“One More Question”
Writer: Dennis O’Neil & Greg Rucka
Penciller: Denys Cowan
Inker: Bill Sienkiewicz & John Stanisci
Editor: Michael Siglain
Lady Shiva arrives to test Renee Montoya’s skill, but their fight is interrupted by the arrival of Black Lantern Charlles Victor Szasz. Physical force can’t destroy the Black Lantern…so what can they do?
Pages 1-3: The Question ran from issue #1 in 1987 until issue #36 in 1990. I never picked up a single issue of it, and keep planning on buying the recently-released trade paperbacks collecting the run, but I still haven’t gotten around to it. Sue me.
A recap of the life and death of Charles Victor Szasz.
Page 4: The Question II, real name Renee Montoya. First appeared (as Montoya) in Batman #475 and (as the Question) in 52 Week Forty-Eight. A skilled martial artist, detective and marksman.
Aristotle “Tot” Rodor, first appeared in Blue Beetle (fourth series) #1. A genius-level scientist who invented Pseudoderm, used as the Question’s mask.
Page 5: Lady Shiva, real name Sandra Wu-san. First appeared in Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter #5. One of the preeminent martial artists alive, able to read an opponent’s body language and predict their every move.
“I have come to fight someone, and I would like to get started.” Shiva isn’t one for small talk, as you can see here.
“Lady Shiva, yes. She killed Charlie once.” Lady Shiva killed Charlie – we know him as the Question, though he’s never called that – in The Question #1.
“The Professor neglects the part where I then saved his life.” He got better, though.
Page 6: “The walking dead are roaming the streets, and you show up wanting to play Toshiro Mifune?” “The walking dead” refers to the Black Lanterns…do I really need to explain them? No? Good. Toshiro Mifune was a Japanese actor who appeared in almost 170 films, including The Seven Samurai and Rashomon.
“I’ve got to go outside and get beat up, Professor.” Renee’s not having a good day.
Page 7: Girl fight. Good stuff.
Page 8: Charlie died just outside of Nanda Parbat, and is presumably buried there. As seen in The Phantom Stranger (second series)#42, Black Lantern power rings cannot penetrate the invisible barrier surrounding the hidden city. Thus, if a Black Lantern Charlie is to manifest, it needs to do so from an alternate source of genetic material…like a strand of hair that Professor Rodor procured from his old hat, the one that Renee currently wears, well, then all bets are off.
“Flesh.” Shouldn’t that be “Hair”?
Page 10: More girl fight. It never gets old.
Page 11: The Question I, real name Charles Victor “Charlie” Szasz, also known as Vic Sage. First appeared in Blue Beetle (fourth series) #1. Killed in 52 Week Thirty-Eight. A brilliant detective and a highly-skilled martial artist.
Page 12: “You’re not as good as you think you are, Shiva.” Ouch. Nice blow to the ego there.
Renee is feeling compassion. Shiva is feeling will.
Page 13: “If I thought for a second you were really Charlie, that would really hurt my feelings.” Renee isn’t going through a requisite period of thinking that Charlie is really back and thinking about how she can help him. She knows it’s not him, and isn’t buying into the Black Lantern’s rhetoric.
Page 14: “Bet this really pisses you off, huh?” Charlie is trying to break Shiva’s will, thereby making her feel an emotion and making her ripe for the killing.
Page 16: Tot is feeling avarice.
“I do not know. I have never been shot before. It is not what I expected.” I have this image of Shiva shooting herself just to see what it feels like.
Page 18: Now this is the part that confuses me. Shiva here is expressing her willpower to shut off her emotions and feel nothing, thereby preventing Charlie from seeing her. But isn’t the act of cutting herself off from emotion an expression of willpower, and wouldn’t that stand out to the Black Lantern?
Page 19: Tot is feeling avarice and fear. Renee is feeling compassion.
“Whatever you’re carrying for Charlie, whatever you left unsaid, you have to let it go, Tot!” Tot seems to have left a lot unsaid when it comes to Charlie.
Page 20: Renee does what Shiva did and makes herself invisible to Charlie.
Page 21: Tot is feeling fear.
“Charlie, son…” It has long been speculated that Tot was Charlie’s long-lost father, but, to my knowledge, it as never been definitively stated. Whether or not Tot truly is his father, or he just thinks of Charlie as his son, doesn’t matter; the feelings are the same.
Despite his feelings, Tot is able to make himself invisible to Charlie.
Page 22: “I’m going to stop him.” Does this mean that Renee’s going to make a visit to the rest of the Blackest Night crew? Cool.