Monday, 30 December 2019

Top 10 Most Memorable Huntress Moments In 2010s

The holidays are coming to an end as is the year and decade. Looking back on this decade, we got Helena Wayne back for seven of those ten years, which is actually not bad. It was certainly better than going another full decade without her and maybe only getting her in one or two stories that matter. This decade, we got her in at least nine books in a non-cameo capacity, and was a protagonist in at least five of those books.

While I can't say I've had the best decade as a Helena Wayne Huntress fan in terms of getting quality stories (and for other reasons that will be discussed in the 'Year in Review' post), there were at least some things I enjoyed about the post-Flashpoint version of the character. From her unashamed love of sweets to fighting crime with style to her openly bisexual behaviour, here are Helena Wayne's Top 10 Best Moments of the 2010s!



10. Huntress rejects 'Amanda Waller's' offer to 'join her team' in Suicide Squad #25

Forever Evil is probably not the most memorable event involving the Earth-3 Crime Syndicate, but it was definitely the kind of world invasion Helena Wayne would not have sat on and should've been more active in fighting against. Maybe owe it to the fact DC didn't know how to use her character in the event despite having used her best friend (Power Girl) in a prominent storyline, but the one brief moment Helena Wayne did get in the event was certainly a glorious one.

In Suicide Squad #25, the Thinker (one of Helena Wayne's foes from the pre-Crisis era) was recruited by the Crime Syndicate to manipulate the main Earth's heroes into participating in a wild goose hunt too keep them busy while the Crime Syndicate carried out their own plans. In the guise of Amanda Waller, the Thinker tried recruiting Huntress and Power Girl into joining a secret team to fight off the Syndicate. The Huntress was smart enough to see through the ruse and refused the offer, but Power Girl got suckered into joining on the guilt of having failed to save her own world during the Apokolips invasion on Earth-2. Where exactly the Huntress ran off to afterwards is unknown, but I'd like to think she investigated the Syndicate's activities in secret.

9. Huntress saves Dick Grayson's son in Earth-2: Society Annual #1

As a series, Earth-2: Society isn't much to write home about. As a spiritual sequel to the poorly received Earth-2: World's End event, the premise saw the Earth-2 characters colonise a new Earth-like planet, complete with survivalist themes and tropes. Helena Wayne wasn't well utilised in the first story arc of the series because the original writer—Daniel H. Wilson—was very new to the character (and DC in general) and did not possess the same level of understanding of the character that other more seasoned DC writers had.

When English writer Dan Abnett took over the book for the remaining story arcs, Helena Wayne was at least better characterised, but was still not given much to do for the remainder of the series. It wasn't until Earth-2: Society Annual #1 that the character was afforded some level of recognition and respect when Dick Grayson communicated his relationship with Helena Wayne to his son. While Helena Wayne was given an opportunity to show off her tracking and fighting skills against the Ultra-Humanite's deadliest assassin, her most heroic feat was actually her decision to go save Dick's son the moment she learned he was one of the child soldiers being manipulated by the Ultra-Humanite to carry out his agenda.

8. Huntress defends Batgirl and Black Canary in Batgirl #33

For her final story arc in Batgirl, famed writer Gail Simone decided to end BIG by reuniting the original Birds of Prey team for the last hurrah. Of course, it wasn't quite the original team members since the Black Canary of the New 52 continuity was Dinah Drake (the mother of Dinah Laurel Lance), the Huntress was Helena Wayne, and Barbara Gordon was operating as Batgirl instead of Oracle. Still, Simone wrote the characters with the same spirit and energy as her original take on the characters during the post-Crisis era.

In the Deadline storyline, Batgirl was having a final showdown with her archnemesis Charise Carnes (aka Knightfall) and decided to recruit Black Canary's help to stop her. Huntress happened to be in town and decided to join in on the fight. Batgirl was initially distrustful of her but allowed her to join after some persuasion from Black Canary. In true Birds of Prey fashion, the three women put up a strong fight against Charise and her followers, but Helena Wayne's crowning moment of awesome came at slamming a henchman with acid-based powers into a car to protect Barbara from harm. You also can't deny that awesome Zinda Blake cameo as the accidental witness!

