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 06:18 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 08:49 pm (UTC)
cypherfdp: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cypherfdp
DCAU made me love Huntress/Question.

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: 2011-03-15 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.


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