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Renee Montoya - early (Batman ally) (DC Comics) in a surplus jacket

Renee Montoya

(Profile #1 - the 1990s)


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

Context

This profile for Renee Montoya is part of a chronological series. The series is full of S P O I L E R S and should be read in order for it to make sense. It goes:

  1. Renee Montoya – the 1990s – this here writeup
  2. Renee Montoya – the early 2000s
  3. Renee Montoya – early Question

Montoya was originally created for the Batman cartoon, to add some gender and ethnic diversity to the cast. Something about her caught the attention of the comic book writers. Comics being produced much faster than cartoons, she appeared on the printed page before the TV screens.

From there she slowly caught the attention of readers, eventually becoming a fan favourite and the star of the highly regarded Gotham Central police procedural comic book series.

This first “episode” of our Montoya profiles covers her appearances in comics from her earliest appearances in 1992 up to the No Man’s Land storyline, in late 1998. It — and all the profiles in this series — contain S P O I L E R S.

The Montoya profiles are intended to double as a partial history of the Gotham City Police Department, since Renee was a part of all major events that marked the GCPD during her career there. This means that the entries are unusually long, but they should provide precious background information for GMs running Gotham campaigns.


Background

  • Real Name: Renee Montoya (though her first name has occasionally been spelled Rene).
  • Other Aliases: Pacita Trujillo.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Hernando Montoya (father), Louisa Montoya (mother), Captain Benjamin “Benny” Montoya (brother), unnamed cousin, unnamed goddaughter.
  • Group Affiliation: Gotham City Police Department’s MCU.
  • Base Of Operations: Gotham City.
  • Height: 5’7” Weight: 144 lbs.
  • Eyes: Golden brown with green reflections Hair: Black


Powers and Abilities

Montoya is a smart, very courageous, experienced police officer with a good eye for details. She also is a qualified sharpshooter with handguns.

Like most people on the GCPD, she’s at best at the lowest end of the cinematic  spectrum. While they are trained and experienced professionals, the cops are usually outclassed by the freaks and superhumans that populate Gotham. Yet they keep courageously doing their best and occasionally stop a freak unaided.

Montoya has been known to pull off some sudden, decisive actions even early on (such as reverse-headbutting Zsazs). Thus, in DC Heroes RPG terms, she has higher Hero Points  than the run-of-the-mill GCPD Detective.

Gear

  • Montoya preferred weapon while she was working with Bullock was a .357 magnum revolver. Bullock also used a .357 revolver, and likely was the one who advised her in her choice of ordnance. Just like Bullock, she was using non-regulation ammunition. From context those were probably jacketed hollowpoint rounds such as Black Talon bullets (one caption just says “hollowpoint”, which makes little sense since normal police rounds are HPs).
  • After becoming a detective, Montoya seems to switch to a semi-automatic handgun and, I assume, regular law enforcement issue ammunition. We can assume a very common law-enforcement handgun, such as the Glock 22 .40 S&W.
  • After becoming a Detective, Montoya occasionally produces a short-barelled revolver. I would assume this is her backup weapon, and that it is a compact frame .38 revolver loaded with +P rounds.
  • Police radio handset. On undercover missions, Montoya is wired with an in-ear radio and wire mike.
  • During the early 1990s Montoya works in her patrol uniform. This gives her access to he usual gear stored on a police uniform’s belt. In 1994, she becomes a plainclothes detective and stops wearing her blues on the job.
  • As a MCU (Major Crimes Unit) officer, Montoya has access to whatever speciality equipment the GCPD can buy, borrow, scrounge or impound. While this ends up being fairly limited (the GCPD certainly doesn’t have any advanced tech like their Metropolis counterparts) this includes tac vests, gas masks, tear gas grenades, shotguns, forensics equipment, two-officers rams to bash doors open, etc..
  • Unlike Bullock, Montoya seldom sports anything heavier than her service pistol. But during those grave crises where Gotham degenerated into urban chaos (such as the Contagion or the No Man’s Land earthquake and crisis) she armed herself with a workhorse Remington M870P 12g pump-action shotgun, apparently a favourite of the GCPD.

