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Helena Bertinelli

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n. JAL - 135627 ISS

(see also dossier CC - 5951523 from La Coorte archive for further details)


Helena Bertinelli (according to the US Office of Vital Statistics)

Elena Bertinelli (according to the Italian Anagrafe)


The Huntress / La Cacciatrice


Born: May 27, 1968
Age: 35
Civilian profession: martial arts teacher and co-owner of the Mirai dojo
Marital status: in a relationship with Karen Kent
Birthplace: Bagheria (PA), Italy
Height: 178 cm (5'10")
Weight: 68 kg (150 lbs.)
Eye color: nut brown
Hair color: dark brown / almost black
Measurements: 34D - 25 - 35
Blood type: 0+
Shoe size: 10 US female
Distinguishing features
: an almost debilitating phobia of scorpions


-Member of the Youth Section of La Coorte from 1987 to 1989;

- Member of the Justice League of America from 1989 until her expulsion in February 1992 for repeated infractions of the League's code of conduct;

- Member of the international espionage agency known as SPYRAL from 1993 to 1995, codename 'Agent Matron';

- Suspected to be the mastermind behind the neutralization of the leadership of SPYRAL (who had gone rogue, endangering the lives of thousand of metahumans) in August 1995;

- Member of the super-team known as Birds of Prey from 1996 to 2000, the group has never officially announced its formal disbandment and is therefore classified as "inactive";

- In direct contact with many 'borderline' personalities of the metahuman community and leading figure of the world of espionage;

- Pending qualification as an instructor for the training of new vigilantes, both human and metahuman (to circumvent her lack of a qualification, she took charge of the discipline of all the young heroes in training referring to her dojo).


1. Blood ties.
The Mafia blood feud which plagued the town of Bagheria in 1975 started when Franco Bertinelli, his wife Maria and his son Giuseppe were all killed in cold blood by a hitman sent by the rival Casamento clan while they were having lunch in their home. Franco's daughter, Elena, was the only survivor, since the hitman's handgun jammed just when he had put her head in his crosshairs and opted to flee before any other person could reach the house, leaving the child in a state of shock amid the corpses of her closest relatives. Her life had come at a crossroads and she had no control over the path she would have taken since she was way too young and traumatized for such a choice. On one side, her paternal grandfather Don Raffaele Bertinelli was ready to become her guardian so that she could grow up as a true member of the Family. On the other, her maternal grandparents, who had never really accepted their daughter's choice to tie the knot with the son of a Mafia boss, just wished to keep the girl as far as possible from Don Raffaele's world, where a family of four could risk being mowed down just because of their surname. In the end, to the surprise of everybody, Maria's parents were the ones who got their own way and Elena was sent to live with her uncle Antonino in Romagna, nearly 1000 km north of Sicily. The man had always felt like a foreign body in his own land, absolutely incapable of coming to terms with the lifestyle of a land where Mafia families could exert theur authority over nearly anything. He had left more than twenty years before, built a cottage in the hills to the south of the city of Cesena and started a family. Antonino, his wife and his three children gave Elena the best welcome an orphaned 7-year-old could have hoped for and hope for the girl to live a normal life was rekindled.

2. Si vis pacem.
However, uncle Antonino might have seen himself as a defector from decadence, but he was also somebody who would have fought tooth and nail to keep his family safe. With his niece having already lost one family, he moved to make sure that she wouldn't have been helpless in case she would face lethal danger again. One year after moving to her new home, Elena was taken by her uncle to a basement which nobody in the family but him could enter. It was a veritable arsenal, comprising dozens of different kinds of weapons, from hunting knives to sniper rifles and from blowguns to grenades: uncle's emergency plan in case somebody decided that his family's quiet life had no right to exist. Over the course of the following six years Elena had to learn how to use each and every one of the weapons in that basement as well as her uncle. And learn she did. In fact she even managed to surpass Antonino's skills with one particular weapon: the crossbow. She became such a good shot in fact that she sometimes caught herself thinking that she would have liked something big and unexpected to happen so that she could show the world that she wasn't a defenceless child anymore. Unfortunately for her, when something big and unexpected eventually did happen, Elena tragically wasn't carrying her favorite weapon-- or any other one, for that matter.

