5704 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

The Question (Justice League Unlimited)

Question

(animated JLU version)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

This take on classic comic book character The Question appeared on Justice League Unlimited, an animated TV serial that aired from 2004 to 2006.

This version of the animated Question is quite distinct from the then-current comic book Question. He appears to be a partial homage to Rorschach, from Alan Moore’s Watchmen, who was himself partially based on the Charlton Comics’ version of The Question.

If this sounds confusing, see our ever-popular guide to the versions of The Question.

(Editor’s note): The Rorschach thing is clear in the conspiracy stuff, and culminated when the animated Question faces Superman in a scene that echoes Rorschach facing Dr. Manhattan. As for the “A is A” quote by the animated Question, it is a reference to the Objectivist beliefs of Dikto’s pre-Crisis question.

This writeup contains S P O I L E R S.


Background

  • Real Name: Unrevealed (likely Charles Victor Szasz or Vic Sage)
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: None
  • Group Affiliation: Justice League
  • Base Of Operations: Possibly Hub City
  • Height: 6’2 Weight: 185lbs
  • Eyes: Green (None as The Question) Hair: Red (Black as The Question)


Powers and Abilities

Unlike his comic counterpart, this Question is a fairly unremarkable (if resourceful) hand-to-hand fighter. He tends to rely heavily on Blindsides (he’s awfully good at sneaking up on people) and other nasty tricks in combat.

His true talents lie in gathering information and using it effectively. He’s the League’s “data guy”, utterly brilliant when it comes to making connections between people, places and things.

He has shown himself able to quickly hack secure government mainframes and break encryption made by some of the best scientists on earth. His obsessive search for information means that he seems to know a little bit about everything.

The Question is good at getting into people’s heads, predicting their moves and manipulating them directly or indirectly. He’s an arresting speaker with something of a theatrical streak, who uses the things that get to people in order to make them more pliable to interrogation or persuasion.

He’s very mentally resilient and strong-willed. He stood up to almost a week of physical and mental torture from Doctor Moon himself without breaking or going…more insane.

He’s also skilled at getting into places he’s really not supposed to be (such as breaking into Lex Luthor’s office undetected), though he will take the…direct approach when necessary (faced with a keycard lock and a glass door, he simply shattered the door with a potted plant.)


Video

The two intros used for the Justice League animated series, with their distinctive stylization and aesthetics.


History

The Question’s history prior to joining the Justice League is unrevealed. Presumably, it mirrors the history of his mainstream comic book incarnation fairly closely, allowing for differences due to his wildly different personality.

It seems that this incarnation hasn’t encountered Lady Shiva or trained under Richard Dragon.

Justice !

The Question first shows up when he eavesdrops on Supergirl and Green Arrow. They’re discussing some horrible nightmares she’d had in which she’d killed people. The Question breaks into their conversation, mentioning that her “dreams” seemed more similar to repressed memories.

Recalling that Supergirl had been taken to STAR Labs for treatment, and that she’d been in a coma (and thus had a gap in her memory), the three heroes went to STAR Labs in order to get more information (Question inviting himself along).

Dr. Hamilton assured them that Supergirl had been comatose the whole time, and that the “torture device” she’d dreamed of was actually a surgical robot with a Kryptonite-tipped scalpel.

As they left the lab, however, the heroes were attacked by mysterious agents. After the battle, the Question discovered that the robot that agents had used in the attack was tracable to the Army, and to General Hardcastle, the man who’d put Supergirl in the hospital. When the arrived, they found him armed with a gun which held a Kryptonite bullet.

While Hardcastle was distracted, the Question disarmed him. Interrogating the old man, they discovered that the government had been researching and experimenting on metahumans.

Nuvo-Gen

When they went back to the satellite to process this, the Martian Manhunter patched a news report to the Question’s quarters, which told of the death of a Nuvo-Gen scientist. While Green Arrow and Supergirl decided to go to Nuvo-Gen to investigate, the Question found it more suspicious that only one network had the story.

Tracking the reporter down to a bar, the Question pretended to be a taxi driver, and drove into an isolated alley where he interrogated the man, who revealed he’d gotten the story from a girl he’d been seeing. A blonde haired, blue-eyed girl, a farmer’s daughter-type…with a handshake like a vice.

Determining that she too had horrible dreams, like Supergirl’s, the Question came to the obvious conclusion, that they’d cloned Supergirl, and they shared a mental link.

Meanwhile, Green Arrow and Supergirl snuck into Nuvo-Gen and had discovered the same thing, when said clone, named Galatea, attacked them. The fully mature clone proved more than a match for the pair of them.

