|First appearance||As Renee Montoya:|
Batman #475 (March 1992)
52 #48 (April 2007)
|Created by||Bruce Timm|
|Alter ego||Renee Maria Montoya|
|Team affiliations||Global Peace Agency|
Gotham City Police Department
Birds of Prey
Renee Maria Montoya is a fictional character appearing in media published by DC Entertainment. The character was created by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and Mitch Brian for Batman: The Animated Series and was preemptively introduced into mainstream comics before the airing of her animated debut in 1992. The character has developed significantly.
Renee is initially a detective from the Gotham City Police Department, assigned to the Major Crimes Unit, who comes into frequent contact with Batman. She is exposed as a lesbian and resigns from the police force, disgusted by its corruption. She operates as the Question out of a lighthouse that she shares with Aristotle Rodor on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Following a line-wide revision of the fictional world of DC Comics superhero comic books, the revised Montoya character appeared first in Detective Comics #41 (August 2015), in which she was established as Harvey Bullock's new partner. The character made her live-action debut on the first season of Gotham and was played by Victoria Cartagena. She made her cinematic debut in the DCEU film Birds of Prey, and was portrayed by Rosie Perez.
Fictional character biography
Renee was created for Batman: The Animated Series by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and Mitch Brian, described in the series bible. She first appears as a uniformed officer partnered with Harvey Bullock. In the follow-up series The New Batman Adventures, Montoya has been promoted from police officer to detective. The comic series Gotham Central describes Montoya as the daughter of immigrants from the Dominican Republic.
Renee is a recurring character in the Batman-related comics after Batman #475 (March 1992). After she is promoted to homicide detective by Commissioner James Gordon, Renee is partnered with Harvey Bullock. After Bullock is promoted to Lieutenant, Crispus Allen becomes Renee's new partner.
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 remain.
Renee 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. In fact, he keeps her restrained in his headquarters against her will. She becomes involved when Two-Face puts James Gordon on trial for perceived wrongdoing. Renee 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. Renee, Gordon, Bullock and the surviving officers are re-instated as a police official.
In "Officer Down", Renee 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 is not worth her career.
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.
In the 2004–2005 "War Games" storyline, Montoya and Crispus Allen are ambushed by the Black Spider, and Allen shoots the villain. 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. 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. 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 cannot pull the trigger. Montoya quits the GCPD the next day, disgusted and broken.
In the 2006–2007 series 52, Montoya, now an alcoholic ex-cop, spends her days in bars and her nights obsessing about the loss of her job and girlfriend Daria who had walked out on her three months previously unable to watch Renée "destroy herself." The Question shines a Bat-Signal, modified to throw a question mark, at her window, asking if she is ready.[volume & issue needed]
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.
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.[volume & issue needed]
"One Year Later" and "Final Crisis"
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 are 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 cannot 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.
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. While investigating a businessman whom 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 butt anywhere.
During the events of the 2009–2010 "Blackest Night" storyline, Montoya 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.
Some time after this, Montoya 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. 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.
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. Rose Wilson jokingly asks her if she intends to seek an autograph from Wonder Woman, only for Renee to nervously remark that she is trying to work her way up to asking for one.
Montoya seeks out Richard Dragon, who helps her learn to suppress the Mark through her mental willpower. 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 vigilante Nightrunner, the members of the Golden Portal are defeated and Korrigan is arrested.
The New 52
As part of The New 52, a 2011 line-wide revision of DC superhero comics, including their fictional histories, Montoya appears in an image viewed by Batwoman on the GCPD's wall of honor. At the 2014 Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, James Tynion IV, a writer on Batman Eternal, revealed that the creative team almost included 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."
DC included Renee Montoya in a line-wide revision of DC superhero comic books, stories and characters they dubbed "DC Rebirth". Montoya appeared sporadically in Detective Comics, still working for the GCPD and slowly rebuilding her relationship with Kate Kane. The two eventually became a couple again in the final issue of the Rebirth Batwoman series.
In July 2019, Montoya debuted as the Question in Lois Lane #1 as a supporting character. As the Question, she also plays a minor role in Event Leviathan, also from 2019.
- 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.
In the alternate future seen in the "Titans Tomorrow" storyline, Renee Montoya has become the commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department long after a crisis claimed the life of Batman. When Tim Drake became Batman and started killing the villains of Batman, Montoya and her predecessor James Gordon worked to hunt him down.
During the 2013–2014 "Forever Evil" storyline, a version of Renee Montoya appears on Earth-3 where all heroes are villains and vice versa. Renee's "evil" counterpart appears in Alfred Pennyworth's flashback. This version of Renee Montoya is still a member of Gotham City Police Department. However, she is a corrupt cop and like the rest of GCPD of this universe who works under Owlman. She is seen with the Earth-3 version of Harvey Bullock in an alleyway pulling their guns out and stopping a family who was out watching a movie nearby. They demand the family to empty out their purses and wallets "in the name of the law." The family, however, are also armed with guns and begin firing. They request for backup, but it is denied as the rest of the police are currently helping Owlman track down the Joker (who is a hero in this universe). Renee and Bullock are then run over by Alfred despite them being allies since the Outsider was trying his best to follow Owlman. It is unclear whether Alfred did not see them or he simply did not care as he was in a high-speed chase with the Joker. Renee was either killed from her injuries or when Earth-3 was destroyed by the Anti-Monitor.
