History of the Huntress
Comic book characters rarely have simple histories, and Huntress has been through several reboots and at least two Earths. So her story is a bit complicated. This is my attempt to make some degree of sense of her twists and turns. This traces the variations of the Bat-family Huntress, not various other characters who have used the name.
Huntress 1.0– Helena Wayne. Earth 2 was the name given to the world with the original superheroes of the Justice Society of America, the ones from the Golden Age in World War II. On that world, Batman retired, and eventually became Gotham’s Police Commissioner Bruce Wayne. He married Catwoman Selina Kyle, who (mostly) reformed. Their daughter, Helena, grew up to be a lawyer, and follow in her parents’ booted footsteps. Helena became the Huntress, a hero of Gotham, eventually joining the Justice Society of America and, later, Infinity, Inc. The Huntress was killed during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, which was the first major reset of DC’s history, among other things combining all the multiple Earths into one. At first, the caption when she and her “brother,” the grown up Earth 2 Robin, died read, “Their bodies were never found,” but fan speculation reached insane levels (and this was in the pre-internet days) so a JSA special shortly after featured the team at the graves of the recovered bodies of Helena Wayne and Dick Grayson.
Huntress 2.0– Helena Janice Bertinelli. Shortly after the Crisis, a new Huntress appeared. She fought crime in Gotham and briefly joined the Justice League International. In many ways, she was a pale shadow of the former version with a somewhat bland personality. Her costume was similar to the original. The character got what is called a “soft reboot” and a new version emerged, with the previous one swept under the rug and forgotten.
Huntress 2.5– Helena Rosa Bertinelli. This character had a much harder edge to her. Her Mafia heritage was played up a lot more, and she was much more brutal fighter, willing to kill without a lot of resistance. This is the version most people know. She operated briefly as an unsanctioned Batgirl during No Man’s Land. She joined both the Birds of Prey and the Justice League of America, although she was kicked out of that group by Batman. Despite her abrasive personality, she was at various times romantically linked with both Nightwing and the Question. The Huntress/Question romance was featured on several episodes of the Justice League Unlimited cartoon. She was one of the characters that disappeared during the Flashpoint/reboot event that affected the entire DC line.
Huntress 3.0– Helena Wayne aka Helena Bertinelli. As the DCNU progressed, there was a limited series featuring the Huntress. This new version at first seemed to be Helena Bertinelli, but she later destroyed the identification for that identity, claiming it was one she had made up. Eventually, it was revealed that Huntress and her best friend Power Girl had been heroes on a new version of Earth 2, but fell through a warp in space after fighting against Darkseid and ended up on the “main” Earth. Later, she starred with Power Girl in the Worlds’ Finest title, before migrating back home to the Earth 2 book, later Earth 2: Society. This was a sort of hybrid between Helenas Wayne and Bertinelli.
Huntress 4.0– Helena Bertinelli (yes, again). At one point in the DCNU, someone had the idea for Dick Grayson to fake his death, abandon his Nightwing identity, and become a spy with an organization called Spyral. One of the people he worked closely with was the Matron, who ran a training school for spies. Matron’s real name was Helena Bertinelli. What, if any, connection there was between her and the previous Huntress who used the Bertinelli name is unclear. When DC’s Rebirth event started, the Grayson title ended and Dick became Nightwing again. Helena left Spyral and somehow or other started calling herself Huntress, using a similar costume and color scheme to the previous version. Since Spyral specialized in spying on heroes, Bertinelli probably knew about Wayne. Why she chose the Huntress identity is not yet known, but may eventually be explained in Batgirl and the Birds of Prey.