Helena Bertinelli: 1990 - 2006 Edit
Helena was born the daughter of Franco Bertinelli, a Mafioso that ran Gotham’s Lower East Side, and Franco’s wife Maria. Helena was eight on the night that Carmine Falcone and Sal Maroni were arrested, things forever changed for the Bertinellis. The family became a prominent family in Gotham, having seized much of the territory and operations once controlled by both Falcone and Maroni families (which were now mere shadows of their former glory).
A year after that, Tony Zucco was killed and the Bertinellis were the unchallenged masters of Gotham’s underworld. Helena was placed in the best private schools in Gotham. Helena took self-defense classes so she would not have to rely on her bodyguards alone.
On Helena’s fourteenth birghday, a dozen masked men broke into the Bertinelli home. Helena was held captive by the masked leader as he forced her to watch the massacre that followed. When Maria Bertinelli managed to break away and use an antique crossbow to injure the leader’s leg, she paid for that act with her life. Helena recognized the purpose of her mother’s scarficie and used the opportunity to free herself, knock off the leader’s mask, and pull the bolt from the man’s leg. Before she repeatedly stabbed the man’s face, Helena recognized it as belonging to Roman Sionis, the power-hungry son of a minor Mafioso once sworn to the Falcones. Embarrased, Roman Sionis had his men capture Helena, intent on taking her with them. But the Batman arrived and, at the cost of letting Sionis and his men escape, rescued Helen; something which would forever upset Helena.
After that, Helena was sent to live with family in Italy. She would return to Gotham two years later looking for answers after learning that Franco Bertinelli was not her biological father.
Batgirl II: 2006 - 2008 Edit
Tomasso Bertinelli, Helena’s alcoholic uncle, was the last remaining connection Helena had to Gotham City. So she requested that he be made her legal guardian and returned to Gotham City, to conduct her own private investigation into her biological father’s identity. Enrolled into Brentwood Academy, Helena was an outcast among the elitist children that surrounded her. In time, Helena became good friends with the school pariah, Jason Todd.
Utilizing her skills at manipulation, Helena began a romantic relationship with Jason Todd and she told him she would report his recurring injuries to social services. In order to keep Helena quiet, Jason agreed to help her with her investigation and it, Helena was able to get her first break on the case of her true father’s identity which led the two to suspect that Helena’s fathers was Santo Cassamento, one of Falcone’s men who was then working for Black Mask. As it turned out, Cassamento was also a suspect serial rapist. The next morning, Helena was shocked to have learned that Santo Cassamento fell to his death from a rooftop the night before.
After breaking a few more laws, Helena found a security tape that showed the Batman’s boy wonder, Robin, chasing Cassamento shortly before the man’s death. It did not take Helena long for her to connect the clues and come to the conclusion that Jason Todd was Robin. When she confronted him later, he admitted it and even took her to the Batcave (knowing Jason it was most likely an attempt to get in her pants. Alfred caught them… and the made for a really long, awkward dinner at Wayne Manor that night, I know, I was there… After a really long and brutal conversation, Helena somehow managed to convince Bruce to let her join our Bat-Club… on the condition that I train her. All said, she was a good Batgirl… at first.
Huntress: 2008 - Present Edit
Helena lasted as Batgirl for just a few months after finishing her training. She had the misfortune of taking on the mangle at a difficult time. She witnessed the death of her close friend Jason Todd, Gotham become victim to a massive terrorist attack, and the breaking of the city’s guardian, Batman, at the hands of Bane. To her credit, Helena kept with the gig, maintaining her patrols and picking up the slack from Batman’s absence. I don’t think it was the burden of fighting crime that go to Helena; I think it was the stress of working with Bruce.
After the break-up between her and the Bat, it was mere nights before the Huntress showed up among the ranks of the nascent vigilante group known as the Birds of Prey. With Canary and I, Huntress played a big part in winning back Gotham from the criminal element that had consumed it. When the city was stabilized once more, Helena used her inheritance to attend college by day and continued to rough up criminals by night. When Bruce returned to patrol, I had to do by best to keep the two across town from one another whenever possible.
As the Huntress, Helena spent the next years specializing in taking down organized crime, leaving the costumed baddies to Batman’s “boys club” (as Helena likes to call it). She was fine with that; Helena had a lot of unresolved issues to work through in regards of the mob.
