Renee Montoya

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The Question
Reneequestion.png
Renee Montoya as the Question
Art by Darick Robertson.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Batman #475 (March 1992)
Created by Sean Catherine Derek
Laren Bright
Mitch Brian
In-story information
Alter ego Renee Maria Montoya
Team affiliations Global Peace Agency
Batman Incorporated
Gotham City Police Department
Abilities Skilled martial artist, detective, and marksman with gun-like device capable of instant vaporization.

Renee Montoya is a fictional comic book character published by DC Comics. The character was initially created for Batman: The Animated Series, and was preemptively introduced into mainstream comics before the airing of her animated debut in 1992.[1]

The character has developed significantly over the years. Renee Montoya is initially a detective from the Gotham City Police Department, assigned to the Major Crimes Unit who comes into frequent contact with the masked vigilante, Batman. Over the course of her comic book history, Renee is outed as a lesbian, and later resigns from the police force, disgusted by its corruption. After being trained by the first man to bear the name, Montoya has operated as the Question out of a lighthouse she shares with Aristotle Rodor on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Renee Montoya was created for Batman: The Animated Series, in which she is voiced by Ingrid Oliu and then by Liane Schirmer as a uniformed officer partnered with Harvey Bullock. In the follow-up The New Batman Adventures, Montoya has been promoted from police officer to detective. Montoya was also a recurring character in the third season of the web cartoon Gotham Girls, in which she is voiced by Adrienne Barbeau. The show's official "bible" described Montoya as the widow of a fellow police officer who was killed in the line of duty, as well as an active volunteer at her Roman Catholic Church, but this information was never mentioned on the series itself. Now, using her detective knowledge, she fights crime as "The Question".[2] The comic series Gotham Central describes Montoya as the daughter of immigrants from the Dominican Republic.

Montoya is a recurring character in the Batman-related comics after Batman #475. After she is promoted to homicide detective by Commissioner James Gordon, Montoya is partnered with Harvey Bullock. After Bullock is promoted to Lieutenant, Crispus Allen becomes Montoya's new partner.[3]

Gotham City is destroyed by an earthquake in the Cataclysm crossover. It is soon closed off from the rest of the United States in the No Man's Land story arc. Montoya and Bullock are two of the many Gotham police officers to stay behind with James Gordon in order to keep the peace among the people who have stayed behind.

Montoya is the focus of an uneasy truce between Gordon's forces and the crime boss Two-Face. She reaches out to Two-Face's Harvey Dent persona in helping with aid and relief efforts, and he falls in love with her. He in fact, keeps her restrained in his headquarters against her will. She becomes involved when Two-Face puts James Gordon on trial for perceived wrongdoing. Montoya persuades Two-Face to offer a more fair trial, giving Gordon a defense lawyer. Two-Face's Harvey Dent persona takes on this role, and ultimately convinces Two-Face to allow everyone to go free.

Gotham City is later re-opened thanks to humanitarian efforts spearheaded by Lex Luthor. Montoya, Gordon, Bullock and the surviving officers are re-instated as official police.

In "Officer Down", Montoya is hit hard by a murder attempt on Gordon, and when the assassin walks free, goes to seek vengeance. However, Bullock catches her in the act and persuades her not to pull the trigger, telling her that revenge isn't worth her career.

Gotham Central[edit]

Montoya and Two-Face. Art by Michael Lark.

Montoya is one of the main characters of Gotham Central, a comic book series about the Gotham City police department. Believing that the only way to have Montoya is to take everything away from her, Two-Face outs her as a lesbian to the public and frames her for murder. He then kidnaps her, making it look like Montoya has escaped. Two-Face becomes more unstable and the two fight for control of his gun until Batman arrives to save them. Montoya is cleared of all charges and Two-Face returns to Arkham, but Montoya's personal life becomes chaotic, especially with her family: while her younger brother knows about and to a limited extent accepts her sexuality, her religious parents disown her.[4]

