Created by Paul Levitz & Joe Staton
NAME + ALIASES:
Helena Rosa Bertinelli, Batgirl II
Franco & Maria Bertinelli (mother and father, deceased), Giuseppe "Pino" Bertinelli (brother, deceased), Tommy Bertinelli (uncle), Nicola & Antonia Asaro (adoptive parents), Salvatore Asaro (adoptive brother)
Justice League of America, Birds of Prey
Huntress #1 (April 1989).
As Batgirl: Shadow of the Bat #83
This profile concerns only Helena Bertinelli, the Huntress created after the Crisis on Infinite Earths. The original Huntress of Earth-Two, Helena Wayne, was the daughter of the Batman of Earth-Two. In the New 52 multiverse, there are both a new Helena Bertinelli of Earth-0, and a Helena Wayne from Earth-2.
Helena Bertinelli's father Franco was a powerful Sicilian Mafioso in Gotham City. Helena and her brother Pino grew up knowing their father's "work" was no good, and they endured watching him beat their mother Maria. One night during dinner, an assassin came to call and killed Helena's entire family. As he snatched away the girl's crucifix, she realized that her God would not protect her. He walked away with the necklace as a souvenir. Her family's crime empire crumbled and Helena was sent for her own protection to live with the Asaro family in Sicily. Although she attended boarding school in Switzerland, the Asaros were a family of assassins.
Her adoptive parents, Nicola and Antonia Asaro were eventually arrested when Sicilian authorities gathered enough evidence against that family. Helena was closest to their son, Salvatore, who sheltered her like a brother and taught her how to fight; he, too, went to prison. At age 21, her blood uncle, Tommy, came to Sicily to retrieve her. He was in Siciliy to do business with a mafia leader called "The Pope," named for his devotion to his faith. Before that, they drove Helena to visit Salvatore in prison in Palermo. Unexpectedly, Helena turned on the prison guards and attempted to break Sal out. (Huntress #1, Huntress: Year One #1)
In her heroic identity, Helena ran into Justice League International shortly after Justice Leaguer Blue Beetle succumbed to psychological programming embedded in his psyche by the villainous Queen Bee, and began attacking his teammates. (Justice League America #26) Shortly after helping the League subdue the Beetle, Helena helped Mister Miracle, Big Barda, and Fire recover Barda's Mega-Rod from the clutches of a young hoodlum who had stolen it. Her performance on these two occasions so impressed Maxwell Lord that he extended an invitation to the Huntress to join the JLI herself. She declined, but a subtle push from Max's telepathic powers made her change her mind. (#30) The first case she participated on with the JLI was the battle against Dr. Teasdale and the Gray Man. (#31-32, Justice League Europe #7-8)
Eventually she learned of his manipulation (#35) and left the League soon thereafter. (#42). At Batman's insistence, she joined the new JLA (JLA #16), only to have that membership revoked when Batman found her on the verge of killing Prometheus. (#39) It is likely that Batman wanted her in the new JLA both for a proving and a training grounds.
The Huntress also adopted the mantle of Batgirl II during Gotham City's "No Man's Land." (Shadow of the Bat #83) She and Batman eventually had another falling-out, and she was forced to abandon the guise in favor of Batgirl III (Cassandra Cain, Legends of the Dark Knight #120; Cassandra first appeared in Batman #567). From time to time, she also partners with Oracle and Black Canary, the "Birds of Prey." Recently, she has become a permanent part of that team (BoP #69) and Oracle has procured a teaching job for Helena.
Despite her stand-offish nature, she was also invited to join the Outsiders when Arsenal was incapacitated (Outsiders v.3 #8); she resigned when he returned to health, (#12) but not before having sex with him as well.
All her life, Helena has been rather cold and distant, thanks to her early separation from her parents. As a heroine, she maintains this reserved posture. Although she is certainly no killer, Helena is somewhat use to her father's brand of justice and uses a bit rougher hand in dealing with criminals than most of her fellow Leaguers, a quality that Batman admires.
In pre-Crisis continuity, the Huntress was the daughter of Earth-2's Batman & Catwoman. She joined the JSA and died in the Crisis #12 (Mar. 1986). The first Huntress was both a hero (as Tigress I) and villain (a foe of the JSA).
In her original post-Crisis origin, the Asaro family were not part of the story.
In the DC/Marvel Amalgam universe cross-over (1996), the Huntress was Carol Danvers (Ms. Marvel).
The Huntress has no metahuman powers, but is an above average hand-to-hand combatant, and a skilled marksman with the crossbow.
» FEATURED APPEARANCES:
- Robin #6
- Showcase '93 #9-10
- Showcase '94 #5-6
- » SERIES:
- Huntress v.1, 19 issues (1989-90)
- Robin III: Cry of the Huntress, 6-issue limited series (1992-93)
- Huntress v.2, 4-issue limited series (1994)
- Batman: Huntress/Spoiler, one-shot (1998)
- Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood, 4-issue limited series (2000)
- Birds of Prey, #69-present (2004-)
- Huntress: Year One, 6-issue limited series (2008)