- "Do you know who I am? They call me... Huntress."
Helena Bertinelli was the young daughter of the Bertinelli crime family, once the most powerful and richest crime family in Gotham City. One day after coming home from school, she witnessed the slaughter of her entire family in a mob hit. Shielded by her mother and brother, she was secretly taken away by one of the mobsters to be raised by his father and brother in Italy. There, she underwent years of arduous training, all with the intent of taking revenge on those who had massacred her family.
Years later, she returned to Gotham City, taking up a crossbow and taking out those responsible for her family's death before they even know what hit them. As she left a trail of crossbow-inflected murders, she became known as the "Crossbow Killer," much to her chagrin, as she thought of herself as "Huntress." One night, she killed one of her enemies at a nightclub around the same time that Harley Quinn declared her emancipation from the Joker by ramming a truck into Ace Chemicals. The attack was investigated by Renee Montoya, a detective of the Gotham City Police Department, who was also pursuing an investigation into the activities of the crime lord Roman Sionis.
In pursing Zsasz, Helena followed him and Dinah Lance to an abandoned fun house. They had arrived in order to retrieve the Bertinelli Diamond from Harley Quinn and Cassandra Cain. While the retrieval went sour, Helena killed Zsasz just as he was about to kill Dinah and Cassandra, saving their lives. She initially thought that her work was done, but Renee explained that the person who was truly responsible for the death of her family was Sionis, who had just arrived with a small army. After Harley made a plea for all five of them - Harley, Helena, Dinah, Cassandra, and Renee - to work together, Helena reluctantly agreed to team up in order to escape the fun house. Together, they successfully made it to the entrance of the building, but failed to keep Cain safe, who was taken by Sionis.
After escaping the fun house, Helena helped Harley chase after Sinois and Cain by using her motorcycle to pull Harley along on her roller skates behind her.
After Quinn saved Cain, Helena joined the rest of the team for celebratory margaritas, and was present when Quinn and Cain made off with the diamond and Lance's car.
Birds of Prey
After this ordeal, Huntress joined up with Dinah and Montoya to form the Birds of Prey. While Quinn took the diamond, she did give the information hidden inside to Helena so that she was able to reclaim her family's money. Helena used the fortune to fund the group.
Many aspects of Helena's personality seem to stem from the drive to get revenge on the murder of her family and being trained to become an assassin for the majority of her life. She has some anger issues, as shown when she aggressively denied that she even has some to Black Canary. This is shown early on when a stranger taunts her and she violently incapacitates him and his friends.
Her training has made her a ruthless and efficient assassin, but she has trouble when it comes to certain social situations, often times behaving unsure in casual settings, or laughing at the fact that Quinn stole Dinah Lance's car. This extended to introducing and establishing herself as the Huntress, which she also found difficult. As a result of this, she came to known by the much less glamorous alias of the "Crossbow Killer," which also greatly annoyed her.
Despite her rage and awkwardness, Helena does occasionally show a softer side, as when comforting Cain during the attack at the Booby Trap by sharing her prized toy car.
- "She spends the next 15 years thinking only of revenge. So, she starts training. When she was ready, and by "ready," I mean a badass motherfucking killing machine, she moves back to Gotham. Starts working on that kill list. She has the murder stuff down, but the rest? Still a work in progress."
- ―Harley Quinn[src]
- Peak human condition: Helena was trained by ruthless assassins for 15 years, and as such, her body is in prime physical condition. Her reflexes are faster than most, able to gun down four men sitting at a table while dodging shots fired at her. Her strength, speed, agility, and endurance are all exceptional, allowing her to easily face down most opponents she encounters.
- Expert acrobat: Helena is an agile individual who can scale over obstacles with little issue. While in the abandoned amusement park she was able to jump onto props to evade attack as well as jump from a slide and attach herself to the top while shifting from front to back easily.
- Master markswoman: Her crossbow arrows always find their target. She is lethal with this weapon and can fire from various ranges. When fighting off Black Mask's thugs she was able to kill many of them with one shot. When tracking down the men who killed her family, she would aim for the neck so they would die slower. In addition to her crossbow, Helena is very skilled at using guns. In her introduction, she pulls and fires a gun with incredible speed and perfect accuracy, taking out four armed men within seconds.
- Master martial artist: Since she was a little girl, she was trained by two ruthless assassins who taught her how to fight. Helena was able to hold her own against several Black Mask’s thugs when fighting them off.
- Knife mastery: Helena was able to hurl a knife into the shoulder of a mob boss from a distance. She was even able to use a knife to kill a henchman while going down a slide. She can throw knives with lethal force and perfect accuracy.
- Master assassin: Being trained to kill since childhood, Helena is an extremely skilled killer. Helena was able to successfully track down all the men responsible for her family's death and kill them all without being caught. She was also able to kill four men within thirty seconds using her handgun, a throwing knife, and her signature crossbow.
- Stealth expertise: In seeking revenge, she sneaks up upon her enemies, such that she can strike without them ever being aware they are in danger. Helena can break into homes, such as the mansion of one of the men responsible for her family's death, and escape without leaving any trace.
- Bilingualism: Helena speaks English and Mandarin Chinese, allowing her to communicate with Doc on a native level. It's also likely she speaks and understands Italian and/or Sicilian due to spending much of her life in Italy.
- Expert cyclist: Helena is very skilled at driving a motorcycle.
- Crossbow pistol: Helena uses this handled version of a crossbow as her main weapon of choice. She also carries extra bolts for it on her left thigh. She mainly uses it in long-range combat but can use the bolt in the crossbow as a close-quarters weapon.
- Handgun: Helena uses this handgun which she carries on her right thigh.
- Tactical knife: Helena carries this tactical knife holstered on her right leg, using it in close quarters combat.
- Throwing knife: Helena used this throwing knife during an attack on some mobsters.
- Huntress suit: When on her mission of revenge, Helana originally wore a dark purple leather outfit when operating as Huntress. However, after creating the Birds of Prey, she wore a more stylized version of her purple outfit. It has a black vest with a white pattern on it and googles with lenses that can be retracted sideways.
- Motorcycle: Helena uses this motorcycle to travel around the city.
- Bertinelli diamond: The heirloom of the Bertinelli Crime Family, it becomes hers by right following the massacre of her family. She uses it to unlock her family's fortune and uses it to fund her team, the Birds of Prey.
- Toy purple car: Just before the firing squad shot her family, Helena's younger brother handed her a toy purple car, which she has appeared to keep on her person ever since. The car appears to be a sort of calming token for her, as she hands it to Cassandra Cain to calm her down during the attack on the Booby Trap.
Behind the scenes
- Hayley Wright, Dena Sodano and Jolene Van Vugt were stunt doubles for Mary Elizabeth Winstead in the role of Huntress.
- Huntress in the DC Extended Universe is the second live-action incarnation of the character, following an incarnation portrayed by Jessica De Gouw.