The Huntress I
aka The Tigress II
The Huntress I created by Mort Meskin
The Sportsmaster created by John Broome and Irwin Hasen
Artemis Crock created by Roy Thomas and Todd McFarlane
In DC Comics, "the Huntress" is a name popularized by the character of Helena Wayne, the daughter of Batman and Catwoman, on Earth-Two. But DC originally published a different character by that name, a villainess from the Golden Age who fought Wildcat.
This Huntress made a handful of modern appearances as well, even clashing with her heroic namesake.
After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Huntress name was reserved for Helena (though in a new capacity). Around this time, the Golden Age Huntress was given an expanded story in the pages of Young All-Stars, set in DC's Golden Age. In this series, she was new on the scene and went by the name "the Tigress" (ostensibly to stem fans' confusion), and cast as a heroic figure.
Crusher Crock, the Sportsmaster, likewise had a few Golden Age clashes with the Green Lantern. In the 1940s, he and the Huntress were members of the Injustice Society. Then in the Silver Age of comics, they reappeared as a married team.
Their daughter, Artemis, was introduced in Infinity, Inc. Years later, she adopted her mother's alias, the Tigress.
To make matters more confusing, there was another Golden Age DC Tigress (so much for stemming confusion) — a villain who frequently fought Zatara. Post-Crisis revisionism united all three of these characters in a statement from Who's Who Update '87 #1 (Aug. 1987). The entry for young Artemis stated, "The Huntress' mother … was the Tigress, a foe of Zatara the Magician." No other in-story reference was ever made about this. The first Huntress made numerous appearances in early Action Comics.
NAME + ALIASES:
Paula Brooks, aka the Tigress II, the Huntress I
Crusher Crock (the Sportsmaster, husband), Artemis Crock (Tigress III, daughter), the Tigress I (mother), Isabelle Rose Mahkent (granddaughter)
Injustice Society, Injustice, Unlimited
As the Huntress: Sensation Comics #68 (Aug. 1947)
As the Tigress: Young All-Stars #6 (Nov. 1987)
The Huntress I (Paula Brooks)
Paula Brooks, it has been said, was the daughter of the original Golden Age Tigress. (Who's Who Update '87 #1) This Tigress fought the magician called Zatara many times. (Action Comics #1) Nothing else is known about that woman's personal life, or Paula's childhood days. Note: The Huntress' real name was not given in her Golden Age appearances; it was created in Young All-Stars #8 (Feb. 1988).
Wearing a yellow-and-black tiger skin outfit, Paula adopted her mother's namesake and first introduced herself as the Tigress. She injected herself into the actions of the newly-formed "Young All-Stars" (an offshoot of the All-Star Squadron). (Young All-Stars #6)
When she met the All-Stars, she identified herself as an eighteen-year-old college student who had long idolized big game hunter Paul Kirk; she immediately recognized her hero as the costumed Manhunter. She'd practiced with the bow and arrow to be like him, and studied jiujitsu with her parents' Japanese gardener. She created a unique "crossbow-gun" and hoped that the Manhunter would sponsor her for membership in the All-Star Squadron. Her skill with skill a crossbow earning her provisional membership in the group. (#7)
After distinguishing herself during the All-Star Squadron's battle with Baron Blitzkrieg in May of 1942, the Tigress was voted a provisional member of the team. (#9) She served continuously with the Young All-Stars over the next month. (#11–23, Annual #1)
Then on June 11, during a clash with Axis Amerika, a Nazi agent known as the Horned Owl thrust the Tigress through a billboard. She was mortally wounded by debris that pierced her chest. (#23)
Later that evening, as Squadron member "Iron" Munro was poised to kill Axis' leader, Ûbermensch, the Valkyrie Gudra begged Munro to spare the him. In exchange for this mercy, she restored the Tigress to life, but warned him: "the journey beyond Earth's ramparts can leave no one untouched." (#25) The following day, the Tigress rose from her hospital bed in a state of dementia. She was adversarial with them, then severed her ties with the All-Stars. She departed with Gudra. (#26)
By 1945, the Tigress was maintaining a tenuous hold on her heroic past, thanks to the intervention of her crush, Paul Kirk, who took the Tigress as his partner. They encountered Wildcat and Hawkman during a case and used a flamethrower to destroy a demonically altered Nazi. (Thrilling Comics v.2 #1) During their subsequent battle against the forces of Stalker, it appeared that she and Manhunter had become romantically involved. (All-Star Comics v.2 #2)
A couple of years later, Brooks had shed both the Manhunter and "the Tigress." Her first appearance as a bona fide villain — the Huntress — was in opposition to Wildcat. She goaded him into a boxing match in Gotham City using the alias "the Masked Mauler." The Huntress leapt into the ring and landed a few good punches from sheer surprise. Then she kidnapped Wildcat and took him away to her private zoo. He watched while she released other captives and gave them 30 minutes to run (so she could hunt them). Meanwhile Wildcat escaped his cage and caught her in a tiger trap. He later learned that she had escaped. His victory won the hero lasting enmity as "the only man who has ever escaped the traps of the Huntress." (Sensation Comics #68)
For her next shot, the Huntress tried to reap a fortune by betting against heavyweight champion Ted Grant (aka Wildcat) by replacing him with a double. She kidnapped Grant's manager "Stretch" Skinner and drew Wildcat to her ship, the Seven Seas. Again their fight ended in a draw; Wildcat and Stretch escaped the villainess (and a frenzy of sharks). Back in the ring, Grant returned to foil his impostor, and the Huntress escaped into the crowds. (#71) The Huntress' frenzied clashes with Wildcat continued through 1948. (#75–76)
Her reputation received the notice of the nefarious Injustice Society. In a competition to determine who would lead the group, the Huntress stole nothing less than Plymouth Rock, nearly defeating the Atom and the Flash in the process. (All-Star Comics #41) Despite their defeat, this caper sparked a mutual attraction between Paula and her teammate, the Sportsmaster.
