The Huntress is Helena Rosa Bertinelli, a fictional character in the DC Universe and several versions of the character. Helena was also for a time one of the versions of Batgirl and currently is a member of the Birds of Prey.
In the 1989 Huntress limited series, Helena Rosa Bertinelli, who was born into one of Gotham City's most prominent Mafia families, is a withdrawn girl. At the age of six, she was kidnapped and raped by an agent of another Gotham crime family. Her parents, Guido and Carmela, sent her to boarding school and assigned a bodyguard for her protection. Helena hides her fear and shame until the age of 19. After she witnesses the mob-ordered murder of her entire family at a wedding, she crusades to put an end to the crime families. She travels, accompanied and trained by her bodyguard Sal, before returning to Gotham to make her debut as the Huntress. This origin story is heavily revised in the 2000 limited series Huntress: Cry for Blood.
Batman rarely accepts the Huntress, and usually claims that this disavowal is due to her unpredictable and violent behaviour. However, when James Gordon questions Batman about his attitude towards the Huntress, Batman replies; "You know exactly why I don't approve...You're not the only one she reminds of Barbara" - in reference to Gordon's crippled daughter who had previously fought crime as Batgirl. Others in the Batman family feel differently; for instance, Tim Drake has a good relationship with her. Early in his career, he worked with the female vigilante, and later clears her name in a murder case.
Huntress briefly became involved with the Justice League International when she happened upon a brainwashed Blue Beetle attempting to murder Maxwell Lord. Impressing the League, she was invited to join. However, besides League members helping her on one of her own cases and getting a tour of the group's New York embassy, she never officially joined the team. This would not be her only involvement with the League. During the League's restructing following the 'Rock of Ages' crisis, Batman sponsors Huntress' membership in the Justice League, hoping that the influence of other heroes will mellow the Huntress, and for some time, Huntress is a respected member of the League. Under the guidance of heroes such as Superman, Helena grows in confidence, even playing a key role in defeating Solaris during the DC One Million storyline, as well as helping the League defeat foes like Prometheus, as well as encouraging Green Lantern to fight the Queen Bee's hypno-pollen during her invasion of Earth. However, she is later forced to resign after Batman stops her from killing Prometheus.
Cry for Blood
In the Huntress: Cry for Blood limited series Huntress' origin is revised; a young Helena Rosa Bertinelli believes 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.
In the four-issue Nightwing/Huntress limited series, Helena partners with Nightwing on a mission against the mafia. The young heroes engage in a brief affair, after which Helena confesses to Nightwing that she seduced him partly because she thought it might help get her into the "boys' club" of Batman's world.
No Man's Land - Helena becomes Batgirl
In the No Man's Land storyline, an earthquake levels Gotham City. The United States government declares Gotham City a "No Man's Land," and Batman disappears. To bring order to the city, Huntress assumes the mantle of Batgirl, and she discovers criminals fear her more as Batgirl than they do as Huntress. Batgirl fails to protect Batman's territory from Two-Face and his gang of more than 200 criminals, leading to an argument between her and Batman. Huntress refuses to follow Batman's exact orders and gives up the Batgirl costume. see Legends of the Dark Knight #120.
Huntress then ends up with Petit and his men, who had broken off from the group led by former commissioner James Gordon. It was Batman's intent to drive Huntress to Petit's group when he rejected her, knowing that Huntress's presence there was necessary to keep Petit in line. Petit swiftly goes insane and Huntress barely survives an ensuing attack on Petit's compound by the Joker and his men. Petit and most of his group were killed. Huntress was found by Nightwing and taken care of in a field hospital operated by forces who wanted to rebuild Gotham City.
Outsiders and Birds of Prey
Huntress is asked to serve to fill in an empty spot of the Outsiders after Arsenal sustains major injuries on a mission. The Huntress becomes involved with Oracle and Black Canary in the comic series Birds of Prey, establishing a close friendship with Black Canary in the process. The Huntress also appeared in the "Hush" storyline that took place in the Batman comics. In the storyline, Huntress saves an immobilized Batman's life from a criminal gang when he suffers a fractured skull from a fall after his batrope is cut over Crime Alley. Batman thinks to himself how she is, "so much like I was when I started out," and "she's better than she knows..." In the story, Huntress continues her semi-feud with Jonathan Crane aka the Scarecrow. She eventually returns with a new costume and equipment, the money for which was given by Thomas Elliot. She fights Catwoman thinking her to be her old self and wants to be more like the Dark Knight.