3. Role models.
On June 21st 1983, the city center of Cesena, crowded with thousands of people who were attending the St. John Festival, was taken hostage by a terrorist unit declaring themselves members of the far-right insurrectionist organization known as Alba Nera (Black Dawn in English, see also dossiers about Amanecer Negro, Aube Noire, Schwarzes Morgengrauen and Mávri Avgí) under threat of the detonation of a dirty nuclear weapon they were carrying with them. Elena and her family were in the crowd. But before the terrorists could even declaim their list of requests, they found out that somebody had been following every step of theirs ever since acquiring the uranium device: her nom de guerre was Prometea, high-profile member of La Coorte, the organization which gathered every superhero on Italian soil. The battle was over the moment it started, since nobody in the terrorist unit had metahuman powers or the ability to handle an unexpected event the likes of that. The day was saved and 15-year-old Elena had acquired a new role model. In a better world, that would have been enough for the teenager to start walking the path of protecting the oppressed as a vigilante. Unfortunately, things went down quite differently. Two months after the crisis at the St. John Festival, every evening newscast in the country gave its populace the somber news of great heroine Prometea meeting an untimely end at the hands of a group of professional hitmen, probably on the payroll of the Calabrian Mafia, near the city of Vibo Valentia. Elena was devastated and something changed inside her. If there were forces in the world who could treat a paragon of heroism the likes of Prometea as an enemy to suppress, then those forces were Elena's enemies. Or better, the enemies of the masked vigilante who would hunt them down.

4. Happiness.
By the time Elena turned sixteen, the police had all the evidence they needed to be sure that a new vigilante with a fancy for crossbows was active in the territory of Cesena. Come her seventeenth birthday, every wrongdoer in central Romagna had very concrete reason to fear la Cacciatrice. By the day she came of age, she had gone public and had her first team-ups with other professional heroes, with very encouraging results. On the very day she turned nineteen, she was officially invited to join the Youth Section of La Coorte, her last step before being accepted among the ranks of the professionals. It was a dream come true and as soon as she got her diploma (her only regret was having to forgo an academic career that looked very promising because of her very fine mind) she was integrated into Unit 14 of the Youth Section. That was an even more delightful surprise than getting the invitation, since that was the unit led by Nembo Kid, a.k.a. Luca Bettini, a peer of hers who had already become a nationwide celebrity. A metahuman with near-unlimited power over weather, Nembo Kid was handsome, charismatic, extremely confident and held in the highest regard by the leadership of La Coorte, who saw him as next big thing of Italian superheroism. Beloved by the media and desired by every female teenager in the country, Elena was simply overjoyed at the prospect of spending the next couple of years training and fighting alongside that young man. When she realized that he had also started flirting with her, she didn't think twice about what she was doing and, one night of wanton passion later, a new official couple was born in Unit 14. News of the relationship soon leaked to the press and almost overnight la Cacciatrice and Nembo Kid were hailed as the 'royal couple' of Italian superheroes and Elena's status in the vigilante community skyrocketed. For her, it was almost like living in a dream. And the issue with dreams is that, sooner or later, one has to wake up.

5. Feeding the beast.
Luca Bettini was astonishingly good at presenting himself as the paragon of heroism in front of the cameras, but the way he conducted missions was a far cry from that carefully-constructed image. Inebriated by his own enormous power, Nembo Kid was utterly unconcerned by the collateral damage he and his teammates could cause during a mission or by the fate of those they hunted down. He was an unrepentant sadist with a penchant for creative torture, to the point that being apprehended by him was almost a guarantee for the criminals that they wouldn't be delivered to the authorities with both their bodies and minds in one piece. Thanks to his natural charisma, he was even able to persuade his teammates that everything they saw him doing was the actual way of professional heroes and his sociopathic tendencies spread little by little to all of Unit 14. For over a year, Elena was little more than clay in Luca's hands, her love for him and the belief she was living the dream making her blind and deaf to the terrible things she saw happening at every mission. But always getting his own way didn't satisfy Nembo Kid's urges to do harm. In fact, it made them progressively worse. With every passing month he became more sadistic, more obsessed with his own superiority and, ultimately, more unhinged. Sex with him had become a dangerous affair as he started to behave like an animal in heat rather than a loving partner under the blankets and because of that Elena began noticing that there was something very wrong with her boyfriend. But she still withheld from doing anything. And because of that, a young life was cut short.

