DC Women Kicking Ass has been running a series of posts today called “Saying Goodbye to Helena Bertinelli”. Fans and pro writers talk about their memories and love of the character in the following posts:
- Part 1: Taking Charge
- Part 2: Cry For Blood
- Part 3: Hush
- Part 4: Huntress vs. the Predators
- Part 5: Greg Rucka
- Part 6: Teacher
- Part 7: Faith
- Part 8: Devin Grayson
- Part 9: Gail Simone
DC could have chosen to have both Huntresses in this new universe with its multiple Earths. Instead, we’re losing both. The new Helena Wayne bears little resemblance to the Huntress of the Bronze Age Earth 2.
“Helena Wayne has been taught how to be the perfect Robin,” said James Robinson, writer of EARTH 2. “Assured as a detective, fighter, scientist, pilot and all around crime-fighter she’s been groomed by Batman to be the perfect caped manhunter (or should we say manHuntress) when she grows up.”
“Before coming to the main DCU Earth and taking up the mantle of Huntress, Helena Wayne fought crime alongside her father as the Robin to his Batman on Earth-2!” said WORLDS’ FINEST editor Wil Moss. “But how did she come to be on this Earth? And why did she decide to become Huntress? You’ll get some clues in next week’s HUNTRESS #6, but for the real scoop, pick up WORLDS’ FINEST #1!”
If you thought for a second that Helena’s mother, Catwoman, would be allowed to live past her daughter’s debut as a superhero this time, you don’t know DC very well. Of course Selena Kyle is dead. Again.
“Who will Batman kill to save his own daughter?” asks EARTH 2 editor Pat McCallum. “Right out of the gate that should tell you we’re dealing with a different kind of Dark Knight here. More ruthless, dangerous…the costume is familiar and yeah, there is a Wayne under the mask, but we’re looking at a man desperate to save the only family he has left. EARTH 2 is about to become a very bad place to be a bad guy.”
I can’t say I’m enthused about Helena being trained to be “the perfect Robin” by her father. That’s not how being a Robin works, and it goes against everything Robins mean to Batman – being a Robin is not simply about being a child sidekick. It’s something that’s borne out of tragedy or some form of parental failure or loss. It goes against everything we know about Batman for him to impose that life on his own child.
I like the Bronze Age Huntress a lot, but distilling these two characters into one is a huge step backwards. Not satisfied with disappearing the fantastic Helena Bertinelli to bring back Helena Wayne, DC seems hellbent on eliminating any opportunity for an older generation of women on Earth 2 to shape the next generation. By killing off the Amazons, Lois Lane, and Selena Kyle, DC has artificially created a situation where Wonder Woman, Helena Wayne, and Supergirl/Power Girl’s primary bonds must by necessity be with the men in their lives.
There’s something very off about replacing such an independent, self-sufficient female hero as Helena Bertinelli with a version who has been retconned into being her father’s sidekick. Bronze Age Helena was heavily linked to Batman, but she operated independently. How much more interesting would it have been this time around to explore a relationship between Selena Kyle and her grown daughter as she navigates her own path of vigilante-heroism in a post-Batman Gotham?
It would have been a heck of a lot more interesting than killing off Catwoman to give Batman yet more manpain.