History

Montoya’s past has been mostly revealed in bits and pieces. She grew up in the Spanish-speaking neighbourhood of Neville, a suburb of Gotham City. Her parents operate a corner bodega there. Her family came from the Dominican Republic , though Renee was born and raised in the US as an American citizen.

Renee Montoya and the Batman

Her relationship with her parents has apparently always been difficult. From her teenage years on, she stayed in the closet from her very traditional, very Catholic parents. They incessantly wondered when she would marry and have children like a woman should. Her little brother Benny found out that she was a lesbian, but never told their parents.

Renee successfully stayed in the closet until she was about 30. She grew up a Catholic, but stopped going to church — apparently in her late teens or early 20s — and soon came to distrust religion.

From one of Renee’s comments about seeing a lot of rat bites whilst she grew up, we can infer that the Montoyas had to raise their kids in badly impoverished conditions. Presumably; it took decades of hard work for them to reach some degree of financial security while ensuring that Renee and Benjamin could get a good education.

Though she hoarded discarded travel magazines and dreamed of visiting exotic places, Renee’s limited wealth never allowed her to leave Gotham City before her early 30s. And that was just a prison transfer from Keystone.

On the force

Renee decided to become a cop when she was 17. The water supply of Gotham had been poisoned by a freak, and everybody was scared. Then the night fell and, looking out the window, she saw the bat-signal. At that instant she knew she wanted to be like Batman and protect people, alleviating their fears.

After Renee joined the police, Benjamin joined the Navy. He would eventually become a pilot and a captain for the 78th Fighter Squadron  aboard the (fictional) USS Merrimac.

When she was 19 and a young patrol officer, Montoya ticketed one of the richest persons in Gotham, Katherine Kane, for speeding. The somewhat drunk Kane hit on her. They soon started a relationship, which apparently lasted somewhere in the 10-to-20 months range.

Though they were very much in love their differences were too great. The filthy rich and privileged Kate had trouble understanding all the social and professional constraints weighing on Renee’s shoulders. And Renee couldn’t stand watching Kate indulge herself in an aimless, bohemian lifestyle achieving nothing.

After a gaffe from Kane, Montoya stormed out of the bedroom. She then stubbornly refused to return her calls despite Kane’s profuse and desperate apologies. They did not see each other again for ten years. However, that relationship remained an important memory for both of them – especially Kane, who never really got over the break-up.

Sound of da police

Renee’s early police career is undocumented. Given how quickly she became a Sergeant Detective and then a full Detective, she likely got top-tier grades at the police academy and excellent results as a patrol officer.

Renee Montoya and Harvey Bullock

When Montoya made her first appearance, she was wearing her blues and badge. Commissioner Gordon introduced her as his assistant. Though no rank was visible in the art, it is later confirmed she was then a Sergeant, and that her responsibilities did not just include administratrivia. She accompanied Gordon in the field (including tactical operations) and served as an ad-hoc bodyguard.

Counsellor Lester (the former warden of Blackgate Prison) was then found dead in suspicious circumstances. Gordon paired Montoya with one of his veteran Major Crimes Unit (MCU) investigators, Sergeant Harvey Bullock, to detect any foul play. They continued to be paired for MCU investigative work. Montoya also continued to help Gordon review and assemble files about cases and criminals.

Though the MCU was headed by Sarah Essen and included a Lt. (Stan Kitch), Montoya and Bullock often worked directly under Commissioner Gordon. Bullock was rightly seen as a maverick, extremely dedicated cop with shady and often violent methods. His loyalty had always been a personal one toward Gordon.

However, his clearance rate was exceptional and he kept dodging the bullet of IA investigations. This made him an asset for Gordon. Pairing his assistant with the maverick Bullock essentially resulted in Gordon having his personal detective unit.

