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|“||Do you know who I am? They call me... Huntress.||„|
|~ Huntress's introduction.|
Helena Bertinelli, better known as Huntress and "The Crossbow Killer" is the tritagonist villain of the 2020 superhero film Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), the eighth installment of the DC Extended Universe. She is the former heir to the Bertinelli crime family turned murderous vigilante who is obsessed with getting revenge upon her family's killers, and later one of the founding members of the titular Birds of Prey.
Helena was born as the daughter of Franco and Maria Bertinelli of the Bertinelli crime family; the richest and most infamous crime family in Gotham City. However, while returning home one day, Helena found her entire family being held at gunpoint by Stefano Galante and his men, and joined her parents shortly before Galante ordered to have them all killed. While Galante's men were searching the bodies for the Bertinelli Diamond, which the crime family had embedded with the account numbers to their fortune, one of Galante's men that did not participate in the massacre found Helena alive and, feeling remorse, covered up her survival and helped smuggle her out of Gotham. Being taken to Sicily, Helena was then raised by the man and his family who also happened to be master assassins, spending the rest of her life training with them while planning to get revenge upon Galante and his gunmen. At some point, she created the persona of Huntress during her training, while also seemingly working on perfecting her way of introducing herself at different points as well.
Tracking Her Family's Killers
Years later, Helena, using her Huntress alias, returned to Gotham City to exact her vengeance, first assassinating Galante in his bed by shooting him in the throat with her crossbow pistol; because of this, she would end up being nicknamed "The Crossbow Killer" by the media, much to her annoyance. Later on, she targeted Carlo Rossi, one of Galante's former men that was responsible for shooting her family, approaching him while he was at a restaurant close to Ace Chemicals, first killing his bodyguards before embedding a knife in his shoulder and shooting him in the throat like she had with Galante. GCPD detectives Renee Montoya and Tim Munroe investigate Huntress' killings afterwards, with Montoya correctly deducing that "The Crossbow Killer" got in close to kill Rossi's bodyguards before finishing him off, noting that she wanted him to die slowly from the arrow. Roman Sionis later hears about the Crossbow Killer's murders from his right-hand Vicor Zsasz and becomes enraged that his men are being killed off without his permission, expressing his desire to know who the Crossbow Killer is and control them.
Next, Huntress targets Happy and kills him instantly just as he is about to attack Harley Quinn in revenge for the disfigurement she and the Joker had given him before their break-up. As Harley spots her, Huntress rides away on her motorcycle moments before Sionis' men surround and capture her. After Harley takes Cassandra Cain back to her apartment above Doc's restaurant, Huntress reappears and meets Doc, ordering food. Then, speaking to him in Chinese, she asks if he really knows everybody in Gotham and can provide her with information, with Doc presumably helping her.
Fighting Black Mask
That night, Huntress follows after Zsasz and Dinah Lance on her motorcycle as they are driving to the Gotham Mile amusement park to obtain Cassandra from Harley. While Zsasz is confronting Dinah over her betrayal and trying to force her to cut Cassandra open to retrieve the Bertinelli diamond she stole/swallowed, Huntress arrives and shoots Zsasz in the neck, killing him. A stand-off quickly occurs between Huntress, Dinah, Cassandra, Harley and a recovered Montoya, where the others recognize her as the Crossbow Killer, although she angrily denies using that alias. She then reveals that Zsasz was the last of her family's killers and that with him and the others dead she has now avenged her family and can retire from her vigilantism; however, Harley points out that Sionis was the one that funded Galante's hit on her family in the first place in order to get his hands on the Bertinelli Diamond.
While Sionis (as Black Mask) and his gang begin to gather outside the park, Huntress and the others decide to team up in order to stop him and defend Cassandra, arming themselves with a cache of weapons that Harley and Joker had previously left in the park, although Huntress still decides to use her crossbow. When Dinah questions this, Huntress snaps at her, causing the former to remark on her anger issues, which she denies having; Harley adding that revenge rarely ever gives a person catharsis. Once Black Mask's henchmen begin storming the building through the roof, Huntress and the others kill most of their attackers before escaping down a slide, where Huntress jumps on top of and violently stabs one of the gang members who had followed after them to death, much to the other's surprise. Huntress and the others continue to fight off the gang members until being cornered and outgunned at the entrance, where Cassandra is abducted while she and the others run out of ammunition, forcing Dinah to use her Canary Cry to knock out all of their attackers while allowing Harley to pursue his car on her rollerblades. Huntress soon arrives on her motorcycle to help Harley catch up, although ends up crashing in the process. She then appears with Montoya and Dinah on Founder's Pier after Cassandra manages to kill Black Mask with one of Harley's grenades, celebrating their victory.
Forming the Birds of Prey
Following Black Mask's death, Huntress and the others are seen eating at a Mexican restaurant, bonding with one another after their battle. Once Harley and Cassandra leave to the bathroom, Montoya remarks to her and Dinah that, although Black Mask is gone, someone will eventually try and take his place, and that they should continue to clean up Gotham together, with both agreeing. Suddenly, the three of them see Harley and Cassandra steal Dinah's car and escape, causing Huntress to laugh. Afterwards, using the account numbers inside the Bertinelli Diamond, Huntress is able to acquire her family's fortune and uses it to fund her, Montoya and Dinah's crime-fighting efforts as the Birds of Prey, while Harley pawns the diamond in order to start her own business with Cassandra.
Not much is known about Huntress prior to her family's death, however it is shown that she had a deep love for both her parents and relatives, thus being devastated by her loss. After their deaths, she would become almost entirely dedicated to taking vengeance on their killers even as a child, shown in her drawing pictures of her killing them, which was brought to fruition by her training as an assassin. Her desire for revenge also led to her becoming incredibly sadistic when dispatching her targets, as Montoya notes that her method of shooting her victims in the throat with her crossbow is intended to cause them a slow, painful death. While seeking her family's killers, she also doesn't bother to deal with other criminals in her path of vengeance, never trying to kill/apprehend Harley when they meet despite her status as an infamous criminal in Gotham and only saving her from Mr. Happy because he was her target, showing her rather single-minded pursuit of justice for her family.
While a cunning and ruthless assassin, she seems to possess lacking social skills (likely a result of her isolation for much of her life and focus on obtaining vengeance), reacting awkwardly when with Montoya and Dinah and laughing inappropriately when the latter's car is stolen by Harley. She also appears to have trouble introducing herself as Huntress, being shown practicing her voice in the mirror presumably before carrying out any of her killings. Despite denying having any anger issues, she is wrathful and incredibly easy to annoy, lashing out when directly called the Crossbow Killer instead of her chosen alias and showing incredibly violent tendencies when dealing with Black Mask's minions, stabbing one of them multiple times in a rage.
Despite all that, she does have a slight compassionate and sympathetic side. When she and the others were fighting the mercenaries at Amusement Mile, she told Cassandra to hide, not wanting her to experience the same trauma she had. She even gave her the same toy car her younger brother gave her, telling her to focus on it and ignore all the killing around her.
- The DCEU's incarnation is the second live-action depiction of the Helena Bertinelli Huntress, the first being the Arrowverse version.