7. Huntress surprises Batman in the Batcave in Batman/Superman #8

The First Contact crossover between Batman/Superman and Worlds' Finest should've been a bigger deal than it actually was considering this was Huntress and Power Girl's first interaction with the Prime Earth Batman and Superman. It's also the kind of story that should've happened sooner in order to fully integrate Huntress and Power Girl into the primary DC Universe and allow them to interact with other DCU heroes. Even if DC was still planning on having them return to Earth-2 at some point, the relationships they would've formed on Prime Earth would've at least made their stay worthwhile. Still, one can take what they do get.

In the First Contact storyline, Huntress decided to recruit the Prime Earth Batman in order to help her discover the source of Power Girl's fluctuating powers. She struggled to figure out how to tell him she was his daughter from a parallel Earth without having him think she was totally bonkers. She figured the best way to do this was to break into the Batcave knowing security would be tight and to just say who she was, where she was from, all in one go. Batman, of course, didn't believe her at first and decided to verify her story via a DNA from a blood sample he acquired. The real surprise came when Huntress demonstrated she could easily get herself out of traps which caught Batman totally off guard—something that rarely happens!

6. Huntress is not surprised her dad gets shot at in Secret Origins #7

Secret Origins was a limited series from DC that recounted the origin stories of DC's most popular superheroes. From Batman to Superman to Wonder Woman to the Flash, you name it, they all got an origin story. The Huntress was no exception. And as one could expect from the life of the daughter of Batman and Catwoman, Helena Wayne had no ordinary childhood. She was raised from an early age to be a crimefighter and began her training as soon as she was old enough to walk.

Helena did everything from cardiovascular exercise to strength training to learning to dodge bullets. Yes. You read that right. Bruce and Selina taught young Helena to dodge bullets using mock bullets (possibly even real ones) and if she managed to dodge all bullets in under two minutes, she got a treat. Helena Wayne's best moment, however, came just before her bedtime. Just as Selina was about to read her a bedtime story, Bruce waltzed into her bedroom still dressed in his Batsuit, complete with bullet holes. Selina was annoyed of course, but Helena was all but surprised to see her dad in his 'scary suit' complete with bullet holes. All she did was casually ask if he was shot at, indicating that she was used to this by now. What does it say about Helena's upbringing when seeing her dad with bullet holes doesn't even faze her?

5. Huntress beats up Usurper Batman in Earth-2: Worlds End #3

Let's be real here. There is nothing good to say about Earth-2: World's End apart from good artwork and the fact that some of DC's best talents worked on this project, but even they couldn't salvage the monstrosity that was this DC event. Everything from poor planning to execution plagued this series from start to finish. The Huntress was, unfortunately, one of the characters that was poorly utilised in this event since she was primarily there to progress her (didn't die in Crime Alley) grandfather's redemption arc.

If I disliked the idea of Helena's murderous drug-addicted grandfather (yes, you read that right) succeeding her father as Batman, imagine how I felt after Helena Wayne returned to Earth-2! Still, credit where due, it's a good thing Marguerite Bennett was there to write Helena Wayne's scenes in the event. Though she didn't have control over how the character would be utilised in the story, she did at least have some control over the execution. True to how fans felt about this take on Thomas Wayne on Earth-2, Helena Wayne was quick to reject this bloody awful man as her grandfather, and she took even less kindly to this imposter masquerading around in her deceased father's identity. I will never tire of reading that panel where Helena Wayne slams down her awful grandad yelling 'Bruce Wayne was Batman—you're a fraud!'

4. Huntress rejects becoming Batwoman in Convergence: Detective Comics #1

In addition to post-Flashpoint Helena Wayne (who was more 'Bertinelli' in her characterisation than not), we also got to briefly revisit the pre-Crisis original in the Convergence event, which is the character most of us think of when we hear the words 'Helena Wayne Huntress.' Unfortunately, however, even the pre-Crisis Helena Wayne had the post-Crisis Helena Bertinelli's personality transplanted onto her. As such, the Convergence: Detective Comics miniseries read very similarly to the Huntress/Nightwing miniseries from Devin Grayson and Greg Land from 1998.