The Question broke into Nuvo-Gen, ignoring the security alarms, and arrived at the battle in time to distract the raging clone. Theorizing that Galatea couldn’t sleep because she’d shared Supergirl’s memories through their link, and perhaps developed something of a conscience in the process, he dared the clone to kill him.

As Galatea hesitated, Supergirl rallied and slammed a car over Galatea’s head. She then started beating the clone up in earnest. Ultimately, the battle ended when Cadmus blew up the building.

Agent of the Bat

The Question is first mentioned in the series when Batman, during a meeting of the League’s founders, mentions that he’s given him the task of finding information about the shadowy government agency known as Cadmus, particularly their connection to Luthor. The others react badly, but Batman says if there was a link between Luthor and Cadmus, the Question would be the one to find it.

The Question was sidetracked briefly by Huntress, who (falsely) claimed to have information on Cadmus and enlisted his help in hunting down Steven Mandragora, the mobster who’d killed her parents before her eyes.

Question, after a bit of research, uncovered the Huntress’ past, the fact that Mandragora’s son (who had been kidnapped by his enemies, but was recently rescued by Mandragora’s men) was arriving soon on a freighter, and that Mandragora had set up new identities for himself and his son in their native country, along with an account in the Cayman islands.

Determining that Mandragora’s decision to turn state’s evidence was a ploy to escape and run away with his son, The Question set up events so that eventually Huntress would end up facing Mandragora herself. She was about to kill the crimelord, when the Question asked her if she really wanted to murder Mandragora in front of his son.

Realizing that she couldn’t, Huntress instead immobilized Mandragora with a pile of rubble so that he could be captured, thus getting closure, of a sort.

When Huntress asked The Question why he’d helped her, he shyly admitted to having a crush on her, to which she reacted…rather favorably.

Later, the two broke into an unidentified government building where the Question gathered 3 terabytes worth of encrypted information on Cadmus while Huntress fended off guards. After taking the Huntress out to dinner and a movie, he spent 3 days decrypting the data and studying the information.

The Luthor revelation

What he uncovered shook him to the very core: a film clip of the Superman of the Justice Lords’ universe vaporizing his world’s President Luthor, as well as other proof that Cadmus and Luthor seemed to be setting up a war between the Justice League and the government.

Realizing the ramifications of this, he determined what he deemed to be the only solution. The Question himself would have to kill Luthor in order to keep Superman from doing so and starting Armageddon.

Before he set out to do so, however, he confronted Superman about what he had seen. This was apparently in attempt to prove to himself that it wouldn’t be necessary to do so. Superman tried to assuage The Question’s suspicions, but failed, leaving the Question more determined than ever.

So, he broke into Luthor’s office to face Luthor himself, preparing to strangle him with his necktie. Unfortunately for The Question, Luthor had been bonded with Brainiac (without his knowledge). He used his newfound superstrength to deal a savage beating upon the crimefighter before turning him over to Cadmus.

While a prisoner of Cadmus, the Question was tortured by Dr. Moon, using a machine that exposed him to electric shocks and apparently projected images of his worst fears (superheroic Armageddon, in the Question’s case) into his mind. The Huntress and Superman rescued him, taking him back to the JLA satellite to recuperate, and Huntress got to see his real face for the first time.

While still recovering, he helped in the battle against the Ultimen clones, saving Huntress by braining a clone from behind with a bedpan.

During Darkseid’s invasion of Earth, the Question ran over a group of Parademons with his car.


Description

Out of costume, The Question is a normal-looking man in his late 20s or early 30s with red hair and green eyes. Like most males in the Animated Universe, he seems to work out an awful lot.

His costume consists of a nice brown suit, with an overcoat and fedora, and a mask which makes it seem as though he has no face. When exposed to a certain type of aerosol spray, the suit turns blue, his shirt turns orange, the mask binds itself seamlessly to his face, and his hair turns black. Another aerosol spray changes them back and loosens the mask.

(Note: No mention of Pseudoderm or of chemically-treated clothes and hair is made at any point in the series.)


Personality

The Question is nuts.

He’s brilliant, there’s no doubt of that. No one else in the League, even Batman, has his gift for gathering information and discovering even the most incongruous connections. But his obsession with obtaining knowledge and his self-imposed quest to discover the sinister truths behind all that is wrong in the world have isolated him from the rest of humanity.

He’s very introverted, rambles to himself, when wrapped in investigation he’ll forego sleep and hygiene for days, he truly believes that Girl Scouts caused the crop phenomenon, and he goes through everyone’s trash and eavesdrops on their conversations. Also, he likes teen pop music and has been known to sing it to himself when breaking and entering.

