Birds of Prey’s The Huntress: Helena Bertinelli Origin Story
Myself and Rachel from Pretty In Baby Food are taking on profiling the characters from the new “Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn” and diving in to learn more. Yesterday I profiled Renee Montoya and she covered Harley Quinn! Today, as a primer for us all, I wanted to share with you everything that I learned about the origin story of the character The Huntress! Rachel is covering Black Canary over on her page.
I don’t know about most of you, but for me growing up you were either “Team Marvel” or “Team DC”. I was always a huge Batman fan, but I definitely leaned more towards the Marvel Universe as I got older. One thing I have vowed to change in 2020 is my limited knowledge of other fandoms. I’ve always been a proud geek, but this is the year I learned about all of the other things to fangirl over the world that I may be missing out on. So I am starting with DC.
Who is Helena Bertinelli?
Helena Rosa Bertinelli is the daughter of famed Gotham City mafia bosses Guido and Carmela Bertinelli in the original 1989 Huntress comic book series. In that iteration of the character, she was kidnapped as a young child and raped by a rival mafia don purely to psychologically torture her father, which turns her into a traumatized withdrawn child. Her parents send her to boarding school with a bodyguard named Sal who protects her but also teaches her all forms of combat to protect herself. When she is 19 she witnesses her parent’s mob-ordered murder and decides to put an end to the mafia. She eventually returns to Gotham and makes her debut as The Huntress. We see this version of the character appear in the No Man’s Land storyline arc. in that storyline we also see her assume the character of Batgirl. Between clashes with Two-Face and disagreements with Batman she decides to give up the character and resume her role as The Huntress. She then faces The Joker in battle and barely survives after being saved by Batman and Nightwing.
In 2000 her character was given a revised history in Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood limited series. In this version Helena Rosa Bertinelli witnesses the murder of her entire family (not just her parents) at age 8. She grows up believing Franco Bertinelli to be her father, but her father is actually Santo Cassamento, the don of a rival mafia family, who was carrying on an affair with Helena’s mother, Maria. What?!
All of her appearances after the launch of the Cry For Blood have this version of her history as the origin story.
Who is Huntress?
In Huntress: Year One the character emerges at the beginning of her vigilante career. Upon receiving her inheritance she learns the details of her family’s murders. Taking on a costume to disguise who she is she not only goes after the man that ordered the hit on her family but the assassin as well. This is part of her dual nature. Her need for revenge is often at odds with wanting to protect people from being hurt in the future. Eventually after many clashes with superheroes and villains she pronounces her mobster family legacy and decides to use her compulsion towards violence for good and formally adopts the title of “The Huntress“.
Birds of Prey
The Huntress becomes one of the founding members of Birds of Prey after joining Oracle and Black Canary when they take on a man named Braun in the wake of his betrayal of both Huntress and Black Canary. Huntress is not a loner by nature, but find herself in that position often because she is antagonistic towards the people she teams up with. Barbara Gordon (Batgirl within the Birds of Prey) often tries to control Huntress and it leads to quite a bit of conflict within the group. But when she comes to Barbara’s aid she is made a full-time member of Birds of Prey. She also becomes an elementary school teacher and realizes her lifelong love of teaching.
She never formally joined Justice League International though she is briefly involved with them, and was sponsored by Batman for initiation to join Justice League despite his reluctance to work with her. He hoped that the influence of Superman and other Justice League members would help balance her more violent tendencies. She becomes a respected member of the team.
She’s also asked to fill an empty spot for the Outsiders after Arsenal sustains major injuries on a mission but she leaves the team after just one mission.
For a person who often finds herself on the outside she often seeks to be part of a team or family.
The New 52 plot twist
When The New 52 reboot was launched in 2011, Huntress was now embodied by character Helena Wayne. The new story had Helena Bertinelli passing away long ago and Helena Wayne inhabiting the role of Huntress all this time. Though the character Helena Bertinelli did reappear in the DC timeline but as a spy for Spyral after spending years in hiding of the headmistress and teacher at a school. Helena Bertinelli then reassumes the role of The Huntress and rejoins her original team in Batgirl and the Birds of Prey.
I have loved learning about the origin story for Helena Bertinelli (a.k.a. The Huntress) and cannot wait to meet her when Mary Elizabeth Winstead portrays her in the new movie “Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn” based on the female superhero team Birds of Prey.
About the movie “Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)”
You ever hear the one about the cop, the songbird, the psycho and the mafia princess? “Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)” is a twisted tale told by Harley herself, as only Harley can tell it. When Gotham’s most nefariously narcissistic villain, Roman Sionis, and his zealous right-hand, Zsasz, put a target on a young girl named Cass, the city is turned upside down looking for her. Harley, Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya’s paths collide, and the unlikely foursome have no choice but to team up to take Roman down.
In the Warner Bros. Pictures film, Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”) returns as Harley Quinn, alongside Mary Elizabeth Winstead (“10 Cloverfield Lane,” TV’s “Fargo”) as Huntress; Jurnee Smollett-Bell (HBO’s “True Blood”) as Black Canary; Rosie Perez (“Fearless,” “Pitch Perfect 2”) as Renee Montoya; Chris Messina (“Argo,” TV’s “Sharp Objects”) as Victor Zsasz; and Ewan McGregor (upcoming “Doctor Sleep,” the “Trainspotting” films) as Roman Sionis. Newcomer Ella Jay Basco also stars as Cassandra “Cass” Cain in her feature film debut.
Directed by Cathy Yan (“Dead Pigs”) from a script by Christina Hodson (“Bumblebee”), the film is based on characters from DC. Robbie also produced, alongside Bryan Unkeless and Sue Kroll. The film’s executive producers are Walter Hamada, Galen Vaisman, Geoff Johns, Hans Ritter and David Ayer.
Joining Yan behind the scenes was a creative team comprised of director of photography Matthew Libatique (“A Star Is Born,” “Venom”); production designer K.K. Barrett (“Her”); editor Jay Cassidy (“American Hustle,” “Silver Linings Playbook”) and editor Evan Schiff (“John Wick Chapters 2 & 3”); and costume designer Erin Benach (“A Star Is Born”). The music is by Daniel Pemberton (“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”).
Warner Bros. Pictures Presents a LuckyChap Entertainment Production, a Clubhouse Pictures Production, a Kroll & Co. Entertainment Production, “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).”.
In theaters February 7, 2020 (Rated R)
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