In the 2004 War Games crossover, Montoya and Crispus Allen are ambushed by the Black Spider, and Allen shoots the villain.[5] A corrupt crime scene investigator named Jim Corrigan steals and sells the bullet on the Internet, but the bullet is needed to prove that the shooting was self-defense. In her pursuit of the bullet, Montoya beats the name of the buyer out of Corrigan.[6] Although Allen is cleared, Montoya becomes obsessed with exposing Corrigan. Allen tries to persuade Montoya to let it go, but Montoya refuses, so Allen investigates Corrigan independently. During his investigation, one of Allen's informants is murdered shortly before Allen himself is shot and killed by Corrigan.[7] Montoya takes it upon herself to bring Corrigan to justice. Tracking him down, Montoya beats Corrigan's girlfriend unconscious and draws a gun on Corrigan. He begs for his life, and Montoya finds she can't pull the trigger. Montoya quits the GCPD the next day, disgusted and broken.[8]

52[edit]

In 52, Montoya, now an alcoholic ex-cop, spends her days in bars and her nights obsessing about the loss of her job and girlfriend. The Question shines a Bat-Signal, modified to throw a question mark, at her window, asking if she is ready.

The Question believes that Intergang is preparing for an invasion of Gotham, and to that end, hires Montoya to surveil a warehouse in Gotham City, where they uncover futuristic weapons.[9]

During Week 14, Montoya and the Question fly to Kahndaq, and track down some leads on Intergang. Abbott, the wolf creature, tracks them. After they leave an empty warehouse, they are taken prisoner by members of Black Adam's army.[10]

While a prisoner, Montoya prevents a girl from detonating a bomb at Black Adam's wedding to Isis by shooting and killing her. In thanks, Adam bestows the two with the highest honor Kahndaq can give to those not born in the nation. When Montoya fails to appear, Adam finds her guilt-stricken and drunk, in bed with a woman. Montoya and the Question track down Intergang, which is forcing children to become operatives. During this time, Montoya and the Question find Isis's brother, Amon.

The Question takes Montoya to Nanda Parbat to train with Richard Dragon. There, Montoya discovers that the Question is dying of cancer and that the Question wants her to replace him. The two discover a prophecy written in Intergang's "Crime Bible" about the death of Batwoman, Montoya's former lover Kate Kane. They return to Gotham and join Batwoman's fight against Intergang, preventing her death. As the Question lies in hospice care at Kate's, Montoya begins to adopt some of his traits, such as meditation. While taking care of the Question, Montoya and Kate celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas together, sharing a kiss on Christmas.

That New Year's Eve, Montoya keeps vigil over the Question's bedside at the hospital until she finally decides to take him back to Nanda Parbat. Kate asks Montoya to stay, but Montoya says she owes everything to Charlie, and has to try to save him.

The journey is difficult and harrowing. As they near the city, Charlie awakens and tells her that she must choose who she'll become, then he dies.[11]

In Nanda Parbat, Montoya struggles to become Charlie's replacement as the Question. Richard Dragon accuses her of running away from her self and not accepting her grief, and orders her to deal with who she is first. Afraid, Montoya runs off and meets a woman who tells her to look for the answers to her questions within her. Montoya realizes that her curiosity outweighs her fears and returns to the ice cave[clarification needed] to meditate. As her candle goes out, the smoke forms a question mark, leaving Montoya in the darkness, alone. After four days in darkness, Montoya lights a candle and looks at the reflection on the ice and sees a reflection of herself without a face.

Montoya leaves the cave shortly before Isis dies. After speculation on how Black Adam and Osiris are taking her death, she is urged to go to Khandaq by Aristotle Rodor and Richard Dragon. Montoya attempts to console Black Adam, since she understands what it's like to lose loved ones. Black Adam spurns her sympathy and tells Montoya to go back to Gotham. Upon her return, Montoya finds Kate missing and her apartment ransacked. With the help of Nightwing, she looks for Kate.

