Franco Bertinelli

Frank BertinelliToday, we have another new character from Arrow episode Muse of Fire: we’re speaking of the mob boss Frank Bertinelli, portrayed on screen by Jeffrey Nordling. In the tv show, he’s portrayed in a way similar to the comics’ one, even if he surely lived much longer compared to it! And, being alive, the show’s authors have the chance to develop the ambiguous relationship between him and his daughter. Let’s see what they’ll get out from it…

As I said yesterday, thanks to some retcons and story retelling, Helena Bertinelli now has got two fathers in the comics: Guido was her first one, but he was erased from continuity existence after the Batman/Huntress:francobertinellicomics1 Cry for Blood storyline. We’re here speaking of Franco Bertinelli, Americanized in Frank. He was the head of the Bertinelli family, a Mafia family in Sicily. He, along with his clan, moved to the States, and settled in Gotham City, where Mafia had already established a great power. The Bertinelli family, under Franco’s guidance, rose in strength and became one of the most powerful families in the city, earning its place among the Five Families who ruled Gotham. A fascinating and polite man outside his house, Franco was an abusive and violent husband, and he used to beat his wife Maria Panessa everytime he had some frustration to give vent to, even in front of their son Pino. Maria remained faithful to her husband, until she couldn’t stand his violence anymore, and she started an affair with one of Franco’s rivals, Santo Cassamento. Franco knew of his wife’s lover, but didn’t do anything, apart from beating his wife more than ever. When Maria got pregnant, Bertinelli realized quite well that the child his wife was carrying in her womb wasn’t his own, and, again, encreased the number of beatings. Despite the violence, Maria managed to carry on her pregnancy, and a daughter was born: Helena Rosa. Despite being Cassamento’s natural daughter, Franco accepted her in his family, thus avoiding to create a scandal and to make everyone know that he had been betrayed by his wife, and, in the same time, gaining a weapon to use, when the time would have recquired it, against Cassamento.

francobertinellicomics2When Carmine Falcone, the head of the five families, was killed by Two-Face, and his successor, Sal Maroni, was killed by Holiday, aka Alberto Falcone, son of Carmine, Franco Bertinelli suddenly became the most powerful mob boss in Gotham, and took for himself the title of capo dei capi (“leader of leaders” in Italian). His power rose, and soon he became the real ruler of the city. In those same years, anyway, the mob was suffering the first strikes from the mysterious masked vigilante, who called himself Batman, and who declared total war against criminality. Sure that he could get rid of a single man, Bertinelli didn’t put much an attention on him: a major mistake the following generations of Mafia would have payed for. Anyway, Franco was more and more stressed because of his life, and he began beating Helena too, not neglecting of beating Maria, of course. It was in this period that Cassamento decided to take Maria for himself, and asked his fellow boss Stefano Mandragora to dispose of Franco and his family. Mandragora hired the killer Omerta the Silencer, who had been a consigliore for Bertinelli’s family, and was always treated badly by Franco. Omerta killed Franco, but also his wife Maria (disobeying Cassamento’s disposition following his thirst for vengeance) and his son Pino, while leaving only Helena alive. Franco, anyway, managed to get his vengeance from the grave: Mandragora wanted to take his money for himself as a repayment for his “favor” to Cassamento, and had Omerta take away the dead man’s fingers and eyeballs to open the highly technological safe he had put it in; Franco, unknowingly to anyone else, had added another security lock, which could be opened only with his rare blood type, a blood they couldn’t achieve anymore, since Bertinelli’s body had been disposed of. This way, Franco unwillingly forced his killers to begin, years later, a war with his daughter, who had become the Huntress, the only bearer of his blood remained, a war that led Mandragora and Omerta to their end.

Franco Bertinelli is a cruel man, who considers his “job” of murders, thefts, violence and criminality as a normal one, and pursues it in the more efficient and professional way possible. His lack of pity towards his enemies and his thankfulnes towards the ones who have been useful to him are both instruments to reach the top, and, using these two means, Bertinelli managed to create quite a position for himself: feared by his enemies and allies alike, but honored by his friends.

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2 Comments

  1. […] was retold, changing some details. In the new version of the story, Helena was the daughter of Franco Bertinelli, the most powerful Mafia head in Gotham City. He was a cruel man, who often beat his wife, Maria […]

  2. […] men. The short-lived Pino was the new boss of the Bertinelli Family, as he apparently succeeded to Frank after his demise; this version is surely much older than his comicbook counterpart, and considering […]


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