6. The catastrophe.
Andrea Simone, codename Polvere di Stella, was executed by his own Unit leader on the evening of April 7th 1989. His unforgivable offense: having questioned the Unit leader's plans for the upcoming mission one time too many. Then, Nembo Kid proceeded to explain to a meeting room as silent as a graveyard their new program for the evening, i.e. bringing the corpse of poor Andrea to a nearby, currently ablaze factory, dumping it into that inferno and announcing to the world that Polvere di Stella had perished during his heroic struggle to save the night shift workers. When Elena tentatively brought to her fiancée's attention that there was no sign of that factory being ablaze, Nembo Kid's laconic answer was "there isn't now". Horrified by what she had just witnessed. Elena made herself scarce while every other teammate followed Luca's orders like a group of automata and moved to contact with somebody in the top echelons of La Coorte to put an end to that madness. Using an emergency line, she managed to get in touch with the chairman of the organization's disciplinary committee and told him everything. Understandably shocked by that report, he immediately proceeded to activate a team composed of some of the most powerful metahumans and the smartest strategists available to La Coorte, who were supposed to be brought together only when very high-level foes had to be faced and subjugated as soon as possible. Of the ten professionals sent to prevent Nembo Kid from carrying out his sick plan, only nine came back to the HQ, but at least he had been stopped. The secret trial of Luca Bettini lasted a whole month, the young man never even setting foot in the courtroom since nobody trusted him outside of the confines of the maximum security facility lost in the woods of Aspromonte he had been moved to. Thanks to a TV feed, he could hear the judge sentencing him to spend the rest of his days in that same prison and the last thing Elena (a key witness in the trial) heard from him before the feed was cut off was the man she had loved swearing that the first thing he would have done once he managed to escape would have been finding her.
During the following week Unit 14 was disbanded and all of her remaining teammates were interdicted from vigilantism, sometimes for life. But her decision to contact her superiors made Elena a special case and the Supreme Committee of La Coorte gave her a choice: answering to an open invitation to European superheroes and join the ranks of the JLA (which was trying to give itself a more international profile during those years) leaving Italy in the process or face the full consequences of her belated change of mind. Psychologically destroyed but still willing to find some sort of redemption, Elena took the first option. One intercontinental flight and a spelling error by the clerk at the immigration office later, Helena Bertinelli was ready to begin a new life in the USA.




- Her ability of assessing, clearly and quickly, complex situations and probable outcomes down to fine details and of using both sets of data to elaborate detailed plans of action almost on the spot make her one of the finest strategic minds among non-metahuman crimefighters in the North American continent;

- Trained by the Richard Lukacs (a.k.a. Richard Dragon, who had been Victor Sage's sensei) in the focusing and manipulation of her own qi to master any kind of pain she might undergo and  greatly accelerate her healing process;

- Developed an absurdly strict but highly effective training regimen during her late teen years which she still follows to this day and made her achieve by the age of 25 (a condition that persists to this day more or less unaltered) stats of physical strength, stamina and athletic abilities that would make her an object of envy of several Olympian athletes;

- Expert in many interrogation techniques, which often employ either physical or psychological forms of torture;

- Lethal with her custom-made crossbow from 55 m (60 yd), can hit the bull's-eye of a standard archery target from 100 m (110 yd);

- Her current rankings across the spectrum of martial arts: 9th Dan in Judo, 6th Dan in Karate, 4th Dan in Taekwondo and 7th Degree Red Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu;

- At least 10 years of training in Krav Maga, Shippalgi, Capoeira, Keysi Fighting Method, Sambo and Kyokushin.


- She would really like to be able to control her phobia of scorpions. When she was captured along with Renée during a botched attempt at infiltrating the private island
of shady billionaire Veronica Cale (see JLA dossier n. GTR - 366970 AYE for further info about Oolong Island), she was the one who gave up and talked while the two women were being tortured by Ms. Cale's 'specialists'. Despite having heard her partner in the adjacent cell undergoing waterboarding for entire hours without saying one word, Helena caved in after just one minute of feeling a coupe of emperor scorpions scampering on her torso. To this day, despite Renée being nothing but understanding afterwards, she hasn't completely forgiven herself yet for that shameful moment of utter weakness;

- Her innate strategic mind ended up being a liability quite a few times during her hero career, at least when she wasn't acting solo or as the leader of a unit. It made her almost incapable of merely following orders or stick to a plan if she saw better alternatives and as a result Helena was often reprimanded by her superiors in the Justice League for going her own way and disregarding programs or even mission objectives, even though sometimes what she did of her own accord ended up saving the life of her teammates. Similar situations were also a common occurrence during her time as a Bird of Prey: during her first year nearly every mission featured one shouting match with Barbara with Dinah trying to act as the peacemaker. And as long as those happened inside the safe confines of the Clocktower they weren't a big issue. The same cannot be said of the many times they happened while Black Canary and the Huntress were already on the ground.


In the summer of 1997, one year after joining the Birds of Prey, Helena went for a trip to Accomack County to visit her old partner in crime-fighting Renée Montoya and brought her girlfriend Dinah Lance along with her. The reaction of the woman behind the faceless mask at finding out that her friendwas involved in a homosexual relationship was one of complete shock. After all the time they spent in each other's company, Renée (herself a gay woman) would have sworn that Helena was absolutely not into women. In fact, the Sicilian heroine had been the first to be surprised by her own actions when she started reciprocating Dinah's advances, realizing that she was perfectly willing to turn their friendship into something more intimate. Still, Helena has always vehemently denied that that was the moment when she accepted her homosexuality after years spent repressing it, even after pursuing a second gay relationship with Karen Kent in more recent times. Quite simply, she's still very much attracted to males but she just prefers to have relationships with females. It's possible that the number of times her male fiancées broke up with her with a curse rather than a good-bye has convinced her that tying herself to a man is the first step in a path to mutual unhappiness.

