Thursday, October 13, 2011

Huntress #1 - A Review

One of the characters I missed most in all of the New 52 titles was The Huntress. A long-time member of The Birds of Prey, conspicuous in her absence from that title as well as all of the other Batman titles, I was relieved to hear that she was getting a solo mini-series following the first month of the DC Revamp. And more, that mini-series would eventually lead to her joining the new Birds of Prey. And perhaps most heartening of all was the revelation that she would be returning to her old Kevlar catsuit costume rather than the belly-bearing outfit that Jim Lee had designed for her several years ago.

The issue opens with our heroine arriving in Italy. Her quarry? A packing container bound for Gotham, filled to the brim with illegal weapons and - to The Huntress' surprise - a number of captive women, apparently sold into prostitution. After seeing to the safety of the women and making contact with a local reporter, Huntress sets about tracking down the local gun-runners as they too begin to hunt the vigilante interfering in their business.

Paul Levitz's script suffers some of the same flaws as his Legion of Superheroes title. The action sequences are top-notch and The Huntress is presented as a strong, capable heroine but we learn nothing about her outside of her life as a crime-fighter. The script reveals no information regarding her background or her motivations for being a superhero. Indeed, the only hint we have at her full name comes from a shot of her passport and her only connection to the DC Universe at large is an internal reference to Batman and a cue in the dialogue that Helena has connections with someone at The Daily Planet.

The artwork by Marcus To and John Dell is top-notch. Dell avoids the heavy inks that seem to dominate so many street-level hero books, allowing To's detailed pencils to show even in the scenes set in the dead of night. To is a wonderful visual storyteller, whose fight-sequences flow well. To also avoids the rampant cheesecake that seems to follow Huntress from title to title. Her modesty is preserved, even in a scene in which she subdues a Mafia informant in her nightgown.

All in all, this is a solid first issue with good artwork and a great set-up. The only worrying point is that very little is done to develop our heroine outside of her role as a hero. And yet, even this is not so worrying provided one has read the last page. It is here that an editor's note discusses the upcoming JSA title and goes on to say that JSA fans would be advised to keep an eye on The Huntress as well as Mister Terrific, which they mention features Karen Starr a.k.a. Power Girl. Could a restoration of the classic Huntress/Power Girl team-ups of the late Bronze Age be in the works? I hope so, because that's a hell of a tease otherwise.

Regardless, this book is a wonderful action book with a great heroine. Highly recommended.

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