I feel like I may have read this one before, because it seemed vaguely familiar to me while reading it. I didn’t find a past post about it, so perhaps I read it before we started the blog!

Helena is the last of the once-powerful Bertinelli family. Her father, mother, and brother were gunned down in front of her at the age of eight. She knew someone from within the mob had to have ordered the hit, and vowed to find out who. She trained in Sicily, preparing herself for her 21st birthday: the day she claims her inheritance, and the day she will start exacting her revenge. The mob is controlled by old men, who will soon be overtaken by their children. Helena’s job is to take out them all. Blood calls for blood, but she struggles with the conflict between her mission and her Catholic faith. Can she take her revenge without losing her own soul?

This one was beautifully drawn, but could have been written better. The drawing is clean and solid, with a moody color palette. There is not one line out of place. I spent more time looking over Richards’ illustrations than actually reading. However, the pacing was choppy and uneven. I also found myself disappointed with the portrayal of Helena’s character. She’s ruthless, yes, but there was very little conflict within her about her faith. That faith tempers the Huntress, and it’s one of her defining traits and why she does what she does. There’s very little of that here, so there was almost none of that internal conflict. It felt more like she was indulging in unchecked violence, without any second thoughts, just because she could.

Catwoman makes an appearance and acts as a good foil to the Huntress, making for an interesting dynamic I really wish was better explored. They are both independent women who refuse to be defined or measured up to men, or play by anyone else’s rules but their own. Catwoman is famously amoral, and Huntress at her best is morally sound, even if her methods often bely that fact. Even though Huntress isn’t written at her best here, their dialogue and dynamic is a real treat. I kinda wish there was a spin-off with just these two in it.

In conclusion, the story doesn’t quite live up to expectations, but if you’re looking for top-quality art, look no further.

– Kathleen

Madison, Ivory, Cliff Richards, Art Thibert, and Norm Rapmund. Huntress: Year One. 2009.

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