The Question: Who is the Crime Fighting Conspiracy Theorist?

Good Question

The Question: The mind of man must be reclaimed, if not by this generation or by the next, then some day. Some decade. It is not in my power to effect the change. I haven’t the might. I am not the answer.”
“I am only The Question.”

Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again

A security guard yawns. He has been hired by a tech company to protect a computer server during the night. He notices a light coming from the server room. Pulling out his gun, the guard creeps over to investigate. He sees a figure in a blue trench coat and fedora accessing a terminal. He bursts into the room, points his gun, and orders the intruder to turn around.

The intruder turns, revealing that he doesn’t have a face. The guard does a double take as the creature rushes him. A flurry of punches knocks the guard out. The intruder resumes hacking into the database. With each keystroke, new information is revealed, new connections are forged. The Question’s mind races as a conspiracy unravels before him.

The Question is one of DC Comics’ premier detectives. He’s been known to suss out mysteries that even Batman: the World’s Greatest Detective can’t solve. So who is he? Why is he faceless? Why is a female Question running around? Just how deep is this rabbit hole!? Let’s find out.

Who is Vic Sage?: The Question’s Backstory

Green Arrow: “So I think that answered everything.
The Question: “A little too well.
Green Arrow: “Does everything have a sinister motive in your world?
The Question: “Yours, too. You just don’t know it.

Justice League: Unlimited “Fearful Symmetry” (Season 1, Episode 6)

The Question debuted in Blue Beetle #1 in 1967. He was created by Steve Ditko, who based The Question on his views of the philosophy of Objectivism. 

Victor Sage was an outspoken reporter who was approached for help by a former teacher, Professor Rodor. He had created an artificial skin called Pseudoderm only to discover its ingredients could be dangerous. Unfortunately Rodor’s partner stole the formula and was planning to sell it on the black market. Rodor begged Victor to help stop the sale.

Victor used the Pseudoderm to disguise himself, fashioning a chunk of the material into a mask that made him look faceless. Even better, one of the chemicals changed his red hair black when he put on the mask, only to revert when it was removed. Well disguised, Victor Sage became The Question.

The Question stopped the sale and kept his new persona. He used the disguise to investigate gangs, crooked cops, and the corrupt government of his hometown, Hub City. He fell in love with local politician Myra Fermin and helped her win a mayoral race against the corrupt administration.

The Question learned that he was dying during the series 52. Years of smoking and exposure to Pseudoderm had given him incurable lung cancer. Realizing that he was running out of time, Victor searched for a successor and finally found one in former Gotham City cop, Renee Montoya.

Who is Renee Montoya?: The Question’s History

Montoya:Some questions can only be answered with a mask.”

52 #48

Renee Montoya debuted in Batman: the Animated Series. She was created to be one of Commissioner Gordon’s most trusted officers. Much like fellow newcomer Harley Quinn, Montoya proved popular enough to be brought into the comics.

Montoya was one of the stars of Gotham Central, a comic series focusing on Gotham’s police. Montoya quickly found an arch nemesis in the form of Two-Face, who had fallen in love with her. She didn’t reciprocate his feelings, but began reaching out to his Harvey Dent side, hoping to help him overcome the Two-Face persona.

Two-Face soon discovered that Montoya was gay and he outed her by sending incriminating photos. To make matters worse, a crooked cop killed her police partner, leading Montoya to seek revenge. She narrowly stopped herself from killing him and quit Gotham’s police force in disgust.

Montoya became an alcoholic and spiraled down. The Question helped her get cleaned up and trained her to be his successor. She was initially hesitant, but ultimately decided to become the new Question. His task complete, Victor Sage passed away.

Cue the Clues: The Question’s Powers and Personality

Doctor Moon: [electrocutes The Question] “You stole files from our computer. Just tell me what you’ve learned.
The Question:Topically applied fluoride doesn’t prevent tooth decay. It does render teeth detectable by spy satellites.
Doctor Moon: [shocks him] “Tell me what you know.”
The Question:The plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces are called aglets. Their true purpose is sinister.”
Doctor Moon: [shocks him again] “Tell me what you know!
The Question:There was a magic bullet. It was forged by Illuminati mystics to prevent us from learning the truth!

Justice League: Unlimited “Question Authority” (Season 2, Episode 9)

The Question’s Pseudoderm mask contains an air filter that allows the wearer to survive the dangerous chemicals used in its construction. The mask is affixed with a binary gas, making it almost impossible to remove without another exposure to the gas. As a nifty benefit, the gas also changes the coloring of The Questions hair and suit.

Victor Sage started out as a simple street brawler, but was later taught martial arts by adventurer Richard Dragon and Lady Shiva, one of the DC Universe’s deadliest assassins. Batman sometimes recruits Victor if he runs into a mystery that he can’t solve. There was an attempt to turn The Question into a magical “Urban Shaman” in the 90s, but everyone prefers to forget that ever happened. Sage is uncompromising, inquisitive, and occasionally comedic. He has a tendency to believe conspiracy theories and investigates them with the same fervor he uses for corrupt officials. 

Renee Montoya was a well trained cop with plenty of experience fighting Gotham City’s costumed maniacs. In addition to the same training Victor received, she wields a laser pistol stolen from the high tech Intergang. Montoya is a tough as nails ex-cop. Despite her prickly exterior, she is compassionate and has struggled with her sexuality and status as the daughter of immigrants.

The Actors Who Play The Question

The Question debuted in Justice League: Unlimited with Star Trek’s Jeffrey Combs providing the voice. He is one of the breakout characters of the show, which helped boost interest in the character. 

The Question next appeared in Batman: the Brave and the Bold, where he was voiced by Nicholas Guest. For some reason, Guest didn’t reprise the role for Scooby Doo! & Batman: the Brave and the Bold, leading Combs to return to the role.

Renee Montoya debuted in Batman: the Animated Series, where she was voiced by Ingrid Oliu and Liane Schirmer. The Bedford Diaries’ Victoria Cartagena played Montoya in Gotham. Harley Quinn’s Vanessa Marshall voiced Montoya in Batman: Bad Blood.

Oscar nominee Rosie Perez will play Renee Montoya in Birds of Prey. There’s no sign of her becoming The Question just yet, but it’s only a matter of time and sequels.

Didya Get All That?

Not yet. Keep digging and someday you’ll find the answer to The Question.

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