What happens when a comic book that isn’t about the tights, capes, and masks comes to TV? If it brings along the coolest lesbian in the DC universe, it means we’re watching!
There was this insanely awesome comic called Gotham Central, about the detectives who worked in the city of the Bat. It was blisteringly good, complex, deep, and intelligent. It was what we comic book aficionados look for when we want to find an example of kickass to show the doubters what value there can be in the visual world of story telling.
One of the characters in the series was Detective Renee Montoya. When we first met her in the Batman books, she was just a regular cop. Then there was an earthquake in Gotham, making the city a no-mans-land, and President Lex Luthor declared it off limits. And Batman happened to be stuck outside of Gotham. The backstory is needed, because Renee befriended the on-again/off-again villain, Two Face, and worked with him during this time. Years later, Two Face puts her as a lesbian and kidnaps her so she can love him and be with him…. Look, he’s insane. We know this.
The point is when they announced Gotham was going to be about the story of Batman as a kid and not jumping ahead to teen/young man Bruce right after his parents died, we all perked up. They were already time shifting a lot of characters, aging them differently, and diversity being what it is, many of us hoped for Renee to show up.
She sure did! Renee is a detective working in Major Crimes and she’s a lesbian. In fact, she used to date Jim Gordon’s fiancé. Awwwwwwkkkkkward. Jim is, at this point, engaged to Barbara Kean, who in the comics becomes the mother of Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl. Renee and Jim butt heads as expected, but she and her new partner Crispus Allen, also pick fights with Harvey Bullock. If you know the comics, you’re having a titter right now.
Of course, Renee is not the main character, so her storyline is secondary. This is to be expected. It’s Jim’s story, not Renee’s. But part of what made the comics work was the ensemble nature of the cast and the lack of superheroes, so there’s hope yet. Her end of the case has to do with the possibility (likelihood) that Bullock framed a guy for the murder of the Waynes.
In her work on the case, Renee gets to see Barbara, which is exactly as weird and tense as you’d think it was. She pegs Jim for the frame, Babs blabs, and Jim and Renee have a tiff about that.
I mentioned Batwoman in the title because at last gasp in the comics, before the last reboot anyway, Renee was a masked hero known as The Question, and her ex-girlfriend was Batwoman. So the time juggling will be weird. Also there’s the problem of messing with a woman’s storyline for the sake of a man’s, but really Renee and Kate (Batwoman) were a very small part of their characters and having it removed changes nothing. If they bring the Half A Life storyline in, I’ll be very happy.
Renee wasn’t in the promo for next week, so we’ll see what happens.