- Posted by Johanna on March 13, 2007 at 6:32 am
- Category: Superhero Reviews
- CREDITS: written by Paul Levitz; drawn by Joe Staton
- PUBLISHER: DC Comics; $19.99 US
The Huntress: Darknight Daughter collects over four years’ worth of stories from the late 70s and early 80s featuring the fan-favorite character. She was written by a much younger Paul Levitz (now DC President and Publisher) and drawn by Joe Staton, with inks by Bob Layton, Steve Mitchell, and others.
The Huntress is well-remembered because of her parentage: she was the daughter of Batman and Catwoman. That’s a dynamite concept, that that hero and villain finally got together and produced a child with the best qualities of both. (This was long ago, before the DC universe was streamlined and most family relationships removed. Those kinds of connections tend to imply that characters age, you see, and that’s not a good thing if you want to keep telling stories with the same characters for decades.)
The book opens with her secret origin. Major events fly fast — wedding, birth, blackmail, death — until the Huntress stands by a parent’s grave and vows to fight for justice. She’s inherited her mother’s style and charm and her father’s deductive abilities, making her an impressive hero.
Bear in mind that these stories come from a different era, where characterization was heavy-handed, jammed in around the fights, and the pictures were turned out on schedule instead of aiming for art. The drawings can be a little stiff or slightly misshapen, the captions adjective-heavy, and the dialogue perfunctory… but it’s all well-meaning and all the more entertaining for being a little off-kilter.
It’s the character that does it, a young woman living up to her parents’ legacies while finding her own place in the world. She’s a lawyer in her day job, facing sexism in the workplace, and a crusader by night, trying to prevent the poor from being burned out of their homes. (She also has the astounding superhuman ability of being able to somehow hide a full-skirted, long-sleeved turtleneck dress under her action outfit of a swimsuit, thigh-high boots, gloves, and cape.)
Additional stories feature Solomon Grundy putting the Huntress in a gilded cage, one guest-starring Power Girl where the city government tries to register and regulate superheroes, the Huntress stopping a prison break led by one of her mother’s old henchmen, and the return of Robin and the Joker.
These tales were originally published as backup features. They’re short, and they can be repetitive, as readers are reintroduced to characters and plot points in each chapter. That’s part of the flavor of the era. If you insist your characters be taken seriously and can’t stand to hear them talking to themselves so the reader knows what’s going on, this isn’t the book for you… but for others, this is an enjoyable reminder of a classic character.
A personal note: when I began reading comics, the Huntress was my favorite character. She got her smarts from her dad, which made her an amazing detective, and her style from her mother. She also seemed to be the only second-generation hero whose mother was as important to her development as her father. Most of the child characters only seemed to inherit from Dad… even to the point of the reader sometimes not even knowing who the mother was (which is an odd reversal of the real world). I miss the version I grew up knowing.