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Huntress: Year One Vol 1 2

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"Part II "La Donna E Mobile"": An unarmed Helena Rosa Bertinelli is surrounded by armed police officers in the Palermo police department. It wasn't until she saw her would-be older brother, Salvatore Asaro--one of the assassins who helped raise her from the


Quote1 We all think we're one of the good guys. Quote2
-- Tomaso Panessa



Appearing in Part II "La Donna E Mobile"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Villains:

Other Characters:

Locations:

  • Palermo, Sicily
    • Police station
    • Opera house
  • The Pope's villa
    • Chapel

Items:

  • Night vision goggles

Synopsis for Part II "La Donna E Mobile"

An unarmed Helena Rosa Bertinelli is surrounded by armed police officers in the Palermo police department. It wasn't until she saw her would-be older brother, Salvatore Asaro--one of the assassins who helped raise her from the age of eight--jailed and appearing broken down that she decided to break him out, and is now coming to the realization that it's a bad idea. Before the situation can get worse, however, an officer gets a message over his walkie-talkie saying to back down and they, unhappily, allow her to leave unpunished.

Outside, in her Uncle Tommy's town car, he freaks out when she tells him what she tried to do. On their way to the Pope's villa he tells her he has no idea who could have made the call to get her out of the station without being arrested, pointing out that, if anything, people would have a reason to get rid of her.

Helena Bertinelli 006

Helena's vision of marriage.

Arriving at the Villa, Tommy reintroduces her to her Aunt Graziella and cousin Monica, the latter of which immediately begins to complain about Helena sharing the room she's in and using her stuff. After he tells her that there's also another family, the Angelos, at the villa she excuses herself to the Pope's personal chapel. While she's praying, a stranger, whom she pegs as an American right away, enters to do the same. She gets a look into the mans eyes when he helps her off of her knees and has a flash of a vision of the two of them getting married. The vision unsettles her and she runs from the church, stranger in tow, introducing himself as Tony Angelo.

Later, at a dinner attended by both families, Nino mentions that Tony tells him he remembers Helena from kindergarten in Gotham. When he euphemistically brings up the murder of her family that sent her to Sicily, she replies with a detailed description of the night, down to the their listening to Puccini. When Tony asks how she learned to recognize the likes of Puccini and talk back so skilfully on a farm she tells them about her tutor Justina, who took her to the opera and taught her not to take any shit from men.

For the next couple of weeks Tony makes himself a fixture in her life by already being in the chapel whenever she arrives. Unable to visit Sal because of her actions in the police station, she's forced to read about about his trial--for 18 murders--in the newspaper. She also observes that her Uncle Tommy is never in any meetings between Nino Angelo and the Pope--who seems to be one of the top men in Sicily to her. She's made to share a room with Monica, who hates her, but since she's planning to leaving soon she didn't care.

On the eve of her 21st birthday, Helena and Tony take a walk on the villa grounds. As a gift, Tommy gives Helena his mother's rosary, which she declines saying as something he should give to his children. They almost kiss, but Helena runs away telling him he scares her. While she runs, Tony tells her the same thing, that she's scared him since kindergarten.

Returning to her room, Helena finds blood on the door, Monica beaten up among a mess inside. She implores Helena help her clean up the mess and leave it be or her whole family will be killed, allowing Helena to draw the conclusion that Nino is responsible. She offers to teach her to fight back, but she yells back that not everyone can fight men and even if she could it would still be happening. When her father comes in, Monica tells him Helena is responsible for her beating. Believing her, Tommy slaps Helena and tells her to get her inheritance tomorrow and get out of their lives.

While she walks out of the building, holding back tears, she recalls going to the opera with her tutor Justina. While they watch, Helena asks why there are no women heroes, and Justina tells her there are and that there was even a female Pope whom she considers one of her heroes. The tutor tells young Helena that in operas women only matter if they're "young, innocent, and die" and imparts the wisdom that "men can't handle women their own age", "innocence is overrated" and "you must promise to outlive them all." When she repeats her tutors claims of a female pope at home the next day, Nicola Asaro smacks her. Sal steps in, reminding his father of their agreement that he'll obey his order and take his abuse in exchange for his leaving her alone. Saying "fine" he slaps his son a couple times.

