JLI Podcast – Meanwhile… in JLI Special #2 featuring the Huntress

Laurel joins The Irredeemable Shag to chat about Justice League International Special #2 featuring the Huntress! Helena comes out of retirement and returns as the Huntress to track down a cop killer! But she'll need a little help from her friends in the JLI! Finally, we wrap up with YOUR listener feedback!

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18 responses to “JLI Podcast – Meanwhile… in JLI Special #2 featuring the Huntress

  1. Great episode guys! Interestingly, this is the only piece of JLI paraphernalia I have never owned in any shape or form (and I do recall it being on sale at the time, I just never got it). The truth is, I really did not care about this version of The Huntress back then, and did not any of the non-Wayne iterations until post No man’s land. Yet, Laurel now has me curious about it (good luck getting it, though).
    One other thing. I noticed that this is not collected in the JLI omnibus vol 2, so I STILL don’t own it. The Mister Miracle Special is in there, and when (and if) vol 3 comes around, this issue will simply be too far back to add it. Oh well…

  2. I’m glad you broke your rules to cover this, though I didn’t know it WAS breaking the rules. JLI special published during the actual Bwa-ha-erh-ha, I though it would be included.

    Anyway, I started the Huntress series, but stopped reading before the end because I didn’t realize at the time that this WAS essentially Cancelled Comics Cavalcade with the last couple issues of the series. Huh.

  3. Great episode! I encountered Joe Staton’s art in the 80s (Millennium, GLC) , so I missed his heyday and did not love his work. So, imagine my surprise when O picked up Huntress #1 and saw Staton doing this New “charcoal style” art on a very adult take on the character. Suddenly, his cartoony style sung for me. The 1980s Huntress book was dark, but was way ahead of it’s time. I can’t recommend it enough.

    Laurel did a great job capturing what makes Helena special and unique in the Bat-family. Like Laurel, I would highly recommend the Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood mini.

    Wonderful episode!


  4. Huntress special

    It’s so great to finally have Laurel on the show. That’s an amazing look at Helen this character of the post-Crisis Huntress she gave us. I’ve never been the biggest fam of Helena II, but Lauren has me reconsidering.

    Mind, Huntress surely has a weird attitude this time, has she been on the diet soda? To me, she comes across as utterly obnoxious a couple of times – there’s nothing controlling about Max having a spare costume for her, he has a spare costume for EVERYONE. It’s considerate, and professional. And those comments towards Fire were simply unnecessary, unwarranted. Bea wasn’t being rude, just making conversation- and giving.

    The cover is pretty poor, it’s meant to be a focus on the Huntress, and she’s just one of several small, scratchy figures. I didn’t even see the spotlight Shagg does, I suppose it’s that il-defined circle

    I suppose the ‘tones’ is because there’s no inking from Mark Nelson, he got the characteristic zip-a-tone effect Joe Staton liked on the Huntress book by using that special process with the chemically treated board.

    What was that reference to ‘Helena Bertrand’ on the splash page, was she going to be going by a new name? (And why couldn’t Albert de Guzman spell ‘impresario’ correctly?)

    Shagg is so right, Helena looks really ugly here, her face is just a Dorito with a receding hairline. Or an emancipated witch.

    Joey Cavalieri writes fantastic JLI banter, they should have given him a shot at the main title.

    On the one hand, I see that this is indeed, in a sense, just another issue of the Huntress book – but on the other, they never would have had Blue Beetle and the rest of the JLI sweep in to help clean up if this was just the last issue of Helena’s book… she’d have to save herself.

    This story really needs an explanation of who this kid James is. Someday someone wlll bring him back as either sidekick or evil genius.

    The bit about not letting Helena into the building was just stupid – are we meant to believe that the Justice League wouldn’t have facial recognition in their camera set-up?

    I don’t get why, at the end of the issue Huntress, leans into the idea that she is oh-so-very-alone, after seeing that the JLA were in fact there for her. I’m glad she had another shot with a Justice League later on.