There are instead very few doubts about the causes of Helena's almost-fanatic passion for bondage and domination. According to her own account of the events, back when she was a child she used to follow her aunt on shopping trips. One of the usual stops along the way was the local news-stand, a structure large enough that a parent could lose sight of their child if they wandered off. One day, when Helena was 11 years old, that was exactly what happened and coincidentally that was the moment when the adult section of the news-stand was completely empty. Her gaze was attracted by a comic book bearing an image she couldn't decipher on its cover, she took it down from its shelf and opened it. And that was her very first exposure to the world of BDSM. But rather than being by the contents of that comic, she was utterly fascinated by the activities depicted on its pages and felt a craving inside her to learn what they were supposed to be. It was almost a miracle she heard her aunt's voice the first time she called for her. She put the comic back to its place on the shelf and went to reach her relative, accurately avoiding to mention what she had found. In the following years and especially after puberty began to run its course, Helena did the best she could in those pre-Internet times to gather material about BDSM and her interest grew along with her knowledge of the topic. Unfortunately, she never managed to acquire a very important element for her research: a submissive partnerto experiment with. None of her romantic interests ever shared even an ounce of her passion for that kind of sexual practices. Years passed and Helena was on the verge of accepting the fact that her fantasies would have stayed fantasies for the rest of her life, but then she met the woman who changed everything: Dinah. They had been lovers for a few weeks when Helena proposed, without any expectations, some 'unconventional activities' for the evening. She couldn't believe her own ears when she heard her girlfriend say that she owuld have loved to try them. An even bigger surprise came when she realized that scratching the itch that had been there ever since that Saturday afternoon in the adult section of that news-stand hadn't quenched her thirst. she just wanted to experiment more. Her passion for bondage in fact managed to grow even more in the following years. Now that her fantasies have a chance to become reality, her imagination has become even more fervid.


She's a Roman Catholic. Full Stop. The fact that her previous and current romantic partners have been women rather than men had no impact on that part of her.


- When Helena was contacted for the first time by the mysterious Oracle and received an offer to work for her as her agent on the field as a replacement of the injured Black Canary, at the other end of the line Barbara Gordon was more than a little doubtful about her chances to keep her in the Birds of Prey until Dinah's full recovery and wouldn't have bet a penny on the Huntress being willing to prolong the experience after that. Instead, leaving the almost daily arguments aside, the woman behind the Oracle mask saw Helena show serious commitment to her role as the Oracle's field agent, become close friends with a convalescing Dinah and choose to stay with the BoP turning it into a trio. Barbara was of course happy with these developments, for both human and utilitarian reasons, but in her usual fashion she couldn't keep herself from wondering what had caused such a change in a vigilante with such a poor record when it came to working with her peers. Slightly worried about the possibility that she could ruin everything because of her lack of tact, she chose to confront her directly about her uncharacteristic behavior. Helena, far from taking offense to her team leader getting to the point in brutal fashion, replied that she was perfectly right about how rarely things in the past had gone well whenever she wasn't working solo, but also that all the reports she had read about the low points of her career always overlooked an important detail: she had never, ever put the blame of such failures to anybody but herself. Eventually, she had finally realized that she was at a crossroads: either she grew up as a person or she would have lived the rest of her life tormented by regret. She had chosen the former option and her collaboration with the second Question before joining the Birds had immensely helped her find her path forward. Now, as she added, the ball was in Barbara's field, since she had to decide if she wanted to trust the new Huntress or not. That was the moment when the two women truly became friends;


- Lacking any kind of metahuman ability, Helena's specialized in taking down non-superpowered opponents, even multiple ones at the same time. That doesn't mean she's completely helpless against superpowered foes, though. She proved exactly that at the time she formed a duo with the Question II and the criminal empire of Roland Desmond, a.k.a. Blockbuster II, ended up in the two women's crosshairs. Mr. Desmond had become inhumanly strong following the awakening of his metagene but, unlike his brother Mark, the first Blockbuster, had also developed a superhuman intelligence too, which he had used to turn Atlantic City into his own personal fiefdom. Over the course of three months, Helena and Renée proceeded to dismantle his organization from the ground up and, to make Blockbuster's defeat total, Helena faced him in a 1 vs. 1 fight. And she eventually won that fight, suffering only one dislocated shoulder. A trifle compared to Mr. Desmond, who was left with not a single ounce of reputation, the one thing he treasured more than money and power, by the end of it;