Nightwing and Montoya find a strange device in a warehouse guarded by hybrid creatures. Nightwing hypothesizes that it is a bomb. Attacked by several Intergang henchmen, the pair are helped by a disillusioned Kyle Abbot. The device is activated, erupting in a pillar of flame. At the same time numerous other devices are also activated, as Intergang attempts to destroy Gotham by fire. Montoya wears Charlie's mask for the first time, going after Bruno "Ugly" Mannheim as the Question, and finds Mannheim and Whisper A'Daire about to use Kate as a sacrificial victim. Montoya sets Whisper A'Daire on fire, but is about to be killed by Mannheim when Kate stabs him with the ceremonial knife and collapses in Montoya's arms.

Kate returns to her penthouse to recuperate. Montoya, as the Question, shines the Bat-Signal into Kate's apartment and asks, "Are you ready?"

One Year Later and Final Crisis[edit]

Montoya appears in Countdown #40 when Oracle solicits her help in capturing the Trickster and the Pied Piper, suspected of the murder of Bart Allen. The two criminals escape the Suicide Squad only to be apprehended by Montoya and Batwoman. Montoya agrees to their release, concluding they're too stupid to be murderers. Montoya maintains that she will not become a member of the Birds of Prey, but Oracle calls upon her to accompany the Birds of Prey in Gotham Underground #2.

She later stars in Greg Rucka's 2007 limited series, Crime Bible: Five Lessons of Blood, in which she pursues the Crime Bible and withstands its adherents' efforts to convert her to their cause. In Grant Morrison's Final Crisis (2008), Montoya informs Dan Turpin that she is investigating the Dark Side Club. She later battles Frankenstein and the agents of S.H.A.D.E. during her investigation of an apocalyptic conspiracy related to the Crime Bible (now in possession of Libra) and Darkseid. She is accosted by S.H.A.D.E. agents in her civilian identity when she assists a dying German Supergirl from a parallel world.

Montoya appears in the Final Crisis: Revelations miniseries by Greg Rucka. While trying to stop members of the Religion of Crime from obtaining a mystic weapon, she is confronted by the Spectre (whose current host is Crispus Allen, Montoya's former partner). The Spectre states that she is about to receive judgment. He is stopped by Radiant, the Spirit of Mercy, who embodies the ideal of Christian love as introduced by Jesus.

Maggie Sawyer, corrupted by the Anti-Life Equation, emerges from Gotham Central along with the rest of the brainwashed police force. They attempt to unleash the Equation on Montoya, but are stopped by the intervention of the Spectre and Radiant. The Spectre is not able to hold them off for long, because they are protected by the same force that protects Libra. Radiant makes sure that Montoya can't be brainwashed, and teleports her away. Observing the surroundings, she finds Batwoman lying in the streets. Batwoman reveals that she now obeys Darkseid as well, and starts to recite the Equation. It appears, however, that Montoya is completely immune to the Equation; in the following issue, she is seen in complete control of her own mind.

Montoya appears in Final Crisis #5, recruited by the underground resistance movement organized by Checkmate. She is told that she must travel the DC Multiverse and gather help for New Earth. In Final Crisis #7 she is seen accompanied by Captain Marvel (of Earth 5) where she gathers a group of alternative versions of Superman that help end the Final Crisis and defeat Mandrakk the Dark Monitor. She identifies herself as a "Global Peace agent" in Final Crisis #7 - an allusion to the faceless agents of the GPA from the original OMAC series.

Starting in Detective Comics #854, Montoya appeared in an ongoing backup feature written by Greg Rucka, with art by Cully Hamner.

Batwoman: Detective Comics[edit]

Further information: Batwoman: Detective Comics

Montoya takes the case of a missing illegal immigrant — the young sister of the man named Hector Soliz seeking her detective services. She follows some leads to their hideout and discovers pornographic pictures of the girl, indicating she may have become involved in a child pornography or sexual slavery ring.[12] While investigating a businessman who she believes is involved with the slavery, Montoya is kidnapped and left to die after being tied up in the trunk of a car that is driven into a river. She easily escapes and eventually tracks the slaves to a boat owned by the businessman. After a brief fight with several henchmen, the police arrive and rescue the women, reuniting Hector with his sister.

