At present, Oracle does not know Helena Bertinelli personally. She is, however, an acquaintance of the Huntress. And perhaps it is only a matter of time before Barbara Gordon figures out that her occasional ally is actually the sole surviving member of a mob family murdered by rival factions of the citys Mafioso.
In her youth, La Cosa Nostra robbed Helena of her parents and brother, forcing her to seek refuge among Sicilian relations. Trained to fight by her cousin, Helena later returned to Gotham, determined to hunt down the men who ordered and carried out her family’s destruction. Her retribution involved dismantling the organization to which she was once bound by blood.
As the Huntress, Helena armed herself with crossbow and knife, stalking Gotham’s organized crime figures with a violent intent. The city’s Dark Knight defender, Batman, has tried time and again to temper her methods, even nominating her for membership in the Justice League of America, though he later had her membership revoked. But through it all, the Huntress remained unwilling to compromise her convictions.
Most recently, Helena found herself a pawn of Checkmate, an ultra-secret law-enforcement agency which offered the Huntress its “Queen” position in exchange for information on the Dark Knight. With Batman’s help, Helena accepted Checkmate’s offer without betraying him. There is little doubt that the Huntress plans to extricate herself from Checkmate’s control.
Time will tell if Oracle has the means, or the desire, to make the Huntress another of her trusted Birds of Prey.
NOTE ON HUNTRESS CONTINUITY: While doing research, Barbara put together that Huntress and Helena Bertinelli were one in the same, when Tim solicated her help to prove that Helena was innocent of the killing of mobsters (Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood #3). Barbara discovered that Helena lost her entire family and commented that both she and Bruce lost their parents at eight years old.
The only surving member of the Bertinelli family, the Huntress exists, in her mind, to do nothing but destroy the Mafia, the same organization she was born to, the same group ultimately responsible for the murders of all her relations.
Isolated and manipulated by the Batman during the course of No Man’s Land, Huntress took four bullets from the Joker’s gun in an attempt to save innocent lives. Now nearly recovered from those injuries, she feels more alone in her fight against the Mafia than ever.
Pursing her vendetta with an ever more savage fury, the Batman once again keeps a wary eye on her actions, waiting for her to cross the line. Since the rebuilding of Gotham, another has watched her as well - a man known as The Question.
As the “Anastasia of Gotham,” Bertinelli is the sole survivor of a slaughter that robbed her of her parents and closest relatives, the Bertinelli crime family. In a quest for vengeance, Helena echoed the Batman’s own history and become the Huntress, seeking out the hired gun, Omerta the Silencer, who had murdered her family.
Later she preyed upon other Gotham criminals, meting out swift justice in her own fashion and insulating herself inside an apartment peopled by computer-recorded wraiths to conceal her identity. Helena is a true study in contradictions: by day, the “no-nonsense” inner city English teacher working for pitiful wages while driving a Lamborghini; by night, a sleek femme fatale guarding the inner city. Though her violent methods are frowned upon by the Batman, who remembers all too well what the role of costumed crimefighter cost Batgirl [Barbara Gordon], in may ways Helena seeks the Dark Knight’s approval and continues her vigilante career in her own corner of Gotham to prove her mettle to the Dark Knight.
Though her path has frequently crossed with the Batman, the Huntress has more often teamed with Robin, who knows the Huntress’s true identity, much to her dismay. However, it is a secret he has kept from his mentor.
“Take A Word From Someone Who Knows, Bittybat. You’re Not Special. You’re Just Another One Of His Tools. He’ll Use You Until You’re Broken, Or Until You Break One Of His Rules. Then He’ll Get You Killed.”—Huntress to Sasha Bordeaux - Detective Comics 763