- Sparring with her teammate Black Canary was and still is part of the Huntress's daily routine after she joined the Birds of Prey. When the group was still active, however, the two women sometimes engaged in more challenging and dynamic fights, meant to be more reminiscent of actual brawls with opponents who had nothing to lose and very little regard for the well-being of vigilantes. In fact, such fights became an almost monthly occurrence and they inevitably ended with Dinah coming out on top of her girlfriend. But Dinah, whose insight in the way her adversaries fight has very few equals in the world, slowly came to realize that Helena actually never gave 100% in those fights and always withheld something, which was the reason she always lost. It was a week before Christmas 1999 that Black Canary decided to discuss that issue with her girlfriend. The way she put it in words, it was almost as if she was asking Helena to beat her up to the best of her abilities as a Christmas present. In any case, she added, the brand-new healing tank they had received from the Justice League just one month before would have made her recover in no time. Helena eventually chose to give Dinah what she wished for. The fight lasted twenty-six minutes and saw the Italian vigilante exploit each and every one of the dirty tricks she knew about to take down a foe and put all the viciousness she was capable of in her hits. In the end, Black Canary was proven right about the fact that Helena could actually win if she did use all of her potential. On the other hand, the she had to spend two days in the healing tank to recover from all of her injuries. Dinah wasn't resented in the slightest about the beating she had received from her girlfriend, in fact the couple spent the evening after the former ended the healing cycle cuddling in their living room and eating a plate of Helena's much-vaunted buccellati. On the other hand, while sparring continued on a daily basis, that was the very last 'realistic' fight the two women had between each other.


- She seriously dislikes being labeled a "woman of color" because of her naturally dark complexion and generally speaking is quite annoyed by her adoptive country's society being so race-based. After all, like every good Sicilian Helena doesn't fit neatly into any racial classification. Her paternal grandfather used to tell her, back when she was a kid, that the Bertinellis were descendants of a natural son of Giordano d'Altavilla, himself a natural son of Ruggero I d'Altavilla, first Norman Count of Sicily. Her maternal grandmother also had a few drops of blue blood in her veins, since her ancestors were petty Aragonese nobles who moved to the Mediterranean island after it was conquered by the Iberian kingdom. Her maternal grandfather used to own a very ancient silver medallion
(recently inherited by Helena's uncle Antonino) from the time of Justinian I, which according to tradition was a gift from the Emperor to the family's forefather (a Greek) after he had successfully led troops during the Byzantine campaign in Southern Italy. Her maternal grandmother (the family member Helena takes the most from, looks-wise) was never told any stories about the origins of her family, but her person was a perfect reminder of the time Sicily was an Islamic Emirate and enjoyed extensive connections with the Ummah;

- Her 'working garments' went through some radical changes throughout her career. Her first ever costume, from her beginnings as la Cacciatrice to the day she had to leave Italy, was very simple and functional and had a very dark color scheme (purple and black), with the exception of a pure white cross on her torso (she was never shy about her belief that a crimefighter needed Jesus' assistance if they wished to live a long life). As the JLA's newest recruit, Helena designed her new costume having all the urban legends about American superheroines' least practical fashion choices in mind: the result was a very skimpy outfit in a garish pink-blue color scheme that left her upper arms and thighs bare while also featuring an astonishingly low neckline. It goes without saying that those 'working clothes' lasted only until her first New York winter season, which persuaded her very soon to change direction towards less showy designs. The color scheme of the new one was more subdued (dark blue and purple), left marginally more skin exposed than a nun's garments and featured the return of the Christian cross in the form of a pendant. The tactical outfit of Agent Matron of SPYRAL included a black T-shirt with a white cross superimposed, as a throwback to the time when she was a rookie vigilante. After quitting SPYRAL, the new, improved Huntress went for a 'return to the origin' look: the purple-black color scheme with the addition of the white cross on the front was back, though the general design was quite different from the quasi-Spartan simplicity of her first ever costume. Similarly, the various stages of her career were marked by hairstyles changes, sometimes very drastic ones. Back when she was a member of the Youth Section of La Coorte, she used to display shoulder-length hair and her natural curls. With her relocation to America, she let her hair grow quite a bit and made a habit to straighten them almost daily with a flat iron. During her days as a spy, she used to favor a short, extra-frizzy hairdo. Her return to vigilantism coincided with the return of her 'American look'. After her retirement, she decided to keep her hair long but also let her natural curls resurface;

