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Huntress: Year One
posted April 29, 2009


Creators: Ivory Madison, Cliff Richards, Art Thibert, Norm Rapmund
Publishing Information: DC Comics, softcvoer, 144 pages, 2008, $17.99
Ordering Numbers: 9781401221263 (ISBN13)

I'm always a little bit baffled by projects like Huntress: Year One. It's hard to imagine that there are so many Huntress fans out there that anyone demands to know her about her official past. It's also difficult to see Huntress as such a uniquely special character that learning about her is going to gain her a bunch of new fans, either. This book doesn't even try. If you thought the Huntress was a boring minor character in the Batman universe with ties to the mob, you're going to get all the boring mob scenes and Batman guest appearances to be confirmed in your suspicion. Although the motives of the creative team may be pure as the driven snow and each one may see this comic as the culmination of personal artistic goals so fulfilling I'd cry if they told me about the journey over coffee, this seems like one of DC's occasional forays into filling some sort of quota for mid-list product only they seem to know about.

Helena Bertinelli is the daughter of slain mob soldiers raised by another group of killers who manages to find for herself some quality kung-fu and weapons training time in order to aim herself at the groups that have provided her life with so much misery. She's kind of a Harold Miner to Batman's Michael Jordan: not as rich, not as interesting, limited focus, costume not as memorable. The Huntress starts Year One as a boring bundle of clichés drawn from adventure/romance novels and ends the book as an equivalently dull pile of rote modern superhero characteristics. If you're not invested in superhero comic books or specific characters in superhero comics to an unhealthy degree, you're unlikely to find that journey of much interest. I sure didn't. The art is B-, sturdy boilerplate stuff, while the scripting seems overwrought and frequently inelegant. It's the kind of comic where people do their action scenes while making proclamations tied into the book's dramatic arc. Its greatest achievement may be how much it further devalues DC's "Year One" imprimatur.