The Helena Wayne Huntress blog and podcast's Diane joins Siskoid to cover Fire and Water Network Patreon poll Christmas winner, The Brave and the Bold #184 with Batman and the Earth-2 Huntress. It's Mike Barr's and Jim Aparo's "The Batman's Last Christmas!", with lots of Crisis talk thrown in for good measure, because it's what Christmas Eve is all about, isn't it?
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Relevant images and further credits at: FW Team-Up Supplemental
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14 responses to “FW Team-Up: Batman and Huntress”
Great episode! Nice to have Diane on a Fire and Water show.
I bought this comic off the stands, and I’ve always loved it, even if, as Siskoid mentions, dredging up superheroes’ dead relatives is always a little dodgy.
I loved Diane’s observation that writers should challenge the characters, not the readers’ perception of the characters. How many “Everything you know about ‘X’ is wrong!” story lines have superhero comic readers lived through? I don’t need the rug continually pulled out from under me,
And, of course, Jim Aparo can never do wrong.
It’s been a while since I’ve read it, but yeah, I recall liking this one (interesting also that it came on the heels of another, similar team-up with the Earth 2 Robin in B&B 182).
I really enjoyed your synopsis of the issue, and your comments. I also found the lengthy post-Crisis rundown on Huntress quite interesting, since I have not read any of the non-Helena Wayne Huntress stories. But yeah – and I know it’s probably been said many times before – for something that was supposed to solve a whole bunch of storytelling problems, Crisis (the original one, in the mid-1980s) ultimately created a convoluted mess in its wake. And it specifically screwed up some really outstanding characters like Huntress and Power Girl, as noted in the show – just like it f-ed up the Legion of Super-heroes beyond repair.
Never read this issue. The Huntress Podcast is perpetually on my “I ought to start listening to that” list, but I’m rarely motivated to search for yet another show to fill my queue. That said, respect for the learned perspective and unique voice of Diane. Despite Huntress being among my favorite DC characters (either version,) I’m now at the thirtieth anniversary of my only ever reading a couple or three issues of the ’89 series. I might ought to go ahead and take the plunge to listen to a show about that run before season two and staring down another 21 episodes to catch up on.
Thanks for a great episode, the longest ever – I loved the in-depth discussion of Helena and her place in the DC Multiverse. I remember when she was succeeded by Helena Bertinellli, I couldn’t see the point – the Huntress’ original parentage so informed the character that DC might as well have created someone entirely. I know the Cavalieri/Staton series was pretty popular but I had no interest in reading it, all I really remember is that Staton experiment with a Zip-a-Tone art board or something. It was lovely to see a more recognisable Huntress for a brief time in the New 52 in Worlds’ Finest.
And I’m with Diane I’m not understanding DC’s insistence that post-Crisis Huntress and Batman could never be friends… she wasn’t actually killing goons, was she? Batman himself was rough in the early years.
And Siskoid, surely everyone who was reading World’s Finest back in the early Eighties remembers Null and Void, they were great… a fun period for the book all round, as it got more experimental. Shame about the rubbish final issue, mind.
I forgot to mention the actual issue, I liked it at the time, then in my head over the years I misremembered it as an Alan Brennert issue… duh! I suppose it’s because that amazing Catwoman issue of Brave and Bold came along around the same time. But yeah, the ‘Batman giving it up’ bit had whiskers on it by this time, and was unconvincing. Always great to see the real Helena, though, especially drawn by Aparo – Diana inspired me to seek out her first meeting with ‘Uncle Bruce’ in Batman Family #17… boy, Bruce was so un-curious, this should have led to him wanting to get to know her really well, work on getting a ring on Selina… but no, it was basically a cameo leading to her own series.
I guess it’s a really early example of her misuse!
I haven’t read this issue myself, and am sorely disappointed that it’s not available on the DCU app, since I’ve successfully been able to find so many of the books covered by this show. Hopefully, that’ll be corrected soon.
I love Jim Aparo’s artwork a lot, and from the gallery page, his Huntress is just terrific. The story sounds like an entertaining read. Diane’s and your discussion was just great. I’ve enjoyed hearing her on the Huntress Podcast, so she was the perfect guest here.
Was it weird that the Zero Hour Strikes episode had a story throwing a curve on Batman’s motivation (Joe Chill didn’t kill his parents?), and this story did too? Different kinds of twists, and pulling Batman is opposite directions (one story pushing him to stay, the other making him want to quit). But both digging into his past with surprises, and similar discussions result about why he is Batman. At least, it felt similar to me.
Happy (almost) New Year!
And to me, which is why I called it a “trope”.
Oh sure, I just was surprised to hear you specifically talking about it twice in recent memory on 2 unrelated podcasts and comics. 🙂
It just happened that way. After all, I let our Patrons choose the Christmas story, so it was out of my hands!
Sorry to take so long to comment. Thanks for the show, and I hope Siskoid and Dianne had a Merry Christmas.
I enjoyed this issue, and was collecting Brave & Bold regularly at the time of its release. I liked the bit about Batman leaving the toys for the orphans. Back in the bronze age, we got stuff like this to show he was a noble hero and not the hateful jerk he is now. Strangely, Barr wrote several good B&B stories, but his work on Batman and the Outsiders started turning Batman into a hateful jerk.
I also enjoyed the comparisons with the Earth 2 Huntress and the Bertenelli version. I always preferred Huntress as the child of Catwoman and Batman, but that could be because she was the version I grew up with.
Great episode on a classic comic. I read it every Christmas too. For years I confused myself into thinking this was an Alan Brennert story, because it clicks some of those subjects Brennert liked to explore in most of his Batman tales: Parallel Earths; the origin story; and Batman’s motivations. The fact that I put this one in such illustrious company shows how much I care for it.
I loved the general Pre-and Post-Crisis discussion as well. DC has had a weird relationship with the Huntress since throwing Helena Wayne out with the Crisis bathwater. It’s like Batman and his “family” actually made Huntress into the character they accused her of being, over time. And I can’t agree with Diane more about modern writers’ tendencies to “pollute” the characters for shock value. The lack of strong editors as stewards of the character is the real culprit, in my opinion. Nowadays Thomas Wayne would indeed be revealed to be mobster, and this story would have a whole TPB worth of Batman working through it just to get out of bed in the evening and into the Batmobile.
That was a great discussion of the Huntress(es) and the Helenas. I am only familiar with Earth-2 Huntress, so I appreciate Diane’s passionate sharing of her knowledge! As much as I like Helena Wayne, and I really like her because I was there at the beginning, she is no longer a viable concept. She, like her JSA pals, are of their particular time. Helena was born in 1957. Her father is the Golden Age Batman. That is her character. Any other version is not the same character. Helena would be over 60 by now. How far forward can her birthdate be pushed until it’s not believable (Anj would say conceivable) that Bruce Wayne, born c. 1919, could father a child? I can understand that DC may want to have a purple-and-lavender female crimefighter called the Huntress to maintain the intellectual property, but I agree with Martin, they should (have) created a whole new character, not named Helena.
One more thing about this particular story. Often I find that Mike Barr’s mysteries hinge on some peculiar oddity, like the incessant tapping of this issue’s suspect, and I get annoyed. However, on the day that I listened to you discuss this, I was doing a presentation at the museum where I work. There were over a hundred people in the space, and they were listening very intently to me, as there was almost no chattering, rustling, or other noise to distract. Except for an incessant tapping from two levels up. Not loud, but clear. Probably clear enough to be picked up by an audio recording device! Maybe.
You’d be surprised what a microphone picks up. -Editing Mike