Major Crimes Unit

The young, bright and eager Montoya proved that she was one of the few cops who could actually stand to work with the highly competent, but insufferable, Bullock. This achievement, her track record and the very good impression she made as the Commissioner’s assistant resulted in Renee being formally paired with Bullock as MCU police.

Renee Montoya (1990s DC Comics) with Bullock and two cops in a corridor

Thus, within but years, Montoya’s career had gone from patrol officer to the investigative elite of the GCPD.

Getting transferred from whatever her previous unit was to the MCU was a fairly big deal for Montoya. Not only was she taking her orders straight from the Commissioner and his most trusted officers, but the MCU was probably the least corrupt unit within the entirety of the GCPD.

As generally honest cops, the MCU staff was reviled by many GCPD officers. This hostility was exacerbated by Gordon’s forceful anti-corruption efforts.

The MCU was also more diverse than the rest of the force, including an unusual percentage of female detectives (at least by Gotham standards). It was also close enough to Gordon for the Commissioner’s low tolerance of racism, misogyny, and homophobia to actually have an impact and dull the reactionary culture of the rest of the force.

Never mind the Bullock

The working relationship between the crisp, exemplary Montoya and the crass, rules-bending and sloppy-looking Bullock went about as well as can be expected. Montoya resented Bullock’s frequent allusions to her gender, sex appeal and ethnicity. Bullock resented her tendency to take charge in a crisis due to her surprising competence and strength under pressure.

However, they eventually developed mutual respect and got over their issues. Thus, they soon confirmed their status as Gordon’s workhorse MCU team. Montoya apparently came to appreciate Bullock’s experience and very results-oriented approach, including his habit of personally handling his high-risk warrants and raids.

Renee Montoya and Harvey Bullock discussing

The duo often crossed path with the Batman, who saved the life of the impulsive Bullock several times. Though Bullock famously disapproved of the masked vigilante, Montoya remained a quiet admirer of the Bat.

Zsasz

In 1993, Bane busted free and armed the inmates of Arkhan Asylum in order to grind Batman into exhaustion. Part of the resulting crime wave involved the serial killer Zsasz taking a dormitory of female students hostage.

Two of the cops attempting to recon the site had their throat slit by the highly dangerous madman. Batman (already nearing exhaustion) came in and ordered the police to just hold the perimeter.

Montoya, sensing that something was off, did not comply and went in. She managed to convince Zsasz to release his current hostage and take her hostage instead. Batman came, but in his dreadful state of fatigue could not safely intervene. It was Montoya, despite being held with a large knife to her throat, who took Zsasz by surprise by reverse-headbutting him into the nose.

Batman knocked the murderous psychopath out. Since the dark knight was hovering near a breakdown, he might have killed Zsasz had Montoya not stopped him. She then arrested Zsasz.

Despite minor cuts to the throat, Montoya continued to work with Bullock, Gordon and the rest of the GCPD through a seemingly endless succession of crises and murders. During the so-called “knightfall” events, Montoya was the one who witnessed Bane breaking Batman. She called an ambulance to save the dark knight’s life.

The Dark Knight falls

As it turned out the ambulance that responded was a fake one. Gordon chewed her out for this. Robin soon clarified the situation – he was the one who had arranged for the disappearance of Batman in the fake ambulance.

Montoya and Bullock further helped saving Batman’s life by procuring drugs at a nearby hospital. They then rushed those to Robin to facilitate the surgery on Batman’s broken back.

One of the MCU cases handled by Montoya and Bullock was the so-called “Spinal Tap” murders, involving victims with their spinal fluids drained off. The detectives soon found the culprit in a chemical plant. But it turned out to be a huge, ferocious and bulletproof monster, part of a group of alien parasite that had recently reached Earth .

Even with the backing of a tactical team, the thing couldn’t even be scratched by gunfire. Bullock was saved by Batman (Jean-Paul Valley) and Montoya by Geist, the Twilight Man, one of the survivors of the alien attacks.

