Respectfully, the cross being thrown in Cry For Blood is why I TOLD Between Dark And Dawn. I not only did my research, I had that book beside me the entire time I wrote it, and as Greg Rucka will tell you, I made myself a pest asking questions about it. Greg himself wrote and told me that he appreciated me being one of the few writers who acknowledged the events of Cry For Blood. Between Dark and Dawn takes place at a low point in Helena’s life where she is questioning all her choices. The whole purpose of the story was for her to regain her faith, which she speaks about in the very next arc.
It was meant to be a transition story between her symbolic gesture at the end of Cry For Blood, and her return to her faith in The Hero Hunters.
Not trying to negate your feelings, here, but I did do the research, I promise. ;)
I’m having difficulty unifying what you’ve said with what I’ve read. In order for someone to return to something, they first must leave it. When did Helena leave or turn away from her religion? When was this transition period? Last panel of CFB, Helena throws her cross in the water out of guilt and a feeling of unworthiness, after manipulating her uncle into killing Cassamento. That’s a far cry from denoucning her faith which is what’s projected in Between Dark and Dawn.
Not to mention, in the Batman Family mini-series written by John Moore, we are told Helena attends mass as part of her weekly routine. That story takes place after Cry For Blood but before Between Dark and Dawn. It means Helena never gave up her religion. More important, it shows Helena is very serious about her faith. It’s one of the reasons I’ve had a difficult time reconciling the Helena you wrote BD&D and your follow up arc where she plans to attend mass again.
I’ve had the opportunity myself to speak with Greg Rucka about Helena. He’s very cordial and helpful to his fans, so I’m not surprised to hear he’s just as gracious to his colleagues. Thanks for your insight and exchanging communication.
I don’t like it when writers don’t do their research or ignore previous continuity simply to push their own interpretation of a character, especially when what they are changing is so fundamental to a character. I also don’t like when characters are striped of what makes them interesting and sets them apart from their peers in an attempt to laud another character(s). I always feel nudged in a quandary when reading Gail Simone’s Birds of Prey: Between Dark and Dawn. On one hand, excitement, Helena gets to go on a solo mission and earn her place on the team. Ass kicking is sure to abound. On the other, dismay, devout, mass attending Helena all of a sudden doesn’t only have problems with the church; she’s no longer a believer. Talk about a sucker punch.
Comic book characters personal struggles many times mirror our own real-life struggles. Religion can be intimidating whether you’re a believer or not. Maybe writers and readers get scarred or turned off by pious characters. It presumes a character must be perfect or they’re hypocritical. It shouldn’t as Helena proves daily in her quest for truth and justice. Her conscious clashes with her faith, and her faith is in contradiction with her life choices. It shouldn’t because like in real life, whether you are a believer or not, we all strive to better ourselves and fall short. We set personal behavioral standards that we don’t always meet with approval. We fall down but we get up.
What I know for fact is Helena’s faith is sincere as is her struggle with it. It’s heavy and emotional. It’s seeking revenge against the man who ordered the hit that annihilated your entire family, making you the last of the Bertinelli’s, hunting and killing him. Instead of relief, you’re stricken with guilt and mourn your victim. It’s setting up mob members who contributed to the murder of your father, mother, and brother. Instead of reveling in your victory, you throw away your cross, a symbol of your faith, not because you’re walking away from your belief, but because you feel unworthy to bear the yoke.
Whether you’re a believer or not infusing religious ideology into a comic book character isn’t easy to write or master. Exploring a character’s faith and religion should be approached with respect, subtlety, and thoughtfulness. Not done away with because it’s complicated or the easy way out. Whenever I revisit Huntress story in Between Dark and Dawn it’s always a mixed bag of emotions.