One of the more dominant tropes of “urban” action movies and shows that started with The French Connection and ran right through the Steven Seagal flicks of the early 1990s was that of a neighborhood that resembled a war zone more than an actual city streetscape. I imagine this had to do with New York City’s reputation as said war zone through the late 1970s and through much of the 1980s until its ultimate revitalization was realized under David Dinkins and Rudy Giuliani in the 1990s. The run-down nature of New York City has been a feature of this comic so far, but with this story arc it winds up having a more prominent role as Helena moves into a new apartment in the waterfront, which is incredibly run down.
The story that unfolds is that because a mafioso with an investment in real estate wants to build a headquarters for various media companies and reap the benefits, the waterfront needs to be razed. He enlists the help of a popular TV host who he has basically been helping become big (imagine if Geraldo had mafia connections) to basically stage a gang war in the waterfront to prove to the public that wiping out that entire area and the subsequent investment in commercial real estate is worth it. It goes sideways for the mafia, though, because a local hero appears–not Huntress, but the Waterfront Warrior. He becomes a media darling and Helena winds up spending her time fighting thugs and figuring out who the guy is.
I won’t give away much more than that in case you’re interested in tracking these issues down–I’m sure they’re in a cheap bin or fairly easy to come by on eBay–but I will say that this was a bit of a mixed bag for me. The idea that a Geraldo-type media figure was basically a mafia tool was a good angle, but the mafia guys were a little too typical. I mean, I realize that if the Bertinelli family is going to get knocked off, there’s going to be people who want to come in and take their place, but does everyone have to be a Gotti wannabe? And the reasons that the Waterfront Warrior has for doing what he does are very “comic vigilante 101.”
Still, I liked the concept of the Waterfront Warrior because between the name and the costume that Staton and Smith give him, he looks like the type of “hero” that comes from a guy cobbling something together based on what he knows from a bunch of comic books–which, by the way, is part of his origin and includes a General Glory comic. It winds up being an adequate story, and I wish that Cavalieri would have give us more of what Larry Hama and Joe Jusk would give us in the Marvel series Cops: The Job a few years later, which is a supporting/neighborhood cast of characters that were memorable while also being very typical for the setting.
After this, there is one more three-parter that guest stars Batman and then we have a JLI special, so my time with The Huntress will soon be coming to an end and I’ll make an ultimate decision about whether or not I want to keep these comics. For now, though …
Keep, Sell, Donate, or Trash?