richardak: (Default)
[personal profile] richardak posting in [community profile] scans_daily
In the recent Question back-up feature in Detective Comics, the new Question, Renee Montoya, teamed up with the Huntress, Helena Bertinelli.  What makes this interesting is that, while they don't know each other all that well, they were both close, at different times, with the previous Question.  This leads to what, to me at least, is a very interesting conversation between the two of them:


What makes this such an interesting conversation is that Helena is saying that Charlie/Vic tried to save her, and succeeded.  It must be noted that she measures this success in terms of her physical and emotional well-being: she's still here.  Now consider this scan from Batman/Huntress: Cry for Blood, which was, as far as I know, the last meeting between Helena and Charlie/Vic:

Here, Helena has just successfully murdered Santo Cassamento, and in such a way that the law can't touch her.  Charlie is especially angry because she tricked him into helping her, in such a way and so that neither he, nor Batman, Robin, Nightwing, nor Oracle would realize what she was up to until it was too late.  Charlie is damning her, and she insists that she has been a damned soul for a long time.  So here, it definitely looks like he has failed to save her.  In this case, though, they are discussing salvation and damnation in the traditional Catholic sense of going to heaven or hell when she dies. 

So the question (sorry) is, has she revised her thinking, such that she now believes that she can still be saved, in the sense of going to heaven, or, has she come to be so at peace with the inevitability of her ultimate damnation that she is, in effect, only worried about her temporal welfare.  Just what does she mean, exactly, when she tells Renee that, since she's still here, Vic must have saved her? 

It should be noted, as an aside, that both these comics were written by the same author, Greg Rucka, so I don't think any of this is at all coincidental.  I just thought it was a fascinating conversation with a very interesting subtext. 

I don't follow the comic much but...

Date: 2011-03-13 05:28 pm (UTC)
funbox: Funbox! (Default)
From: [personal profile] funbox
In mmy time watching scans daily, I can't really recall her actually KILLING anyone. She threatened to of course, but her teammates always seemed to stop her. So, when HAS she killed someone, besides the No-Man's land arc?

Date: 2011-03-13 05:52 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkknightjrk
Hmmm...I think the big difference between Helena in Cry for Blood and Helena in the Question co-feature is that in the latter she had spent at least a few years working up a bond between Black Canary and Oracle. Having friends who care about you, even then when the Birds were more or less broken up, can make all the difference about your self-worth.

Date: 2011-03-13 06:03 pm (UTC)
salinea: (montoya)
From: [personal profile] salinea
I think it's one of those things that you look back at differently in retrospect.

At the time, Helena was spiralling in a self-destructive way; and even when Vic helped her, she still ended up killing the guy, which felt to both of them at the time that she was rejecting his help. But after a while she did build a more stable life for herself (with BoP playing a big role) and I bet that in retrospect, what Vic did helped a lot getting her there.

I don't think it's a mere question of religious salvation vs psychological/physical well being; though that's how it's formulated in one versus the other. Helena thinking herself damned is also a expression of self-loathing & anger at the time. Her saying "well I'm there" now, concentrating on the positive, it's also a kind of philosophical acceptance of herself and where she is at this point of her life spiritually. If I'm not mistaken, in other team-ups with Renée (though i'm not sure if they're before or after this scene), she's also seen to be more at peace with her religion.

(I need a Helena icon).

Date: 2011-03-13 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkknightjrk
Well, maybe a good way of answering that is considering if she's killed since Cry for Blood. I'd think if she didn't think she could be saved, she would continue to kill--but with this, it looks like what she did was the last time she ever truly felt the need to kill (barring stupid OOC moments like that Streets of Gotham arc a while back).

Date: 2011-03-13 06:18 pm (UTC)
perletwo: kara the knitter! (knitting supergirl)
From: [personal profile] perletwo
Pointless aside: Cully Hamner has such a nice way with drawing people in street clothes. The girls' outfits fit them properly, have a very 'everyday' style, are different enough to suit each character, they even have little fashion detailing bits in there like the chunky zippers and the notch in the side of Nee's jacket hem. Very cool stuff.

Date: 2011-03-13 06:36 pm (UTC)
salinea: (bite me)
From: [personal profile] salinea
Yes, sorry, I meant "not only" or "not exactly". Or something >_>;

Someone with better knowledge of Catholicism corrects me if I am wrong; would it not be considered a sin in itself for a Catholic to think that they are beyond redemption?

The thing is, acceptance and being at peace do not mean that she doesn't still think she's damned; it's possible that she may just be at peace with that fact.
True. I don't know which it is for Helena.

(I can has Helena icon! :D)

Date: 2011-03-13 06:55 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
would it not be considered a sin in itself for a Catholic to think that they are beyond redemption?

I'm not sure it's seen as a sin to believe you're beyond redemption, just a human failing, and an incorrect one.

Date: 2011-03-13 07:05 pm (UTC)
salinea: (you're cute)
From: [personal profile] salinea
Thanks!

Re: I don't follow the comic much but...

Date: 2011-03-13 07:54 pm (UTC)
funbox: Funbox! (Default)
From: [personal profile] funbox
Thanks, it just seems to me that she's slowed that down a little bit these days

Date: 2011-03-13 07:56 pm (UTC)
elf: Stained glass interlocking pentagons (Law of Fives)
From: [personal profile] elf
would it not be considered a sin in itself for a Catholic to think that they are beyond redemption?

