Remake & Reboot: DC’s The Question

Since the advent of “The New 52″ in DC Comics last year, there’s been a question on my mind. Or rather, the question: Where does the Question fit into all of this?

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.

The Concept:

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 Creators:

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.

 

Comments

  1. SQReview says:

    I would love for The Question to come back. Both Renee and Vic are two of my favorite DCU characters.

  2. mathewsr75 says:

    I dont understand how Valiant giving Fred Van Lente a chance on Archer and Armstrong is “vilifying”?

  3. JokersNuts JokersNuts says:

    It’s annoying how Renee Montoya has just disappeared. She’s a great character and played a large role as the Question pre-New52. She’s a major part of Batwoman’s history too, I’d love it if DC would acknowaldge her. I missed the Free Comic Book Day bit.

  4. Roldan Roldan says:

    I’m surprised you didn’t go with the obvious choice: Greg Rucka.

    • KenOchalek KenOchalek says:

      While I’d love to see Greg Rucka continue writing Renee as The Question, I think he recently (maybe on Word Balloon?) said something to the effect of his intended direction for Renee not matching with DC’s plans.

  5. AmirCat AmirCat says:

    Question likes reading watchmen:

    http://goo.gl/QkStG

  6. SirSullymore SirSullymore says:

    Q had some good badguys in the 80′s series like Junior, Butch and Sundance, and that reverend. I always thought that they could give Riddler the Kingpin treatment and move him to the Question.

  7. WheelHands WheelHands says:

    It’s really a crime that Renee has joined the ranks of the many characters that have been shelved post relaunch. It almost stings more than some of the others *cough*Wally West*cough*, because Renee’s character arc was so interesting. From a beat cop on the GCPD to a hero on the frontlines of Final Crisis, to the completely unexplored role in the Global Peacekeeping Agency. Mix in her conviction, her history in Gotham, and her relationships with characters like Bullock, Vic Sage, and Kate Kane and you have a beautifully rounded character that has a serious following. Not bad for a character that started out as an original creation in a minor role on The Animated Series. In my opinion, it’s a serious fumble on DC’s part. She should’ve been a major player in the current status quo.

  8. tarunbanned tarunbanned says:

    Hi Chris!
    On the iFanboy home page, the corresponding tiny thumbnail image to this article shown,
    Can you tell me where I may view a full size version, and whose it is?

    • WheelHands WheelHands says:

      The image in question is the cover to The Question Vol. 2 #2 by Tommy Lee Edwards. Edwards did all the covers for the short run of Vol. 2, and they’re all equally gorgeous. If you just image google “Tommy Lee Edwards Question Covers”, you’ll get plenty of results.

  9. I recently reread Rucka’s two Renee Montoya/The Question trades. It renewed my love of Montoya. Such a great character.

    It still baffles me as to why DC, trying to diversify the line with the New 52, would hang up their female-hispanic-lesbian character. Clearly a ball was dropped.