...The Question!
Banner: The Question by Denys Cowan

The Question v.1 #2

"Butterfly" - Mar. 1987

The Cover of The Question #2 by Denys Cowan
ENLARGE
Script: Dennis O'Neil
Pencils: Denys Cowan
Inks: Rick Magyar
Lettering: Albert De Guzman
Colors: Tatjana Wood
Editor: Mike Gold
Cover: Denys Cowan & Bill Sienkiewicz
Published by DC Comics

Vic Sage floats at the bottom of the river, almost lifeless. His subconscious struggles to maintain a hold on the land of the living and he sees faces -- Myra, Tot. He drifts into nothingness before being jolted awake by pain. Slipping in and out of consciousness, he questions his own identity as Tot looks on, and tries to remember what happened to him. He flashes back to the night on the pier: the beating by Shiva, then Jake with his lead pipe, the Reverend Hatch looking on, Baby Gun and his tiny pistol, and finally, the ice-cold plunge into the river.

"I was dead." Yes, says Tot, but Shiva rescued him. She dove for ten minutes trying to find him, and he was saved only by a biological phenomenon known as Diver's Reflex -- when drowning in cold water, the body isolates oxygen to keep the body alive. Sage continues to struggle with figuring out his identity -- who is Tot? Why was he shot (he survived as the .22 bullet flattened against his skull, traveled between bone and skin and exited in the back), and most of all, why does he remember wearing a mask?

Meanwhile, at the Mayor's mansion, Wesley Fermin admires Myra on television as she reports the disappearance of fellow news anchor Vic Sage. Hatch puts two and two together and comes up with the identity of the Question.

Sage dreams of Batman, a shared bust on a pier. He's awakened by Tot, who explains that Shiva left a series of maps and notes in Mandarin Chinese. The discussion is interrupted by Batman, who belittles Sage, calling him an "arrogant, incompentant dilletante." Batman sets out the terms: If you're going to be a hero, then stop playing at it and take it seriously. In a blink, Batman is gone. Tot was asleep. Was Batman really there at all?

Tot dresses Sage with a pair of casts, and walks him outside where they hear a helicopter descending. The pilot drops Sage off in the middle of nowhere, where he meets a wheelchair-bound man in a small cabin. The man, named Richard, offers to teach Sage the ways of the warrior, but first Sage must chop wood. Sage doubts he can, but as he swings the axe, he finds his physical healing process has begun. But, as Richard says, "It's your mind that needs work."

Sage spends the next year under Richard's tutelage, training his mind, his body and his soul, until one day while tilling the garden, Richard announces that school is out.

Sage must make his own way, says Richard. Sage's passion isn't fighting, it's his curiosity, Richard says. But Lady Shiva, lurking in some nearby shadows, disagrees. They duel, and though Shiva wins the physical battle, Sage leaves her wondering where his real priorities lie. But she still refuses to answer his questions.

Sage hitchhikes back to civilization, where he finds his suit and fedora waiting for him in Tot's closet. He refamiliarizes himself with the featureless mask, and breaks into the Mayor's mansion.

Meanwhile, Reverend Hatch tells Myra stories of his days as a chaplain in Vietnam, where he realized his true mission: "To hasten the corruption, to nurture the foulness until the Almighty has no choice but to rain down fire and brimstone...." But the monologue is interrupted by...someone singing Danny Boy.

The Question appears before Hatch. "What do you want?" Hatch asks from the floor.

"I want you Reverend," the Question replies. "I want you to pray."

Characters

  • Vic Sage / The Question
  • Lady Shiva
  • Jake
  • Donny
  • Jeremiah Hatch
  • Aristotle Rodor
  • Myra Connelly
  • Wesley Fermin
  • Batman (?)
  • Richard Dragon

Gallery

Trivia / Minutiae

Richard Dragon was created for a novel by Dennis O'Neil and James R. Barry - 1974's Dragon's Fists, which seemed to take cues from both Bruce Lee and Remo Williams.

This month's Recommended Reading: Movements of Magic: The Spirit of Tai Chi Chuan by Bob Klein

Relevant Links

DC Comics

Denny O'Neil

Denys Cowan

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