Renee made it to full detective in 1994 (publication time).

Watching the detectives

The MCU later fished an ice-encased body out of the river. When the apparent corpse woke up in the morgue, Montoya realised that it was Mister Freeze. She managed to corner him in the morgue’s cold room.

Hearing one of her shots, Batman (Jean-Paul Valley) came in and mauled Mister Freeze. He then lost his self-control until Montoya forced him at gunpoint to back off, saving Freeze’s life. At this point, Renee started strongly suspecting that the man in the Batman costume was no longer the dark knight she admired, but an impostor.

Renee Montoya saves Bruce Wayne

The complex working relationship between the GCPD and Batman continued to degrade as it became clear that Montoya’s suspicions were founded. This Batman had far fewer hesitations about killing.

In particular, an MCU investigation led Montoya to the conclusion that the new Batman had purposefully let the psychotic killer Abattoir die in a homemade torture rack of Abattoir’s own design. The real Batman eventually returned and took Valley down, re-establishing the status quo with the GCPD.

Hardback

During a clash with KGBeast, Montoya’s partner Bullock was hit by an oil drum. Robin and a newcomer to the MCU, McKenzie “Hardback” Bock, managed to save him. But Bullock was left in a coma with an uncertain prognosis.

This resulted in devastating stress for Montoya. She visited regularly and helped take care of her comatose partner. Bullock eventually made a full recovery and came back to the force. Whilst he was away, Bock replaced him at Essen’s behest and was more or less partnered with Montoya.

During that time Gordon clashed with Mayor Krol, who had him replaced as Commissioner by Essen. Essen made Bock her assistant, much as Montoya had been Gordon’s. Montoya kept in touch with James Gordon as he started his campaign as a third party candidate for mayorship.

At the same time she pretended to date a male Coast Guard captain named Johnny. This was presumably misdirection to keep up the appearances, since she uncharacteristically leaked this detail of her private life to the rest of the MCU.

(Writer’s intend at this point was almost certainly that Renee was heterosexual. In hindsight, the simplest No-Prize  explanation might be that her close friend Johnny was gay, and that they decided to pretend to date each other (a “beard”, in the parlance) in order to remain closeted from their gay-hostile work environments.)

Contagion

The MCU grind involving costumed madmen and superpowered felons continued. Gordon and Krol both lost the mayoral election to former DA Marion Grange. Gotham then entered one of the deadly crises that punctuated its history during the late 1990s. A seemingly incurable Ebola strain called the Clench started spreading through the city.

Among the early victims was Johnny, the Coast Guard officer Montoya was pretending to date. His painful death hit Montoya hard. The crisis was made worse by Krol purposefully appointing a known incompetent, Andy Howe, as Commissioner. He did so right before leaving office, to sabotage the efforts of Grange as the next mayor.

As a result Batman started working more closely with MCU officers and in particular Bullock. Eventually, the core of the MCU — Bullock, Kitch, Bock and a still-grieving Montoya — went to Gordon. They asked him to take charge of the police operations during the contagion crisis, despite his complete lack of official status.

As the situation continued to degenerate, everything disintegrated. Gordon found himself down to two officers — Montoya and Bullock — as the rest went home to protect their families from the deadly virus.

Gotham was narrowly saved by an ad hoc coalition of costumed adventurers revolving around Batman. Grange arranged to be sworn in early so Krol was thrown out of his lame duck mayorship. She immediately fired Howe and reinstated Gordon.

Again with the disease

Gordon went on to facilitate the distribution of the vaccine and coordinate the relief effort and return to normalcy. Montoya and Bullock continued to operate as partners. They once managed to take down and arrest the vigilante Lockup (Lyle Bolton) unaided, though he soon escaped from the police holding facilities.