As the quotes say, The Question believes in a vast conspiracy orchestrated by a cabal that secretly controls the world. All other conspiracies are merely a part of this one, and so The Question is a conspiracy buff, constantly seeking to gather information uncover secrets.

In his eyes he is rightly suspicious of people and companies he believes to be a part of the conspiracy, and even his fellow superheroes are not above investigation.

While well aware of other peoples’ negative opinions of him (Flash, for example, thinks he’s a “kook”, and Batman himself, of all people, has said that the Question is “wound a bit too tightly”), he doesn’t give a damn. If he’s the only one willing to uncover the horrible truths of the world, then so be it.

One day, they’ll all see he was right…

(JLU’s creators, by the way, have gone on record as saying that there is no vast world-controlling cabal in their continuity and that The Question is just grasping at shadows. But of course that may not be true in your campaign.)

The Question’s strong conviction and constantly-working intellect serve to make him nearly fearless and unflappable, as he’s willing to stand up to such powerful entities as Superman and the Supergirl clone Galatea without a second thought. He even dared the latter to kill him in order to prove a hunch.

Once he’s figured what he deems to be the best course of acton, he will not waver.

The Question talks to himself out loud a lot, making acerbic, darkly comic observations in a terse, flat, wry, slightly creepy tone. When he’s agitated his sentence structure tends to fall apart, making him sound like Rorschach from Watchmen. He also tends to rant a bit when he’s making a point.

As mentioned before, he’s a skilled manipulator, as shown during the events of “Double Date”, when he arranged matters so that, if the Huntress killed Mandragora, she would do so in front of the crimelord’s son. As he had suspected, she was unable to do so.

Although he tends to give a poor first impression, people who know him well know that in spite of his paranoid streak, he’s a good and self-sacrificing man, who wages a lonely, personal war against dark foes that he truly believes to exist.

Though he is a good (if strange) man, The Question is able to completely put aside his own conscience when necessary in order to do what he feels must be done for the greater good. When confronted with what he believed to be an inevitable time loop that would result in Armageddon if Superman killed President Luthor, he felt the only course of action was to premptively kill Luthor himself.

If Luthor hadn’t been physically enhanced, The Question might well have succeeded, sacrificing his own life for the good of the world.

The Question and the Huntress have a strange relationship, but in spite of the fact that he seems to have absolutely no experience with dating (imagine that…) it’s very solid.

The fact that a paranoid like him gave Huntress his phone number and apartment address is pretty telling, and for her part Huntress seems deeply in love with him, enough so to frantically search for The Question when Luthor and Cadmus captured him, even tying up Jimmy Olsen and stealing his signal watch so she could summon Superman.


Quotes

Green Arrow: “Don’t listen to this guy, everything’s conspiracies with him.”
The Question: “Not conspiracies. Conspiracy. Singular.”

(In his satellite quarters, the walls of which are covered with notes that have lines of string linking them.)
The Question: “Reaching back to Ancient Egypt, there’s been a single cabal of powerful individuals directing the course of human history. But the common man prefers to believe they don’t exist, which aids their success.”
Supergirl: “Global warming ? Military upheavals in the third world ? Actors elected to public office ?”
Green Arrow: “The spread of coffee bars ? Germs outpacing antibiotics ? And boy bands ? Come on ! Who would gain from all this ?”
The Question: “Who indeed ?”
(Awkward silence ensues.)

Green Arrow: “This whole trip might just prove the kid shouldn’t eat nachos before bed.”
The Question: “Peanut butter sandwiches.”
Supergirl: “How did – What, do you go through my trash ?!”
The Question (Scornfully): “Please.” (Pause) “I go through *everyone’s* trash.”

Green Arrow: “Does everything have a sinister motive in your world ?”
The Question: “Yours too. You just don’t know it.”

“Cadmus, Cadmus, whereforeart thou Cadmus…?”

Huntress: “Wildcat says you’re a nutjob.”
The Question: “Funny, he says the same thing about you.” (waves her off) “Okay, bored now, goodbye.”

Huntress: “Wow – I had no idea that the Girl Scouts were responsible for the crop circle phenomenon.”
The Question: “Few people do. Few even think to ask the question.”

Huntress: “Do you know what apophenia is ?”
The Question: “Apophenia – noun. The tendency to see connections where none exist. Did you come here just to make fun of my work ?”

Huntress: “You knew all along that kid was going to be on that freighter.”
The Question (Tips his hat): “I do my homework.”
Huntress: “Then why go to all the trouble to help ? Why risk your life for me ?”
The Question: “Because I…”(looks away shyly, mumbles) “…like you&#133”
(Huntress looks shocked for a second, smirks and grabs The Question’s tie, pulling him into a kiss, then drags him offscreen.)
The Question: “Where are we going ?”
Huntress: “Don’t ask so many questions.”
(Black Canary and Green Arrow are watching)
Black Canary: “I’m sorry, but… eww !”