    I must say, these Meanwhile shows tend to be outstanding…

    1. “What was that reference to ‘Helena Bertrand’ on the splash page?” She used different aliases in civilian life, because officially, Helena was killed along with the rest of Bertinelli family. She was hiding from the mob, and not trusting the authorities to protect her. So “Bertrand” was her current cover name, while narratively, the comic never lets you forget her actual last name is “Bertinelli”. Hope that helps AND that I got it right. 😉

  5. Great discussion on a comic I’m not sure I ever knew existed! I wanted to like this Huntress series, but I just couldn’t get behind it. I run hot and cold with Staton in this era. I feel bad saying anything negative about his artwork because he’s such a nice guy, and I love much of his work. I’ll just say I agree with the consensus that his over-stylization is not my cup of tea here, particularly Helena’s huge forehead and square flattop. That M.D. Bright affliction from Who’s Who is spreading!

    I really began to like the Huntress character once she came over to the Bat-books. Didn’t agree with everything they did with her (her and Nightwing came out of left-field, for instance), but overall I liked what she added to the dynamic. And I agree with Shag (shocking!) that pre-Jim Lee redesign, the head-to-toe “Total Justice” version is my favorite. Well, of Helena Bertenelli, anyway.

    Hot takes: I still love the Earth-Two Huntress best. She was one of the shining examples of why Crisis wasn’t needed or should have at least kept Earth-Two around.
    I never cared for No Man’s Land. There I said it. It made no sense in the DCU! The Superman books had just done a storyline a few years prior where the heroes of the DC Universe gathered to fix a totally destroyed Metropolis. What, they can’t do this for Gotham? Even outside of that, I think it set up the grim, darkety-dark-dark Bat stories wer’e still wallowing in today. All the fun was surgically removed from Gotham with this storyline.

    Great to hear Laurel on the show! She even makes Shag act nicer!

    1. I stopped reading the Bat books because of No Man’s Land. As well as the heroes doing nothing for Gotham we had the United States forswearing the place… even I’m not that cynical about the US. I swear, if Denny O’Neil could have had Batman moved to his own Earth, he would have.

  6. Laurel was a great guest, and got me interested in the Huntress series, it sounds really good. Somehow I missed it when I got DC Universe Infinite and read a ton of other DC street level stuff like the 1990s Robin minis and ongoing.

    I like Huntress but always thought she was an odd fit for the JLI. I appreciate Shagg’s insight that Helfer was the editor of her book, too. I know they sometimes had a hard time with territorial editors not letting their characters be in the JLI. So I can see why Huntress would get brought in. But she’s even more of a loner and urban vigilante than Batman. A high profile globetrotting gig just doesn’t seem like her thing…though I know she was good in the Grant Morrison JLA. The problem was they made her a member hen didn’t do anything with her, with is odd. In fact, this JLI special reminds me of issue #50 of the 1990s Moon Knight series..this big deal was made he was leaving the Avengers and I remember the collected readerdom going “Dude, Moon Knight hasn’t been in the Avengers in years!” Same goes with Huntress here. I bet a lot of folks at the time saw this and said “Since when is Huntress in the JLI?”

  7. I never read this comic, but I really enjoyed this episode. Laurel was a thoughtful and well-informed guest, and Shag was a gracious and humble host.

    I always enjoyed both versions of the Huntress, and I was generally on her side in her conflicts with Batman, which often seemed trumped up. I thought your discussion of the character was insightful. I think you came to a similar conclusion about Helena’s characterization as the MASHcast discussions about Margaret Houlihan’s: she’s not inconsistent, she’s just complex.

    Staton’s art, in contrast, was all over the place. I love the opening shot of Helena, because she looks so much like a real life athletic young woman. Blue Beetle looked great, and so did Huntress in costume. Some of the mobsters even looked a little like characters from the Hernandez Brothers’ work. So there were places where he was really making the stylized aspects work. And then there’s Helena’s face…

    Both the “One Punch” moments were outstanding for all the reasons you covered. I’ve done that journey’s-end stare as I absorb the moment and began to contemplate what’s next. I’m happy to see it in a comic.

