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Birds of Prey’s Huntress has a connection to Batman

Mafia princess turned deadly vigilante

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MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD aims her crossbow as Huntress in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN). Photo: Claudette Barius/Warner Bros.

With Birds of Prey screaming into theaters, we’re shining a spotlight on the DC Comics movie’s cast of characters — from A to Zsasz. There are some long histories behind some of the superheroes and villains, but here’s everything you need to know about the Huntress:

What is Huntress’ origin story in the comics?

Helena Bertinelli was a mafia princess whose family was executed in front of her when she was a child. She swore revenge on every level of organized crime as the Huntress — deadly vengeance at the point of her signature crossbow.

In addition to becoming a member of the Birds of Prey, she’s been an off-again-on-again love interest for Nightwing, a spymaster, and a fringe member of the Bat-family. But her willingness to kill means that she’s never quite gained Batman’s acceptance.

Who created her?

The DC Universe has been defined by a handful of parallel earths since 1961, and the Huntress began as a native of its oldest alternate universe, Earth-2. She was originally the daughter of Batman.

Helena Wayne was created by a quartet of DC Comics writers and editors ( Paul Levitz, Joe Staton, Joe Orlando, and Bob Layton) to be the vigilante daughter of the Batman and Catwoman of Earth-2. That all changed when the 1985 Crisis on Infinite Earths erased Earth-2 from existence, and Joey Cavalieri and Joe Staton reinvented Helena in 1989 with a completely different origin story and a new last name.

What are Huntress’ powers or abilities?

Helena has no superpowers, but she’s an expert hand-to-hand combatant and is deadly with a crossbow.

Who plays Huntress in the movie?

Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who has some action cred: she’s appeared in movies like Death Proof, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, 10 Cloverfield Lane, and most recently, Gemini Man alongside Will Smith. Birds of Prey lifts Helena Bertinelli to the screen extremely faithfully — but with a comic twist on her usual personality.

That time Huntress totally owned Batman

When DC recreated Earth-2 in 2011, Helena Wayne came back as the Huntress for a while. She funded her crime fighting escapades by stealing from Batman, because his account passwords were the same across both universes.

What Huntress comics should I read?

The Huntress #1-8 (1989-1990)

After earlier versions of the character were wiped out of history by the Crisis on Infinite Earths, a new Huntress was introduced to the DC Universe, complete with an unexpected mafia backstory and an all-too-’80s love of violent payback against anyone who’s wronged her.

Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood #1-6 (2002)

When she’s framed for murder by the same crime families she’s set out to dismantle, the Huntress turns to Batman and the Question to clear her name — but only if she can prove that she’s worth the effort — in this metatextual take on the character’s baggage.

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #1-6, #18-22 (2016-2018)

You might think your family is trouble, but Huntress has everyone beat, as these two storylines make clear when she discovers who’s responsible for the mob hit that killed her father: Her mother. Yikes!