In 2006, the narratives of most DC Comics superhero series skipped one year. In the "One Year" Later" stories Huntress works with other members of Oracle's group: Black Canary, Lady Blackhawk, Lady Shiva, and Gypsy. With Black Canary's departure from the team (issue #99), in issue #100 Huntress and Lady Blackhawk are Oracle's top two agents, with full access to Oracle as needed (along with Black Canary, should she decide to return). Helena is made the team's field commander. Recently, Helena was savagely beaten and kidnapped after teaming up with Lady Blackhawk on a mission to stop the aquatic supervillain known as Killer Shark. Killer Shark's accomplice Killer Queen Shark, (who was in reality was a brainwashed Lady Blackhawk), then stuffed a bound and gagged Helena into a torpedo hatch in the submarine they were on. Before she could be killed by a torpedo launch, Huntress cut herself free and attacked the villains defeating Killer Shark and eventually returning Lady Blackhawk to normal.
Huntress: Year One
Helena's status in the current DC Universe is unknown, though her name as been used as an alias for an incognito Helena Wayne, who also used a version of Helena's costume.
In other media
- Helena Kyle (Ashley Scott) from the Birds of Prey television series, is based on the Helena Bertinelli and Helena Wayne versions of the Huntress.
- Helena Bertinelli appears in the animated series Justice League Unlimited voiced by Amy Acker. She is the primary love interest and partner to The Question. In "Double Date", Huntress' thirst for revenge against the murderer of her parents, Steven Mandragora, results in her expulsion from the Justice League by Martian Manhunter. Green Arrow and Black Canary chase Huntress only to find her ready to kill Mandragora, until the Question talks her down and Mandragora's rescued son is revealed. In "Question Authority", the Huntress helps the Question uncover a government conspiracy against the League. She later rescues him, with the help of Superman, (whom she contacted by using a communicator stolen from Jimmy Olsen after she had taped up and gagged him on top of the Daily Planet building,) from the Cadmus Project after he has been captured and tortured for information. In "Grudge Match", she uncovers a plot to use mind-controlled female Leaguers in metahuman cage matches and her rivalry with Black Canary comes to a boil. She plays a significant role in freeing the other heroes and shutting down the organization behind the brawls. At the end of this episode, Black Canary offers to advocate that Huntress be reinstated as a League member, but Huntress graciously turns her offer down. Instead, the two decide to get the aggression out of their systems by going one last round, by saying "two falls out of three".
- Huntress appeared in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Night of the Huntress!", voiced by Tara Strong, where she, Batman, and Blue Beetle have to stop the gangster Baby-Face and his wife, Mrs. Manface. The Blue Beetle develops a crush on her in the episode. While this version's real identity is that of Helena Bertinelli, her costume looks more like the costume worn by Helena Wayne, the Earth-Two Huntress. In addition, she is portrayed as a young college professor, rather than a high school teacher. Huntress later races for Earth's survival among other heroes and villains in "Death Race to Oblivion!", where she strikes up a rivalry with Catwoman. She fakes her death during the race to help Batman win. During "The Siege of Starro! Part One", she is shown as one of the numerous heroes under the mental control of Starro. She and Blue Beetle are shown attacking the students at the university, and bringing them under Starro's command through the use of small parasites. She later attacks Captain Marvel, but is easily defeated. She is shown alongside the other heroes in a non-speaking role in "The Siege of Starro! Part Two", having been freed from Starro's control at this point. Huntress appeared in the episode "The Mask of Matches Malone!", a Birds of Prey-themed episode written by Gail Simone with Catwoman and Black Canary.
- An alternate version of the Huntress made a cameo appearance as one of Superwoman's lieutenants in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.
- The Helena Bertinelli version of the Huntress made her live action debut in Arrow portrayed by Jessica De Gouw.
- The Huntress is an unlockable character in Justice League Heroes voiced by Vanessa Marshall. She can be unlocked by paying 53 orange shields on the menu screen.
- She can also have her custom character pieces in Lego Batman. She is also an unlockable character in the Nintendo DS version.
- Huntress also appears in the MMORPG: DC Universe Online, voiced by Claire Hamilton.
- Although Huntress doesn't appear in Batman: Arkham City, an interview by Vicki Vale with Quincy Sharp confirms that Huntress is a vigilante in Gotham City within the world of the game.
- In Arkham knight if you go to in the clock tower from the bottom and go to the highest level, you can zoom into a computer screen showing a chat log between "Oracle" and "Hntress"