Huntress: Cry For Blood
is one of DC's little-used characters. Sure she was a JLA-er
for all of five minutes, and she is a member of the ever-expanding
Bat-Family, but little has been done with the character since
her post-Crisis debut (where she got a complete continuity
overhaul, thankfully. Despite what the WB might have you think,
Huntress is not the daughter of Batman. Anymore.)
mostly used as a verbal punching bag for Batman, who dislikes
her moral ambiguity when it comes to killing criminals, and
she did have a romantic fling with Nightwing. Once in a while,
she even pops up in Birds of Prey . Despite all these
appearances, Huntress doesn't have her own book, and the reason
for that is Greg Rucka never wrote her before.
In Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood, Greg Rucka treats
us to a great story about the Gotham City mafia and manages
to re-tell and beef-up Huntress's origin story. There are
times when I forget that Rucka came to comics from writing
the Atticus Kodiak mystery novels, meaning the man knows how
to tell a damn good crime drama.
belonging to a son of the Panessa crime family has been pulled
out of the Gotham River with a cleanly place crossbow bolt
lodged in its chest. When Commissioner Gordon (this story
is set before the events of Batman: Officer Down) calls Batman
in to investigate, the Dark Knight Detective sets his sights
on the only unstable vigilante with a crossbow he knows: Huntress.
is not a Batman story; he's there because his name on the
book will help sell it and his disapproval of Huntress is
a constant reminder that she is the redheaded stepchild in
Batman suspecting her, the Panessa family has put a hit out
on the Huntress, not knowing that the Huntress is actually
their cousin, Helena Bertinelli: a young girl who was the
only survivor of a coup in the Five Families of Gotham, where
the Bertinelli crime family was destroyed. And let's not forget
the G.C.P.D. is on her trail too.
body shows up with a bolt in it, Batman tries to take the
Huntress in and in the ensuing scuffle; she gets away, only
to be knocked out and kidnapped by The Question, another underused
DC character. Huntress has to find a way to clear her name
and find out who is framing her and in doing so, she may find
out why she was the one to survive the Bertinelli massacre.
should be called Huntress: Year One, as Rucka really
fleshes out the character's origins and motivations. Her time
spent in Italy being trained by Cosa Nostra assassins is exceptionally
well-written. In fact, Rucka shines most when he is writing
about the intricate dealings of the Crime Families of Gotham
and the history they have with the town. Some scenes smack
of The Godfather (the wedding of a mafia daughter for
instance), but Rucka never makes it sounds old or plagiarized.
give a round of applause to the man for dredging up one hell
of an obscure character with The Question (Vic Sage when not
wearing his faceless
um, face), who, unlike in Frank
Miller's awful The Dark Knight Strikes Again, actually
has a role to play in helping Huntress clear her name. We
never find out why he is helping Huntress, but you don't really
care as the guy is always spouting Zen wisdom to confuse the
reader and help Helena (Fanboy Planet Zen Wisdom = Jack Handy's
on this book is good, better than most of the Bat-Family titles
running currently (with the exception of Jim Lee's "Hush"
run and Birds of Prey). Rick Burchett has a style that
seems classic and appears heavily influenced by Kirby at times,
but still holds a unique touch that is his own. Once again,
this book really reminds me of Batman: Year One, even
in the art department because of the gritty quality possessed
by some of the crime family scenes.
this is a great book, especially for those like me who love
Batman the character and his cast of fellow vigilantes, but
find it hard to get into any of the continuity-heavy Bat-Titles.
Cry For Blood gives you everything you need to know
about Huntress to understand her motivations, her actions,
and her desire for vengeance: for her omerta. And it's not
a back-breaker at $12.95 for 137 pages of good crime drama.
it is the season to give, give that friend who watches The
Sopranos and loved Adam West in Batman as a kid
a copy of this book. It's the best of both worlds (of course,
you don't get much worse than Adam "Good thing I packed
my Bat-Shark Repellant!" West).
Huntress: Cry for Blood