ByBrad Barnes, writer at
Author of PEANUTS PIRATES PATRIOTS on Amazon Kindle, illustrator and screenwriter
Brad Barnes

Some prefer Alan Moore's version of The Question he created for WATCHMEN: Rorschach. Me, I prefer Renee Montoya as The Question over Rorschach and even over Vic Sage, because Renee is multi-faceted whereas those guys either never shave or never bathe. Renee's got style!

Created in 1992 for the Batman Animated show, Renee was partnered with the clownish Harvey Bullock to keep his unkempt antics in check. Renee was young, gifted and Latin, sort of a Ricky Ricardo in Gotham playing "straight man" to Harvey's broad caricature of police.

In the Batman Animated episode "P.O.V.", Renee is brought up for police review and defends Batman's activities, even teaming up with him to solve the case. The duality of Renee; as police able to work with Batman; elevates her to Commissioner Gordon-type status.

In Gotham Girls #4, Renee teams with Batgirl and confides that her parents resisted her becoming police and that she is there in part to better represent the Latin community in the Gotham City Police Department. Again, the duality of Renee's ethnicity; let alone her gender; is further fuel for her character.

In her early days as a patrol officer, Renee pulled-over a slightly-inebriated young heiress Kate Kane. How rich is Kate Kane? In Gotham, the Kanes own what the Waynes do not. (It's good to be filthy rich.)

Renee and Kate became the first great love in each others' lives, but Kate partied too much and was directionless, so Renee reluctantly left her and dove deep into police work, rising to assistant to Commissioner Gordon for a period.

Gordon became a father figure to Renee as she became estranged from Bullock, a situation only worsened by the Federally-instituted isolation of Gotham City during No Man's Land (NO MAN's LAND TP).

During a mandated 48-hour leave by Gordon, Renee returns unarmed to her old neighborhood and ends up working shoulder-to=shoulder with Two-Face. When Batman misreads a scuffle involving Two-Face, Renee defends him from Batman. Two-Face comes to trust, even to romanticize, Renee. The duality of Renee to have this villain obsessed with her is more fuel for her character.

Two-Face holds Renee and her family hostage during NML, a kidnapping which comes to a head during the two-part JURISPRUDENCE story. This pivotal point in her character development show Renee outwitting Two-Face and moving away from her admiration of Gordon, whose recklessness had led to her abduction in the first place.

Acting Commissioner Sarah Essen promoted Renee to Detective First Grade, shortly before Essen herself was killed by The Joker. Renee requested to stop partnering with Bullock and was then paired with Crispus Allen.

Flowers from Harvey Dent!
Flowers from Harvey Dent!

Two-Face sends flowers to Renee for her birthday through Bruce Wayne, who was a friend from his days as a District Attorney (and who also happens to be Batman).

You'll have to shoot me, Harvey!
You'll have to shoot me, Harvey!

Two-Face learns that Renee is living a "double life" and outs her as a lesbian to drive her into his arms, but nobody blackmails Renee Montoya!

The duality of her sexuality being revealed shakes Renee to her foundations, she starts drinking more and becomes openly hostile to corrupt cop Jim Corrigan, but Corrigan's cowardly kill of Crispus Allen almost, ALMOST, sends her over the edge.

Renee turns in her badge, alienates her lover Darla, and dives to the bottom of a bottle. No stranger to self-destructive behavior and recovering from his only partially-successful redemption of Helena (THE HUNTRESS: CRY FOR BLOOD TP), Vic Sage (The Question) works his way into Renee's "Lost Weekend" ("52" TP) when Intergang comes to Gotham. Intergang is an arm of Darkseid's earth operations, which elevates Renee from the Bat-verse to The Fourth World!

Where are you leading me, Vic Sage?
Where are you leading me, Vic Sage?

Renee, having already danced with Two-Face, adapts with insouciant ease to the interplanetary House That Jack (Kirby) Built. As former police, the noir "feel" of The Question fits Renee like Columbo's old raincoat.

Vic Sage lays down the breadcrumbs that Renee can't help but to follow. Being on solo surveillance mostly sobers Renee up, though she still smokes 2 packs a day, but then her investigation leads her back to Kate Kane's orbit. Kate has since taken on the identity of Batwoman.

Kate is predicted for death by the Crime Bible, so Intergang is trying to kill her. Renee needs to pull herself together to keep her great love safe from ritual murder. Unfortunately, Vic has advanced lung cancer and all of Renee's resources are not enough to cure him.

Having identified and prevented the assassination of Black Adam during his wedding in Kandaq, Renee relapses into alcoholism, but, once Vic is out of remission, Renee rallies herself and heads for legendary Nanda Parbat with Vic.

Since time stands still in Nanda Parbat, Renee trains with Richard Dragon in the martial arts, becoming an expert.

Learning of a new threat to Kate, Renee and Vic return to Gotham. Kate is saved but Vic's illness becomes aggressive and in desperation decides to take him back to Nanda Parbat where nobody ever dies. Despite her best efforts, Vic dies on the snowswept mountain road leading to Nanda Parbat in her arms.

Black gloves, fat tie, no Question!
Black gloves, fat tie, no Question!

While grieving in Nanda Parbat and having spoken with Wonder Woman, Renee finally decides to take on the mantle of The Question.

Have hat, will travel!
Have hat, will travel!

The Question further pursues the mysteries of the Crime Bible, becoming the leader of their cult (THE CRIME BIBLE TP).

After his unjust murder, Crispus Allen has since become The Spectre, and Renee (with The Huntress and Batwoman) talks him down from going completely fire and brimstone on her a** (FINAL CRISIS: REVELATIONS TP).

The Question and The Huntress; who both have Vic Sage and Richard Dragon in common; continue to team up. Renee assumes the Mark of Cain instead of The Huntress from the immortal Vandal Savage. That curse Renee has since meditated away.

Good things come in threes!
Good things come in threes!

The impending death of Renee's father led The Huntress to recruit Batwoman to assist in their taking down Two-Face. The reunion with Kate gave Renee the strength she needed to join her father at his deathbed.

And this is where Renee Montoya's story now stands. There are many doors for Renee Montoya to reenter the Multiverse, and the sooner that happens, then the happier I will be!


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