Huntress (Beating up security guards): “When are we going on a real date ?”
Question (Tapping away at a computer): “Shh. Trying to concentrate.”
Huntress: “I’m not even in the Justice League anymore. You’re lucky to have me along.”
Question (Dryly): “Hardly. You’re drawn to my eccentric charm.”

Question: “Oh, no, no NO ! …It’s all connected ! Not alternate reality… time loop ! Luthor becomes president… Flash is killed… Superman kills Luthor in retaliation… superhuman arms race… Armageddon… the end of the world… inevitable ! (Frustratedly punches a wall) IS the future immutable ? Can destiny be changed ? Will… THEY… allow it ?”
Huntress (picks his aparment’s lock and enters): “Screening your calls ? You haven’t answered your phone for days ! Ugh, it’s rank in here ! Is that you ?”
Question: “…have to try…alternative unthinkable… !”
Huntress: “Q ? Are you alright ?”
Question (Running from the room): “…have to go…can’t let it happen again !”

Superman: “…Something I can help you with ?”
The Question: “I hope so. But I assume you don’t want to discuss your White House Weenie Roast in front of a crowd…”
Superman: [to others] “I’ll be back in a minute.”
The Question: [enters conference room with Superman] “Always wondered what was in here. Private conference room. Original members only, yes ? A place where you’re free to discuss your secrets and lies…”
Superman: “You said something about me in the White House.”
The Question: “Not you, exactly. Another version of you, hmm ?”
Superman: “Quit dancing around it. How much do you know ?”
The Question: “I know what you told everyone. The Justice Lords. A parallel universe version of the Justice League who came to Earth to rid it of crime just as they had on their own world. With Lex Luthor’s help, our Justice League managed to rout them. I also know what you didn’t tell – anyone ! On that other Earth, so very much like our own, a Superman, so very much like you, killed the President.”
Superman: [Superman accidentally bends the back of a chair he’s leaning on] “Question, no one can know about this.”
The Question: “Or what ? You’d incinerate me, too ?”
Superman: “I’d never do anything like that.”
The Question: “Wouldn’t you ? Didn’t you recently try to lobotomize Doomsday with your heat-vision, just as the Justice Lord did ?”
Superman: “That’s different !”
The Question: “It’s the same ! A heavily armed Watchtower with an army of proactive heroes, Luthor running for president – it it’s not *quite* the same, it soon will be. Have you seen Amanda Waller’s computer simulations ?”
Superman: “Batman told me about them.”
The Question: “Did he tell you that all the models predicted that a war between the Justice League and the government would devastate the planet ? ”
Superman: “We would never fight the government !”
The Question: “Not even if Luthor *was* the government ?”
[begins rambling]
The Question: “Predestined… Flash will die… You will kill Luthor… superhuman arms race… Armageddon… inevitable…
Superman: “Question, I’m…”
[Puts a hand on the Question’s shoulder; the Question recoils]
Superman: “… I’m worried about you. You’re mixed up. This world isn’t like the other one. We’re not the Justice Lords. Those things you’re afraid of won’t happen here. I won’t let them. ”
The Question: [Sags slightly, stares silently at Superman for a moment, then walks out]

[The Question’s turned up unexpectedly in Luthor’s office.]
Lex Luthor: ““Question”, isn’t it ? I believe you have something that belongs to me.”
The Question: “Have you seen the latest polls ? It’s starting to look like you’re going to be our next president.”
Lex Luthor: “I wouldn’t bet against me.”
The Question: “No, it wouldn’t be prudent. I want you to understand something Luthor. Although my distaste for you as a human being is brobdingnagian, what I’m about to do isn’t personal.”
Lex Luthor: “What are you babbling about ?”
The Question: “Everything that exists has a specific nature, and possesses characteristics that are a part of what it is. A is A. And no matter what reality he calls home, Luthor is Luthor. If I’m to save the world, your existence must come to an end, before you take office.”
Lex Luthor: “…You’re going to kill me so that Superman can’t.”
The Question: “I’m a well known crackpot. The Justice League’s reputation will survive my actions, and Superman’s legacy will remain intact. ”
Lex Luthor: “Interesting plan. Unfortunately for you, it’s not really an option !”
[Hits the Question, sending him across the room.]