- Ever since she moved to the United States, there seems to be an invisible connection of some sort between her and Ted Kord, a.k.a. Blue Beetle II, one of her JLA teammates at the time of her induction. Their first interactions consisted of him rather blatantly flirting with the new female recruit, who on her part would have seriously considered sending positive signals if it hadn't been for the price that came with getting closer to Ted Kord, i.e. having to spend a lot of time in the company of his best friend Michael Jon Carter, a.k.a. Booster Gold. Having said that, Blue Beetle was the only Leaguer who stood up for the Huntress when the League plenum convened to decide the issue of her expulsion and, when it came to the actual vote, the only two votes against expulsion were Beetle's and Booster's. After Helena and Vic Sage parted ways in quite the definitive way, Ted was the only person Helena told about her intention to quit her superhero career and find another purpose in life in a different line of work (of course without explicitly mentioning SPYRAL). During her tenure as an international woman of mystery, Helena and Blue Beetle met again by chance on the same rooftop in St. Louis while the former was being ambushed by a force of twenty-four specialists and it was Helena who provided first aid to Ted, who had been wounded by a gunshot during the fight. They would have met again a few years later when Ted moved to Gotham City for more than a year to supervise to establishment of a new branch of his own Kord Industries and in his costumed identity became an important ally of the Birds of Prey, fighting alongside the Huntress's team several times. Noticing a certain chemistry at work between Blue Beetle and Oracle, Helena even tried to act as the cupid of the situation, since she thought that Barbara desperately needed somebody to fill her life (or at least, somebody to fill her). And lastly, her current fiancée works for Ted and reports directly to him;

- Like every good torturer (and Helena definitely is one), she wouldn't have reached her level of skill without a deep, systemic knowledge of the human body. Helena, who can be accused of many things except not being thorough in what she does, managed to explore over the years the other side of the techniques to employ to inflict unbearable pain, i.e. the techniques that instead can be employed to cause great pleasure. After all, nerve centers can be stimulated in both ways. These additional skills, aside from the obvious applications in the context of her private life, have been useful in her heroic duties too. Helped a little by her exotic beauty, she's been able to successfully pull dozens of successful infiltrations of massage parlors, pleasure houses, luxury mansions and even secret abodes over the years, simply by posing as a highly-skilled masseuse/sex worker;

- She's the legal owner of the 96 Gorfinkel Street apartment building, having bought it at a nearly-deserted public auction for a small fraction of its actual value. It had been bought by crime boss Oswald Cobblepot (a.k.a. the Penguin) in 1996 after two and a half decades of emptiness and neglect had turned had turned the early XX century six-story, twenty-four apartemnt brownstone into a ruin. Completely renovated, it had become one of the fine pieces of his vast collection of real-estate assets until his criminal empire was dismantled piece by piece over the course of one year by the Birds of Prey. Unfortunately for the wheeler-dealers of the Gothamite housing market, Mr. Cobblepot's reputation was so widespread that, despite his strategic relocation to parts unknown to avoid prosecution, the wide majority of them lacked the courage they needed to participate to the auctions of his real-estate properties. They were afraid that, if he ever came back in the city, they could have gotten into his crosshairs if they had dared to buy his stuff. Of course the woman behind the Huntress mask had no such qualms and in fact saw the deserted auctions as an opportunity to get her teammate/girlfriend and herself out of the 630 sq ft. apartment in the dingiest part of Midtown's East Side and closer to Oracle's watchtower. She was also responsible for opening 96 Gorfinkel Street to anyone in need of a safe abode-- the IBPEMMMO sent the Thielmans to Gotham because Ms. Bertinelli had made her property available for the people under the bureau's protection program-- though she likes playing the part of the surly homeowner and pretend that it was Dinah's idea, who is always assumed to be the kind and cheerful member of the BoP;

- The apartment building she acquired in the Old Gotham district featured two very interesting environments, which presented many possibilities to those who are gifted with ambition and imagination. One was the first floor itself, which aside from the entrance hall and the staircase had been left by the renovators as a vast open space. A couple of years later Helena and Dinah would turn it into the Mirai dojo. The other was a transition space on the last floor, which comprised about two fifths of the total walkable area, between the terrace overlooking Gorfinkel Street and the building's attic. The perimeter walls were sequences of vasistas windows while the roof, sustained by reticular beams so that intermediate supports weren't needed, was organized in parallel rows of skylights. In the mindof Dinah, who had spent an inordinate amount of time in her mother's flower shop back when she was a child, acquiring a life-long passion for ornamental plants and flowers in the process, there couldn't have been a more natural fit for a greenhouse than that transition space. Unfortunately for her dream, Helena was also there to provide a little reality check. Given how frequently the two of them had to leave town due to BoP missions, taking care of a flower garden would have been incredibly hard and she risked having to come back to a heap of dead plants after each transfer. On the other hand, Helena had a counter-proposal: turning that environment into a rock garden, which needed next to no maintenance at all. Dinah liked the idea, since she would have had a perfect place to meditate at just a few flights of stairs from their apartment, but at the same time she was worried that the floor would collapse under the weight of the boulders that can be found in every rock garden worthy of the name. Helena told her girlfriend to leave it to her and, one week later, a truckload of slabs of koupholite, an extra-terrestrial mineral as light as pumice and as tough as sandstone, were delivered to the terrace of 96 Gorfinkel Street. The JLA had had three whole warehouses full of those things since 1991, when a Dominator spy station disguised as an asteroid had been uncovered and dismantled. Despite the rocky-- no pun intended-- ending of the Huntress's tenure in the League, Martian Manhunter had no objections to getting rid of some useless boulders. Within one month the rock garden was completed and to this day it's quite rare for it to go one day without at least one person paying a visit to it;

