Thursday 7 November 2013

I ♥ Huntress, Day Five: Friendship

Throughout Helena Wayne's publication history, friends have come and gone from her life. In one lifetime, she was friends with the members of the Justice Society, the Justice League, and Infinity Inc. She was even friends with the police commissioner in Gotham, her colleagues at her law firm, and even established friendships with Barbara Gordon and Kathy Kane on Earth-1. She was even friends with the Earth-1 version of her father whom she fondly called 'Uncle Bruce,' and was very close to her world's Dick Grayson whom she was also romantically attracted to (more on that tomorrow).

In this lifetime, however, Helena is a lone ranger preferring her own company and that of one other person. An individual who has been by her side since her first appearance in comics in 1977, since even in death during a time when no one remembered her, and even now that she is officially reunited with her best friend in life. Her name is Kara Zor-L, alias Power Girl.

The first time Helena encountered Kara, it was very early on in her Huntress career and during a time when her father, Bruce Wayne, was still mourning the death of his wife, Selina. Within the context of the storyline, Psycho Pirate had brainwashed Bruce (who was by this point, commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department) into legally pursuing the Justice Society for a crime they didn't even commit. Amongst the JSAers to confront Bruce and the Gotham City Police was Power Girl who was subsequently injured by a powerful weapon that was fired at her. This confrontation with the JSA got Helena's attention and investigated the case from afar. The first time she saw Power Girl was lying down in a hospital bed while spying from outside her bedroom window.

Once the issue with her father was resolved and Psycho Pirate was defeated, Helena officially joined the Justice Society shortly after this case, and after she had fought alongside them in another story involving the Star-Spangled Kid. During her meetings with the Justice Society, she befriended Kara and became not only her closest friend, but also her 'guide' to the human world since Kara (by this point in her history) was still very newly arrived on Earth and was still adjusting to life outside of the virtual Krypton she had grown up on in her space ship. When the two women weren't fighting side by side with the Justice Society, they would also team up for independent cases and even hang out in their civilian forms. In one story, Helena even invited Kara to lunch at a very posh restaurant one day and the two made mental notes of one another, mostly Kara noting how very confident and professional Helena is in both of her identities, while Helena found her very fascinating, largely because of how different she was from entire human population. She wasn't just fascinated by the fact that she was an alien from another planet, but she was especially intrigued by her upbringing in a spaceship.

Over the time, the women grew very close to one another, and Helena even provided comfort to Power Girl during the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths when she brooded over not being able to fight alongside her cousin and worried for his safety. When she subsequently lost Helena in the final battle with the Anti-Monitor, it was a loss that affected Power Girl on a very deep and personal level, and mourned her death a bit more strongly than others did. When she regained her memories of Helena and Earth-2 in the post-Crisis universe, Kara wanted more than to get back to her world and the people she knew in it, especially Helena Wayne. When the god Gog granted her wish and sent her to a newly born Earth-2 in the Magog story arc of Justice Society of America, she didn't believe it at first, but when she got reacquainted with the Helena Wayne of that world, she felt like she had gotten a huge part of her life back. Unfortunately for Kara, her reunion with Helena was very short-lived when she turned out to not be the Power Girl of this new Earth-2.

Before returning to the mainstream Earth, Kara expressed her regrets to this other Helena, specifically that she didn't mean to take over her life, but simply wanted to be a part of it again. This left a huge impression on this world's Helena to the point where she kind of didn't want to let her go, which is something that bothered her own Power Girl. When she officially returned to her 'source Earth' (meaning the mainstream Earth), Kara settled for resuming her life as the CEO of Starrware and the newly appointed leader of the Justice Society, but nevertheless continued to miss her best friend. Although she had learnt to move past her desire to return to her Earth-2 that no longer existed, she did nonetheless still longed for the presence of Helena Wayne in her life, and she was never able bond with the version of her (Helena Bertinelli) that did exist on this world because she never had the history with her that she once had with Helena Wayne.

Ironically enough, in the New 52, Kara did eventually get her best friend back, but in a very strange way. She not only finally 'obtained the friendship of Helena Bertinelli' in the New 52, but this version of Helena Bertinelli was revealed to have been Helena Wayne 'living the life of a mafia princess' the whole time. Although this officially meant retconning all of their past history of the last two continuities to rebuild these two characters from scratch, they nevertheless continue to remain close friends just like before, only with very different life experiences and very different personalities from their 'past selves.' Like in the days of old, Kara met Helena shortly after losing her mother, had even comforted her during that time, and has continued to be there for her best friend when things got rough. While admittedly the newer version of Helena Wayne has a lot of growing up to do and needs to work on her attitude problem if she's ever going fill the boots of her far superior pre-Crisis self, she has similarly demonstrated that Kara means as much to her, and has even shown her affection when she wasn't being a complete arsehole to her.

After taking this time to examine Helena's friendship with Kara, I think that if the Huntress and Power Girl friendship endured even in a time when Helena was dead and erased from continuity, I have a very strong feeling they're bound to always be together in every life they see from this point forward, even if none of their past romances with blokes survive the chopping block of continuity. Oh hey, that's tomorrow's topic! Stay tuned.

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