Renee Montoya is an ex-detective with the GCPD and secretly the faceless vigilante known as The Question.
- A no-nonsense, determined Renee Montoya enrolls in Gotham's Police Academy, determined to make a difference. As a native of the city, she already knows its in and outs and has connections within her own community.
- She graduates and hits the streets as an idealist beat cop. Curiously, she is an admirer and supporter of the Batman. These are only enhanced by her occasional meetings with him. Many in the GCPD are corrupt. Batman, for all his foreboding image, is not.
- At some point, Officer Montoya meets socialite Kate Kane: she pulls her over and tickets her for going 52 in a 35 MPH zone. They, uh, hit it off.
- Kate never did slow down, but it doesn't last.
- Renee rededicates herself to her job. Commissioner Gordon, noting her support of Batman, assigns her to surveillance on several of the Dark Knight's rogues, putting her in a position where she was once able to clear the Bat's name.
- Officer Montoya earns a commendation for apprehending both Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn (by putting firearms to good use blowing out their tires) as they are escaping from Batman. No /man/ could catch them, after all.
- Renee earns a promotion to homicide detective.
- She is partnered with Bullock and becomes his friend. It probably doesn't hurt they both enjoy a stiff drink.
- Renee's string of success continues; Gotham is a busy place for cops. She maintains good & reliable rep on the force despite corruption in the system, including accusations levied against her own partner.
- Detective Montoya helps out alongside unlikely ally Two-Face -- or is it the other way around -- when Gotham City is struck by an earthquake. Over the course of this unique mission Two-Face decides he is in love with Renee. This goes unrequited because he is, uh, not her type.
- Being a crazed villain, Two-Face also decides that driving Renee away from what she knows and is comfortable with will bring her closer to him. He attempts to frame her for murder and outs her to the GCPD. Batman can only save her from the repercussions of the former.
- Betrayed, disowned, and completely miserable, Renee distances herself from what few loved ones she has left and finds as much comfort as possible at the bottom of a bottle.
- Now partnered with Det. Crispus Allen, Renee is ambushed by CSI cop Jim Corrigan, who happens to be a corrupt douchebag -- and a murderer. Montoya loses Allen in the course of investigating Corrigan. She beats the everliving shit out of Corrigan's girlfriend -- another corrupt officer -- and puts a gun to Jim's head, but cannot bring herself to pull the trigger to exact revenge. Or would it have been justice?
- Renee quits the force to dedicate herself to the lifestyle of a womanizing alcoholic, or maybe an alcoholic womanizer. One of those two.
- The Question makes her life a little more miserable by showing up when unexpected -- in her bedroom, for Pete's sake -- and challenging her to discover herself. He hires her for some surveillance, which puts her in the unwanted(?) position of contacting Kate Kane for information.
- She and the Question literally stumble on Intergang/Religion of Crime operations. Whoops.
- Batwoman helps. Turns out she's Kate Kane. Hot damn. Er... whoops again.
- Intergang suffers some losses, but The Question decides that it's time Renee started asking -- and finding answers to -- questions of her own. She needs training if she's going to start a vigilante's campaign. He brings her to Nanda Parbat.
- Richard Dragon is kind of brutal you know.
- While in Nanda Parbat Renee realizes Kate is being targetted by the Religion as the "Twice Named Daughter of Kane," and returns to Gotham City to save her.
- The (new) Question and Batwoman take it to the streets to bust up Intergang and this "Religion of Crime."
- As Renee and the original Question study their partial copy of the "Crime Bible," they realize other writings must exist. They go globetrotting to collect and decode them.
- (This conveniently divides the religion's attentions, some of its adherents splitting off to track the Questions. Renee does this to draw them off of Batwoman -- and does not tell Kate of this plan, simply "disappearing.")
- While leading Intergang on a merry goose chase, Vic's health begins to fail. He attempts to teach Renee all he knows and prepares for what he terms "the final mystery."
- Renee, remembering that "time stands still" in Nanda Parbat, takes a progressively delusional and pain-wracked Vic back to the mysterious mystical valley, nearly losing him on the way. She leaves him in the care of the Accomplished Perfect Physician to recover.
- Returning to the real world, Renee continues to collect pieces of the Crime Bible, having determined that understanding it gives her key insights to her enemies -- perhaps to all criminals. She will need to know her enemies to defeat them. Pieces of it still elude her, however, and although she has Vic's library and allies, she still she doesn't /quite/ have the resources she needs -- particularly the cold hard cash -- to accomplish her goal.
