Today, Michael and Shane are discussing Convergence: The Question 2 originally released May 6th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.
Michael: Gotham is a terrible place and everyone knows it — real and fictional. It’s a city full of human heroes whose days will all come to an end eventually; lending itself to tales about struggling for what’s right no matter what. Despite that, Greg Rucka has put Renee Montoya through high-stakes, supernatural apocalypses before. Convergence: The Question 2 is not an “end of the world” story in that sense, however, but the stakes and the message make it feel just as important.
It looks like it might be the end of the line for the Renee Montoya that we knew and loved. Convergence: The Question 2 wraps up the two part tie-in crafted by Greg Rucka and Cully Hamner about Montoya, Two-Face, Huntress and Rucka’s personal creation of Batwoman (Kate Kane). The three aforementioned vigilantes work as fast as they can to stop Two-Face from hurting anyone, including himself and …himself. Harvey confronts an alternate one-faced-version of himself and begs the man to put him out of his misery, since he has been unable to take his own life. Batwoman plays a bit of catch up with the situation at hand as well as what Renee’s life has been like since they split up. The issue hits its climax with the characters all *ahem* converging at the courtroom where the Harvey’s are and the narrative calmly resolves itself. Renee says goodbye to her dying father and continues being The Question.
The overall plot of Convergence is arbitrary and stupid. Rucka takes advantage of this by using the “rules” of Telos’ game to further explore the characters he likes. Why exactly would Harvey Dent need to defeat another Harvey Dent in the greater scheme of things? Which Earth is One-Face Dent from? It doesn’t really matter and no one seems to care: creators, readers and characters. Renee’s narration mentions the irony of “Harvey Dent fighting Harvey Dent,” but it does provide Dent with a unique opportunity to listen to “himself” without Two-Face getting in the way. I love how no matter what Harvey does, he’s still such a lawyer; he’s trying to litigate his counterpart into killing him. Amusingly, One-Face himself has a knowledge of the law and may even be a judge; adding to the “duel of the Dents.”
Perhaps because this story has to be compressed into two issues, Rucka inserts some meta-commentary in the dialogue. For all intents and purposes, Huntress is utilized by the script for exposition and examination. She kind of exists outside of the story and is another way inside Renee’s head besides traditional narration boxes. Huntress very clearly established for Batwoman and the reader that she and Renee do not have a romantic relationship (leaving the door open for Kate and Renee) and that Renee wants to save Harvey because she thinks he’s “worth saving. And she can’t save her father.”
Ever since Batwoman got her own book in The New 52, people have been dying to see another Kate Kane/Renee Montoya story. And as amazing and visually stunning as Batwoman is, Rucka and Hamner make sure to give Montoya all of the focus she deserves in her own book. When Huntress, Montoya and Batwoman take on Two-Face’s goons in the courthouse, Montoya gets all of the action. Even when Batwoman takes down a dozen henchmen, Hamner points the camera at Montoya. Hamner draws Montoya as cool, confident and completely fearless.
There is something inspiring about seeing a woman wearing nothing but a bowler hat and a suit jump headfirst off a roof, with the silhouettes of caped heroes behind her. I love the wordless two-page sequence where Montoya takes down two armed men with nothing but a little “hat trick.” Rucka and Hamner do give the fans what they want with Batwoman/Renee as she gives her the “kiss of life.”
I thought that this particular panel was striking in how colorist Dave McCaig used the shadows to silhouette Huntress and Harvey, highlighting Renee and Kate. Have they become pseudo-Questions in their own right?
In no uncertain terms, Convergence: The Question 2 is a tale of living in the moment and making your actions have meaning. Through the years Rucka has put Renee Montoya on a road of self-discovery and self-acceptance. He gives Montoya a final bit of closure with her father, who finally accepts his daughter for who she is in his last moments. Renee doesn’t need her father’s approval to be the woman that she is however — she’s no longer bound by the expectations and hopes of those around her. Renee’s father is waiting to see her one last time before he dies; he needs Renee’s forgiveness and permission to go. Rucka is also letting go of Renee and giving her permission to leave. It’s a farewell from creator to character, maybe for now or maybe for good.
Shane! Did you enjoy this short and sweet farewell to The Question/Renee Montoya? Any additional Two-Face thoughts? And why is Huntress’ cape so short?!?
Shane: Huntress is wearing a cape?
Huh. To be entirely honest with you, when I was reading the issue, I didn’t notice that at all — in fact, I was curious as to why Huntress didn’t have any sort of cape, and couldn’t recall if maybe she’d lost her cape in the first issue or something like that. It’s an interesting costume choice, and makes me want to go back to the Question backup strips Cully Hamner drew a few years back, to see what Huntress was wearing in those. I’m a huge fan of her armored look, so I liked that without a real cape you could see a lot more of that, but still, what an odd choice of costume design.
As far as to how I enjoyed this particular issue, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that The Question has been among the strongest of all the Convergence titles, and I’d even argue that it’s the best. This has been one of the few books to really give us what I know we all hoped for when Convergence was announced: a real showcase for these characters we loved, one last time. When we talked about the previous issue I praised Greg Rucka for touching on multiple phases of Renee’s history, and because of that, we really got a sense of closure, not just with her father but to many long-running plotlines. It’s to Rucka’s credit that he makes all of these concepts accessible to new readers, and I agree that his use of Huntress for expository purposes made for a smooth introduction — and it’s all done without going overboard.
Short and to the point, this panel really draws a line under the relationship between Kate and Renee, and even if a reader didn’t know their tumultuous history from previous years, it becomes plain as day that there’s some fundamental underlying chemistry — and that makes their reunion at the end so much brighter.
To touch on your points about Harvey Dent, Michael: my understanding is that this is the Flashpoint Harvey Dent, and although the specifics of what reality he comes from don’t matter, the differences between him and Two-Face do. Flashpoint Harvey never became a supervillain, and has a successful legal career and a loving family. For Two-Face, so broken by his life in the Convergence dome, to seek out this particular Harvey, is telling, and the contrast between the two is so effectively rendered by Hamner when they finally meet.
Although Two-Face is always shown with just one side of him, the rest cut away by perspective or panel borders, Flashpoint Harvey Dent can be seen in his entirety–he’s more “whole”, and it’s almost a little heartbreaking to see just how broken Two-Face is in comparison. His death wish almost becomes understandable, and by the end of the issue, we’re left with a Harvey Dent whose future is entirely unknown. He’s still lost, and having learned that one of his few “friends” in the Convergence dome, The Question, is actually Renee Montoya, with whom he has shared a complicated history (to say the least!) must be incredibly confusing to someone who has spent the past year unsure of who he is. His story ends on an optimistic note, but I’d love to see Rucka and Hamner tackle what comes next. Make it happen, DC: it would be an instant Two-Face classic!
That’s really the problem with all of these Convergence titles: they tease us with so many wonderful ideas, showing us once again the potential in these characters, and then they’re gone too quickly, having had just enough time to dangle exciting new drabbles in front of our faces. That makes it especially disheartening to know that this may be the end of the line…but given how good this miniseries in particular was, I’m thankful for even just this small taste.
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I was only a sporadic follower of Renee before the reboot, so I was a bit surprised by how much I enjoyed this mini-series. Not too surprised, though, cause Rucka is always fantastic, but man, I just loved this series so much.
And that two page fight scene with Renee flipping down the hallway taking down those goons? Masterful stuff. Seriously, my jaw was on the floor.