After she gave a few more scars to Roman Sionis, she cooled of a little (“little” being the keyword). Nowadays, when she’s not hopping rooftops or busting heads, Helena spends her days correcting history exams and teaching Italian to inner city kids at Cameron Kane High School. I doubt many students believe me if a I told them that their teacher, Miss Betinelli, moonlights as a leggy vigilante archer in short shorts.
When Selina Kyle was severely injured by Hush, and with Bruce Wayne missing, Selina came to Helena for help. Helena used her questionable connections to arrange discreet transport for Selina and also arranged a meeting with Talia al Ghul that allowed Selina to recover from her greivous injuries using League of Assassins resources. For Helena's aid, Selina decided to name her daughter after her.
Recently I have become aware of Helena's outings with Andrea Beaumont (first one when Thomas Elliot started impersonating Bruce after shooting him in 2016) as the two have been investigating the "Court of Owls" (believing they are responsible for her parent's death). When I discovered that she willfully lied, sabotaged my equipment, and put Dick Grayson in danger to further her investigation, she sided with Red Hood and his Outlaws, gaining their aid in fleeing Gotham. Her whereabouts remain unknown.
Powers and Abilities Edit
- Archery: Helena carries her trademark crossbows on her at all times when "on-the-job". Whether she decides to use dual mini-crossbows or one large crossbow is up to her whims and fancy her as she has expert skill and equal proficiency in the use of both styles. Oliver Queen himself has remarked that she's likely a better crossbow shot than he is.
- Criminology: Helena grew up in a criminal environment and later spent a few years surrounded by gangs and criminals. Helena knows how criminals works, especially those in the Italian mafia families. Helena retains a large number of such connections which she has used on a number of occasions for both good and... less good pursuits.
- Driving: Helena is a very effective driver, having been able to pilot the Batmobile in high stress and combat situations as well as her own motorcycle at varying degrees of above-average driving situations (being shot at, accelerating to high speeds and over semi-separated bridges). I should mention that it has been years since Bruce let her near his Batmobile.
- Firearms: Over the years Helena realized that firing and reloading bolts at armed individuals may not be the most effective even if they were the most non-lethal. Since the return of Jason Todd to Gotham, she's been coerced to adapt her arsenal over time to include various firearms.
- Investigation: Batman, himself, has mentioned Helena's prowess during investigation situations. I will admit she has a better mind for field detective work than even I do and she is the go to detective of the Birds of Prey team. Helena apparently used to keep her skills sharp by regularly spending her free-time between classes solving cold cases especially when the Mafia is involved.
- Martial Arts: Helena was very much a street fighter before honing her skills in martial arts. She spent many years getting into intentional fights just to prove and test her mettle. She has since fine-tuned her skill after years of work with Black Canary. She learned various disciplines of martial arts, enough to prove a challenge for even Lady Shiva. She prefers to use a specific kind of Kung Fu but is also a master of Stick Fighting, Boxing, Capoeira, and Judo.
- Stick Fighting: Although she prefers to use her martial arts and hand-to-hand combat when it comes to close quarters there has been many occasions where Helena learned that hard way that she might need addition close-quarters armaments. To this end, has used her a special collapsible Battle-Staff equipped with electrical taser mountings and an emergency grapnel line.
- Multilingualism: She can speak both English and Italian fluently.
- Peak Human Condition: Huntress works hard to keep her body in peak physical condition. Due to her costume's ample amount of exposed skin, Helena does 300 ab crunches every morning. I can't help but notice this increased workout started after Jason Todd returned from the dead.
- Pedagogy: Helena has taught at various schools as a teacher of history and Italian language. She has also worked as a substitute teacher for a variety of classes. I hear she is a rather popular teacher, but I suspect that may be more on account of her wardrobe choices or the fact that she is prone to putting movies on so that she can take cat-naps in the back of the room with the lights out to make up for lost sleep due to her particular nocturnal activities.
- Stealth: Helena can be very stealthy when she needs to. She is definitely the second quietest of the Batgirls. With her specially outfitted suit and various toys in her utility belt, she can sneak into a facility and learn whatever information she desires although she sometimes prefers to fight her way in.
