Before she took up the mantle of the Question, Renee Montoya was just…Detective Renee Montoya. Originally created for Batman: The Animated Series, Renee also found her way into the comic book version of Gotham City. Partnered with the cantankerous Harvey Bullock, Renee was one of the cops to stay behind in the No Man’s Land arc where Gotham is destroyed by an earthquake and cut off from the rest of the world. It’s in No Man’s Land that Renee forges an uneasy truce with Harvey Dent aka Two-Face. Initially apprehensive of the rogue, Renee tries to connect to his human side and defends him from both thugs and The Batman himself. Harvey doesn’t gain redemption, but he does find himself smitten with Montoya and, in true psycho fashion, he later sets out to destroy her life so she has nothing left but him. Part of this plan includes outing the closeted Renee to both her squad-mates and her conservative parents. The squad accepts her. Her parents don’t. Eventually, the death of her partner leads Renee down a drunken path of despair until Vic Sage reaches out to her, and takes her on a quest (no pun intended) to become the next Question.
Why she makes the list:
The “Half a Life” arc of Gotham Central, the arc that deals with Renee’s outing, tackles an issue that hits close to home for many a queer-identified person. Not coming out, but staying in the closet which is a choice that many feel they have to make in order to keep their jobs and/or their families. We hear a lot about pride, and while Renee’s shame isn’t endorsed, it is acknowledged, and it’s something a lot of people can relate to. It’s a part of her history, but it’s also something she moves beyond. It isn’t easy, and it costs her a great deal, but she eventually finds comfort in her identity and refuses to let anyone make her feel ashamed again. Oh, and on top of all that, she kicks major ass and knows how to use a set of nunchucks. The perfect woman. Now, let’s just see what becomes of her in the rebooted DCnU.
Gotham Central: Half a Life
52 weeks 1-2, 4-5, 7, 9, 11-12, 14-16, 18, 23, 26-28, 30, 33-34, 36, 38, 41-42, 44, 45, 47-48, 52 (or just read the whole thing…)
The Question: Five Books of Blood