- She's a rare female specimen of film nerd. It started back when she was eight thank to her older cousin Antonino, who used to the nearest cinema at least three times every week and started taking her wit him any time he couldn't find any other company, Having come to America with her artistic tastes already developed, it shouldn't come as a surprise that all her favorite directors are from the cream of Seventies' Italian Cinema. Her vast movie collections (all of it in the form of old-fashioned film reels) reflects her preferences, since she owns the complete works of Lucio Fulci and Pier Paolo Pasolini, in her opinion the two greatest Italian movie-makers of all time. Her love for the Seventh Art is so great in fact that she took advantage of the empty apartments of 96 Gorfinkel Street to turn one of them into her own personal 'home theater', projector, silver screen, rows of seats and all. It was the place where Dinah and Helena held their movie nights at the time they were a couple and where the latter gradually initiated the former to the mysteries of film nerdism. With time, Dinah became an avid fan of the works of Walter Hill and started her own collection of film reels by purchasing one by one all the movies directed by her idol, so that she could also enlarge the theater's selection. Movie nights continued even after the two women broke up, since the passion they shared was still very present. When Karen and Helena got together, she just became the third member of the audience. Unfortunately, her new girlfriendp's appreciation for the Seventh Art never seemed to go one step beyond 'lukewarm'. As amazing a movie might be, she just isn't the kind of person who enjoys spending hours sitting in a dark room and focusing on the action on the screen. However, Helena found a solution to that and modified one of the theater's seats to make her fiancée feel more comfortable. Now she spends movie nights straitjacketed, tightly strapped to the seat, panel-gagged and with blepharostats keeping her eyes forcibly open, drops of eyewash dripping right onto her pupils from two thin plastic tubes to prevent irritation. A vibrating device can be added between Karen's thighs if she's likelier to get really bored during the movie. The compromise was acceptable to all parts involved;

- She's a firm believer in the tentatively-named '20-30-50 theory'. According to that, the outcome of a fight is determined 20% by physical strength, 30% by martial skills and 50% by sheer viciousness. None of her colleagues at the Mirai dojo are exactly thrilled at the prospect of Helena teaching such principles to their students, especially to the young vigilantes who are part of the Inner Circle, but that has hardly stopped her from passing down her 'knowledge' to anyone who has issues with the whole matter of defending against foes with every intention to cause them harm. Some members of the Inner Circle have even come around to see quite some value in the theory espoused by their responsible for discipline. After all, they know by heart the many outstanding things she accomplished during her career as an active heroine and they were able to appreciate on their own skin the amount of viciousness she's capable of;

- She sometimes thinks she's the luckiest woman in the world because she was blessed with not just one, but two significant others who can take the form of punishment she's most fascinated with but also most reluctant to use: bastinado. Dinah had learnt how to shield parts of her body from physical damage thanks to her ability to master qi, but after some experiments she also found a way to keep them sensitive to pain while being shielded, so that Helena could do her thing without any real risk for Black Canary's feet. Karen of course can 'switch off' her powers at will and therefore can become as vulnerable as any human bingfor her kinky sessions and then let her healing factor deal with the damage once her abilities are reactivated. Issues started when Jason, driven by his uncontrollable masochistic tendencies, started asking his 'dom-buddy' to try bastinado on his feet too, from time to time. She was initially adamant against it, since there was no way that a normal human being, even one as gluttonous for punishment as Dinah's fiancée, could take that kind of treatment with no consequences. In the end though it was hard for Helena to keep saying no to a paragon of submissiveness practically begging to be punished and she eventually gave in. However, since she's not completely irresponsible, the bastinado sessions she subjects Jason to are intense but much shorter than the ones reserved to Karen.


- Her connection with Thomas Blake (a.k.a. the super-villain known as Catman) is probably one of the worst-kept secrets in the American superhero community but details about the way it developed are incredibly sparse and vague-- not unexpectedly, since their first encounter dates back to her days as Agent Matron of SPYRAL. From the little info at our disposal, we can infer that she had been assigned by her agency to apprehend Mr. Blake, who was on the organization’s radar for unclear reasons, in July 1995. During the mission, something had gone wrong and both ended up being imprisoned by a mysterious third party somewhere in inland Yemen. They managed to escape only by cooperating but Ms. Bertinelli still delivered her super-villain ‘partner’ to her bosses in the UK. However, not even one week later, the leadership of SPYRAL was taken down by a faction headed by Agent Matron and Mr. Blake was released in the process, since his next confirmed sighting was just two days after SPYRAL getting rid of its highest echelons. Catman having a role in Helena’s decision to rise up against her bosses is a very serious possibility;


: "Dinah taught me how to accept another human being into my life again. Helena how to do it with more than one person at a time. It isn't as easy as it may sound."

