The Huntress is a vigilante operating out of Gotham City, and a member of the Batman Family. She is also a devout Catholic, and is very in touch with her Italian heritage. Her career is inspired by a personal vendetta against organized crime, responsible for killing her entire family. At first, her ruthless methods and willingness to kill made her an outcast from the heroic community, but in time she learned to temper her methods and became accepted by her peers. She has also been a member of the Justice League and the Birds of Prey.
Maria Bertinelli, the wife of Franco Bertinelli of the Mafia family in Gotham City, was the subject of frequent beatings from her husband, though he was careful never to hit her in the face. Maria began an affair with a man named Santo Cassamento and eventually became pregnant by him. Knowing the unborn child wasn't his, Franco continued to beat his wife throughout her pregnancy. When Maria gave birth to this child of her illicit union, she chose the name Helena Rosa. During the first eight years of Helena's life, she lived in the household of a Mafioso without ever being aware of the criminal dealing which took place there.
When Helena was eight years old, a man barged in to the Bertinelli household during dinner and shot Franco, Maria and Pino Bertinelli, sparing Helena. The hit came from Mandragora who wished for no vendettas against him. Helena's biological father passed the order along with a modification that "the sister" be spared. Santo was referring to Maria. But the gunman confused Maria with Helena and so Helena was spared, though she was not supposed to be.
The story ends with her renouncing the Bertinelli legacy of crime and “baptizing” herself The Huntress.
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