Signs of the TimesEdit
And then there's Gotham. Gotham City, with all its filthy flaws of crime and corruption, the seat of underground empires and the dumping ground or playground for absolutely insane villains, a city of darkness with so many protectors -- and yet never enough. Renee always felt a little out of sorts, out of place, outside the city; she was out of her element beyond its suburbs, disconnected from the rhythm of its heartbeat.
In Gotham, perhaps -- no, certainly, if Renee was willing to admit it -- existed the resources she might need. It wasn't the worst place to pick as a base of operations. Sure, there were some very bad memories, but they'd simply shaped Renee into the crimefighter she'd become, both on and off the books. As she'd seen with Intergang, even international crime rings could come to roost in Gotham, calling it home. Unfortunately for them, it was also Renee's home. She was once a protector of Gotham, and now she was again, even without the badge. She decided its villains would have to answer for their crimes.
They would have to answer The Question.
Who is Renee Montoya? She is a woman who, at the age of thirty-mumble, still needs to discover herself. It may not be the ultimate question, but it's an important one to her, after all. She's still working on it, changing like -- ugh -- a butterfly.
Having been put through the wringer -- some chrysalis -- she needs to sort those pieces and rebuild herself. She was broken for a long time: betrayed on all fronts and finding solace in beer, whiskey, scotch, what have you. It was a lot easier to give up. But even if she'd lost faith in herself, someone still had faith in her: with Vic Sage's help she got herself back on track and became the protector and detective she once was -- but on a different scale. A larger one. It's her purpose, and she is driven. There are questions to ask. There always will be. She feels that Batman, even his "kids," even variations on the theme such as Batwoman, can't do everything. They are mortal, too, and their focus may be too small. Renee loves Gotham, but there's a larger picture, too. How could she fight crime her own way?
This includes learning more about it, and Renee is beginning to become mildly obsessed with the so-called Dark Faith that put her ex-lover, Kate Kane, in grave danger. She's seen many facets of crime, and this is a dangerously fascinating philosophy and society built around crime. Could it be turned on itself? Was there a flaw built into this belief system? What were the other prophecies? What is held most sacred and could it manipulate the adherents?
And so Renee is willing to put herself in danger to ask her questions -- whether about this particular obsession or other mysteries. She is also willing to hurt others, generally those who need hurting. Some people just need a lesson. Wanton murder, of course, is not for her; she could not kill a murderer in cold blood, herself. She would kill to protect others, however.
Somehow she managed to hold onto a sense of humor, even in her own inner monologue. Perhaps it's a defense mechanism after witnessing so much horror as a cop. She can be funny; Renee can even be charming. Hell, she can flirt. She is not, however, a huge talker: snappy one-liners are more her thing. If they manage to infuriate or distract her opponent (who may or may not actually be an enemy or even a criminal), so much the better. She is beginning to think tactically along these lines, when she has the luxury of plotting.
Inasmuch as daily life and the mundane is concerned, Renee likes beer, baseball, pizza, cigarettes and women -- probably in that order. Her single vanity, perhaps, is her hair. Working out is a necessity so she may as well enjoy it, and she finds a bit of humor in the fact she prefers casual clothing but dresses up in a freaking two or even three piece suit, with gloves, hat and tie, to fight crime. She does gripes about her dry cleaning bill a lot, though, being a solidly blue collar lower middle class type.
Athletics, Awareness, Computers, Criminology, Decryption, Firearms, Intimidation, Investigation, Martial Arts, Meditation, Subterfuge, Tactics, Tracking
Renee Montoya is a hardened veteran of the GCPD, a trained detective well acquainted with the evils of mankind. Despite quitting the force she still retains the skill -- including being a fine markswoman even with her "off" hand. Her familiarity with Gotham City is a huge plus on her resume as the Question: she knows the streets -- each alley and byway and rooftop and escape route -- having run, climbed, crawled them all in hot pursuit of perps.
Renee's insight to the criminal mind is also noteworthy, and her ability to root them out, predict what they will do next, and tweak them into making critical errors is also what made her the second Question. Vic Sage is a man that finds clues Batman misses, and Renee's own leaps of logic have, on occasion, left Vic trying to catch up with her. Renee can apply this logic to find patterns among international rings of crime and terrorism, decrypting texts both ancient and modern to glean clues. Through a combination of detective (or spy) work on foot, esoteric skiptracing and calling on a wide array of contacts, Renee has a lot of ways of finding out what she needs to know so she can position herself strategically.