In August of 1948, the Huntress and her gang made one last attack on Wildcat, this time intending to kidnap both him and opponent, and hold them for ransom. Wildcat narrowly escaped decapitation to bring the villainess to justice once more. (DC 100-Page Super-Spectacular #6) Note: This story was written and illustrated in the 1940s but not published until 1971. Wildcat's feature ended in Sensation Comics #90 (June 1949).
She and the Sportsmaster teamed at least one more time with the Injustice Society. (Starman v.2 #62)
The Huntress married the Sportsmaster (Brave & the Bold #62) and their subsequent appearances were usually as a pair. Continue reading below...
The original Huntress was a top-notch hand-to-hand combatant. She displayed proficiency in a wide range of weapons, ranging from the bow and arrow to shotguns to knives. Her knowledge of plant and animal life was also uncanny. She was capable of training creatures as varied as elephants and falcons to obey her and once used a serpentine jungle vine in an attempt to strangle Wildcat.
The Tigress is a superb marksman, usually preferring a crossbow or bow and arrows.
Appearances + References
» FEATURED APPEARANCES:
- Action Comics #1, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 22, 23, 25, 30, 35, 42
Huntress I/Tigress II:
- All-Star Comics #41, 72–73
- Batman Family #7
- The Brave and the Bold #62
- Crisis on Infinite Earths #9-10
- Infinity, Inc. #35
- Justice League of America #123–124
- Sensation Comics #68-69, 71, 73, 75-76
- Thrilling Comics v.2 #1
- Young Justice #25
- Young All-Stars, 31 issues (1987–89)
NAME + ALIASES: Victor "Crusher" Crock, aka the Sportsmaster
Paula Brooks (the Huntress I, wife), Artemis Crock (Tigress III, daughter), the Tigress I (mother-in-law), Isabelle Rose Mahkent (granddaughter)
Injustice Society, Injustice, Unlimited
As Crock: All-American Comics #85 (May 1947).
As the Sportsmaster: Green Lantern #28 (Oct. 1947)
Victor "Crusher" Crock was known the best all-around sportsman, but he had a reputation for playing dirty and injuring his opponents. He was banned from playing sport after sport. After an argument with his football coach, went fully rogue and started his own gang. His "mystery polo team" drew the attention of Alan Scott, aka the Green Lantern. During the game, Crock used a special ball with gas in it to put the others to sleep. Then his men robbed the spectators. Crock discovered the Lantern's weakness by accident when his wooden mallet clobbered the hero. In their next confrontation, Crock challenged the Green Lantern to escape from a tank of water without his ring. With a wooden duck and a pen knife, the hero made an air channel through the duck to breath, then feigned death in order to surprise Crock. In the final match, the staircase under Crock collapsed and he apparently died on the hard floor below. (All-American Comics #85) Note: Crock's first name, Victor, was given in JSA: Classified #26 (2007).