While pre-Crisis Helena Wayne with Bertinelli's personality read like a bizarre trip into The Twilight Zone, the character did at least have some interesting moments in the event. One of those included her fight against the Toyman in which she questioned why he was robbing Metropolis knowing he couldn't leave the city to sell his loot. My absolute favourite moment, however, happened in the Batmobile in the scene where Huntress and Robin were discussing whether or not he should become the next Batman. Robin wasn't comfortable with the thought of taking up his mentor's mantle and asked Huntress why she hadn't considered putting on the Batsuit herself. Helena Wayne's response was a very sharp 'And become another Batwoman? Don't be absurd!' (Say it louder for the people in the back, Helena...)

3. Huntress eats a sfogliatella in Huntress #2

The Huntress miniseries of 2011 was a problematic start for Helena Wayne's post-Flashpoint era for multiple reasons, but you can't deny the character herself was quite endearing and even fun to read. Just like the pre-Crisis Huntress of decades past, the post-Flashpoint Helena Wayne was a meticulous detective, a passionate pursuer of justice, a flirty, snarky young woman with an optimistic outlook on life, and an insatiable love of sweets!

Okay, that last one wasn't exactly staple to the pre-Crisis Helena Wayne Huntress (at least not apart from enjoying a box of chocolate chimp cookies with a glass of wine—no, that joke will never get old), but it certainly wasn't out of character for her either. Throughout the miniseries, Helena Wayne makes her love of sweets known to the point where she knows which ones are freshly made and which ones have been sitting around with preservatives in the mix from just the taste. But even the flavour of old stale sweets is not enough to stop her from having a bite, as we clearly witnessed in the opening pages of Huntress #2. While investigating a sex trafficking case, Helena Wayne broke into a Naples police station to gather information on the human traffickers she was investigating. During the break-in, Helena caught sight of an old sfogliatella someone left behind and helped herself to it. She even licked her gloved fingers! (You gotta love this character...)

2. Huntress flirts with Power Girl in Worlds' Finest #25

Ah, Worlds' Finest. There was a lot of potential in a series starring Huntress and Power Girl that should've made it a top seller. But more than this series is remembered for its brilliant storytelling and art, it is perhaps better remembered as the slashiest of slash fiction featuring the daughter of Batman and Catwoman and her best friend, the cousin of Superman.

Since issue #1, Worlds' Finest has been peppered with queer subtext between Huntress and Power Girl. Examples ranged from romantic dinner dates to romantic Superman and Lois Lane style flights, to hand-holding, to Huntress even cradling Power Girl in her arms while the latter was unconscious. Even as teenage girls, Huntress and Power Girl were depicted as going on picnics together. But perhaps the most overtly sexual of these examples happened in the opening pages of Worlds' Finest #25. In the opening scene, Power Girl was seen returning to her flat from an office party with Huntress having breakfast in her bathrobe. As Power Girl undressed and hopped into the shower, Huntress could be seen gazing in her direction. Once out of the shower, Power Girl (in her towel) made a remark to Huntress about her being a 'warrior nun' to which Huntress jokingly took issue with. In response, Huntress threw her fork at Power Girl's towel, pinning said towel to the nearest wall. Needless to say, Power Girl was entirely okay with that!

1. Huntress' birthday wish in Earth-2 #27

Continuing our discussion from Moment #2 and making #1 on this 'Top 10s' list, we have Huntress and Power Girl's flashback sequence from Earth-2 #27. If there is one reason Marguerite Bennett should've been a writer on the Worlds' Finest book is the fact that she strikes a nice balance between humour and dark themes without sacrificing character depth.

In Earth-2 #27, Power Girl recounted some of her best childhood memories: from her brief childhood on Krypton to her becoming the adopted daughter of her cousin and his wife Lois to the time she learned to fly. Also included in her best memories was the first year she and the Huntress spent on Prime Earth following the Apokolips War. It was Helena Wayne's first birthday on this new Earth with both of her parents recently deceased. She was naturally very bitter and angry and not in the mood to celebrate her own birthday under these circumstances. This didn't stop Kara from trying to give Helena the best birthday celebration despite those dire circumstances. In an attempt to cheer her up, Kara made her a cake with triple layer frosting (just as Helena likes it) and even decorated their house with batshaped items. Helena at first scoffed at the attempt to cheer her up, but was eventually thankful and gave Kara a hug in gratitude. When asked by Kara what she wished for before blowing out the candles, Helena simply answered 'I already got it' implying she's with the person she wants to be with.

Do you agree with this list? What were your favourite Huntress moments in the 2010s? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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