Review: Batman Secret Files: The Huntress #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Art: David Lapham
Colors: Trish Mulvihill
Letters: Rob Leigh
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
The story that’s so big and sprawling it couldn’t be contained in a six-issue story arc! Batman Secret Files: The Huntress #1 follows Helena’s journey after recovering from being infected by Hue Vile’s parasite. While Tamaki threw readers a curve ball in Detective Comics #1040, she again surprises them with this issue as we learn that Helena’s not quite done with Vile. It could feel tedious like the cliched “undying villain,” but instead Tamaki adds a coupe of interesting twists that really sell the idea in an interesting way.
Vile’s not done. Not only that, but Helena’s infection has created some sort of connection with Vile that allows her to “see” in her mind what other infected people around Gotham are seeing. It leads her around the city on a spree of crime stopping and ultimately forces her to set her mind on ending Vile for good, no matter what it takes. This allows Tamaki to accentuate the differences between Helena and the Dark Knight and provide a bit of character exposition on the Huntress. Not surprisingly, Barbara Gordon makes an appearance as well. It’s always great to have Babs and Helena together because it makes one feel we’re just a little bit closer to a new Birds of Prey series that will treat the concept properly (NO HARLEY QUINN).
David Lapham and Trish Mulvihill do a great job on the art in Batman Secret Files: The Huntress #1. Lapham captures Helena’s attitude and emotion in every panel and Mulvihill varies her textures and palette masterfully. She not only gives us the colors that reflect the feeling of Gotham, but also finds a way to work in some beautiful color design on the skies be they ominous or hopeful. All in all, the issue does feel like an audition for a Huntress solo book. We can do that can’t we DC? New Birds of Prey and solo Huntress title?
The final twist comes when Helena realizes who’s infected and whose eyes she’s “seeing” through…yeah, go ahead and guess, you can figure it out…. Oh, and the main cover by Irvin Rodriguez is truly gorgeous and frameable. Stunning! The variant by Riccardo Federici is pretty awesome as well…choose wisely…or get both!
Hue Vile’s story could be going on longer than it needs to. We will have to see if that’s a negative or not, but right now it’s still interesting because of the storytelling opportunities Tamaki is creating with it.
Batman Secret Files: The Huntress #1 demonstrates the varied storytelling opportunities in the DC Universe and highlights how deserving of a series the Huntress is. Helena has been an intriguing character for a long time and Tamaki, Lapham and Mulvihill capture that in this issue and leave the reader wanting more of Ms. Bertinelli.