Something of a chameleon and possessed of a certain rough charm, it is easy for her to eavesdrop innocuously or chat someone up with elusive banter that lets her take more than she gives away. She can even go incognito to gather information; her body language and vocabulary can fit right in with the seediest elements. It's also amazing what kernels of wisdom are spilled when a faceless wonder is interrogating you. Her preference, however, is to personally observe on multiple occasions before confronting; that way she has the tactical edge during any altercation.
The original Question knew she was capable of all this. It's why she was a good candidate for his mantle. Vic then introduced Renee to his buddy Richard Dragon. Yes. That one.
Allies: Harvey Bullock, Maggie Sawyer, Vic Sage, Richard Dragon, Aristotle "Tot" Rodor, possibly Commissioner Gordon, and lastly Kate Kane/Batwoman.
Contacts: Gotham criminal contacts: she knows the snitches, the fences, the street rats, etc.
Equipment: Police scanner, guns (both licensed and illegally obtained), PI/vigilante grab-bag (lockpicks, zipties/handcuffs, small recording devices, flashlight, etc), beat-up sedan (of which she regularly, wincingly, switches out the plates), annoyingly mysterious question mark business cards
Gadgets: Costume: color treat binary gas + pseudoderm mask (bonds to face; cannot be removed without binary gas). Gas can also be used as getaway smokescreen (or just for dramatic entrance/exit). Offense-wise, Renee has an Apokoliptian blaster pistol that seemingly does not run out of ammo and is capable of vaporizing 500 lb. bestial frenzied shapeshifters.
Library: A sizeable chunk of Vic's filed material was packed in the back of a van; some truly informative effects are at Nanda Parbat; there's an entire library of dense CDs, DVDs, and minidiscs available in various scattered vaults, airport lockers, etc.
Retreats: Tot keeps a few safehouses across the globe; Renee has access to these. Her most notable retreat is The Lighthouse, a New England lighthouse and manor. The private estate has been refurbished to serve as both HQ and comfortable living quarters, and like a Batcave-lite possesses equipment enough for Tot to continue some of his experiments and labwork.
Addict: Sometimes Renee copes with the bottle. She's curiously capable of fighting while drunk or even after an all-nighter, but when the hangover hits it's truly epic. Without adrenaline she's a sitting duck. She also smokes, and though she largely gave it up in honor of Vic, it's possible the scent of it can reveal her to someone with an acute sense of smell, looking for chemical compounds, etc.
New at This: The skills honed as a detective on the GCPD payroll are invaluable, but the vigilante mindset, while seductive, doesn't always sit well. Renee is not always able to blithely flout the law. The Question is also by nature a loner. While her experiences have driven her to solitude, she /is/ used to backup; she's not a one-woman army (yet?). She'll make mistakes and wind up paying for it.
Curious: Odd reports, sightings, urban legends, pervasive rumors, underground rumblings, coded messages and the like -- such as pertain to criminal activity -- gain Renee's attention and pique her curiosity. She is liable to investigate. Alone. Newb that she is. See where this is going?
Who Needs Them: Renee's family is highly religious; her being forced out of the closet did not sit well with them. She has summarily been disowned and her family will have nothing to do with her. This helped contribute to the development of her addiction; it also served to make her unlikely to trust people.
Martyr's Complex: And yet, perversely, she is protective of others. She's been serving and protecting for years, after all, and is self-sacrificial -- although not unto suicide. She can't do any good if she's /dead/. But she will take a bullet, she will distract a villain to take the beating herself, she will draw pursuit after her so someone else can get away, she will douse her reputation in the muck and do whatever else it takes to protect what she cares about.
Secret Identity: Yeah, she's the Question. She is fortunate the mask cannot come off without a second application of binary gas. Renee has no interest in announcing herself to the world, as she does not have a deathwish.
Mere Mortal: Like most of Gotham's vigilantes, Renee is going up against crime lords with little more than her intellect and some awesome martial arts. No superpowers, here.
Issue #1: It's Not Catgirl
- Black Cat robs a jewelry store while Renee Montoya is visiting New York City; too bad Montoya's cop instincts kick in.
Issue #2: The Doctor & The Detective
- Dr. Emile Dorian, another patron quietly present at Selina Kyle's charity event, has a proposition for Renee...
Issue #3: A Not-So-Little Bird Told Her
- Renee Montoya gets some information for her latest case, Guest-starring Nightwing!