Crusher Crock returned while Alan Scott was broadcasting from Spiffany's department store. His boomerang stole jewels and returned them to the hands of the Sportsmaster. Later, something at a cemetery caught GL's attention and he noticed Crock's grave. He exhumed it and found his partner, Doiby Dickles, in the coffin! When Lantern found the Sportsmaster at Lake Victory, GL was knocked out with a wooden hammer — causing a ricochet that knocked out Crock himself. He fell into the water and disappeared. (Green Lantern v.1 #28)
When Crock joined the Injustice Society to fight the Justice Society of America, it was he who rooted out a traitor in their midst, the Harlequin. He also managed to knock the Flash and Green Lantern out with a gaseous lacrosse ball. He didn't fare as well against Hawkman, though. (All-Star Comics #41)
Crock resurfaced as a new member of Alan Scott's sports betting club. Naturally, the Sportsmaster was rigging the games with his new Crime Syndicate of Sports! Crock challenged the Lantern to a series of contests. Despite the villain's cheating, GL proved his superior athletic prowess. (All-American Comics #98)
In 1954, the Sportsmaster turned up in Metropolis, to foil the machinations of his old "ally," the Harlequin. He hoped to exact revenge for betrayal of the Injustice Society but was handily mopped up by Superman. (Superman Family #206)
Both the Huntress and the Sportsmaster seemed to have retained an unreasonable measure of youth. Perhaps they benefited from bioengineering technology of the Council? This underworld organization (known for having cloned Paul Kirk, Manhunter) used Crock's DNA to engineer an elite squad of men led by their agent Nemesis. She turned on her masters and teamed with Black Canary, Hawkgirl and others to invade the Council's lab on Crete. (JSA Secret Files #1, JSA Annual #1)
In more recent times, the Sportsmaster joined a group of gambling-themed villains led by Amos Fortune. (JSA: Classified #14-16)
Sportsmaster II (1989)
Disgruntled Gotham City athlete Victor Gover came into conflict with Manhunter (Mark Shaw) and the Batman. (Manhunter v.1 #17) Gover was later recruited by Amanda Waller to be an operative for the Suicide Squad. (Suicide Squad v.1 #58)
Sportsmaster III (2003)
In the 1940s, a fight between the original Sportsmaster and Green Lantern left Seamus Sullivan's general store in ruins. Sullivan had witnessed the Sportsmaster strike his foe with a wooden bat, then became a killer who carved the phrase "Made of Wood" on his victims. His wife had him committed to Arkham Asylum. Decades later, his grandson, Francis Sullivan, learned this legacy and committed serial murders in the same style. He did not wear a costume, but wielded a wooden bat with "Sports Master" engraved upon it. He was captured by Green Lantern with help from the Batman. (Detective Comics #785–786)
Any of the previous three characters might have been the one who joined General Immortus' group, the Army of the Endangered. This Sportsmaster was killed by the Seductress. (Final Crisis Aftermath: Run! #4)
Sportsmaster IV (2011)
A version of the villain made a cameo (in which he died) during the "Flashpoint" crisis, which was outside any mainstream DC continuity. (Flashpoint: The Legion of Doom #3)
Sportsmaster V, New 52
In the universe created from the fallout of "Flashpoint," the New 52 Sportsmaster resembled the "Flashpoint" version. He was part of a large gang led by Talia al Ghul. (Batman, Incorporated v.2 #4)
In addition to the Sportsmasters above, there have been three different depictions in DC animated series. The first appeared in the comic book, Batman Adventures #6-7 (1993), wearing the baseball catcher's mask and uniform. He did not appear in the corresponding television series (Batman: The Animated Series).
The second was the blond-haired, purple-costumed version, who appeared in Batman: The Brave and the Bold #11 (2010). He fought Batman and Blue Beetle in season 1, episode 5 (2008), and was part of a cadre of villains in Gotham City in season 3, episode 3 (2011).
The third animated Sportsmaster played a more significant role, as the father of the character Artemis in the Young Justice animated series. He first appeared in season 1, episode 4 (2011). This series also had a companion comic, and the Sportsmaster showed up in Young Justice v.2 #7 (2011).
"Mr. and Mrs. Menace"
In the Silver Age of DC Comics, many Golden Age characters were reintroduced to new readers. The Huntress and Sportsmaster were joined as a married team by Gardner F. Fox (himself a 1940s writer) in The Brave & the Bold #62 (Oct./Nov. 1965). This combo was a winner, even if the villains were not. From this point onward, each rarely appeared apart from the other.
Sometime after their meeting, the Huntress and Sportsmaster decided that, "when they got out of prison, to make their team-up permanent." By 1966, they were a "perfect partnership" in villainy. Crock planned the capers while the Huntress ran interference with the heroes.
