Helena continues pursuing crime boss Moretti in Naples, opening this issue by fixing her crossbow’s sight on his head! Would she really assassinate him in cold blood?! We’re left wondering, as the arrival of the local police interrupts her. They are not there to arrest Moretti, but to protect him. “This country is totally corrupt,” she laments. She spies on the polizia and discovers that they are planning to protect “The Chairman,” a visiting dignitary. Using her reporter contact (see ‘Huntress’ #1), she discovers that this Chairman is named Ibn Hassan and is from the nation of Kufra. He is a tyrannical dictator who is planning on fleeing the country and taking up residence in Italy, leaving Kufra to his son Mustafa. This is all a big show, meant to trick people into thinking the nation’s government is turning over a new leaf, when in reality, the elder Hassan will continue to pull the strings from afar.
Helena interrupts a meeting between Mustafa and Moretti in Pompeii and once more must battle their thugs and henchmen. Mustafa’s beast of a bodyguard Inshallah almost overpowers her, but she narrowly escapes his clutches. Just as she did last issue, Helena vows to take Moretti down.
Helena has a great voice and comes across as the consummate adventurer here, but as I’ve said before, she’s a tad too perfect. The fight with Inshallah is the only time she really seems to be in any danger and even then, she doesn’t seem that frightened or worried. It’s hard to root for someone that’s got it all so put together. But she’s very likeable and there’s even a cute moment when she admits she’s “more of a cat person,” which is a clever nod to the character’s original origin as the daughter of the Golden Age Catwoman and Batman.
Unfortunately, as well-written as the characters are, this storyline is just so pedestrian. Gangsters and politicians are my least favorite villains to read about in a comic book. Too boring and “real world.” Couldn’t they at least have had super powered henchmen or fancy tech? This book is excellently written in terms of style and dialogue, but the story itself is pretty boring! The character is handled so well, I think she deserves a more interesting story! But hopefully, this miniseries will prove popular enough to result in her getting an ongoing book, which offers a better chance of more diverse story telling.
Marcus To’s art continues to delight! It’s just so lovely! Helena looks absolutely beautiful, but still confident and strong. He even draws her changing clothes with her bra exposed and her tights slightly down and it’s not even in the slightest exploitative! I just love artists like this! So many people defend the more sexual art styles in other books saying that it’s “just fantasy” and “even male characters are more muscular and attractive than average men.” And then someone like Marcus To (and Jesus Saiz in ‘Birds of Prey’) can draw a woman as just jaw-droppingly stunning, BUT minus the arched back, hard nipples, sloped bedroom eyes and pouty bee-stung lips, not to mention illogical, gravity defying clothing and they just blow that argument out of the water! Bravo!
His work isn’t just pretty, either. It’s subtle, intricately detailed (the scenes in Pompeii had to have taken days to illustrate), beautifully composed and cinematic. I’m absolutely impressed! He conveys so much through Helena’s facial expressions, it’s just wonderful! I rarely follow specific creators, but I think Marcus To is going to be one, where I’ll read any book he draws, especially if they allow him to keep drawing beautiful strong women like The Huntress!
So while I like this book in general and think Huntress is handled well, the overall plot isn’t really doing it for me.
Written by Paul Levitz
Art by Marcus To
Cover by Guillem March & Tomeu Morey