- Throwing: Helena learned the art of throwing from her cousin Salvatore Asaro.
- Huntress' Motorcycle: Helena uses a customized MV Augusta Turismo Veloce 800 Lusso motorcycle with a purple and black paint job, added armored plating, an enhanced Kord-Tech engine, and all the standard Bat-Cycle gadgetry added after-market. Dinah calls it Helena's crotch rocket as an insult to its design, but Helena isn't bothered by the term and affectionately calls it the same.
- Huntress' Crossbows: Helena uses dual mini-crossbows or a heavy duty large crossbow with a scope to fire her plethora of trick bolts, though mostly she just likes to shoot people in the knee with the real thing.
- Huntress Battle-Staff: A collapsible, combat metallic staff that she has adopted since she realized that she needed extra tactical support when dealing with metahumans. The staff has taser mounting jolt delivery system incorporated and an emergency grapnel line.
- Anger: Like Jason Todd, Helena is prone to letting her emotions get the better of her.
Trivia and Notes Edit
- After a night of heavy drinking, I learned that Helena lost her virginity to Jason in the Batcave of all places. Though, I do not know if I can believe this as I've heard at least four other stories about how Helena lost her virginity, two of which don't involve Jason. Yes... Helena is as promiscuous as that makes her seem.
- Helena used to wear a much more modest costume, but made some changes when she heard Jason Todd was alive.
- Helena was prone to flipping off papparazzi and using crass language on television during her time with the Titans.
- Helena's best friend is Karen Starr. The two take frequent vacations together, often with Donna Troy as well.
- Helena is an honorary Amazon warrior, having been given the honor by Queen Hippolyta herself.
- Helena is a heavy drinker but does not seem to be an alcoholic as she seems fully capable of being sober for weeks at a time if she is working on an important case.
- After Jason died, Helena became the first official dropout from the Titans. Her membership was reinstated later as Victor Stone understood her reasons for having quit.
- Her mother used an antique crossbow to save Helena's life. Helena uses a crossbow as a heroine now as a reminder of that night.
- I listed Helena's sexual orientation as "straight-ish" because Helena admits she can become "lesby-like" if you put a few drinks in her. Having been on the receiving end of my former roommate's drunken affections, I can verify this. Apparently, someone told Hal Jordan about this and he tried his best to hook up with Helena and Zinda for a threesome. Helena and Zinda both say it didn't happen, Dinah is convinced it did.
- Helena's favorite non-alcoholic drink is desert pear lemonade from Chicken Whizzie. It's a seasonal beverage so that means that at least once a year, Helena comes home utterly depressed when she finds out it's been discontinued for the remainder of the year. This usually means some poor thug that night gets put in the hospital with an extra injury... or five.
- Helena has a not-so secret crush on Captain Atom. She denies it, but she forgets I can hear her giggle like a schoolgirl through her comms whenever he sits next to her at a Justice League meeting.
- Helena refuses to admit her mask's design was inspired by Dinah's old mask. What both of them failed to remember is that I gave Helena her first mask after she quit being Batgirl and I took the mask from a chest in Dinah's closet. I just spray-painted it before I passed it on to Helena. Their constant arguments over this subject continue to serve as an endless source of entertainment for me.
- Helena is a devout Catholic. She goes to confession usually about twice a week when she is in Gotham, having revealed her identity as Huntress to a particular priest.
- As a member of the second generation of Titans, Helena was considered to be a member of the "Brat Pack", a clique amongst the Titans where the Titans with mentors would be scolded far less than those without. Helena was at the center of several scandals and antics just like every other member, such as listening to Karen compare their male companions "attributes".
- Huntress joined the Justice League in 2012 nominated by Wonder Woman.
- The first version of Helena's Oracle File stated she was 130 lbs., in the deluxe edition it says she is 168 lbs... Oracle is obviously very angry at her.
- Helena was captured October 31st 2016 and brainwashed by SPYRAL. Her cooperation with ARGUS might be involuntary, but she might have been persuaded by Andrea Beaumont, who promised to find her parent's killers.
- In Earth-27, Helena Bertinelli is one of the more changed characters. One significant revision is her much more pronounced stint as Batgirl. This is not only a means to give her a stronger connection to the Bat Family, but also as a way to merge influences from Helena Wayne.