Originally created in 1967 by Steve Ditko for Charlton Comics, the faceless enigma got absorbed into the DCU when Charlton’s heroes were absorbed into the DC in the late 80s. Since that time,he’s had several outings in his own solo titles and guest appearances. Sometimes an investigative journalist, sometimes an urban shaman, he was the inspiration of Watchmen‘s Rorschach and is, in a certain way, the kind of hero Warren Ellis dreamed of when he created The Authority.
In modern comics the Question has had one lone appearance, in DC’s 2012 Free Comic Book Day offering. In it, he stood in front of a magical/cosmic overseeing body and was judged for his crimes, along with the mysteriously red-cloaked figure Pandora and the Phantom Stranger. In this new rendition of enigmatic enigma, he’s revealed to be a dangerous (but unnamed) super-villain who is wiped of his memories and his face and forced to live out his life searching for answers. It’s a good start — and here’s what DC should do next.
It seems the Question will be a player of some sort in the developing mystery of Pandora, and I’m all for that. Despite being different than the Vic Sage or Renee Montoya that’s come before, this could still dovetail into that and gain some readers along the way. What I would do is have this new Question be the kind of hero who’s good at his job because he knows how criminals thing — because he was one, but he doesn’t know it. While criss-crossing the DCU to ferret out the biggest mysteries of the day (including the fate of Renee Montoya), he could also slowly pull together the pieces of who he is… and then have to deal with it. All the while being one of the most vicious vigilantes on the right side of justice.
As far as villains go, the Question’s never really had a neatly organized rogue’s gallery but he’s faced a number of unique foes that could be built up into one. Imagine how Geoff Johns built up Flash’s rogues gallery, and put that to use here. From the shamanistic hitman Psychopomp from the 2005 Question miniseries to the high class drug dealer El Beato from the 80s series and the dueling street gangs of Hub City, the Huns and the Grinning Ghosts.
The Writer – Fred Van Lente: Van Lente seems to be one of the big writers lost in the shuffle at Marvel with the Architects ruling the roost around there, and he’s continually showed his acumen with smaller works like his Marvel Zombies work and The Comic Book History of Comics and doing fill-in issues of The Amazing Spider-Man. That being said, he’d never been given a major book to make his mark on, and seeing Valiant give him that chance with Archer & Armstrong is vindicating. Van Lente has the ability to mix comedy with drive and expert storytelling, and could be a great person to pick to reinterpret the Question for modern comics.
The Artist – Juan Ferreyra: Ferreyra is one of those artists I continually wonder why DC or Marvel hasn’t latched onto (and I said as much when I profiled him as an iFanboy Upstart). Ferreyra would be an ideal choice to reboot The Question, being a great storyteller and one of the best under-appreciated cover artists otu there. Partner him with Van Lente and back up.