I was reminded of Helena (Huntress) Wayne, a well-remembered character that doesn’t exist in the current the DC Universe when I was asked to do a write-up about her first appearance being one of the Most Memorable Moments by DC Heroines.
A few years ago, there was a not-very good television show, Birds of Prey, that used a version of Helena Wayne. Unfortunately, the Helena Kyle of the show had little in common with the superior comic book version.
The Huntress (Helena Bertinelli) in the current DC Universe is great but I still miss her Earth-2 counterpart. Happily, DC has collected most of her adventures, including her origin, in the Huntress: Dark Knight Daughter trade paperback.
Set on Earth-2, a DC Comics world where the heroes were allowed to age, Helena Wayne is the grown daughter of Bruce (Batman) Wayne and Selina (Catwoman) Kyle, who married after Selina reformed and become a respectable citizen. After years of happy marriage, Selina is blackmailed into doing one last job and she is killed when Batman stops the crime. Bruce is so devastated after his wife’s death that he puts away Batman forever. It’s left to Helena to avenge her mother.
What Kids Will Like About It:
Those watching Batman: The Brave and the Bold on Cartoon Network will already be familiar with the concept of alternate Earths, so it should be easy to explain this one to them and there are guest appearances by many of the heroes from the Justice Society of America, including the grown-up Earth-2 Robin. The origin hit me hard as kid and I think there’s something intrinsically interesting about watching the children of super-heroes take on their parent’s legacy.
What Parents Will Like About It:
As I said in my essay about this moment, Helena Wayne is a terrific character. While she’s originally driven by the need to get justice for her mother’s death, she quickly achieves that end. She even discovers that the photos that were used to blackmail her mother were faked, clearing Selina Kyle as a suspect in a long-ago murder. Helena then settles into a career as a district attorney, investigating crimes in both her civilian and her costumed identities. My favorite story concerns systematic arson as part of a real estate scam. Joe Staton’s artwork really shines as Huntress becomes trapped in the fire. And I love his layouts of Helena’s apartment in which her furniture serves a dual purpose as work-out equipment.
When Huntress appears in costume for the first time, wrapped in shadows. Until she’s fully revealed we think it might be Batman after all.
About the Creators:
Paul Levitz is a name very familiar to comic readers, as he had a long career as a writer, editor and served as DC Comics President from 2002-2009. Joe Staton started his career in 1971 with Charlton Comics. I know his work best for Huntress and the Justice Society of America stories which featured the death of Earth-2 Batman. I also remember that he often seemed to draw Helena Wayne in her robe and nothing else. I mention that in case it’s something that appeals to any of you.
He has original artwork for sale here.