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"Part I: Girls Can't Be Pope": Helena Bertinelli is living alone on the Asaro farm in Sicily. She uses a crossbow to hunt deer, not even feeling her pulse rise with the kill, operating the weapon with the skill taught to her by the assassins who raised her f

Quote1.png Everything's always okay until someone hunts you down and kills you. Quote2.png
Helena Bertinelli

Huntress: Year One #1 is an issue of the series Huntress: Year One (Volume 1) with a cover date of July, 2008. It was published on May 14, 2008.

Synopsis for "Part I: Girls Can't Be Pope"

Helena Bertinelli is living alone on the Asaro farm in Sicily. She uses a crossbow to hunt deer, not even feeling her pulse rise with the kill, operating the weapon with the skill taught to her by the assassins who raised her from the time she was eight until they were all arrested five years ago. Cleaning and dressing the deer she recalls leaving the farmhouse for school, only to return to the empty farmhouse. Finding something still warm in the carcass she flashes back to the night her real family was killed.

The Bertinelli family is killed at the dinner table.

That night Franco Bertinelli arrived home and began to beat his wife Maria for not having his dinner prepared, despite her protestations that it was ready. His children, Helena (8) and Pino, hid behind the couch, Helena telling Pino that according to her friend, their father is the crime boss in charge of Gotham City. Changing the subject, Pino told his sister his plans to be a baseball player when he grows up so he can leave Gotham, to which Helena countered with desires to be Pope so she could guarantee their father would go to hell. Unfortunately her brother tells her girls aren't allowed to be pope.

During that nights dinner, Helena coldly told her father that she prayed for his death, prompting him to joke that perhaps she should take over the "family business" instead of Pino. As a cloud of anger set over the table, Franco apologized to his wife for having upset everyone. She offered to forget about it, setting off a conversation that would forever stay in Helena's mind:

Quote1.pngEverything is going to be okay.Quote2.png: Franco
Quote1.pngOf course it is.Quote2.png: Maria

Not long after that a masked man entered the house and shot her family to death, sparing her for some reason.

She remembers that event vividly as she watches an out of place car drive near the farmhouse entrance. As three men get out of the car and walk to the door she remembers that her families killer stood in the dinning room doorway for a moment--a moment she could have done something but didn't. No longer allowing moments like that to pass, she takes the men down as soon as they enter.

Remembering once again, she recalls her families killer snatching the cross from around her neck before leaving. She's come to the conclusion that she was spared because of the old saying about not leaving your enemies son alive for fear of revenge, but there's no such saying about daughters. Not only was her family killed, but the Bertinellis of Chicago and New York were whipped out as well.

Presently she's tied her three mystery men up and taken one of their guns. Sneaking into the back of the towncar she's shocked to find her Uncle Tommy, who's almost as shocked to see her pointing a gun at her. They walk back through the house, where Tommy disapproves of his men but approves of Helena as "last of the Bertinellis." Later, in the kitchen, they discuss her pending 21st birthday, at which she becomes eligible to receive her trust. They also discuss the Asaro family, all of whom were surprisingly arrested five years ago.

Bringing them up causes Helena to reflect back on Salvatore Asaro, a polar opposite from his father Nicola. Salvatore stepped in as a brother figure when she arrived, comforting her, accompanying her to church, and training her to fight. In exchange, however, he was made to do things for his father which left him open to arrest later. Now that he's on her mind, Helena asks Tommy to arrange a visit with him.

Helena's first use of the word "Huntress"

Helena packs a bag and leaves with Tommy to stay at a villa belonging to "the Pope"--a business associate so named because he's so devout he had a chapel built in his backyard. As they leave the farmhouse Tommy tells Helena not to look back, and she replies Genesis 19:26, impressing him with her knowledge of the bible. During the ride she considers different possible meanings of the actual verse before going on to think more about Salvatore.

She reminisces about walking with Salvatore and discussing semantics, specifically if it's sexist to use the word actress instead of actor and the use of He and Him when speaking of God. As they begin to discuss the difference between hero and heroine a boar charges them, spearing Sal. Unable to get a shot with her crossbow, Helena leaps onto the creature, stabbing it in the neck to save her would be big brother. Sal tells her she's the greatest hunter he's ever seen as she helps him walk home, the boars head in her free hand, only to have her correct him that she's a huntress.

Presently, Helena has arrived in Palermo to visit Sal in jail. After getting checked for weapons she decides that Sal looks horrible, then leaps up from her chair and begins attacking officers telling Sal she's not leaving without him. Unfortunately for her, the room is simply filled with officers with guns and she is unarmed.

Appearing in "Part I: Girls Can't Be Pope"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

  • Tomaso Panessa
  • Sal Asaro (Flashback and main story)


Other Characters:





  • Angeli miei, which Maria calls out to her children behind the couch, translates from Italian to "my angels".
  • Helena, chronologically, calls herself Huntress for the first time in this issue, though not in the same context as she will in her later life.

See Also

Recommended Reading

Links and References