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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.
The character has developed significantly over the years. Renee Montoya was initially conceived as a police detective from the Gotham City Police Department, assigned to the Major Crimes Unit who came into frequent contact with the masked vigilante, Batman. Over the course of her comic book history, the character was outed as a lesbian (among few in comics) and later resigned from the police force, disgusted by its corruption. After being trained by the first man to bear the name, Montoya now defends Gotham as the Question.
Fictional character historyEdit
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.
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, with whom she becomes close friends.Template:Issue After Bullock is promoted to Lieutenant, Crispus Allen becomes Montoya's new partner.Template:Issue
Gotham City is destroyed by an earthquake in the "No Man's Land" crossover. It is soon closed off from the rest of the United States. 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 murderous criminal Two-Face; this despite Two-Face having killed some of Gordon's 'Blue Boys'. She is able to enlist Two-Face's kinder Harvey Dent persona in helping with aid and relief efforts, and the mentally unstable man 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 takes on this role as well and ultimately allows 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.
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 knew about her sexuality, her religious parents (Hernando and Luisa, who are from the Dominican Republic) didn't, and they disown her.
In the 2004 "War Games" crossover, 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 Allen's killing 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 the issue go, but Montoya refuses, so Allen investigates Corrigan independently, hoping that if Corrigan is brought to justice, Montoya will stop her downward spiral.Template:Issue 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 can't pull the trigger. Montoya quits the GCPD the next day, disgusted and broken.
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. Montoya and the Question fly to Kahndaq, where Montoya prevents a girl from exploding 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 manage to 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, and Montoya fears Charlie's death more than once. As she nears the city, he awakens enough to tell her that she needs to figure out who she'll become before finally dying.
Back in Nanda Parbat, Montoya struggles as she attempts to become Charlie's heir as the Question. Richard Dragon accuses her of running away from her self and not accepting the 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 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, both friends of the Question. Putting on the Question's fedora, Montoya goes and attempts to console Black Adam, since she understands what its 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 begins to look for Kate.
Nightwing and RMontoya eventually find a strange device in a warehouse guarded by hybrid creatures, which Nightwing hypothesizes is a bomb. Attacked by several Intergang henchmen, the pair are surprisingly helped by a disillusioned Kyle Abbot. The device is activated, erupting a pillar of flame, at the same time numerous other devices are also activate, as Intergang attempts to turn Gotham into a firepit. 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 sacrifice Kate. Montoya sets Whisper A'Daire on fire, but is about to be killed by Mannheim when Kate stabs him with the sacrificial knife and collapses in Montoya's arms.
Kate survives and 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 CrisisEdit
Montoya appears in Countdown #40 where Oracle solicits her help in capturing the Trickster and the Pied Piper, who have been offered partial sanctuary by the Penguin following the murder of Bart Allen. Despite using Oracle's services, Montoya reminds Oracle that this does not make her one of "her Birds". The duo escape the Suicide Squad only to have Montoya catch up to them with Batwoman in tow, although Montoya eventually permits their release, concluding they're too stupid to be murderers. Despite this, Oracle calls upon the Question and Batwoman's assistance alongside her Birds in Gotham Underground #2.
She later stars in a 2007 5-issue limited series written by Greg Rucka entitled Crime Bible: Five Lessons of Blood, which focuses on the Question's pursuit of the Crime Bible, and its adherents' efforts to convert her to their cause in turn. Appearing in Grant Morrison's Final Crisis (2008), Montoya is seen informing Dan Turpin of her own investigations of the Dark Side Club run by Boss Dark Side, and later battling Frankenstein and the agents of S.H.A.D.E. as part of her struggle to put together 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 however in her civilian identity when she stops to attend the body of a dying German Supergirl from a parallel world.
Simultaneously, Renee 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, Renee is confronted by the Spectre (whose current host is Crispus Allen, Renee's former partner), who states that Renee is about to receive judgement. He is stopped by Radiant, the Spirit of Mercy, embodying the merciful aspect of Christianity introduced by Jesus.
When 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 Renee, if not for 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 protected Libra. Instead, Radiant makes sure that Renee can't be brainwashed, and teleports her away. Observing the surroundings, Renee finds Batwoman lying in the streets. When she goes to check on her, Batwoman reveals that she now obeys Darkseid as well, and starts to recite the Equation.
Powers and abilitiesEdit
- Trained as a police detective by the Gotham Police Department, Montoya is a capable fighter, and a seasoned investigator.
- Montoya has had advanced training in various martial arts under the tutelage of Richard Dragon.
- 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.
- As a police detective and as the Question, Montoya wields a handgun which she is willing to use in difficult circumstances.
Appearances in other mediaEdit
In the Batman: Gotham Knight and The Dark Knight, there is a similar character named Anna Ramirez, in the commentary for Batman: Gotham Knights, Gregory Noveck alludes to the similarity and notes the reason for the name difference is Ramirez's actions in Dark Knight as a corrupt cop on the mob's payroll.