. I hate sounding negative, but I just couldn’t get into the story at all, probably because it symbolized the end of my favorite Huntress. But on a more positive note, I did like the Guillem March art in this.
So should you give Crossbow at the Crossroads a chance? If you are a fan of any of the creators of the book–or even Helena Wayne–then you will be content with this. But if you’re like me and part of the Bertinelli camp, you can skip this.
Helena Bertinelli may be out of the DC Universe proper these days, but that doesn’t mean she can’t appear in Arrow. These episodes weren’t a proper two-parter, but thematically they book end each other.
It all starts with Oliver’s mother almost being the victim of the attempted murder of mob boss and occasional business partner Frank Bertinelli. Concerned about what happened, Oliver decides to take it upon himself to get a closer look at Bertinelli only to find himself loosely dating the mobster’s daughter Helena. Unfortunately the two become a couple, only to find out that they both have extracurricular vigilante activities. The only difference is that Helena’s are more vengeful; she was the one who targeted her father, as he had her previous fiancée killed.
So the couple does everything you expect they would; fight the Bertinelli crime family and the Triad gangs (from earlier in the series), and winds up running awkwardly into his previous girlfriend Dinah (now dating his best friend Tommy). The relationship, well, mutually implodes as Helena wants to be more lethal in her approach.
They officially break up when Oliver won’t let Helena kill her father, instead wanting to turn him over to the police. This was officially her “deal breaker” moment, as she dumps him and threatens to kill and expose his identity if he should ever cross her in the future. If I were Oliver, I could be content with this break up. The episode ends with Tommy asking Oliver for a job, since he’s a broke debutante late 20s/early thirty something. If life were only that easy.
There was a lot going on in this episode with the introduction of Huntress, who seems like an appropriate character to add to the show since she’s only tangentially associated with Batman. I like that they introduced her in a way they can use in following episodes, since she knows Oliver’s secret and is a bit of an enemy.
I guess I’ve always been a fan of Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey work. Not that I’ve been a regular reader, but when I find the odd trade at the library or over a friend’s place, I’ll give it a quick read. Birds of Prey Volume 1: Endrun became my prey, as it featured Hawk and Dove—by now you know that they are two of my favorites—joining up with the team of avian-themed lady crime-fighters.
There is a lot going on in this collection, ranging from a new villain from Black Canary’s past attempting to ruin her life all the while forming an uneasy alliance with the Penguin as the group are all considered to be fugitives of the save. There’s even a subplot with Oracle and two reformed criminals going on.
I guess the best part of this would be Birds of Prey #6, where Huntress fights Lady Shiva in a duel to the death with Huntress. The JLU cartoons really showed how awesome this character could be, and Simone’s take on the character is very similar. It’s a shame the Helena Bertinelli iteration of this character disappeared with the New 52.
Hawk and Dove didn’t get as much story time as I would have liked, but it worked. They’re pretty much brought into this story line to be supporting characters. Nothing to complain about there.
In all, it was a quick read. There’s lot of fighting scenes in this book; it’s a bit action packed. And if you like that, you should give this a try.