Entering another building, Helena confronts Nino Angelo. After she angrily reminds him that Monica is only 16, he tells her that he only likes "good girls", it's his son who likes "whores". She begins to warn him off of speaking ill of Tommy, but he cuts her off by pulling a gun. He explains "power" to her, telling her that if he killed her in that room her uncle Tommy and "beloved" Tony would clean up her body for him. He says the gun is not his power, offering it to her to shoot him with, telling her that he's not afraid to die because everyone else is. He tells her that that was a valuable lesson he just taught her, much like he taught Monica when she tried to end their relationship, and now he gets to teach Monica another one for telling.

Nino Angelo 001

The very first costume Helena Bertinelli would wear to seek justice.

Leaving, Helena plans to go see Sal in the morning, the only person who can advise her on what to do. When she goes into the home she's staying in she finds her Uncle Tommy seated in a chair, drinking a glass of whiskey, who tells her that Sal has been killed in a prison fight. Further he says he can't take Helena back to America after what she did to Monica, then admits she doesn't even run Gotham anymore. Later that night Helena dresses in an elaborate costume, sneaks in through Tony Angelo's window and delivers a swift beating with a bat.

The next day, she visits her lawyer about her trust fund who tells her that the Bertinelli fortune--including the Chicago, New York, and Gotham families--comes to less than €2million. Knowing he's lying, she reaches across his desk with a letter opener threatening to cut his tongue out. She bargains with him, if he tells her where the rest of the money is she'll pretend to believe him and find the money on her own.

She finds Tony when she returns to the Pope's chapel, who tells her that his father was beaten by a group of thugs the night before and his family is leaving for Gotham early. He was waiting, hoping she'd come back for him, which she did, but to say goodbye. Tony confesses that on the day they met in the chapel he had a vision of them being married there and admits that every time he says the Sacred Heart prayer he thinks of her, not God. They share their first kiss, and he asks her to come back to Gotham with him. Helena tells him no, she says she's never going back to Gotham but asks him to stay in Sicily with her. Tony says he can't, he has to be there for his recovering father and to take over the family business. Mentioning Monica upsets Helena, who flees the room telling Tony that they can't be together because there's too much they don't know about each other.

The lawyer informed Helena that her missing money was to be divvied up among in the catacombs beneath the opera, providing those involved with alibis. Clad in an all black bodysuit with a weapons belt she watches six people, five men and one woman, enter a room. The things the lawyer said when questioned; "It isn't family", "It is the thing itself", "The hand is getting a new finger, there must be blood on the money, evidence to bond the new finger to the hand", provide no clues as to who is behind this, but as she bursts into the room--finding a woman tied to a chair, five men standing around her--she realizes some of them look familiar.



Notes

  • The title of this story, "La Donna E Mobile" is a reference to a song (specifically a canzone) from the opera Rigoletto. Not only is the opera performed at a crucial point in this issue, but the very scene with the songs reprise is being shown.

Trivia

  • Helena refers to herself as "an Italian Anastasia", a reference to the lost Russian "princess" who was rumored to have escaped the execution of her family and been the last surviving member of the removed from office Russian Royal family.
  • During her first trip to the chapel, Helena prays versions of Rosary prayers, though she doesn't appear to be holding a Rosary in her hands. The beads are not required to pray the rosary, they're used to allow a person to keep track of where they are in their prayers so they can concentrate on the prayer itself.
  • There are long held legends of a female pope, Pope Joan, who supposedly reigned for just under three years hiding her true self by dressing as a man, being killed when she was found out. The legend is not believed by most serious scholars.



See Also


Recommended Reading


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