When Montoya briefly returned to Gotham City, she worked with the new Batman and quickly realized that he was Nightwing. Her old partner Bullock also discovered that Renee is the new Question, pointing out that he worked with her long enough to be able to recognize her rear end.[13]

Blackest Night[edit]

During the events of Blackest Night, Renee is tracked down by Lady Shiva, who claims that she wishes to test her in combat to see if she is a worthy successor to Victor. The two women engage in a brutal fist fight, only to be interrupted when Victor, now reanimated as a Black Lantern, arrives on the scene and attacks them. After a drawn out battle, Renee discovers that Black Lanterns feed on emotions, and that if she is able to cut herself off from her feelings, she will become invisible. She does so, and angered, Victor stalks off into the night, searching for easier prey. Shiva reveals that she never intended to actually fight Montoya, but felt that attacking her would draw Victor out into the open so she could face him again.[14]

Some time after this, Renee teams up with the Huntress in order to bring down the criminal network that Renee had earlier encountered. Eventually, the hitman known as Zeiss attacks the women, having been ordered by an unknown client to kill them. Renee appeals to the hitman's greed, offering him more money if he simply fakes their deaths and leaves them be. After this, Huntress takes Renee to Oracle for help in tracking down the client who put out the hit, and is flabbergasted upon discovering that Oracle is in fact "Commissioner Gordon's daughter". The two women eventually make their way to Oolong Island (home of the Doom Patrol), where they are arrested.[15] After escaping from police custody, Huntress and the Question discovered that Vandal Savage is behind the human trafficking network they had been trying to shut down. Savage offers to shut down his criminal network in exchange for one of them taking the Mark of Cain, which had been branded onto his face by the Spectre during the events of Final Crisis. Renee ultimately chooses to accept the Mark of Cain, ending Savage's reign of terror but leaving her face disfigured.[16]

Following this, the Question appears alongside Batwoman as part of Wonder Woman's team of superheroines when a group of aliens attack Washington D.C.[17] Rose Wilson jokingly asks her if she intends to seek an autograph from Wonder Woman, only for Renee to nervously remark that she's trying to work her way up to asking for one.[18]

Batman Inc.[edit]

Renee seeks out Richard Dragon, who helps her learn to suppress the Mark through her mental willpower.[19]

Following Bruce Wayne's return to the 21st century, he establishes Batman Inc., a global network of Batmen from various nations. Batman sends Renee to Paris, France in order to infiltrate the Golden Portal, a violent cult responsible for a number of deaths. Renee allows herself to be captured and brainwashed by the cult's leader, Korrigan, and ultimately uses mental techniques taught to her by Richard and Victor to overcome Korrigan. With help from Batman and the French vigiliante Nightrunner, the members of the Golden Portal are defeated and Korrigan is arrested.[20]

The New 52[edit]

In The New 52, Renee has yet to appear, though she has appeared in an image viewed by Batwoman on the GCPD's wall of honor. As well, The Question appears in The New 52 as one of the Trinity of Sin with Pandora and the Phantom Stranger, though the character's identity has not been revealed. At the 2014 Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, James Tynion IV, a writer on Batman Eternal, revealed that the creative team almost included Renee Montoya, but they decided against it, saying, "We cut her out because we didn't want her to just be in the background of the GCPD. We want to bring her back for her own big story."[21]

Equipment[edit]

  • Montoya uses an advanced energy pistol she found while fighting with Intergang, as well as her police sidearm.
  • After the death of Vic Sage, Montoya inherited his costume, mask, fedora and trench coat, all of which have been treated to react to the binary gas created by Aristotle Rodor. In addition, Rodor provided Montoya with a shampoo that causes her hair to change color when exposed to the gas. According to the Question: Secret Origin backup in 52, this substance was developed using technology lifted from an old Batman foe named Bart Magan (Dr. No Face) and Gingold Extract, a fruit derivative associated with the Elongated Man. The Question's series by Denny O'Neil presented Pseudoderm as Rodor's attempt to build an artificial skin for humanitarian purposes.
  • The mask adheres to her face and renders it as a featureless blank when exposed to the binary gas. The binary gas is expelled from a special belt buckle worn by Montoya. The gas also causes her chemically treated costume, fedora, and trench coat to change color, typically to a dark blue.