Injustice: Gods Among Us
In the prequel comic to the game Injustice: Gods Among Us, Renee was married to Kate Kane, and part of the Insurgency group in a world oppressed by Superman's Regime. Both sides use performance-enhancing pills granting them superhuman strength, speed, and durability. After the loss of Huntress, Renee became enraged, taking all the pills she could find and heavily overdosed on them with the intention of gaining enough strength to take down Superman on her own, well aware she would die from the drug. She then took out Cyborg in a single blow, took Robin hostage, and challenged Superman to a duel. During the fight, she kept taking additional pills (tripling the already deadly dosage) in an attempt to match or exceed her opponent, until her heart failed because of the strain the chemicals put on her body. Bruce Wayne collected her body and buried her next to the graves of Green Arrow and Black Canary.
DC Comics Bombshells
In DC Comics Bombshells, set in an alternate history 1941, Montoya is a Republican veteran of the Spanish Civil War, now in Berlin fighting with the German resistance group led by Countess Selina Digatti. Montoya was a lover of Kate Kane when the latter fought in the Civil War as one of the American volunteers, though they were driven apart after the death of Jasón, whom they considered their son. She also serves as the Question in this continuity.
Renee Montoya was ranked as the 80th-greatest comic book character of all time by Wizard magazine. 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.
- The Question: Pipeline (Collects the "Question" stories from Detective Comics #854–863)
- Final Crisis: Revelations (Collects Final Crisis: Revelations #1–5 and Final Crisis: Secret Files)
In other media
- Renee Montoya appears in Batman: The Animated Series, voiced by Ingrid Oliu and later Liane Schirmer. 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."
- Renee Montoya appears in The New Batman Adventures, voiced by Liane Schirmer.
Renee Montoya appears in Gotham, portrayed by Victoria Cartagena. In this continuity, she is a recovering drug addict and the former lover of Detective James Gordon's fiancée Barbara Kean. She works in the Major Crimes Unit of the Gotham City Police Department where her partner is Crispus Allen. Upon learning that Don Carmine Falcone ordered Detective Jim Gordon to kill Oswald Cobblepot, it is implied that she does not believe he did it but she nevertheless becomes obsessed with having him convicted in order to win Barbara back. She and Allen 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 ruined when Cobblepot turns up, alive, at GCPD headquarters. She later saves Gordon during a shootout with Victor Zsasz, and promises to help him take on the mob. However, it is revealed that after Gordon's fiancée left him she returned to Renee to begin a new sexual relationship, but Montoya eventually pushes her away when Barbara reveals she is still in love with Gordon. She and Crispus Allen did not return for any of the show's following seasons.
- Renee Montoya appears in Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero, voiced by Liane Schirmer.
- Although she does not appear in Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman, Montoya is implied to have left Gotham City by the time the events of the film take place, with her former partner Harvey Bullock getting a new partner in the form of Sonia Alcana, who is secretly one of the three alter-egos of Batwoman.
- Renee Montoya appears in Batman: Bad Blood, voiced by Vanessa Marshall. In the film, she meets Kate Kane at a bar where the two seem to get along, hinting at a relationship like in the comics. Kate gives Renee her contact info, hoping to see her again. She later appears at the end of the film where she joins Kate and her father for breakfast.
- Rosie Perez portrayed Montoya in the film Birds of Prey, based on the female team of the same name. She is presented as a fan of '80s cop movies who often quotes them in her own police work, but despite being a skilled investigator in her own right, Montoya's career has stalled ever since her former partner and current captain took credit for solving a past case. In the course of the film, she is suspended for her fixation on crime lord Roman Sionis as she is unable to provide any evidence of his criminal activities, which leads to her joining the other characters as she tries to track down orphan pickpocket Cassandra Cain after the girl inadvertently steals a vital diamond from Sionis's associate Victor Zsasz. After helping Harley Quinn, Helena Bertinelli and Dinah Lance fight off Sionis's men, Montoya officially resigns from the force to join Dinah and Helena in a new crime-fighting team known as the 'Birds of Prey', funded by money from the bank accounts of the former Bertinelli crime family.
- Renee Montoya appears in a short cutscene in Batman: Dark Tomorrow, voiced by Erin Quinn Purcell.
- Renee Montoya as the Question appears in DC Universe Online.
- Renee Montoya is referenced in Batman: Arkham Knight. In the Gotham City Police Department headquarters, there is a board listing detectives' shifts, including Montoya.
- Renee Montoya appears in Batman: The Telltale Series, voiced by Krizia Bajos. She is a sergeant at the Gotham City Police Department. Montoya returns in the game's sequel, Batman: The Enemy Within, voiced by Sumalee Montano. She has been promoted to detective and is among the police officers who arrest the Riddler's henchmen.
- Renee Montoya appears as an NPC in Lego DC Super-Villains, with Liane Schirmer reprising her role.
- Renee Montoya is set to appear in Gotham Knights as one of the few honest cops left after Commissioner Gordon's death.
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Matt Mitovich did some digging around and learned that, as suspected, neither Victoria Cartagena nor Andrew Stewart-Jones (AKA Montoya and Allen) will return as regulars
- Couch, Aaron (October 3, 2018). "Rosie Perez Joins Margot Robbie in 'Birds of Prey'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
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