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Arrow Casts Jessica De Gouw as Fledgling Vigilante and Female DC Superhero The Huntress

Great Hera!

Arrow just keeps packing on the things that are guaranteed to get my attention. While I was sitting around waiting for them to give me some real info on whether their Dinah “Laurel” Lance will ever actually get to be Black Canary, the character’s superhero alterego in comics, they went ahead and cast John Barrowman as a mysterious rich guy. But now comes the reveal that the Huntress, a character with decades of history among the Bat-family and otherwise Gotham, will be introduced to the show in a multi-episode story arc, as a vigilante just like lead character Oliver Queen… She’ll be played by Jessica De Gouw, and naturally will be a “potential love interest.”

Huntress has had a number of incarnations so far, but her first as a superhero was in an alternate Earth version of the DC universe in the late seventies. In Earth-Two (among other differences), everybody was just a bit older than the basic DCU, and Helena was the daughter of Batman and Catwoman, a lawyer, and a vigilante. Post-Crisis continuity changed this origin significantly to bring her into the regular DCU, with a new background as the daughter of a Mafia family slaughtered in the cause of “business,” who vows to end organized crime once and for all (her civillian identity was as a teacher). In this incarnation she was frequently at odds with the rest of the Batfamily. Batman considered her too extreme (because maiming people with your fists is fine, but shooting people with crossbows apparently crosses a line… though to be fair, Huntress wasn’t above straight up murder when she had to) and at the same time didn’t think she was skilled enough or good enough at taking orders to be brought fully into his confidences. She had a healthy relationship with the Birds of Prey, led by Barbara Gordon, former Batgirl and 100% Batman confidant, and later with the Question (Renee Montoya).

These days, in the New 52, she’s again the daughter of Batman and Catwoman, and good friends with Power Girl… from Earth 2, where the two of them were Robin and Supergirl respectively. Now trapped in the main DCU after watching their mentors die in a giant battle, they’re trying to keep their alternate universe origins secret while finding a way back to whatever’s left of their own world as the Huntress and Power Girl.

This is actually not the first time the Huntress has appeared in live-action television. She was also (almost in name only) a major character of the short-lived series Birds of Prey in the early 2000’s, and… was also, uh, in one of those infamous Legends of the Superheroes TV specials from the 70s. Here’s how her part is described in Arrow:

Helena is a potential love interest for Oliver Queen; a fellow vigilante, set on destroying her father’s organized crime empire. But Helena’s blind pursuit of revenge will put her on a collision course with the Arrow.

I wonder if this is going to be the typical case of “hero is tempted by attractive lady with same cause but more ruthless methods” story that always ends in “hero decides he must remain ideologically (and implied sexually) pure by disassociating with attractive lady.” Hard to tell where Arrow‘s moral compass is going to land: will a wide audience really be able to believe an archer character who never actually fatally wounds somebody? We’ll have to wait and see.

(via DC Women Kicking Ass.)

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