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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Renee Montoya
The Question

Renee Montoya was originally a non-super-powered, non-costumed supporting character who appeared Batman-related comics. She was a police officer on the Gotham Major Crimes Unit. Renee Montoya gained particular prominence when she was became one of a small handfull of lead characters in DC's best-selling weekly series 52 (2006-2007). During the course of this series, Renee Montoya was befriended by Vic Sage, the mysterious costumed vigilante known as "The Question." Eventually Sage died and toward the end of the series Renee Montoya herself took his place as the new "Question."

Renee Montoya was raised as a devout Catholic. As an adult, she embraced a GLBT lifestyle. She originally hid the truth about her lesbian lifestyle from her fellow Gotham City police officers, but eventually she was outed.

Renee Montoya is largely lapsed as a Catholic and is not known to be a churchgoer at all. But she still retains many of her Catholic values and sensibilities, although she recognizes that her GLBT lifestyle is in conflict with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

The original "Question" was created as a clearly Objectivist character by his creator, Steve Ditko, who was himself a devout Objectivist. The character's very name and modus operandi reflected his Objectivist nature. Despite her close friendship with Vic Sage, the original Question, and her subsequent taking up of his mantle as the new Question, Renee Montoya is not known to have embraced her predecessor's Objectivist beliefs. In the series 52, it was not even clear if Renee Montoya was aware of her friend's Objectivist status, nor was it clear that Montoya really knows what Objectivism is. During much of the time that Renee Montoya spent with Vic Sage, he was fatally ill and suffered from extreme degredation in his mental faculties. Renee Montoya never really met the uber-Objectivist "Question" of the original Ditko stories.

From: Steven Padnick, "Big Pile of Awesome" posted 23 August 2006 on "The Roar of Comics" blog website (http://roar-of-comics.blogspot.com/search/label/Wonder%20Woman; viewed 24 April 2007):

52: Montoya's prayer.

52 was HANDS DOWN the best comic this week, with Joe Bennett bringing his A game to the art to support the head-on collision of two of the major plots... The Question's role as a step ladder...

But what made it truly excellent was Renee Montoya's prayer. A lot has been said about her being a lesbian. Some people remember she's Hispanic (Dominican, to be exact). She's also a former cop and current alcoholic and, when it comes down to it, one of the baddest asses in Gotham.

But she's also Catholic, and her religion is very important to her. It's one of the reasons why she stayed in the closet. It is both a source of strength and of crippling guilt... Montoya's quiet prayer to the mother of Jesus in the moment of her greatest need for personal strength, was genuinely moving.

From: webpage about Gotham Central #7, on "DC Guide" website (http://www.dcuguide.com/Bm/GC_007.php; viewed 24 April 2007):

July 2003

Credits: Greg Rucka (plot, script)...

Feature Characters: Det. Renee Montoya [Renée Montoya]...

Supporting Characters: Stacy, Benny Montoya (Renee's brother), Daria Hernandez (her [Renee's] girlfriend; first appearance)...

Renee Montoya has been outed at work, a photograph of her with her girlfriend Daria posted up on the noticeboard. Some of the squad do not take it well, and Montoya does not take kindly to Maggie Sawyer and Crispus Allen's attempts to help her. Later, she discovers that a copy of the photograph was also posted to her parents, devout Catholics, and although her brother covered for her, telling them it was bound to be a fake, they really need to talk to her. That night, she and Daria encounter Marty Lipari, the man who wants to sue her. Shortly after this encounter, Marty Lipari is shot dead.

From: Justin Eger, "The 52 Steps: Week Forty-Eight", posted 7 April 2007 by CBR News on "Comic Book Resource" website (http://www.comicbookresources.com/news/newsitem.cgi?id=10237; viewed 24 April 2007):

In 2001, Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka collaborated on the "Officer Down" 7-part crossover in the Batman family of titles, and the authors decided to do an ongoing series based around the men and women of the Gotham City Police Department. "Gotham Central" premiered in December of 2002. In the "Half a Life" story arc ("Gotham Central" #6-10), Two-Face's friendship, love and obsession with Renee culminates when he outs her as a lesbian. In his twisted mind, Two-Face decides that the only way that Renee will love him is if she is given nowhere else to turn. Harvey begins to destroy the Detective's life by first outing her to the public by distributing photos of her kissing her girlfriend Daria. Up to this point, Montoya had hidden her lifestyle from her Catholic family and fellow cops. Then, Harvey frames Montoya for murder and kidnaps her in an attempt to make it look like an escape. In one of the more memorable moments from the series, Renee confronts Harvey (who has confessed his love), yelling: "Harvey, you outed me! I'm gay! I'm a dyke, a lesbian, I like girls! Didn't you look at the picture before you started sending it around?" Two-Face predictably goes even farther over the deep end and he and Montoya fight over Harvey's gun. The pair is saved by Batman, but for Renee, the damage is done and her personal life has become all too public, culminating with her family disowning her. This revelation also leads to alienating her from many of her fellow officers.

In the 2004 Batman crossover, "War Games," Detective Montoya... quits the GCPD.

The next we see of Renee is in the pages of "52" where, the now-alcoholic runs into the faceless hero known as the Question. We are now 48 issues into Renee's new saga and she has taken the mantle of her friend and mentor, the Question. While I, for one, am sad to see Vic Sage go, I am happy to see that a character with such a rich history is being used to fill his shoes and to continue DC Comics' mastery of the legacy hero.

From: "Superheroes and Religion" forum discussion, started 17 May 2006 on HERO Games website (http://www.herogames.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-42820.html; viewed 12 July 2007):

John Desmarais
Mar 17th, '06, 10:51 AM

Ever wonder what religion you favorite hero is? Check this out.


Mar 19th, '06, 05:02 PM

"GLBT" is a religion?

"Well, maybe for some people" observes the palindromedary. "Kind of like Hates Spider Man can be a religion for someone we know."

Mar 19th, '06, 05:06 PM

I was wondering about that myself.

Is there a religion that also uses that particular abbreviation, or does the author of the site think that by default anyone with an alternative sexual identity CAN'T actually belong to any other religion, I wonder?

Mar 19th, '06, 05:14 PM

[Quoting the "Religious Affiliation of Obsidian" page on the Adherents.com website:

We are unaware of any stories that have attempted to reconcile Obsidian's previously portrayed Catholic devotion with his recent identification of himself as gay.

Or words to that effect for almost all characters identified as GLBT.

This is such a steaming pile!

Mar 19th, '06, 05:33 PM

Actually, I don't think it lists anyone as JUST "GLBT" but always as an addition to some other faith. Um, if "GLBT" is a faith. So I don't think his reasoning is "by default anyone with an alternative sexual identity CAN'T actully belong to any other religion..."

Teflon Billy
Mar 19th, '06, 05:37 PM

Well, if you are GLBT you are not living up to the tenents of the Catholic Church (for example), you are actively living an daily lifestyle (not momentarily lapsing into sinful acts) that is a violation of the doctrines of the Faith.

I chalk it up to giving elaboration to the designation "Catholic (lapsed)" that he uses for some of the characters.

If I started espousing Monophysite, Nestorian, or Gnostic beliefes though I was raised Catholic and these facts were mentioned in comics, then listing me as "Catholic (Nestorian adherent)" that would be similar.

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Webpage created 24 April 2007. Last modified 12 July 2007.
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