DC Reboots the Huntress So Hard that Her Reboot Got Rebooted
Total elapsed time from DC’s New 52 reboot to the complete resumption of an early 1980s, Pre-Crisis status quo for The Huntress: Four months.
Translation: When DC Comics revealed plans for their “second wave” of New 52 books to replace the six that were being canceled last week, writer Paul Levitz confirmed that his upcoming book World’s Finest series would star The Huntress and Power Girl… of Earth-2, an alternate universe where the Huntress is not Mafia heiress turned vigilante Helena Bertinelli, who’s been operating as the Huntress since 1989, but rather Helena Wayne, the daughter of Batman and Catwoman.
How does this revelation track with the stated goals of the New 52-branded relaunch and reboot of DC’s superhero line, supposedly excising the often complicated histories of their characters in order to make them more appealing to new readers? Not very well.Let’s take a quick review of The Huntress’ history. The character was created by writer Paul Levitz and artists Joe Staton and Bob Layton in 1977, and though she took the name of an old Golden Age character DC owned, she was directly descended from the Batman franchise. “Directly descended” as in Batman was her dad. Huntress’ secret identity was Helena Wayne, and she was the daughter of Bruce Wayne and former Catwoman Selina Kyle. But not the “real” Bruce and Selina! Rather, she was the daughter of Earth-2 Bruce and Selina, with Earth-2 being the parallel Earth to the real DC Universe (Earth-1, naturally) created by Gardner Fox in the 1960s as the universe where DC’s Golden Age lived on in real-time. The Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman of that Earth aged a little more realistically, allowing Batman and Catwoman to be old enough to have an adult daughter.
The Huntress’ adventures occurred mainly in back-up strips in the Wonder Woman comics of 1980 (Which DC later collected along with her other early appearances in the trade paperback Huntress: Dark Knight Daughter).
The existence of Earth-2, along with all the other Earth’s designated by various numbers and letters, is what ultimately lead to 1985-1986′s house-cleaning Crisis On Infinite Earths, in which DC collapsed all of their earths into a single one to streamline their cosmology and make it easier to understand-and to entice new readers. (Sound familiar?).
The Huntress stuck around, but she was rebooted as Helena Bertellini, and given a different back-story, one that no longer involved being born of a union between Batman and Catwoman. Instead, she was the daughter of a Mafia family who for various reasons became the vigilante Huntress and a member of the Birds of Prey.
At the beginning of the 21st century, DC started mucking around with aspects of their cosmology again, in the pages of Infinite Crisis, 52 and Final Crisis, with writer Geoff Johns eventually resurrecting the original Earth-2 and revealing that Power Girl, who was Suprman’s cousin from another universe… was still Superman’s cousin from another universe (this after DC spent literally decades trying to come up with a satisfactory new origin for the character). Helena Bertinelli, however, remained un-mucked with.
Then came last fall’s Flashpoint, which contained a memorably vague scene in which DC’s ever-fluid multiverse was once again recreated. Then came the “New 52″ reboot, which cleared the deck, Crisis on Infinite Earths-style, all over again.
The Huntress received her own New 52U miniseries in December, written by her creator Levitz and drawn by Marcus To and John Dell. At first it seemed like this Huntress was Bertellini again, but Levitz now says that the Huntress he’s writing will turn out to be Helena Wayne, daughter of parallel Earth-2′s Batman and Catwoman, stranded in the New 52 Earth (Earth-52, maybe…?) with her friend Power Girl, who is also from Earth-2.
We will ultimately know that she’s Helena Wayne of Earth 2, but whether Bruce will know that she’s Helena Wayne, or how Bruce or Selina Kyle will come to know that and react to that, we’ll see. I”m still working out all the dramatic potential in it. Obviously, there’s enormous pent up possibility in those moments, and you want to make all that drama work. And you don’t want to do all that in issue #1, panel #1.
It remains to be seen how all of this will play out, as World’s Finest and the James Robinson-written, Nicola-Scott drawn book Earth 2 won’t launch until May of this year. In the meantime, it looks the rebooted version of The Huntress that DC rebooted has been rebooted again, as the version that originally got rebooted. What could be simpler and more new-reader friendly than that?