The Huntress planned to reestablish her underworld prison and stock it with costumed "trophies." She lured Wildcat out of retirement and made him its first prisoner. During a series of raids on Federal City, she vowed to add local heroes Black Canary and Starman to her "super-hero menagerie." Instead, the two heroes managed to coordinate their efforts so that "Mr. and Mrs. Menace" got caught in their own trap. (Brave and the Bold #62)
A few years later, after the new Justice League began having regular team-ups with the Justice Society, the evil couple renewed their ties with the Injustice Society and crossed the border between universes. (Justice League of America #123-124) They also formed a partnership with the Thorn. (All-Star Comics #72) In the latter case, the Huntress stalked her young heroic namesake — Helena Wayne, the new Huntress. She vowed to kill the woman who 'stole her name,' but was lured into her own trap. Green Lantern opined that the new Huntress had won the right to the name. (#73)
Brooks and Crock had a daughter, Artemis (see below), named after the goddess of the hunt. The arrow-wielding Artemis joined Injustice, Unlimited to oppose Earth-Two's new, young heroes, Infinity, Inc. (Infinity, Inc. #34) Artemis freed her parents from the Empire State Detention Center (#35) but they were slammed into submission by Solomon Grundy, who was protecting the Infinitor called Jade. (#36)
The original Huntress made her last appearance (looking more youthful than one would expect) at an archery competition in which her daughter was competing. Artemis represented the country of Zandia, which was known to harbor super-villains. Paula tried to sabotage the competition, but was foiled by the teen heroes of Young Justice. (Young Justice #25)
In a series set outside of regular DCU continuity (though originally proposed to be in continuity), James Robinson and Paul Smith featured the Tigress in 1993's The Golden Age. That tale was set in 1948, and Paula Brooks had been granted amnesty for her crimes in return for her allegiance to Tex Thompson's newly created anti-communism force. (The Golden Age #2) After learning that Thompson was actually the ruthless Ultra-Humanite (#3), Brooks joined other heroes in opposing him and his allies. Traumatized by the deaths of her lover, Lance Gallant, and friends such as Miss America and the Sportsmaster in the ensuing conflict, Paula returned to crime, and by 1955 was reported to have "made the F.B.I.'s most wanted list." (#4)
Earth-One Huntress and Sportsmaster
While there were still infinite Earths, there were also an Earth-One version of the Huntress and Sportsmaster. The first appearance involved just the Huntress, who was romantically involved with a rough-hewn muscle man known as Typhoon. She wore a yellow leopard-print bikini and wielded a spear gun. They were pawns of O.G.R.E. and came to blows with Aquaman and his wife Mera, who eventually helped them escape from the tyranny of O.G.R.E.'s Supreme One. (Aquaman v.1 #26)
Many years later, the Huntress reappeared with the Earth-One Sportsmaster. They looked identical to their Earth-Two counterparts and had discovered a treasure at the base of a Mexican pyramid. They abducted Batgirl and Robin and forced them into a competition to navigate the pyramid's traps. The Dynamite Duo turned the tables on their captors and captured the bickering husband and wife. (Batman Family #7)
Mr. and Mrs. Menace escaped to their suburban home within three months but the Huntress was fed up. Declaring that "super-villains never win," she announced her intention to become a heroine. The Sportsmaster suggested a friendly baseball game between heroes and villains; if her team won, she would become a crime fighter.
Using unexplained technology, they teleported several heroes to New York's Crandall Stadium and forced them to participate in the game. Despite his dirty tricks, the Sportsmaster and his team lost. (DC Super-Stars #10) The Huntress' promise to abandon crime never manifested.
» FEATURED APPEARANCES:
- All-American Comics #85, 98
- All-Star Comics #41, 72, 73
- Batman Family #7
- The Brave and the Bold #62
- Green Lantern v.1 #28
- Infinity, Inc. #35–36
- JSA Annual #1
- Justice League of America #123–124
- Superman Family #206
- Who's Who #21
NAME + ALIASES:
Artemis Crock, aka Artemis II, the Tigress III
Crusher Crock (the Sportsmaster, father), Paula Brooks (Tigress II, mother), Isabelle Rose Mahkent (daughter), Cameron Mahkent (the Icicle II, partner), the Tigress I (grandmother)
Injustice, Unlimited, Injustice Society
As Artemis: Infinity, Inc. #34 (Jan. 1987)
As Tigress III: JSA #9 (Apr. 2000)
The Tigress III (Artemis Crock)
Artemis Crock is the daughter of the Sportsmaster and the Huntress. Like her mother, she took to crime early in life. The skilled young marksman joined the Wizard's Injustice, Unlimited for their debut in Calgary, where they menaced Infinity, Inc. and the Global Guardians. The group included two other second-generation villains: Hazard (granddaughter of the Gambler) and Icicle II. They kidnapped Hourman and blackmailed the heroes into doing their dirty work. (Infinity, Inc. #34)
Artemis freed her parents from prison, (#35) but the three of them were promptly rounded up by Infinity. (#36)
She returned to help (literally) put the nail in Infinity's coffin. Injustice, Unlimited was led by the Dummy to orchestrate the death of the heroes' leader, Skyman. (#51) Artemis nearly killed Jade as well but the team was rounded up in the end. (#53)
After this, Artemis became romantically involved with her teammate, the Icicle (Cameron Mahkent). She changed her alias to the Tigress (III) and they joined a new group led by Johnny Sorrow, a revival of the Injustice Society. (JSA #9) NOTE: By this time in DC publishing, the name "Artemis" was being primarily used by a different character, the Amazon Artemis who was Wonder Woman for a short time.