: "'It's lonely at the top', they say. Well, those guys definitely didn't know about Helena and me!"

: "She's ready to fight like a lioness to protect you from danger. And then, the day after, show you a car battery and tell you she's going to fry your nipples with it that same evening. Nobody else like her on this world!"

: "I'll always remember when Barbara introduced me to her. She had done so much to find her a boyfriend in the previous years that she couldn't believe I was real."

: "If only she had lasted a bit longer in the League! Our lives would've been so different if we had met before."

: "She gave my family a place to call home and all the hospitality outcasts like us could hope for, despite knowing perfectly well of the target on our backs and without anybody putting pressure on her. I think that covers everything I need to say about her."

Terry: "After my past experiences with a certain bondage fanatic, I thought Helena and I wouldn't have gotten along well. Today, I think that perhaps I was just unlucky to experience everything under the wrong dom."

{ AUTHOR'S NOTE: This might be a world without Batman, but Gotham City wouldn't be Gotham City without a vigilante with a lot of tragedy in their past roaming its streets. Let alone that Helena offered me a way to show that there's a superhero community outside of the USA too! }

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judofeet's avatar
I don't know what I liked the most: the drawing (stunning) or her bio facts (just incredible!!) Amazing.
rabastanlestrange's avatar
Ah, so there actually are people who do read the dossiers under the pictures! I was starting to lose hope of finding one. =P (Razz)

By the way, your comment made me check the backup file and I realized that I had left a few bits behind when I copied the text to my stash. You'll find a new section titled 'outstanding feats' and a new paragraph in the 'fun facts' one. I hope you'll enjoy them. ;) (Wink)

By the way, since you were so nice to leave a comment, would you mind writing down what left such a good impression in this picture and dossier?
judofeet's avatar
   As a Judo folk myself "excuse me for my bad spelling, not my mother tongue!", what I like about the image is the pose. Almost seiza, but then almost ready to a randori in newaza. The fact that she is just finishing to tie up her belt, the look that she's got. Both serene and serious. The grey's scale in the whole drawing, the texture of the gi. She is like a good bottle of wine, better with the years. Love the whole polishing, "matureness" rules on her.


   I highly reccomend, better, urge, to every one to read the bios of the pictures. It takes a huge ammount of research, memory, and imagination to bring all that ammount of information, play with it and make it right. Rich in details that make super-heroes or super-villains more complex than only "good" or "evil". ( I do agree with her on the meanings of martial arts, any one curious about it, ask me on private!!  ;-)  .The cinema facts, her Catholic moral that enlights her Italian background, her relationships... I could go on and on. All those words just make the picture real: I saw her walking, I had a clash with her, we laughed together... I never saw nothing quite like it before seen rabastanlestrange's work. 

   A pleasure indeed as it does fulfill both reason and passion, at least to me.
rabastanlestrange's avatar
Oh, please, English isn't my mother tongue either. I definitely won't be the one to judge your spelling. ;) (Wink)

First of all, a great set of observations about her pose. After drawing Terry, Dinah and Barbara performing high/flying kicks, I aimed at something different with Helena and I'm SO glad somebody noticed the body language. Besides that, maturity (as a hero and in general as a person) is the main issue I wanted to explore with the character of the Huntress, so you hit the mark when you referenced how mature she looks.

So you read ALL the "JLA dossiers" in such a short span of time? Oops! Wow, I don't know whether to feel flattered or to be in awe at your level of commitment to this series of mine! Thumbs Up I may love American superheroes, but I've always found them a tad light on the personality side, i.e. the aspects of a human being (personal interests, opinions, even controversial ones, etc.) that make him or her unique. So I tried to rectify that deficiency in these character profiles while also exploiting this diversity of characters to show that there's not a single way to be 'the good guy', even among superheroes. And it seems that I succeeded, at least with those who made the effort to read. Winner 

Your final words fill me with pride as an artist. Let's hope they won't go to my head too much. =P (Razz) 
judofeet's avatar
No, no. I haven't read ALL of them, takes quite a time, I did though in the ones that I picked up as fav's. Interesting point you made. I remember been young and loving Batman and Spiderman because of the huge amount of personal info that both the charachters had opposite to other super heroes. So, yes, the intention is to read all of them indeed. 
   And yes, you are a piece of an artist. Do not let anyone, specially yourself, let you think otherwise!!
rabastanlestrange's avatar
Oh, right. Still, I tried to make every dossier part of the bigger picture, so reading all of them is heartily recommended, even though you may not be interested in pictures starring men rather than women. ;) (Wink)

And to be honest, I'm more worried about getting too many compliments rather than getting none: becoming complacent is the bane of every artist. Crying 
rabastanlestrange's avatar
Actually, she can be pretty mean. =P (Razz) 
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