Other versions[edit]

Flashpoint[edit]

In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Renee Montoya is a bar owner and bartender. She is defensive of one of alcoholic patrons, Bullock.[22]

Smallville[edit]

In the first issue of Batman's debut in Smallville season 11's comic series, Barbara Gordon/Nightwing mentions eluding cops named "Allen and Montoya".[23]

Reception[edit]

Renee Montaya was ranked as the 80th greatest comic book character of all time by Wizard magazine.[24] IGN also listed Montoya as the 87th greatest comic book hero of all time: a character representing ethnic diversity, who has undergone a tremendous personal transformation from humble beginnings.[25]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Renee Montoya, as she appeared in The New Batman Adventures.
  • Renee Montoya was a recurring character in Batman: The Animated Series, voiced by Ingrid Oliu. She is often serving as a more open-minded and tolerant foil to the more belligerent Harvey Bullock. Like Commissioner Gordon, Montoya is openly supportive of Batman and even works with him in the episode "P.O.V.".
  • Montoya is featured in the TV series Gotham portrayed by Victoria Cartagena. In this continuity, she is a recovering drug addict and the former lover of Detective James Gordon's fiancee Barbara Kean. She works in the Major Crimes Unit of the Gotham City Police Department where her partner is Crispus Allen. Upon learning that Jim Gordon was involved in the potential murder of Oswald Cobblepot on Don Carmine Falcone's indirect order, she becomes obsessed with having him convicted, and in doing so, potentially winning Barbara back. She and Allen successfully find a witness at the Gotham pier who saw the shooting, and they promptly issue a warrant for Gordon's arrest at Barbara's apartment. However, her case is crushed when Oswald Cobblepot announces his return inside the GCPD building. She later saves Gordon during a shootout with Victor Zsasz, and pledges her friendship and loyalty towards his endeavors. [26][27]

Web series[edit]

Video games[edit]

Radio[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Comics Should Be Good: Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #22!". Goodcomics.blogspot.com. 2005-10-27. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  2. ^ "The World's Finest - Batman: The Animated Series". Worldsfinestonline.com. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  3. ^ Detective Comics #742 (January 2000)
  4. ^ Gotham Central V. 2 tpb/V. 1 HC
  5. ^ Gotham Central #23 (November 2004)
  6. ^ Gotham Central #24 (December 2004)
  7. ^ Gotham Central #38 (February 2006)
  8. ^ Gotham Central #40 (April 2006)
  9. ^ "52" Week Four
  10. ^ "52" Week Fourteen
  11. ^ "52" Week Thirty-Eight (2006)
  12. ^ Detective comics #854
  13. ^ Detective Comics Annual #11
  14. ^ The Question #37
  15. ^ Detective Comics #862
  16. ^ Detective Comics #863
  17. ^ http://dcu.blog.dccomics.com/files/2010/06/ww_600_no_ads-3-copy.jpg
  18. ^ Wonder Woman #600
  19. ^ Detective Comics Annual #12 (December 2010)
  20. ^ Batman Annual #28 (December 2010)
  21. ^ Siegel, Lucas (April 26, 2014). "C2E2 2014: DC Comics Batman Panel- Eternal News, Joker's Return Teased". Newsarama. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  22. ^ Flashpoint: Batman - Knight of Vengeance #2 (July 2011)
  23. ^ http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/08/16/the-dark-knight-comes-to-smallville-season-11
  24. ^ "Wizard's top 200 characters. External link consists of a forum site summing up the top 200 characters of Wizard Magazine since the real site that contains the list is broken.". Wizard magazine. Retrieved May 7, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Renee Montoya is number 88". IGN. Retrieved May 9, 2011. 
  26. ^ Bricken, Rob (February 25, 2014). "What We Learned from the Script for Gotham's First Episode". io9. Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  27. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (May 12, 2014). "Fox's 'Gotham' Promotes Three to Series Regular". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 12, 2014. 

External links[edit]