April's Official DC Book Club: The Question #1 - #3!

Last round of discussion questions is up!

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Also really enjoyed this piece overall. It was my intro to The Big Q himself and I loved all the dynamic art!

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W3

  • Why do you think Myra chose to hide the existence of her child from Vic?

Because she is a scared mother. She doesn’t want her kid involved in any of this and the Vic she knew what dangerous. Good but dangerous and she wanted to keep her kid safe. It not to that Vic would hurt the kid but Vic himself was reckless and brought danger with him she didn’t want that danger brought to her kid.

  • The Question — who has spent the past few months coming into his true identity, Charles — staves off what may read as a small panic attack while thinking about the trauma of his past. Do you think these memories plagued him often in his adult life, or do you think he got caught up in his flashy life between Vic Sage and The Question to sort of help bury them?

I think that did from time to time but this instance with kids in danger hit close to home only amplifying them.

  • Ah, to build a snowman … something you probably wouldn’t assume a grown man didn’t know how to do, or what would bring him peace. What do you make of those moments Charles spent with the children? Do you think it eased the innate loneliness in him, as a child who never got to experience companionship?

I think these moments are more of Vic doing good in a different way. Showing more of that growth and change to his character. He use to think the only good he could do had to be loud and adrenaline filled. But the gods can be something calm to such as spendings some time worth some poor kids who don’t have anyone.

  • Overall, what did you think of this story? Do you have any other discussion points we didn’t cover?

Overall is was awesome™:+1: a really cool origin and start to this new question era. It read well and the art was great. Definitely adding the rest of these to my “to read list sooner rather than later”

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Context: I’ve been familiar with The Question for decades, but never read anything pre-52 until now, so I don’t know the continuity coming into this; just the most basic shape of things.

Heh. Question Questions.

I didn’t read it as a feigned indestructability so much as an immediate context for his frame of mind. This is the non-powered character’s equivalent of Superman realizing he’s fighting robots or some other character that allows him to “not hold back.” It tells us his fighting might be careless, but it most certainly will not be hesitant or concerned with how it might affect him. There’s no indication that it’s giving him an adrenaline edge. Quite the opposite, it implies that he’s got nothing to go back to - nobody he’s fighting for unless it’s one of those “if my death allows so-and-so to live” things.

Given his evolution over these three issues, I think the carelessness is the most critical aspect we’re supposed to take away from it.

Locally, yes. We didn’t see any sort of nationwide scandal as a result, which certainly wouldn’t happen today. It served the need to expose an(other) example of the Mayor’s corruption. The point wasn’t the cocaine and “floozie,” but using it for blackmail. In today’s media, the station would likely have put it up on their website for clickbait, with little to no details on the blackmail angle.

I don’t think we ever saw any impact from the exposé, though, which is presumably due to police corruption, incompetence, and/or indifference. In reality, then and now, a state or federal agency would need to get involved, but unless they can get the mook that Vic beat up after shooting a cop to cooperate, they have no case. (And even honest cops would likely be more interested in making an example of him for killing a cop than cutting a deal.) But calling in the state BI doesn’t make for a fun vigilante comic book.

I didn’t see his lives as separate. It didn’t dawn on me until issue 3 that Myra might not know he’s the Question (and I’m not convinced she doesn’t). And Rodor obviously knows. That’s all the people he cares about that we know about at this point. Both Vic and Question serve the same purpose; to fight the corruption in Hub City. Both Myra and Rodor believe that he’s addicted to the violence and adrenaline, but stay with him anyway. Neither is positioned to know how to help him. Even though he shrugs off their concerns, he hears them, but I don’t think Vic knows whether they’re right or not.

Maybe not his entire perception, but it is definitely a countdown to a Rebirth for how he approaches his goals. As we learn in the next issue, its not so much the death that changes him, but the road he is set upon as a result.


Story? :wink:
I don’t think we get a really good explanation as to why Shiva chose to rescue him. We never even really find out what she was hired to do for Hatch. (Other than not to protect a videotape nor nurture the inept.)

One can only assume that in her nine panels she takes to take him down that she was assessing him in some way and determined that there was some sort of value to his continued existence, though he needed refinement.