    There’s more to say, but others have already said it. Looking forward to a Generally Glorious next episode!

  8. As I seemed to have skipped my Batfamily phase I’ve been getting to know the original Huntress through her friendship with Power Girl (and maybe shipping them a little), so it’s a little obvious who is my favourite of the two Huntresses! It’s funny how there personalities seem to, with a few wobbles, swap over between Kara and Helena, with PeeGee starting out angry and becoming calm and vice versa.

    Unlike a lot here I actually quite like Helena’s long gaunt face, it makes her look distinctive compared to the others, though I agree the art is in places is a little inconsistent. The line between Helena and Bea seems in keeping with the general cattiness that seems to happen between the female characters in these JL comics, though I suspect which side you emphasise with depends on which comic series you came in with.

    Finally, I think you can really tell that this is a Huntress issue shoehorned into a JLA special from you are alone line. In a JLA comics our heroes would happily tell Helena she was never alone, all Star Trek V style, and say she’ll always have a home in the JSA. Though obviously after that she’d pull a Wonder WOman and we’d never see her again!

  9. Just caught an obscure reference that I imagine is lost on folks today. That bit toward the end, when the bad guy tells Huntress she’s on her own, and Beetle (from within the bug) says “Well, now, I wouldn’t say thaatat.” The clear emphasis on that last word tells me that it’s a reference to The Great Gildersleeve (one of the more famous radio sitcoms of the 1940s and, arguably, the first-ever spin-off, being built around a character from Fibber McGee and Molly). Specifically, this line was the catch phrase of Peavey, the pharmacist character. He said it at least once pretty much every time he appeared.

    The line’s probably more famous today from a couple of old Warner Brothers cartoons. In “Draftee Daffy,” the “little man from the draft board” says it frequently with the 7 minutes of the cartoon, every time Daffy thinks he’s escaped; and in “The Old Grey Hare,” Bugs says it at the end after Elmer comments that the “wabbit” is out of his life forever; but even those were then-obvious references to the Peavey character and his catch phrase.

  10. Absolutely right, Shagg, there is no making fun of my podcousin, Laurel, truly one of the nicest people I know. It was great hearing you together for this issue, a perfect guest for it. And I will absolutely take the teasing in place of Laurel. Like you need my permission.

    I did buy the first couple of issues of Huntress when it first came out, but it was actually too disturbing for my sensibilities back then so I didn’t continue. But I tried it to read along with the Huntress Podcast, and I guess I’m older and edgier now because that didn’t bother me. It’s a great read, and I quite recommend it. Yes, Staton’s art is hit-and-miss, but always interesting and moody.

    My only other thought for this issue was wondering if it was an attempt to relaunch the Huntress series, and DC was willing to let the sales on this special decide if a new series would be green lit. If that was the case, then sadly, the sales weren’t in its favor.

    It’s funny when Shagg made the joke “we were on a break”, because that refers to ANOTHER podcast at the Wright On Network: The Manhattan Project, A Seinfeld and Friends podcast. WON is just all over this episode!

  11. Impressive podcast most impresses. A fire and hunches team up and I’m just now commenting on it. I’m just as shocked as anyone else. It is odd that they have a famous vegan cookbook with a chicken recipe in it. But, then again they also have peanut butter soup. How would you even make that? Whitney just stick together? Then again you’re mixing sesame noodle with peanut butter for the soup so. Amid I can see peanut butter in oat mill , but for soup? Also not buying Huntress as a vegan. She killed people in her comics. Which was one of the reasons that Batman had trouble with her at first. But, it did get ridiculous after a little bit. I’m not liking Staton’s art on this character. Why did enjoy his wrong Guy Gardner and other things he’s done. For the whole Mike Hammer feel they had going for the Huntress. It really can work for her. I remember reading her comic when it came out. One issue there was this young Asian girl in the with this guy turned out to be part of the gang. And she was a gymnast in her high school but she also wrote fantasy stories are he was a night and she was a princess. After she finds out what a scumbag he is an Huntress has to take him down in real life she writes a story were her character rejection. Don’t think they ever actually met in real life releasing pay much attention to her.

