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

Twilight of the Superheroes

A proposal by Alan Moore

Fresh off the success of the Watchmen, Alan Moore set his mind to work on new ways of creating epic and meaningful stories about the denizens of the DC Universe. In 1986, he proposed a series called Twilight of the Superheroes to DC that mirrored the Norse myth of the Ragnarok.

In the future, superheroes have divided up into houses, and their dealings with each other are less-than-civil at best. The bookends of the story involve a future John Constantine coming back to ask his past self to help save the world. I don't want to spoil more than that -- if you're interested, visit this Twilight of the Superheroes website.

The Question plays a part in Moore's Twilight. Unaffiliated with the houses, the Question investigates a murder that turns out to be key in the story. From Moore's proposal:

The Question is a freelance investigator... a sort of masked Philip Marlowe who doesn't make very much money and who usually ends up taking cases just for the interest or the moral necessity. He's quite good friends with Oliver and Dinah and often gives them the inside dope on situations that he has knowledge of for reporting in Black Feathers. Him and Oliver have strong political differences but are firm friends despite this. When our story opens, the Question is investigating an impossible locked-room murder mystery involving a midget and a 6'6"-tall call girl into heavy bondage. Don't worry, I'll explain later. It's all vitally relevant.

And later....

Okay, so that's the rough background. Down at Sandy's the bums are hanging out, Uncle Sam muttering in the corner, Plastic Man dropping by for a drink with Blackhawk before they both go to cruise the bars uptown, Doll Man scuttling around his vivarium and so on. Oliver and Dinah are publishing their newspaper, with the Question occasionally dropping by for a political argument with Ollie or to pass on a bit of information. His current case is one that has him totally mystified: a midget turned up at a rough trade bar, was seen by witnesses, finally vanishing to an upstairs room with a very tall, very beautiful call girl that nobody had ever seen before. When the door was broken down, this after nobody had emerged from the room for some several hours, the body of the midget was found bound and gagged, with his neck broken by a single clean blow. The room was locked with no other possible exit. The call girl was gone. There was no murder weapon. This little conundrum will continue to puzzle them throughout the series until we get a few shaking revelations at the end.