The Question: The Five Books of Blood

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I’m really loving Renee Montoya as The Question. I remember reading her earliest stories in Batman comics; Mistah J kept commenting how cool she was, but I didn’t really understand why. She was a minor character, a good cop but nothing all that remarkable.

Oh how far we’ve come.  Her entire transition from GCPD cop to masked vigilante has been so brilliantly done, and The Five Books of Bood continues to further develop her character.  This story picks up where the events of 52 left off: Renee is following up on leads about the Crime Bible, studying it as much as she can in order to know her enemy, the same enemy that tried to murder Kate Kane.

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The book teaches four lessons, each of which Montoya must face and overcome in her travels.  Deceit, lust, green, murder: all are tenants that Renee must stare down, and all she eventually succumbs to.  Her trial ends in one last battle against the Monk, the leader of the dark faith; she refuses to kill him, but to protect herself she shoves him away, as he falls to his death.  It wasn’t intentional (or was it?) but it’s done, and now Montoya is faced with a brand new dilemma:  is she to be the new leader of this cult?

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While I’m excited to see what happens next, this story was about the journey and Montoya’s transformation, not the destination. I enjoyed watching Renee delve further into the world of the Crime Bible, as she struggles to understand it without falling prey to it.  Renee’s Question is incredibly cool, and makes me feel as though she was always destined to wear the faceless mask.  She’s edgy but well-meaning, and her lengthy journey to get to this point has been incredibly powerful.  Her transition was a slow, steady build-up, and one I’ve greatly enjoyed reading.  Montoya’s next chapter may very well be her toughest yet; will she lead the Crime Religion as its next appointed leader, or will she continue to fight against these core tenants that she has steadily begun to fall victim to?  The story is open-ended enough that it could go either way, but whichever path she decides, I’m sure I’m going to continue enjoying reading about Renee’s progression.  She’s one of the most well-crafted characters I’ve come across in DC, and I can only hope her future adventures are filled with as many twists and intrigues as her past.

-Jess

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