The Tigress was given asylum by diabolical Brain and Monsieur Mallah in the country of Zandia. She agreed to compete for the country in a major international sporting competition. In Australia, the world was shocked by their team, which was entirely composed of super-villains, but whether on or off the field of play, all were defeated. (Young Justice #23-25)
With Johnny Sorrow banished to another dimension, the Wizard assumed leadership of the evil Society. The Icicle and Tigress helped him acquire Prometheus' Cosmic Key from the Justice Society's headquarters. (JSA: Classified #5) The Injustice Society found competition for the Key and clashed with Talia al Ghul and her sister, Nyssa. (#6) At the successful conclusion of their mission, Cameron professed his love for Artemis. (#7)
In the end, the Wizard prevailed and used the Key to free Johnny Sorrow. The Tigress and Icicle made plans to leave the group, but were strong-armed by Sorrow into staying. (#7)
The Tigress frequently took freelance gigs, teaming with the Shadow Thief and Copperhead to hunt for a diamond in the Asian jungles. (Hawkman v.4 #2-4) She and the Icicle were foiled by a new formation of Infinity, Inc. in New York. (52 #25)
Both Tigress and Icicle went back to the Injustice Society under Johnny Sorrow, (JSA All-Stars #2) but they were rounded by the JSA All-Stars while Sorrow caused a higher level of trouble for the JSA. (#5)
Not long after this the pair were somehow released and tried to take up an "honest job." They were hired to find the Rod of Aesclepius, or the Tachophixyl (fast snake stick), which legend told had the powers to heal. (JSA All-Stars #2) The complex path to the artifact intersected with that of the JSA's Hourman and Liberty Belle. Each had their own motivation for finding it; the Icicle later revealed that Artemis was pregnant and he hoped the stick would prevent his genes from affecting their baby. (#9)
Cameron and Artemis were hired by Prof. Hayes to find the staff but Hayes' son — Peter aka "Blue" — was trailing them in hopes of grabbing it for himself. At first, the heroes raced the villains, (#3) but they were ultimately forced to team with them when the challenge grew harder. (#4) Along they way they helped each other escape from several deadly traps, and agreed that whoever laid hands on the staff first would get to keep it. (#6)
Artemis was injured in an avalanche and was forced to reveal her pregnancy. (#9) When they finally found the Tachophixyl, Liberty Belle grabbed it using her super-speed, (#10) but allowed the ailing Prof. Hayes to keep it, over the objections of Artemis. Just then, Blue returned and stabbed Hourman through his torso with a spear. After a fight, all agreed that the staff's power should be used to save Hourman's life.
The Tigress asked Belle to put in a good word for them at the embassy, so that they'd be granted passage home. Several months later, Tigress and Icicle welcomed their baby daughter, Isabelle Rose Mahkent. (#11)
The character of Artemis Crock was reinvented for television in 2011's Young Justice. Here, she was the heroic daughter of the nefarious Sportsmaster. Artemis joined the young version of the Justice League, the whole time trying to hide the fact that her father and sister, Cheshire, were among the team's enemies. (Young Justice Season 1, Episode 6)
Artemis even joined a mission to track down the Sportsmaster, which resulted in another battle with Cheshire. (S1, E23)
She became a part of a deep cover operation and was apparently killed by Aqualad (also undercover). (S2, E7) Artemis used an amulet to disguise herself and took the name Tigress (Icicle Jr. was a part of their crew, too). (S2, E9)
Her family wanted revenge on Aqualad for her death and became pseudo-allies of the heroes. (S2, E16) When the villain's organization, the Light, were finally exposed and defeated, (S2, E19) Artemis returned to her friends, but kept the name Tigress. (S2, E20)
This cartoon also spawned a comic book companion. Artemis appeared in it beginning with Young Justice #7 (Oct. 2011).