06 June 2009
Dennis O'Neil: THE QUESTION, Vol. I, II, III (ZEN & VIOLENCE / POISONED GROUND / EPITAPH FOR A HERO)
A faceless, should-have-died-in-the-first-issue superhero (actually, drop the "super": in his spare time, the wholly-human Vic Sage is an on-again, off-again muckraking Hub City newscaster) who meditates in his spare time. That's The Question. I mean, sure, Batman meditates, but c'mon--he's Batman, and Batman does whatever a particular writer thinks will make him look mysterious, in control, and smarter than absolutely everybody else. The Question is perhaps the most human hero out there (another good reason to strike "super" from the first sentence of this post), and as such he makes mistakes. In fact, he makes a lot of mistakes, so many mistakes that it's almost amazing he only almost-dies once in these three volumes (well, really almost dies. They're comic books, after all, so he kind of almost dies pretty much every issue). See, The Question doesn't even do a particularly good job cleaning up Hub City, and he knows it; to that end, however, no other hero in the DC Universe seems too interested in taking on the Hub City challenge. The mayor isn't exactly corrupt, but he's always drunk enough that it doesn't really matter whether or not he is. In fact, for a while, the town is run by a maniac priest intent on making Hub City into Sodom + Gomorrah + Watts (leading me to believe that the city is actually modeled on Detroit). Anyway, the point is, there's so much wrong with this place, only a zenned-out hero like The Question could even begin to deal with it. The art's alright, but Dennis O'Neil's writing makes up for its shortcomings, snagging these books a solid B+.