I thought the secret third option was always “they kiss”?

Either way, I don’t know that I’d prescribe it to fate nor coincidence. I don’t think he sees himself as heading towards any “greatness beyond his own comprehension.” He sees himself as a guy with no past trying to do some good in places that need it. He doesn’t hallucinate Wonder Woman or Superman giving him a pep talk about helping the multitudes. He hallucinates Batman trash talking him for half assing what he’s doing. (Or maybe Bats really drugged Rodor and talked smack directly.) That’s not someone in it for the accolades. He doesn’t even care if he gets accolades as a newscaster. He leaves the question papers for the cops to let them know he’s watching; not to get recognition or in an effort to cooperate with them.

Shiva rescues him, but still leaves him a choice. After the Batlucination, he chooses to follow her path. He chooses to stay with Richard. (He could walk 50 miles if he really wanted out.) He chooses to defend himself against Shiva at the conclusion of his training, to keep the life she gifted him. He chooses to take this new outlook on life and immediately return to the job he was in the middle of.

Definitely not wise, but it was far less reckless than his interactions in the first issue. We don’t really have any insight into his planning (or lack thereof) in either situation, but we know two things that he certainly does as well; 1, they know Vic is The Question, and 2, they believe him to be dead. So he has the element of surprise, significantly improved combat awareness, and a 77 year air to freak them out handed to him on a silver platter.

Within the context of these issues alone, I think it’s dreadfully ambiguous. Given what I can recall (i.e. have recently reread) of her backstory, I see two reasons.

  1. I think she sees a lot of herself in Vic and wants to offer him the same opportunities Richard provided her. (Though he’s only introduced by first name, I’m assuming the man Vic trains with is Richard Dragon?)
  2. She wants Vic to take down Hatch’s organization. She’s not a do-gooder by any means, but that doesn’t mean she wants the villains who hire her to succeed.

She was once driven for vengeance, and when she learns that she was both duped by Guano and denied her vengeance by Richard’s faster actions, she latched herself to him for no reason other than his life brings constant threats and her life is empty without danger. In this story we have a more mature Shiva, after she has learned Richard’s lessons and become an even more dangerous fighter, but also given her life meaning. She chooses to fight for pay, but not because she supports the actions of those who hire her. She carefully does only what is asked of her, but does it expertly, and remains in high demand. This allows her indirectly aid others who might have more virtuous intentions without feeling a threat to her allegiance to the dollar. She doesn’t in any way coerce Vic to do this (as Ling used to with her), but she gives him the tools to make his own choice so that he might bring his life more than just danger/combat.


He’s only been in town “a couple of months” so they haven’t been together forever. (Long enough for her to help herself to coffee - and know where the iodine is - but not long enough to have a say in his coffee blend.) She might just not have been ready to share with him yet. Or it might be a part of her past he has left behind and doesn’t feel relevant to share with any relationship. (Until Hatch uses Jackie as a threat.)

When she first mentions the kid, I presumed (probably by O’Neal’s design) that the kid was his, born while he was training. But when he gets there, Jackie is clearly older enough that she is not his.

Whether she knows that Vic was The Question and recognizes him, presumes him to be a successor to Vic, or just sees him as the local vigilante of the people that might be able to help her out of her forced relationship is not really clear. From their conversations in issue 1, I feel like she at least has a passing suspicion. I’m not sure it was intended to read this way, but I read the “who are you” to indicate that she too had noted The Question’s absence aligned with Vic’s, so The Question suddenly being back meant that Vic maybe wasn’t dead. So is she sharing the details of Jackie with The Question in the hopes that he’ll help her out of her prison in a way that keeps Jackie safe? Or with the man who might be her missing lover that she feels deserves to know this information? Both? Does she even know?

Yeah, I answered The Question Question with a question. Or four

Uh, no. I do not. :wink: (Buried, yes, but not due to being caught up in his flashy life.)

I think they were directly triggered by Jackie being at the same orphanage he was left at. From what we see of his issue 1 behavior, I think those memories are very deeply buried and while they may fuel the reckless lack of concern “that he may die,” are not on the surface of his thoughts on a regular basis.