    While not real life been the story of the universe comic. And one where a news anchor’s face got ripped off of her burned off and she still on the air which gave Huntress occurs to continue on as the Huntress. Guess that didn’t last long. The thing I remember most though is that she killed the man whom killed her father. She beat down the enforcer. May have killed them. But she definitely killed the mob boss. Where the last minute he’s talking about how he’s going to have her as his concubine. Where she shares. She may have pushed him as he deftly letting go think she’s no ones. Where he falls to his death. So that’s probably where the initial issues that happened between her and Batman. Though she did tone down the violence. Though I have to disagree with shag Helana Wayne was a great version of the Huntress. One of the reasons I became a big fan of Paul Levits work. Since he wrote those backup issues in the old wonder woman comics. She definitely has way too much for head. I think her hairs just supposed to be pulled back without banks. And not a mullet. Yet I’m taking Mike B. stand and saying there is no mullet here. It is kind of sad to see the fire and Huntress fight. This awesome team up of my two favorite characters and their fighting. For shag it would probably be if the doctor and firestorm teamed up. But, the doctor decided to give lip to firestorm.

    Specifically after she got beetle to quit staring at her why she was changing clothes. The threat their fire preserving her dignity. That is the latest dignity. She may use her sex appeal but she doesn’t put things into a situation where she feels someone else to be taken advantage of. Though I am shocked Kilawag is standing there. While she isn’t my favorite version of the Huntress Bertnali is still pretty cool. And she has an epic entrance into the place when she’s in custom. Though at first she is kind of Batman, but woman. Parents die tragically young age check. Kidd seeks fidget because of it check. Has father figure who helped train her check. Using widgets and gadgets to fight street-level crime check. She does become her own character later. But if you look at jump Street. Wayne started out a lawyer. She had been trained by her father. But that was probably just for self-defense. And whatever still she gained from her mother before her mother was killed when being thanked out by one of her old gang members. Her father still alive and becomes police Commissioner. She’s got a good job. She’s got a steady romance was the other lawyer guy. Later with her stepbrother Robin.

    Okay one weird bit that whatever . While his first case is motivated five for revenge for what happened to her mother and she seems to discontinue as the Huntress said she feels she can make a difference. At the same time she does pretty well as a lawyer. She doesn’t walk around with the grim and gritty grr porridge. Edge Lord personality that Batman and Bertanil have at first. Though after birds of prey and other things Huntress er Bertinl does settle into her own character. The story was decent enough. A good ending for what happened to her. Even though her stepson seems to just disappear. Though she kind of sites to be on her own anyway. She is not lesser overall injustice to the justice league with around her. She decided to leave. And even though she has money decides to live in this dump. And she’s trying to raise this highly intelligent child who’s come back neighborhood. It probably ended up going to school and just vanishing into the system after finishing. Maybe you got a good job somewhere. Maybe will show up later in a comic or he’s working it Lex corporate or something.

    Granite is very Bruce like of her. To completely abandon her friends after they help save her. When she went to them in the first place. The haircut I’m not bothered by. The way it’s done she probably just pulled it to the ponytail again and sliced it off. I’m not sure incinerating across the weather gadget she has that built the great idea. Could cause a minor explosion there. Which would you know draw attention to her. But, whatever. Our relationships in the early going work great. But, this version of Huntress does end up in some better ones later. The Grayson thing did cause issues. The funniest one was where she and Dick are undercover in a party. And to distract people from paying attention to him or her. She plants a big kiss on him. Unfortunately the whole things being monitored by Oracle. It was just as a bit. No emotional things to it. However the look on Babs face. If looks could kill that look would’ve been genocide. But, Batman again were able to stop black hood with her help. As for relationships Huntress does end up with two decent ones. In the cartoons and she ends up with question. And as much as I hate say this. In the comic books for a while she seemed to have a decent enough relationship with all people Cat Man.

