Year One stories have one goal - to explain the intellectual and psychological/emotional underpinnings of what defines a character. Madison takes the origin template that Rucka created in "Cry For Blood" and does just that. Using all the characters and events from Rucka's book, she injects the character with a primal fierceness that defines her to this day. Madison herself is an unapologetic feminist, and her Huntress is no exception. In fact, it can be argued that this character component is vital in Huntress's development as she breaks out and turns on the rigidly structured male dominated culture that created her. It is her greatest strength and also her greatest weakness.
As I said, Madison uses Rucka's book as a blueprint. There is one difference worth noting that caught my eye. In CFB, Helen Bertinelli returns to Gotham for a brief family holiday, and this is when she first sees Batman, thus getting inspired by the symbol of the Bat. In HYO, Helena vows never to return to Gotham after the death of her family (and only does so when absolutely needed), so the Batman inspiration has been removed in this origin story. The origin of the costume is also different. Both changes made sense with the rest of the story.
With Rucka's story, there was a sense of beauty and elegance that made it a classic origin story. In Madison's version, it's the same story with a much harsher edge to it. The violence in this book equals the fierceness and determination of its primary character.
Cliff Richards pencils are immaculate, and the inkers/colorist did a very good job. I especially noted the color contrast between the bright and colorful young Barbara Gordon versus the dark and moody Helena Bertinelli.
Oh yeah, Batgirl gets her butt kicked here. I am guessing Sicilian martial arts trumps judo (or karate, depending on which side of the Crisis event you are looking at.)
This story does indeed have a dominant feminist tone to it, but then again it also is heavy on the Sicilian culture which is male dominated, so it all balances out. This reads like a modern day noir where the world is not quite black and white as we like it be, and the journey to the truth is a hard and violent one. This story reads differently than anything else out there because it IS different.