Huntress: Paul Levitz, Marcus To, John Dell, Richard Zajac, Andrew Dalhouse, Dezi Sienty, Guillem March, Tomeu Morey
I’m still reading this series, so there must be some kind of interest left in me. First thing I want to say is, I guess we’re going ahead and completely throwing out the type of unreserved justice that Huntress dealt out pre-relaunch. The subtitle on this issue’s cover asks the question, “…Murderer?” And we’re supposed to put hands to our mouths and gasp in shock at the thought. Levitz, you created the character. I don’t know how much of a hand you had, back then, in shaping her style of crimefighting…but she was a murderer. Perhaps she tried not to here and there, but had no reservations in putting a bad dog down. I feel like, with this mini, we’re being pandered to…as if we have no, or aren’t supposed to have any idea who this Huntress character is, and this is all coming as a surprise. The only explanation I can think of for this “shocking notion” is that this is closer to the beginning of Huntress’s career, and she hasn’t decided to start killing yet…and this may be the mini that shows us that path she’s taking. Perhaps that can then work brilliantly into the newly-announced “World’s Finest” title DC will be putting out (see? I told you Huntress would be from Earth-2). That being said, this cover is a tease in the purest sense. I will spoil that Huntress does finally get to Moretti in this issue…but nothing like on the cover happens. When she has him, she doesn’t even consider pointing her crossbow at her target. We see nothing in the way of meting out lethal justice…she just leaves him to the devices of the battered women on board and jumps ship. There isn’t even one panel that has her thinking about the kind of justice this guy deserves, like the old Huntress would. Oh well, I’ve long given up on that whole notion, but it’s like this issue’s cover confirmed that we are throwing that out the window from the start. I won’t get into the confusing storyline…because I think it’s partially my fault. I don’t typically follow world events or news or anything like that, and so (even though this isn’t exactly based off real events) I feel like I’m missing out on deals and schemes such as we’re seeing in this mini, which would help me understand. So I cannot necessarily blame Levitz for that. Plus I may just be extra thick when it comes to this title, for some reason. The two things that bothered me this issue were that, again, Huntress is left triumphant at the end of the issue…no real danger for her to escape from; and that Moretti’s “end” such as it is doesn’t carry nearly the pomp and circumstance I thought it would. Huntress spent over half of this mini chasing him down, cornering him, and making sure she could take him out…just to have this unceremonious victory. It didn’t even seem like that big of a deal. I honestly thought we’d be waiting for issue #6, the last issue, to see his fall…and that it would stretch out for the last two issues! Maybe, though, I’m thinking too much like a trade paperback. I know that Huntress still has targets left to take down regarding this whole sex trade business, and that’s probably what she’ll do for the last two issues, but I thought Moretti was the main villain she was after. And he’s already out of the equation? I thought she’d be taking down Ibn Hassan first and the chairman, causing untold frustration on the part of Moretti, before finally having the showdown. It feels like the mini is doing it backwards. Beyond those elements, though, I do like the issue. The art is fantastic, thanks to the amazing Marcus To, and the city/village of Amalfi is very expertly drawn. I love the architecture and the scenery of the hillside village. This is one of those books where you can tell it’s drawing from all of the artist’s knowledge to complete the job. It’s hard to really remember, all the time (unless you are an artist), that a comic book artist has to know how to draw EVERYTHING you see in the book. Buildings, cars, people, boats, weapons, body poses…everything! That’s the remarkable part, and To is quite remarkable in this mini. Finally, the first couple of pages had me stumbling because of Moretti’s guard’s attempt at picking up Helena. He talks about how he’d be nicer than whoever beat up Helena’s neck, and I thought…wait, how did he know? I looked back over the last few panels and, sure enough, that sneaky Andrew Dalhouse with his wonderfully subtle colors put a nice, purple bruise on Helena’s neck. Nicely done.
Huntress #4 of 6, the verdict: I cannot say I’m truly enjoying this book, which is upsetting because I really wanted to, and I started out really liking it. It’s feeling too formulaic at this point, and I’m just suddenly really removed from the entire plot because of the arrest of Moretti in this issue. That doesn’t help, because I was already slightly removed from it because this didn’t feel like a personal battle for Helena. She wasn’t invested in it enough to warrant a trip to Europe to track down the man behind the sex trade. Now, if we had seen some kind of flashback showing Helena as part of a sex trade at some point in her life, I would believe this story a lot more. But there doesn’t seem to be any real reason that she’s targeted Moretti, other than he’s a scumbag. And there are plenty of scumbags in Gotham for her to take care of. So with Moretti’s early downfall in the mini, I just don’t find a reason to keep on caring. Perhaps Moretti will escape…I mean, it did seem like he had the Amalfi police in his pocket. So maybe we’ll see some kind of reversal like that. Lord knows, Huntress needs a challenge here. This is all way too easy for her.