There are a lot of characters that often go overlooked by people. Mainly because they aren’t superheroes or supervillains, or part of the big theatrical fights that happen regularly in the DC Universe. But there is one character that I’ve grown to admire - Renee Montoya.
Like Harley Quinn, she originally debuted in “Batman: The Animated Series” before going to comics. Her first major role was during the No Man’s Land storyline where she was one of the cops who stayed behind to try and maintain some sense of order. It was during this time she formed an alliance with Two-Face who actually was helping people during the crisis. This also served as the starting point of the villain’s obsession with her. It wouldn’t be until the comic series Gotham Central that he frames Renee for murder, outs her as gay to her department, then kidnaps her in an effort to claim her for himself. While her name was cleared and she got out of his grip, life became that much harder for her. Only her brother would keep talking to her for a while. Renee found herself deep in the bottle, debating suicide until her girlfriend at the time convinced her to start finding some help. Unfortunately, her partner - Crispus Allen - was killed by a corrupt cop. When she found out, she knocked down the cop’s door, put the gun to his head…and just left him on the floor crying. She felt she was just putting on an act like Batman, and all she knew about herself at the moment was she wasn’t a killer. She also wasn’t a cop as she quit the force the next day. While she knew what she wasn’t, she was stuck in a search trying to figure out what she was. With her girlfriend gone, neck-deep in booze and constantly hooking up with women, she was lost.
Then she came face-to-face with The Question. And she was forced to face a question she had been avoiding - who are you? Sage wasn’t like most costumed heroes or even that similar to Batman. He was a person driven by a burning need to right the wrongs of society, and he took her with him as he worked on his final case. During their time together, he did what he could to put her on the path that would help her before he succumbed to cancer. It was during this time that Renee discovered who she was and carried on as The Question…at least until Flashpoint messed everything up. But it did lead to the Lois Lane mini-series where due to cosmic/science mumbo jumbo the two reconnected in a rather sweet moment.
The story of Renee Montoya is of a regular woman working hard every day to figure out who she is. To find the courage to be that person and live up to the simple code of making a difference in your life. She isn’t a hero in the same vein as Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman. Her flaws are just as important as her strengths. Her daily struggle of not giving in to the desire of killing someone like Two-Face is a reminder that regular people can always make the right choice. It doesn’t matter if she is a detective, the police commissioner, or The Question - I love Renee Montoya for everything she has accomplished, the struggles she continues to deal with, and for being who she is.