Written by veteran writer and former-president of DC Comics, Paul Levitz, and illustrated by the fresh talent of Marcus To, Huntress seems to have gotten last-licks. Though around for a short-run, it’s been said before that the book will set things up for an upcoming Huntress tie-in to the Birds of Prey relaunch. Regardless, much like its title character, the title stands well on its own.
In this iteration, Helena Bertinelli, the heroine known as Huntress, has been assigned by the Daily Planet to work alongside a scruffy, nervous-looking reporter to end a sex trafficking ring in Italy run by a mobster named Giuseppe.
Though Levitz has written Helena before, some of his writing appears awkward, with some hamfisted references to the Dark Knight himself, and confusing inner-monologue. The last scene is particularly confusing, as Helena asks for a call girl to be sent to her room, and then kicks the girl’s escort in the face while wearing a nightie. She quickly changes into her Huntress outfit, however, to beat up the rest of the thugs, leaving me confused about what the nightie was all about. But despite the wardrobe-related problems in Levitz’ script, one of its strengths is the freedom that it gives to Marcus To and Andrew Dalhouse.
Kicking ass and taking names, the pencil work for this issue shows how much To has improved from his Red Robin run. On the third page of the book, there’s particularly eye-catching perspective shot of Helena’s crossbow that’s enough to sell this entire book. Not to mention Andrew Dalhouse’s coloring is superb. His change of color palettes between the beautiful opening scene of Helena placing her entrance, compared to night fight scene where Huntress makes her own are engaging. The colors work with To’s pencils and pop well on both paper and digital copy.
However, while To’s knack for fluid action sequences and style are impressive, he still seems to be struggling with the issue of same-faced female characters in his artwork. While this may not be that big of an issue for To’s other books, this particular story deals with sex trafficking a bunch of girls across Italy, and it’s a bit noticeable when they all look like they’re somehow related to Giuseppe’s personal harem. Overall, it appears that the team has good chemistry, which is evident in the book’s steady pacing and easy to follow sequences.
Nighties aside, with an issue of DC’s relaunch being the over-sexualized versions of their female characters, I was pleased to see that Huntress’ costume was not based on Jim Lee’s boy-shorts and belly window design. Instead, it appears to be more similar to Paulo Siguera’s, with covered belly and legs.
Could you imagine! A female in a practical crime fighting costume!
Wow DC, you really are changing!
The first issue of Huntress seems promising. Marcus To’s pencils, though obviously not perfect, are a breath of fresh air for the industry and captures the energy of Huntress’ character. Due to it being a mini-series, the it’s an easy enough series to jump on and get a feel for the character. For those who were upset with how Starfire and Catwoman were portrayed a few weeks ago, they’ll be pleased to see Huntress is not only kicking ass, but doing so with pants on (most of the time).
WRITING: 4 / ART: 4 / OVERALL: 4