[Being tortured for information]
Dr. Moon: “You stole files from our computer. Just tell me what you’ve learned.”
The Question (strained): “Topically applied flouride doesn’t prevent tooth decay…It DOES render teeth detectable by spy satellite…”
(Dr. Moon shocks him again.)
Dr. Moon: “Tell me what you know.”
The Question: “The tips…at the end of shoelaces are called…”aglets”…Their true purpose is sinister…”
(Dr. Moon shocks him again.)
Dr. Moon: “Tell me what you know !”
The Question: “There WAS a magic bullet…it was forged by Illuminati mystics to prevent us from learning…the truth !”

(After the Question is rescued from Cadmus)
Superman: “What happened, Question ? how did Cadmus get ahold of you ?”
The Question: “I went to kill Luthor, so that you wouldn’t be able to.”
Superman: “That’s not how we do things.”
The Question: “How DO we do things, Superman ? Your couterpart killed Luthor, THIS Luthor is scheming to enrage you-”
Superman: “Doing a good job of it, too.”
The Question: “-ruining your reputation, turning your friends and comrades against you, creating a superpowered arms race…But you CANNOT succumb !”
Superman: “I can shut down Cadmus without killing Luthor.”
The Question: “Carry on then. If you’re wrong, it’s not like it’s the end of the world, right ?”

[The Question blows another cover-up wide open]
The Question: “Aha ! Just as I suspected. Thirty-TWO flavors !”

[Huntress tries to flirt]
Huntress: [over the phone] “So, what are you wearing ?”
The Question: “Blue overcoat. Fedora.”
Huntress: [frowning]: “You really stink at this.”
The Question: “…Orange socks ?”
[Huntress hangs up]


DC Universe History

Hm, perhaps this Question occasionally appears to the mainstream Question in his dreams or something? Or perhaps a stable portal could somehow open up between the comic book universe and the animated one?

Alternatively, this could be the Question of Earth-8 that after Infinite Crisis finds himself on the post-Crisis Earth. He finds out about the Question of the DCU Question and and begins a search to discover who it is that is impersonating him.

This investigation eventually leads him to suspect that the DCU Question is a Manhunter or OMAC soldier or a Cadmus clone which sends him into all sorts of paranoid antics and a new identity as the DCU version of Rorschach.

Or… Hypertime.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

The Question

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Responsibility of Power/Psycho?
Int: 09 Wil: 09 Min: 10 Occupation: Justice League Member/Possibly an
Investigative Reporter
Inf: 04 Aur: 05 Spi: 08 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 019 HP: 045

Skills:
Acrobatics (Athletics)*: 04, Artist (Actor, possibly Writer) *: 04, Charisma: 08, Detective*: 09, Martial Artist*: 04, Scientist (Computers): 11, Scientist (Research): 12, Thief (Locks and Safes, Stealth): 09, Vehicles (Land): 06

Advantages:
Confidant: (Huntress), Expansive Headquarters (JLA Satellite), Confined Headquarters (Apartment) Iron Nerves, Credentials (JLA – Medium), Omni-Scholar, Scholar (Conspiracy Theories, Discovering Connections, Psychology, Trivia), Sharp Eye

Note:
It appears that when it comes to JLA Credentials, the original seven (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Hawkgirl, and Flash) have High, and full-time members (such as Question) have Medium. It’s uncertain whether reservists and new members have Low or not.

Connections:
Huntress (High), Justice League (High), Possible Low Connections to Green Arrow and Supergirl.

Drawbacks:
SIA (Exposing and gathering secrets and other information and connecting it to his overall conspiracy, if possible), Secret Identity

Equipment:

  • Aerosol Sprays [BODY 01, Insta-change]. The Question uses these in order to switch in and out of costume.
  • CAR [STR 05 BODY 06, Running: 06. R#02]. This seems to be an ordinary (if rather nice and well-kept) car.
  • JLA Comlink [BODY 01 Radio Communication: 22, Bonuses & Limitations: Radio Communication is Scrambled]. This earplug-shaped device allows communication with the JLA watchtower/satellite and with other comlinks. Comlinks may be detected from the satellite, and provide a signal for the satellite’s teleporters to lock onto.
  • The Question also carries a cell phone for more conventional communications, as well as a camera, a flashlight, and likely various other small, useful, but not particularly notable items.

By Civanfan

Source of Character: Justice League Unlimited (Cartoon), voiced by Jeffrey Combs

Helper(s): IMDb for most quotes, “Height” and “Weight” were yanked from Sébastien Andrivet’s writeups for the comic book Question, Brain Mendus and David Johnston for help with Drawbacks, Tom Eilers for skill AP suggestions, and part of DCU History. Frank Murdock for another part of DCU History. Sébastien Andrivet for various things.

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