We have got another collection of rapid-fire origin stories in this month’s Secret Origins, a book entirely intent of proving the point that beginnings will always sell. This month features one superhero staple and two of his lesser known baddie-beating buddies: The Flash, Huntress, and Superboy. I had not picked up an issue of Secret Origins yet, but seeing as how Huntress was featured in Worlds’ Finest, and now Earth 2 and Earth 2: World’s End, it seemed like a good time to check out this series.
Let’s take a quick look at the other two tales before moving on to Huntress. I have only read Barry Allen’s childhood tale maybe one or two times, but I know the basics. Young Barry comes home to find his mother murdered and his father charged with the crime. Barry does not believe it, however, and sets out as a forensic detective to solve the crime and bring in the real person behind her death. One night in the lab, he’s struck by a bolt of lightning that is actually the mythical Speed Force, which turns him into the legendary speedster. This is all brought to light in the form of a phone conversation that Barry has with his father, who is still behind bars. It was a cool medium to tell the story. More importantly, I could just watch speedsters all day when drawn properly. Robert Venditti and Van Jansen craft a well-done, if not par-for-the-course origin story for Barry, but the scenes by Miguel Sepulveda, Scott Hanna, and Andrew Dalhouse are some of the best for the speedster that I’ve seen in the New 52. Granted, most of my experience is with Jay Garrick in Earth 2, but it was nice to just look at here.
This one will be a lot faster, as I could talk about Flash for the entire article (it’s weird, I know). Kon-El, better known as Superboy, was bred as a clone of a potential child that Superman might have had later in life. I don’t get why they didn’t just try to clone Superman, but then again my experience with Superboy is Young Justice, making me nowhere near the most versed person on the subject. It was a cool little story, with Kon-El sorting out his feelings during a conversation with a doctor that ranges from life with the Teen Titans to his first meeting with Superman.
“Two Names & Two Worlds” featuring The Huntress
Let’s get to Helena Wayne, better known as The Huntress, formerly the Robin of Earth 2 and daughter of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle. I know that some people suggested that a better origin would be Helena Bertinelli, but I’m an H. Wayne fan to the end. A little bit about Helena as she’s represented in the New 52 so far; she was first seen in Worlds’ End across Kara Zor-El, also known as Powergirl and was by far the better of the two to read in that book. While she was known to be moody and had many characteristics not normally attributed to a Wayne – lack of confidence, indecision – she was not only more real but also the deeper character. After being sent to Earth 2 following the death of her parents and the events of the First Apokolips War, she and Kara worked to fight crime on Earth-Prime, trying to find their way home. It was like Quantum Leap met Samurai Jack, only a serious lack of professional-grade writing and decent artwork held the book back. Once she found her way back to Earth 2, she met up with her grandfather and the other Wonders of the world, and is now fighting to save the world from the newest Apokolips incursion.
The artwork, the great, glorious artwork. I am in no way hyperbolizing when I say this is some of my favorite artwork in any comic I’ve ever seen. I absolutely loved how Helena was drawn and portrayed, and the bright coloring of Jonboy Meyers burst off the pages. There is an anime feel to the characters, the large eyes and facial features, the liquid movements, and the dramatic details to things like armor all contribute to what I enjoy seeing on the small screen. The moments between Selina and Helena were also very endearing.
There is also two very cool action sequences, and a brief look into the training regimen that was employed by Bruce and Selina on Earth 2. Dodging bullets, climbing ropes, hand-to-hand combat, and propelling through the city all are on display here as Helena works her way from the Batcave to a full role as Robin. Later in the story, there are two pages that highlight her meeting with Powergirl, as shown in Worlds’ Finest #0, and the events of Earth 2 #1. For those not reading Earth 2 or World’s End, this short story provides a very tiny insight into what’s been going on.
Helena fails her first mission on Earth-Prime. I get that she had to deal with losing her entire world and everything, but she’s Robin, trained by not only Batman but Catwoman, too. She should be spurred to succeed even more, and not rely on Kara so much, which was one of my major problems with Worlds’ Finest.
Selena’s costume. Oh dear, it’s ugly. Really ugly. Remember Helena Bertinelli’s ugly costume from No Man’s Land and Hush? It’s like that, but worse. Wow. I’m going to play Catwoman’s arc in Arkham City now to purge that image. Also, making very obvious sexual references in front of your single-digit-aged daughter is a little unappealing.
Favorite Quote: “I really liked dodging bullets.” – Helena Wayne
- You’re a fan of Barry Allen, Helena Wayne, or Kon-El.
- You want some awesome Jonboy Meyers work.
One standard tale for Flash, an intriguing but, for me, uninteresting story for Kon-El, and a wonderful origin for Huntress all come together to make this an enjoyable read going forward. If it was just Helena’s origin, this would get an easy 9 for me.