Renee Montoya and Harvey Bullock processing a clue

Some time after the initial Clench crisis, the global terrorist mastermind Ra’s al Ghul, using an ancient artefact called the Wheel of Plagues, devised a variant strain. Under the leadership of Grange, Gotham handled the crisis well.

Though there were numerous casualties from the new contagion, order was maintained and large quantities of the vaccine for the previous strain, which was partially effective, were efficiently distributed to the population.

Investigating on the source of the disease, the GCPD’s MCU managed to nail a number of Ra’s al Ghul’s operatives in Gotham. However, this led to a suicide bombing of the police holding facilities, followed by an heavily-armed terrorist force looking to free their colleagues.

Gordon and a small cadre of officers held the house, since most officers were out on the streets. After a savage firefight in the MCU holding facilities, Montoya and her comrades defeated the invaders.

Foreign affairs

Montoya and Bullock’s strong differences about violence toward suspects eventually came to a head. This happened when Bullock cracked and started beating a random costumed loon who called himself the Polka Dot Man. Montoya stopped him and, fed up with it, asked Essen to be transferred out of the MCU.

Essen refused. However, she offered to have her join a new case without Bullock, and to have another minder assigned to him. In the meanwhile, IA pounced on Montoya’s report as their best chance ever to nail Bullock for his numerous violations of police procedure. Detective third class Kevin Soong became Bullock’s new partner.

Montoya was again paired with “Hardback” Bock and they formed MCU9. The duo was tasked with protecting Mr. Trujillo and his family from kidnapping attempts from the Celula Seis (“Cell Six”) paramilitaries.

Mr. Trujillo was the representative of the country of Hasaragua in Gotham. He was lobbying for War Against Drugs funds for his country’s governmental forces. The C6 forces opposed this.

Given the clear and present nature of the threat, and her budget’s inability to provide round-the-clock security for the whole Trujillo family, Essen had the brave officer Montoya detailed as security for Trujillo. Renee posed as his wife Pacita during all of his public functions and served as a lightning rod by appearing easier to kidnap than Mr. Trujillo.

Undercover in the night

Sporting a designer cocktail number and other pieces of clothing and jewellery borrowed from the real Mrs. Trujillo, Montoya and a squad of undercover officers ran security around Carlos Trujillo and attempted to draw out C6 operatives. However, Montoya almost immediately had to forcefully repulse C. Trujillo’s inappropriate advances.

Renee Montoya and Jim Gordon

As Bullock was getting dragged through IA procedures and leaving hostile messages on Montoya’s answering machine, Celula Seis made another attempt on “Pacita Trujillo”. They nabbed her, shooting several police officers whilst so doing.

The C6 men issued a press release. It stated that they would execute her if Carlos Trujillo gave a speech asking for intervention in the Hasarguayan civil war. But Carlos Trujillo refused to give in. The paramilitaries, still thinking that she was Pacita, forced Montoya to read a communiqué and tortured her, the later without success.

Left without food or water in a damp room, Montoya started hallucinating from fatigue. Nevertheless, she bloodily wrenched her hand free from her manacles, ambushed the first man who came to her cell, stole his pistol and gunned down her captors.

As she was hospitalised Montoya mended fences with Bullock, their recent experiences allowing to see the value of each other’s approach to the job.

For a crime she did not commit

In 1997 key GCPD personnel, including James Gordon, Renee Montoya and Mackenzie Bock were arrested by IA for corruption. There was an impressive paper trail to back IA’s claims. Batman and Oracle eventually determined they had been framed by two minor mentalists, Marlon “the Cheater” Dall and Des “the Thinker” Connor, in an attempt to play the markets.

Everybody was soon cleared from the bogus charges. They returned to their normal duties, including a number of direct alliances with the Batman.

As part of said duties, Montoya’s team cracked the Donovan hostage crisis. She was the first in during the assault, shooting two of the killers and wrestling the third into submission. For this she received a Distinguished Cross for courage under fire.

