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Your Top DC Heroes part 41

Written by Chris Mitchell on Thursday, January 21 2010 and posted in Features
Two ladies and a cool dude.


70. The Huntress (41 points)

huntress.jpg"She's a badass. Nuff said."

"Gail Simone made me a big fan of hers."

You know what I hate? "Nuff said" Seriously, when people say that I wanna punch them.

As a child, Helena Bertinelli witnessed the murders of her mob-connected crime family. Helena dedicated her life to one day destroying the Gotham City Mafioso as the relentless Huntress.

Introduced in April of 1989 in Huntress #1, Helena Rosa Bertinelli was born into one of Gotham City’s biggest Mafia families. When she was only six years old, she was kidnapped and raped by a man from a rival Gotham Mafia Family. Her parents decided to send Helena to boarding school and hired her a personal bodyguard that would protect her as she grew up. She was sent to Europe for protection. At the age of 15 she learned that she came from one of Gotham City’s most influential Mafia families. When Helena was at a family wedding, her entire family was massacred by another Mafia family. She swore to rid Gotham of Mafia families and began her journey to become a vigilante. She traveled the world with her bodyguard Sal, who trained her in hand-to-hand combat. 
Helena’s origins would later be revised during her own limited series. Helena believed her father to be Franco Bertinelli. Helena witnessed her parents’ (Franco Bertinelli and Maria Panessa) murder at the age of 8. The hit was ordered by Steven Mandragora, capo of a local Mafia family. It was later revealed that her father was not Franco Bertinelli, but in fact, Santo Cassamento, the Don of one of Mandragora’s underling families, and the reason she wasn’t killed alongside the Bertinelli's. Helena was soon sent to Sicily to live with her cousins, the Asaros. They were an assassin family, which Helena would use to her advantage to learn how to punish those that destroyed her life. She was taught to defend herself by her cousin, Sal Asaro, member of a Sicilian assassin family, who also trained her in hand to hand combat and in a wide range of weapons. Sal and his father would later be arrested, resulting in Helena being sent off to boarding school in Switzerland. When Helena discovered her families dark secret, that they were involved in organized crime and that her family was one of the largest Mafia families in America, Helena would wage a war against organized crime. At the age of 16 she briefly returned to Gotham in an attempt to discover her family’s assassin while also attending her Mafia uncle’s party. This party was broken up by Batman and Helena became inspired by the crime fighter. When she first saw Batman, she decided to create the Huntress persona in his image. The fear that she saw on her uncles' and cousins' faces made her want to become a vigilante just like the Dark Knight. She eventually took care of both the killer and Mandragora himself.

Helena would later attend the University of Palermo, and upon graduation returned to Gotham indefinitely. After years had gone by, Helena finally discovered the truth about her biological parents and who was responsible for murdering her family. Helena would soon confront Cassamento, who has deduced that Huntress is Helena because of the coincidence in their arrival in Gotham. He threatened to reveal her identity if she did not work for him, however Helena would not give in. She approached her uncle and told him the truth about who killed their family and asked him to kill Cassamento. In the end the plan to set up Santo was a success. What she had set out to do was finally done, Huntress threw away her costume and was left to find who she is.

Helena would team up with Nightwing to fight against the Mafia. During this time the two of them had a fling. Helena confessed to Nightwing that she originally only wanted to get close to him so she could break into the "boys club", but then began to fall for him and slept with him. Nightwing and Helena continued their relationship as friends.

Helena and Batman have never seen eye to eye, and he would rarely accept her as a hero because he believed Helena was too unpredictable and violent. However, Helena does get along with other members of the Bat family such as Tim Drake. The two of them have a good relationship and would also team up together. When Helena was framed for murder, Tim was there to help clear her name. Eventually, Helena would be offered a membership in the Justice League of America. Batman was the reason she was allowed on the Justice League, he would sponsor her. In time, Helena became respected amongst her peers in the Justice League. Also, working with Superman has helped Helena become much more confident in her abilities. She is eventually forced to resign when she attempted to murder the villain Prometheus.

I really could go on about the Birds of Prey, but man, I had a long ass day at work and you know all that stuff. Right?

69. Phantom Stranger (41 points)

phantomstranger.jpgReally? Holy shit did he do good. I am a fan and all that, but this high? Wow. Ok. Whatevs.

Enigmatic and all knowing, at one with the cosmos but forever alone. He travels a dark thoroughfare. He offers guidance, but not answers. To meet him is to know your life at a crossroads. The wrong path can lead to disaster. He is the Phantom Stranger. The origin of the being known only as the Phantom Stranger remains a mystery, though many varying and contradictory theories exist as to his true nature and beginnings. He seems to appear most often to persons who are deeply troubled or confronted by some spiritual or moral dilemma. In these cases he has been known to offer advice or counsel, but always letting the individual decide for themselves. He steers, but cannot lead. That has always been his fate.

Only when some supernatural or physical threat is involved has the Stranger been known to use his powers. However, the limits of his powers - like the Phantom Stranger himself - remain a mystery. They frequently seem to involve the manipulation of supernatural energies, and at other times he has been heard conversing with supernatural beings.