    Couldn’t tell you what’s currently going on with her. Since the one good thing that came out of new 52 was the return of the Wayne version of Huntress. Though now she was once Robin. Not sure what happened to that first version of Dick Grayson. I didn’t read enough of it to find out. I stayed mostly the Huntress and power girl comic. Also written by Paul. With some very good Ordway artwork in it. I bought the trades so I couldn’t tell you how it went from issue to issue. I had been a big fan of Huntress since I started reading her comments as a child. In one of my reading classes the teacher Ms. Jackson would have comics for us to read and study Hall. The Batman 70s in the 60s was there. Along with the butt Superman one. And other DC characters from the 70s. Along with a few stray issues of different comics. One of them was a firestorm issue. One of them was when Batman thought Hugo strange as Batman. And the other one was a few issues of wonder woman that had Huntress backups. I read mostly the Huntress backups. So I picked up this series of Huntress from the stands. Just glad to see Huntress was back.

    Her being a new church or maybe sigh at first. But, I realized it had to happen. After all crisis it happens. And all connections had to be severed. Just like power girl couldn’t be from krypton anymore Huntress couldn’t have her Batman connection. Though it took a while for her to get a personality of her own in my opinion. The teacher part helped. And other flourishes to her character. And it is been a long time since I read the 19 issues that she was in. I don’t even remember James. The three issues the ones that stick out to me that I mentioned earlier. I read member the issue you are talking about where she was assaulted. With the guy even having a gun and being part of the family. I think the guy that physically killed her father stopped for a going any further. Figures name start with an O. and the flashback was drawn even more cartoony so would look like a memory. The character had been through a lot.

    And Huntress did work well as a street-level character. But, later writers had fleshed out better. In my opinion. Oh my pronouns are she her or old witch . I am not a they, them. Also for the time being my YouTube page is down. Since the algorithm doesn’t seem to like my phone. It was pretty cool to see this issue of the Huntress. Even if it was put out as a justice league issue. Though you are right it doesn’t say very much about the group. It is more of a here’s the 20th issue of this 19th issue book. Now put in the place of this group book. I’m guessing the writer had outlined for the original story. To wrap things up. And just added the justice league in so to be published as a justice league book. At any rate can’t wait to hear the next podcast.

  12. Wow. I thought this was a wonderful episode with Shag and Laurel. For 18 years I’ve tried to express what makes Helena Bertinelli a wonderful character. And, for 6 years I’ve tried to express why she is such a great character in podcast form. But, this one episode of JLI I felt like you two nailed it.

    I’ve always enjoyed her spunky hard exterior, yet her soft compassionate interior when she allowed someone in.

    Laurel’s succinct insight and Shag genuine inquisitiveness made for such a great listen.

  13. It is weird to use a well know vegetarian cookbook and mention a meat dish. However it is possible that the artist, writer etc, knew of it more from the restaurant that the cookbook it’s after. The restaurant was formed in 1972 as a workers collective and served food that today would be called flexetarian strongly leaning towards vegetarian and farm to fork.

    Helena would’ve been looking at the first edition by Ten Speed Press which came out in 1977. Though technically it’s the second as the first first edition was self printed by the workers and was spiral bound. Interest in the book was growing as they printed the second edition /15th anniversary in 1992. However in between these was the New Recipes From Moosewood Restaurant which some consider the second edition and was published in 1987.

    But none of these were by a Moose as apparently it was in the DC universe. And considering that she is looking at it and thinking about chicken this concerns me about what moose eat in the DC universe.

  14. What an interesting and fantastic episode! Laurel is such a delight of a guest, Shag. She brought some great insights to Huntress. You should have her on more often.

    Though I was deep into JLI/A at this point, I have no memory of this special! I may have passed on this special and the Mister Miracle special because I wasn’t too into these characters, and having their logos be the larger type on the cover was probably the only thing I saw. But thanks to this show, it makes me want to hunt these specials down and read them!

    Just looking at Mike’s Amazing World, this came out the same month as the new Fantastic Four (FF #348), Robin #1, AND JLQ #1? I must lost a lot of my allowance that month….

    Thanks for the great coverage of a blind spot in my reading. Keep up the great work!

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