I saw this as his moment of finding balance between pre-death Vic and post-Richard Vic. He is using what he learned not to re-bury these memories, but to calm himself and stay centered; a change from the man we saw before. But he then has to remind himself that there is still an urgency to the situation – out loud. This is the balance of Richard’s teachings and his own tendencies coming together to create a new form of himself that is the best of both worlds. (“There is a time to be a rock… A time to be a deep, silent pool… And a time to be a whirlwind–”)

I don’t think its about loneliness. It’s about the culmination of lessons from the prior issue. Hallucibats lectures him on the value of human life, including his, and the foolishness of his thrill seeking quest. This is the same path Shiva was on, seeking only danger. We really only see Richard teach him about the butterfly dreaming he was a man, but presume he also passed on many of the same eastern philosophy lessons he and Shiva learned. At a minimum, we see him with improved awareness, even when distracted by realizing he knows Myra.

The discovery of Jackie reminds him of his own childhood, and start working towards coming to peace with it. He uses Richard’s lessons (and Bats’ threats) to find the value in himself, despite this childhood where he was only worthlessness. Now that he’s the adult, looking in on the children from the outside, he has a different perspective and wants to ensure those children know their worth and don’t grow up into the man he was before he died. Taking the time to build the snowman is reminding him to live life, value life, and nurture life.

I enjoyed it - and am going to read the rest of the run. (Not just for the A-Z library challenge.) And probably some more Shiva & Dragon stories too.

Only topic I would be curious in exploring is the psychosis of Reverend Hatch. Maybe we’ll learn more about him in the upcoming issues, but I’m very curious about:

  • Was he ever actually a good man? Did something change him in Vietnam? (Agent Orange, war trauma, etc?) Or was he a terrible human before he “realized life is a nightmare from which there is no awakening?”
  • Why does he randomly confess his mission out loud to Myra? Does he even know she’s there, listening, or is it something he relives regularly, in a drug induced haze from his “medications”?
  • Why does he throw away his cross to start his mission, but still maintain his public face as a man of god? If he knows he’s renouncing his holy posture, why rely on “the almighty” to scorch the early? Why not focus 100% on destroying it himself? (Mirroring Vic’s Batlucination to fight corruption 100%, is he doing it “for the glory” or the thrill?)
  • Why Danny Boy? Did he lose a son (or a brother) to war? Or a wife/love (Eily?)?
  • How broken is his mind? Will he now truly do Vic’s bidding in perpetuity, or was “I want you the pray” the beginning and end of the “I’ll give him anything he wants” promise?
  • What did he hire Shiva to do in the first place? Did he explicitly wrong her at a personal level, or was she just against his plot to destroy the earth via corrupting a single city?
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This is well put. They both serve the same agenda. Bruce, by your contrast, typically prefers to let it appear that any “do-gooding” of Wayne Industries is the work of his staff, beyond his notice.

Ah, I don’t think I knew/remembered this going in. Denny often reminds us that she is “as good a healer” as she is a fighter, not just here but in other stories. Never made the connection!

Do you think she only put Jackie in Saint Catherine’s after she met Vic? I assumed it was a decision made much earlier in life, not in recent months. If she chose the same orphanage that raised Vic intentionally, it puts that “coincidence” in a very different light; as a willful decision, it would mean that Vic buried the abuse/sorrow he felt so well that she regarded it as a good place for Jackie. (Or is a monster who wants to “harden” her daughter to be as tough as Vic.)

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Week 3

  1. I think she feels ashamed/guilty about not caring for her child herself and is worried that Vic might be uniquely judgmental, having been abandoned by his parents himself.
  2. While I think that his traumatic formative years inform a lot of the actions he’s taken in his adult life, I speak from personal experience when I say that it can be very easy to keep difficult memories out of your conscious thoughts when you aren’t being confronted by them.
  3. Seeing and joining children, children who are growing up under the same circumstances that he did, in having innocent fun may have put a new perspective on his unhappy past and given him new hope for the future. The short paragraph on the final page about the weather changing reads as a metaphor for his own mindset.
  4. I’d be interested in hearing more from the resident expert, @HubCityQuestion, about how O’Neil’s Question and Ditko’s differ.
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