A special issue of Secret Origins, DC gave the Phantom Stranger four possible origins that he could have started from:

1. Says that the Phantom Stranger was a citizen during Biblical times who was spared Gods wrath. He then commits suicide. As punishment for this, an angel forbids his spirit from ever entering the afterlife. The angel reanimates his body and sentences him to walk among humanity forever and yet forever be separate from them.

2. In a variation of the Wandering Jew story, he was an adult family man named Isaac with a wife (Rebecca) and boy at the time when Jesus was a small child. When King Herod sent his army to kill all small male children, to possibly kill Jesus, the army slew his son and wife. This made him angry at Jesus. As Jesus was being tortured, Isaac bribed a guard to assume his role in whipping Jesus. Jesus then sentenced him to walk away from his home and country; to be alone until Doomsday. He spent the rest of his time helping society, even declining God's offer to release him from his sentence.

3. They say that the Phantom Stranger existed in the previous Universe. He approached a group of scientists that were studying the end of the Universe, he told them to not interfere with the conclusion of their Universe. He then passes a portion of himself to one of the scientists and at the beginning of the new universe, that scientist became the new Phantom Stranger.

4. The final says that the Stranger was a Fallen Angel that sided with neither Heaven or Hell during Lucifer’s rebellion against the Presence and then is condemned to Earth alone forever .

68. Raven (42 points - 1 first place slot)

raven.jpg"For her tragic past."

Raven is a veteran member of the New Teen Titans. A character with a morbid past and origin, Raven is the half-breed daughter of a human mother named Arella and the inter-dimensional demon Trigon. She grew up in an alternate dimension called Azarath, where she was taught to "control her emotions" by the goddess Azar, a sworn pacifist, in order to suppress her inherited demonic powers. During this time, Raven rarely saw her mother and grew very detached from her. Upon Azar's death, Raven's demonic heritage was revealed, as she met her father face to face for the first time.

Soon after her 16th birthday, Raven learned that Trigon planned to come to her dimension, and she vowed to stop him. Raven initially approached the Justice League, but they refused her on the advice of Zatanna, who sensed her demonic parentage. In desperation, she reformed the Titans as the New Teen Titans to fight her father.

The team consisted of Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Starfire, Cyborg and Beast Boy. Kid Flash only agreed to let her be a member after Raven used her powers to coerce him into loving her. On another meeting with the Justice League, Zatanna revealed this information, which caused the other Titans to turn away and mistrust Raven. This separation didn't last long when Trigon kidnapped Raven to his home dimension. The team defeated Trigon and sealed him in an inter-dimensional prison with the help of Arella, who stayed at the inter-dimensional door as Trigon's guardian. Raven continued to fight her father's influence, as he was not completely destroyed. For a period of time, Raven lost control several times in high-stress situations, but managed to regain control before Trigon could assert himself. Popular story-lines such as " The Judas Contract" took place during this period. Eventually, however, Trigon escaped his prison, came to Earth and took control of Raven, destroying Azarath in the process. The Titans came together and were forced to kill Raven, thereby allowing the souls of Azarath to possess her and guided by the spirit of Azar, who was acting through the body of the Titans' ally Lilith, used her as a channel to kill Trigon. After this battle, Raven rose again from the ashes, purged of Trigon's evil, and vanished. Even during Crisis on Infinite Earths, Raven was still absent to the point that Anti-Monitor could not detect her whereabouts. Raven was actually in a non-parallel dimension which is the reason Anti-Monitor could not detect her, because he can only see everything in all the parallel universes.

Raven returned years later donning a white cloak. Some time later, after being free to feel, Raven found she was able to not only sense, but control others' emotions; a power she learned to handle only after unintentionally forcing Dick Grayson/Nightwing to love her for a brief time. It was during this incident Starfire and Raven became close friends. Raven also fostered a relationship with technopath Erik Forrester, who was using the life force of women he seduced to regain some of his lost humanity, a result of interfacing with computers. Forrester knew that Raven's soul-self could help him to permanently retain his humanity. This attempt was cut short by the intervention of Joseph Wilson (who helped Raven overcome her love for Forrester by destroying him and saving herself).

Raven's life went on without change until she was kidnapped by the Wildebeest Society during the Titans Hunt storyline. The Wildebeest, lead by the Trigon-possessed souls of Azarath, were going to use several Titans to bring about the return of Trigon. During a massive battle in the remains of Azarath, Raven was possessed by the evil souls and once again became the evil doppelganger of her father. Arella, along with Danny Chase, used the power of Azar's soul to cleanse Raven; however, through the battle, her body was destroyed, and Arella and Danny joined the cleansed souls of Azarath to become Phantasm. Now free of its bodily prison, the evil energy that was Trigon's in Raven's soul took on sentience and possessed a meta-human with a resemblance to Raven. Raven appeared possessed by her evil conscience, and attempted to implant Trigon's seed into new bodies.

She arrived at Nightwing and Starfire's wedding, and implanted a seed into Starfire. Instead of corrupting her, she actually implanted the soul of the good Raven. This caused Starfire to leave Earth in order to escape from the evil Raven, who implanted seeds into several other superheroes. The Titans were able to defeat her with the help of Phantasm. Raven returned later, still evil, in order to destroy the good version of herself implanted in Starfire. The Titans defeated her once again, for the last time. The good Raven became a being of golden energy without a physical body.

She got resurrected again or something after that, banged Gar and then dumped him. Or something.

Love it



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