|First appearance||As Renee Montoya:|
Batman #475 (March 1992)
52 #48 (April 2007)
|Created by||Bruce Timm|
|Alter ego||Renee Maria Montoya|
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 in the DC Animated Universe (DCAU) series Batman: The Animated Series / The New Batman Adventures, voiced by Ingrid Oliu, and later Liane Schirmer. Originally conceived of as a heterosexual widow, she was later redeveloped as a lesbian and the primary love interest of Kate Kane / Batwoman.
Renee is initially a detective from the Gotham City Police Department, assigned to the Major Crimes Unit, who comes into frequent contact with Batman. After being outed and framed for murder, she resigns from the police force, disgusted by its corruption. She operates as the second 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 (vol. 2) #41 (August 2015), in which she was established as Harvey Bullock's new partner. The character made her live-action debut in the first season of Gotham, portrayed by Victoria Cartagena, with Cartagena subsequently reprising the role in the third season of the Arrowverse series Batwoman, and made her cinematic debut in the 2020 DC Extended Universe (DCEU) film Birds of Prey, portrayed by Rosie Perez.
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]
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.
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]
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.
Starting in Detective Comics #854, Montoya appeared in an ongoing backup feature written by Greg Rucka, with art by Cully Hamner.
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. 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.
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. James Tynion IV, a writer on Batman Eternal, revealed that the creative team almost included Montoya, but they decided against it: "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".
Montoya appears in Detective Comics (vol. 2) #41, as Harvey Bullock's new partner.
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 (vol. 2) #1 as a supporting character. As the Question, she also plays a minor role in Event Leviathan, also from 2019.
Renee rejoins the GCPD around the time of "A-Day", a massive attack on Arkham Asylum by the Joker that results in the deaths of dozens of inmates and staff; the circumstances of why she gave up being the Question have yet to be depicted. In The Next Batman: Second Son #1, Gotham City Mayor Christopher Nakano asks Renee to become the Commissioner of the GCPD to replace Jim Gordon, who has retired. After a day or so to think on it, Renee accepts. In the Batman: Urban Legends story "Disinformation Campaign", she and Kate Kane are revealed to have broken up sometime prior to the start of the story for unknown reasons.
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.
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".
In the alternate timeline of the 2011 "Flashpoint" storyline, Renee Montoya is a bar owner and bartender. She is defensive of one of the alcoholic patrons, Bullock.
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, but 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.
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.
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.
Renee Montoya appears in Gotham Girls, voiced by Adrienne Barbeau.
Renee Montoya is featured in the BBC Radio's 1994 adaptation of the 1993 "Knightfall" storyline, voiced by Lorelei King.
((cite web)): CS1 maint: postscript (link)
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