Some time after that she and a transferred detective, Eddie Blazak (from the political corruption unit) teamed up to arrest a very minor murderous madman, the “Harpoon Man”. Blazak proved insufferably macho, sexist, cocksure and untrusting. But was forced to revise his judgement of Detective Montoya after she demonstrated her competence and ended up saving his life.


Description

Though it’s not always apparent in the art, Montoya’s attractiveness is often commented on. In the early and mid-90s she was often drawn as wearing skirts and dresses while in plainclothes duty – a unlikely choice given her job and the environment. During that era she is in her mid-20s.

Some listings have Montoya being 5’8”, but in most art she looks shorter than that so I shaved an inch off for my own estimates. She was drawn closer to 5’8” in Gotham Central, though.


Personality

Montoya is very professional, and she’s an exceptional police officer. Renee’s tough, observant, serious, very courageous, hard working. She takes grave, constant risks whenever necessary to serve and protect.

The above paragraph is sufficient to describe much her characterisation during the 1990s. At this point she was mostly a name, a face and a badge.

Upon re-reading it all at once, the impression emerges that she was initially a very by-the-book officer with an unusual tolerance for paperwork and procedure, who then started being seduced by the aggressive maverick approach of Bullock and eventually settled on her own style, still quite procedure-conscious but tough, direct and chiefly concerned with results.

Still, Montoya is far less aggressive and impulsive than Bullock, and refuses to jump to assumptions. Likewise she prefers to give everyone the benefit of doubt. In the macho, shotgun-happy, dog-eat-dog, tough environment of the GCPD, this earned her a reputation as a compassionate, reasoned officer.

However she’s certainly not seen as a soft one given her MCU track record and numerous demonstrations of courage in extreme circumstances.

Another strong trait of Montoya is of course her indefectible loyalty toward Gordon. She is always there for the Commissioner, no matter what, and would do anything for him. If but one person in the world is left to defend James Gordon, it will be Renee.


Quotes

“Bullock, get on the horn and get some back-up and the fire department in here. I’m going back inside !”

“You okay, Bullock ? You don’t look so good. I mean you never look good. But today you look… worse. And you thanked me. I think you’re coming down with something.”

“No prints. Dental won’t do us much good.”

“We’ve got six dead and no witnesses, Harv.”

“You could have killed this guy, Harv ! He’s a lowlife and a headcase but he’d have cost you your badge !”

“You must think I’m stupid. I’ve seen your face. You can’t allow me to live.”

“Uh, Harv ? Shouldn’t we wait for tac ?”

“Hold your fire ! He’s unarmed !”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Renee Montoya

Dex: 03 Str: 02 Bod: 03 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Police detective
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 012 HP: 010

Skills:
Charisma: 04, Detective (Police procedure): 04, Medicine (First aid): 03, Vehicles (Land): 04, Weaponry (Police weapons): 04

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Gotham City), Familiarity (Gotham city criminals, police investigation techniques and equipment), Language (Spanish), Police Rank (Detective, GCPD – previously Sergeant Detective).

Connections:
GCPD (Low, from Credentials), GCPD Major Crimes Unit (High), Jim Gordon (High), Harvey Bullock (High), Street (Low).

Drawbacks:
Dark Secret (Closeted lesbian in a gay-hostile milieu).

Equipment:
See the notes in the Powers & Abilities section.

  • .357 magnum revolver [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 05, Ammo: 06, R#02].
  • Glock 22 .40 S&W [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 15, R#02].
  • Backup revolver [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 04, Range: 03, Ammo: 06, R#02, Limitation: Projectile Weapon has No Range, use the listed Range instead].
  • Police radio handset [BODY 03, Radio communications: 05] or in-ear radio and wire mike, which have the same stats plus about 3 APs of Miniaturisation.
  • Remington M870P 12g pump-action shotgun [BODY 04, Shotgun blast (Range: 03): 06, Ammo: 07, R#03, Drawback: Very long reload time].

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: DC Universe (Batman books).

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