Gail Simone’s Huntress: Breaking the Habit

Enjoy it while you can, Catman.

Girls Gone Geek has been alive with the sound of frustration due to the not-so-flattering portrayals of beloved female comic characters. Today, I would like to celebrate a powerful character moment for a G3 favorite, Huntress.

Birds of Prey #11 gave us the long-awaited Huntress/Catman “date.” True to form, it was a helluva read. What Gail does best with the Birds is their inner monologue, and Helena’s was spot-on. Her internal struggle with her outright attraction to Thomas in direct conflict with her sense of his darkness was wildly relatable. You see, once upon a time … I was a card-carrying member of the Bad Decision Bears Club, and by “Bears” I mean “Boys.” Reading one of my favorite female heroines have such a real-world struggle was not only validating, but the way she handled it catapulted this issue in to my Top Ten.

During Catman and Huntress’ brief interaction, she sensed that he’d changed since they last saw each other, and so not in a good way. The once anti-heroic Catman crossed over to the dark side when his son was kidnapped. His full-on killing spree and face-chewing got him a one-way ticket to Hell. Since then, his extreme violent tendencies coupled with random bouts of public nudity are a gigantic red flag of his psychopathology. Huntress knows none of this, but she can smell the bad on him.

Son-of-a … homicidal maniac

As Catman “helps” Huntress track the bad guys who kidnapped a woman; there is a moment where she suspects dishonesty, and she calls him out, without apology. Helena is a smartie, and after some poor decisions in the past, she decided to follow her instincts. She was spot-on. Not only did Catman lie about his involvement with the kidnappers, but he and Deadshot staged the kidnapping, thus traumatizing a woman just so he could get close to Helena. Talk about your tainted love. For all the ladies who love a “bad boy,” that kind of dedication is never good.

Never once did Helena compromise her integrity or dignity. She was smart, empowered, and she walked away from Thomas Blake with her swag fully intact. It was utterly inspiring.

Thank you, Gail.

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19 thoughts on “Gail Simone’s Huntress: Breaking the Habit

  1. Without downplaying Catman’s crazy, he didn’t stage the kidnapping to get close to Helena, he staged the kidnapping to make it look like he was trying to get close to Helena, while actually trying to push her away. Still just as messed up and warped, mind…

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  2. I read the ending a little differently than you. It wasn’t to bring Huntress closer to him, the entire set-up as a way for Catman to deliberately push Huntress away, because he cares for her enough to want her to not get smeared in all his crap.

    Huntress gets some heartbreak and a renewed sense of which side of the spectrum she’s on, but Catman loses the one woman he really felt a connection to in a long while.

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  3. Either way … he traumatized an innocent woman out of “love.” Besides, this isn’t about Catman, this is about Huntress’ wholly appropriate response to his twisted ways. Whether or not he intended it … is beside the point.

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  4. I for one think you’re all being a bit too hard on the poor guy. It can’t be easy going through life dressed as Top Cat in a cape, tights, and skivvies. Sure he’s crazy, crazy in LOVE! The poor guy just has a problem expressing himself, which he exhibits in the excessive violence, public nudity, and ….face biting.

    I guess I’m just glad to see the flip side of the whole “bad boy” scenario. Sour grapes? Maybe a handful. Take it with a grain of salt as it comes from someone who is at the other end of the spectrum, giving the 4 year old her bath and trying to clean half a jar of glitter out of her hair.

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  5. Not only did he traumatize an innocent woman for his twisted sense of love– he also got a guard killed. Not acceptable. I was proud of Helena when she walked away without flinching. Gail really took it away in this issue. :)

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    • is anyone truly innocent though? In both love and war there are usually acceptable casualties. I think this is one of them.

      And would his dedicated wingman and voice of reason Deadshot back him up if this truly were a bad idea? I can’t believe that.

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  6. You know this drawing kind of mirrors in a negative image, the BN WW 2, Wonder Woman Batman kiss, but the body language between the two drawings is way different. I like them both.

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  7. Hmmm… I look forward to reading this. I never liked Huntress until her association with the ‘Birds’ seemed to humanise her (or, arguably, until she was well written), but she can certainly do better than Catman. I like that some of her ambiguity is resolved, in that she makes a clear choice… she’s always straddled the line, but this is deciding who she is (or isn’t) and what she wants (or doesn’t).

    Yes, I (like) brackets! Sorry.

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  8. Help! I am so intriguied by this series and want to start reading it but I have no idea where to start! I am going the graphic novel route do I start with “old Friends, New Enemies” ?? Please help :) Thanks!

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    • Hi Calista,

      I personally did not like Dixon’s run on the Birds for a lot of reasons, but mostly because the voice of the ladies seemed so … inauthentic. If that makes sense. The best jumping on point is where Gail starts writing:

      Birds of Prey Vol. 1 …
      Of Like Minds
      Sensei & Student
      Between Dark & Dawn
      The Battle Within
      Perfect Pitch
      Blood and Circuits
      Dead of Winter

      In that order. They are all in trade. Then you can start with Vol. 2, and really have a feel for what Gail has been up to so far. Although, I’m pretty sure Vol. 2 could be read with out the back up, as well.

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