The sin of hubris, maybe; "I'm so bad even God couldn't fix me." But I suspect anyone who thought that, wouldn't be worried about whether or not it was a sin. And if they later repented of whatever convinced them they were damned, thinking they were unredeemable in the interim wouldn't be a major concern.

Date: 2011-03-13 08:49 pm (UTC)
cypherfdp: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cypherfdp
DCAU made me love Huntress/Question.

Re: I don't follow the comic much but...

Date: 2011-03-13 09:08 pm (UTC)
requiem2adream: (Default)
From: [personal profile] requiem2adream
... I don't remember Helena actively killing anyone during the NML series.

Date: 2011-03-13 09:50 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkknightjrk
I think the Streets example was a bit different--the other instances you mention is Helena either witnessing a horrible act or having her and her own threatened or hurt. In Streets, though, she just saw Man-Bat flying around and assumed she would have to kill him, despite his face-turn being fairly well-known.

Date: 2011-03-13 10:09 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] omgwtflolbbqbye
Actually I think in the SoG story she decides she needs to kill Man-Bat after she (thinks that she) sees Man-Bat about to kill a woman during their chase across Gotham.

But she does go on a narrative rant about how she wants to kill all the other criminals that the Bat-Family only deem fit to lock-up.

Date: 2011-03-13 10:51 pm (UTC)
perletwo: jlu supergirl (le sigh - supergirl)
From: [personal profile] perletwo
Motto. I wouldn't'a picked Amy Acker (who I love) for Huntress, but she and Combs sold the hell out of that relationship. :D

Date: 2011-03-13 11:26 pm (UTC)
junipepper: (jumplines)
From: [personal profile] junipepper
Actually, I think it's a sin against Hope (Hope being one of the most important theological virtues).

I've done a fair amount of reading about world religions, but am not a Catholic, so I could be wrong. Easily.

Date: 2011-03-14 03:48 am (UTC)
heckfire: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heckfire
SO, by saying you've sinned beyond redemption, you're sinning MORE. *headdesk* That's why I'm functionally agnostic, folks...I believe in God, not the churches.

Date: 2011-03-14 03:50 am (UTC)
heckfire: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heckfire
Thirded. The "Orange socks" bit sold me, but the scene in the Watchtower med-bay closed the deal.

And Combs is a VA god in my eyes, now.

Date: 2011-03-14 04:09 am (UTC)
elf: Stained glass interlocking pentagons (Law of Fives)
From: [personal profile] elf
Not my theology; my gods tolerate hubris as long as it entertains them. From what I know of Catholic doctrine, it'd be a sin to assume one is unredeemable, but that's probably minor in comparison to whatever sin(s) one committed to reach that conclusion.

Date: 2011-03-14 04:24 am (UTC)
heckfire: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heckfire
VERY valid point, there...I suppose the "sin of unredeemability (sp?)" is sorta there to keep people from saying "Fuck it, I'm going to Hell anyway" like Huntress did. Better to offer an out that allows for redemption (by guilting it on the sinner still, but that's Catholic doctrine for you) than to just toss them to the proverbial wolves, huh?

Date: 2011-03-14 04:56 am (UTC)
shadowpsykie: Information (Default)
From: [personal profile] shadowpsykie
i think the Key is, during her time with the Birds... she actually LET them in... she may have cared for charlie, and others... but she never let them in like she did the birds...

but it was charlie i believe that first planted the seed inside her that she was more than she gave herself credit for.

so in this case, i think yes, charlie did save her, body, and soul. (i;m a little sad he has not seen her as she is now, i think he would have been proud :( )

Date: 2011-03-14 05:51 am (UTC)
kusonaga: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kusonaga
Pointless but so so so true. Love Hamner.

Date: 2011-03-14 06:06 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] psychopathicus_rex
I think it's more that Vic was the first one to genuinely TRY to help her. The Bat-clan had had plenty of team-ups and so forth with her over the years, but the mainstay of their relationship with her was Bats going 'step out of line JUST ONCE, and we'll take you down'. Vic didn't see her as a potential menace - or not JUST that - he saw her as someone in need of help, as he had been once. It's no coincidence that he took her to his old teacher - he was going 'I was a lost soul once, and this helped me - maybe it'll help you, too.' It didn't really work - at least, not as well as he would have liked - but she was definitely on a self-destructive spiral before he intervened, and while he didn't exactly stop it, he slowed it down enough for her to examine her life a bit, and perhaps be better-adjusted about things. Her life is not as empty and bitter now as it was before he intervened - that's something, I'd say.

Date: 2011-03-14 06:36 am (UTC)
proteus_lives: (Default)
From: [personal profile] proteus_lives
Fourth.

It's obvious, with hindsight.

Date: 2011-03-14 11:53 am (UTC)
salinea: (bite me)
From: [personal profile] salinea
... yes, truly, saying that someone is never unredeemable is horribly intolerant of any Church (note that the only people who said this was a sin were people who ware not Catholics, myself included).

Date: 2011-03-15 12:51 am (UTC)
fifthie: tastes the best (Default)
From: [personal profile] fifthie
Yeah this is definitely a really interesting and complex bit of characterization.

I guess I read her remark about how she's "still here" in a broader sense, like, she's still who she is, she's still fighting the good fight, for a given value of good, she hasn't spiralled completely out into anger and vengefulness. Maybe not as saved as Vic would have wanted, but certainly not as damned as she would have been without him.

Date: 2011-03-15 03:21 am (UTC)
shadowpsykie: Information (Default)
From: [personal profile] shadowpsykie
suicide is a sin against hope.

feeling you are beyond redemption skirts the line dangerously close because this usually leads to suicide.

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