A few weeks ago I wrote this on the spur of the moment, in response to someone on the Newsarama forums who said frankly that he didn't understand why people still loved Helena Wayne. His basic point was that whatever he'd seen of the Pre-COIE Huntress (Helena Wayne of the old Earth-2) in old stories struck him as "trite," and he thought the modern Huntress, Helena Bertinelli, had gotten much better character development. (Although I should mention that he didn't specify how many of Helena Wayne's appearances, by which writers, he had actually bothered to read.)
His query about why anyone would love her inspired me to take a stab at explaining just why I miss Helena Wayne. The rest of this post is what I said, spontaneously, in response to that query.
I'll try to explain my own Helena Wayne love.
It's not that I can point to half-a-dozen of her Pre-COIE stories and say with a straight face, "Those were some of the finest storytelling in the superhero genre that I've ever seen -- I've got practically every word of dialogue memorized, but I still go back and reread them five times a year, every year, to remind myself of how superior the stories about that character used to be."
Nope. I hardly ever bother
to reread the old Huntress appearances in my collection.
What I'm in love with is not any specific story from 25 or 30 years ago. It's the basic concept
of a Huntress who is the daughter of a lawfully wed, happily married couple who were also the original versions of Batman and Catwoman. I love the idea that she's their daughter; I love the idea that she actually knew both her parents when she grew up in their household as a beloved child after Batman found some real happiness and stability in his personal life (instead of her being raised on the far side of the world by someone else); I love the idea that she's doing her best to follow in Daddy Batman's footsteps after his death.
(As opposed to such nonsense as Damian, Batman's "long-lost son" who's been trained to assassinate people in the years before Batman ever knew the kid existed. What do I care about a nasty little thug like that who's been retconned in out of thin air and probably will vanish into limbo again after Morrison's run is over?)
I very much wish that Helena Wayne had been kept in continuity in her native Earth-2 universe after Crisis, so that a wide range of writers would have had the option
of writing stories about her on a regular basis. Some of those stories could have been great. Some of them might have been mind-numbingly bad. Some of them would have struck me as falling in the "mediocre" range of the bell curve. It's not that I think any story about her would automatically
be worth reading and rereading; it's just that I'd like to have various writers take turns in regularly churning out fresh material about her all along, instead of her vanishing from the scene entirely from the mid-80s onward!
I'd even like the chance to write scripts for her myself, one of these days!
Does that help you understand why
I miss her, regardless of the merits (or flaws) in any specific appearance she had in the old Pre-COIE continuity?