Sunday, August 13, 2006

Question Time

To me, one of the greatest beneficiaries of Hypertime has got to be be The Question.

While everybody has a different favorite part of 52, everybody seems to agree that The Question is awesome. Whether he's mentoring Montoya with koans, rifling through barely organized files in his rusted out old van, cracking a Gauntlet joke, or casually breaking the fourth wall, everything he's done so far has been HIGHLY amusing. And that's not even getting into the kung fu.

But who IS The Question? Or rather, which Question is that? Is he Steve Ditko's Objectivist crusader? Denny O'Neil's "Zen Master of Crime Fighting"? Bruce Timm's paranoid conspiracy theorist? Even Rick Veitch's urban shaman?

And thanks to the wonders of Hypertime, the answer is "All of them." The Question is "comics' only Zen Objectivist conspiracy theorist." From wildly different authors' visions of who The Question is, we get some basic truths about him from where his different philosophies overlap. There's a fundamental belief that perceived reality and objective reality are very different, that our flawed faculties cannot passively understand the world and that truth must be actively sought by asking the right questions.

In short, "Things are never as they seem."*

So basically, any writer going forward, as long as he keeps that core, can go forth and write a great Question story, picking and choosing from all the earlier versions across time and media the parts he likes, jettisoning that which doesn't, and adding something of his own. Add in a bit of Mr. A. and Rorschach, The Question's creative doppelgängers, and one of the greatest character designs in comics, mix well, and you've got the character of the year.


*Of course, the philosophies diverge as to why reality can't be seen, whether it's because humans aren't rational enough, or whether they are too caught up in themselves, or whether They are hiding the truth from the world.