Here I am again, running down the DC Comics rabbit hole with another new DC Universe Rebirth comic: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey. I’ve always liked the Black Canary, and Batgirl is pretty cool too, so this was a no-brainer for me. I subscribed to the comic when the Rebirth news first came down for those reasons, but I started to regret my decision when I read the first #1 issue for Nightwing Rebirth. (Every Rebirth comic has two #1 issues. Don’t ask me why they aren’t #1 and #2 or a #0 and #1, but this is where we are.) In the middle of this first first issue, Grayson decides to check in on what is left of Spyral for some Godforsaken reason, and the reader sees Helena Bertinelli, formerly known as Matron of Spyral, donning the purple Huntress gear. And yes, she is very much a part of Batgirl and the Birds of Prey Rebirth.
So if Matron is the new Huntress, what happened to Huntress? She has the same name and all, Helena, but what happened to her? Like the idiot I am, I went to Wikipedia to research what happened to Huntress before delving into the new Huntress. This is what I found:
The Huntress, also known as Helena Rosa Bertinelli, is a fictional character in the DC Universe. Based upon the Earth-Two Huntress (Helena Wayne), she is one of several DC characters to bear the Huntress name. She was also, for a time, one of the versions of Batgirl and was a longtime member of the Birds of Prey. In DC comics New 52 continuity, Helena Bertinelli is an alias used by Helena Wayne while the real Helena Bertinelli is an agent of the spy organization Spyral.
In the premiere issue of Worlds’ Finest (of DC’s The New 52 reboot), it is revealed not only that the Huntress of the post-Flashpoint universe is Helena Wayne from Earth 2, but that Helena Bertinelli has been long dead and that all the exploits of Helena Bertinelli’s Huntress were committed by Helena Wayne acting in her name.
Prime Earth’s Helena Bertinelli is revealed to be an agent of the organization Spyral, who is presumed dead by the outside world. This incarnation of the character is a dark skinned Italian woman to keep readers from confusing her with Helena Wayne of Earth 2 according to Grayson series writer Tim Seeley. Her origin is expanded on in Grayson Annual #1 (February 2015). Helena is described as “the most wanted woman in the world,” the granddaughter of Frank Bertinelli and the heir to “the entire Sicilian mob”, who “disappeared” five years ago; her disappearance is legendary among criminals.
If you need a minute, I get it. Take your time.
On to Birds of Prey #1, mmmkay?
The Birds of Prey formed when Batgirl was Oracle and in a wheelchair, thanks to the Joker. She still wanted to fight crime, so she reached out to the Black Canary to be out on the prowl while she did detective work behind the scenes. When she was able to walk again, Black Canary walked away…and became lead singer of a band in The New 52. But with Rebirth, Batgirl needs the Black Canary again after discovering someone is sullying the Oracle’s good name to sell information to crime bosses in Gotham City. During their investigation, they run into Huntress, who is taking out all the crime bosses in Gotham after they murdered her entire family. Remember, Helena Wayne was pretending to be Helena Bertinelli this whole time, since Bertinelli was dead after the mob murdered her and her entire family. Truth is, Bertinelli was roped into Spyral. Now that she’s out of the spy game, she’s out for revenge, and she’s going to take over the Huntress persona as the real Helena Bertinelli.
Are you all caught up? Good, because that is where our story ends, with the Birds of Prey teaming up with Huntress to track down the mob bosses. They will take out the crime families in Gotham the non-lethal way (much to Huntress’s displeasure) and find out who is using the patented Oracle name for evil. It’s honestly not the worst reason in the world to team up and fight crime, and more Black Canary is always a good thing.
While the story is okay, the art absolutely kills me. Claire Roe seems to have difficulty drawing Batgirl’s face, and I don’t understand why, considering she does such an amazing job with Huntress.
The colors are outstanding all around, and everyone else is drawn near flawlessly, so I’m not sure why Batgirl has to suffer. It’s almost like Roe can’t decide on how she wants to style Batgirl. She’s obviously a talented artist, or the whole comic would look wonky. I just hope she can get it sorted out soon to something less cringe-worthy.
I’ll be back next month for more Batgirl and The Birds of Prey. I can’t quit now.