You’ve probably already seen the panels already, and if you didn’t, then well, the title of this quick think piece probably just gave away what happened in Injustice: Gods Among Us #21.
And on that note, I just wanted to write about it. Read below the cut for more.
Even though there is the temptation to call Helena’s death a ‘fridging’, I would say that this is in fact, one of the few examples where a woman can die in fiction and not be stuffed in a refrigerator during the process.
For starters, Helena didn’t die in an extremely sexual way that was done to gratify those who love torture porn.
Instead, she died with her clothes on. She also died heroically and in the midst of battle, doing what she does best, and that’s fighting to protect other people.
And this isn’t the first time she has paid a high price while fighting to protect the lives of others. If you recall, she was shot in the stomach and nearly died from mortal wounds in No Man’s Land.
Also note that Helena’s death in Injustice was not done to serve as a catalyst that sets off a chain reaction where some male hero, spurned on by the death of his love, goes on a rampage and loses his moral semblance of right and wrong while avenging her. Instead, her death affected two women greatly, with Kate Kane lunging forward while screaming ‘Murderer!’ at Diana of Themyscira, and Diana in turn, takes the time to pause and let the full weight of her actions sink in.
Helena’s on panel death was done to show the complete gravitas of war, and how people will fall in battle. And the death of your fellow comrades in arms will also take its emotional toll, as evident by how shocked and angry Kate Kane was over watching Helena’s death unfold before her eyes.
And Helena’s death in Injustice should not make you hate Wonder Woman. Please keep in mind that this is an alternate universe where the main heroes are behaving out of character, and Diana is no exception.
The Diana we see in Injustice is the complete opposite of the wonderfully warm, and compassionate Diana we (usually) see in mainstream DC continuity. If anything, the WW featured in Injustice is an inverse of everything Wonder Woman is supposed to be.
Also note that the way Helena died served to hit home the seriousness of war and how being zealous in your ideals leads you to do things you’ll regret.
Now it’s true that Helena has been ‘fridged’ a few times in her history, most notably with the kidnap and subsequent rape (which was later retconned) along with her unceremonious, off-panel death, which occurred post-Nu52 reboot.
And there has also been fridging in Grayson, most recently with Alia’s rather sudden death.
However, Helena’s death in Injustice #21 should not be classified among the former two instances.
Instead, if should be seen as an example of how to write the death of a woman, and to not be incredibly problematic while doing so.
The only thing about Helena Bertinelli’s death in Injustice that bugs me is it’s removing one of the few bright spots from the universe, while also causing me to lament the death of a wonderfully complex female character as well.
However, I get the feeling that Injustice is reaching its apex and that we’re coming close to its zenith. With that in mind, I think that if I wanted my favorite character to die on panel, I would want her to die while fighting to keep others free, and heroically in the midst of battle.
And I’d like her to go out in a manner that evokes the martyred saints Helena would often pray to for supplication and intercession. In other words, I’d rather have her go out of the Injustice universe just like this.
Or to sum it all up in its entirety: Dude, Injustice is an alternate universe that has no bearing on Helena’s current continuity whatsoever. Please don’t take it seriously.
(Also please note that when I started writing this, it was a few days ago and it was 2:00 am on the West Coast. I wanted to write this while being [somewhat] lucid, and I’m just rambling to get my thoughts out. I tried my best to be coherent, so make of it what you will.)