Comic Review: The Other History Of The DC Universe #4 (DC Comics)

“Live to make a difference.” Renee Montoya has always been on the fringe of society. No matter where she resides, she always had to hide her identity as a person, […]

“Live to make a difference.”

Renee Montoya has always been on the fringe of society. No matter where she resides, she always had to hide her identity as a person, especially as a cop on the force. Being a woman, being a queer woman, being a Latinx, all of these factors have always pushed her to ask the question, “who are you?” Witness the story of Renee’s journey as a cop during the 1990’s and her transition into one of the most iconic identities that she eventually inherits. Witness the harsh realities that she has dealt with, that changed her, and the many factors that make you question, “Who are you?”

Much like the previous entries in this series, John Ridley is no stranger to combining real historical elements with the creation of these underrated and often overlooked DC characters. This particular issue is no exception as Ridley crafts a story that analyzes and dissects what makes Renee Montoya so special as a character. It’s very clever that Ridley approaches these characters and uses their year of first appearance as a framing device for the kind of world that they inhabit. Renee Montoya first appeared in the 1992 Batman: The Animated Series, and although that is where she started before being incorporated into the comics, most don’t consider the period in time that she existed.

The writing is expertly executed as Ridley using historical events from 1992-2007 to inform the course of Renee’s Journey as a character, while also acknowledging the publication history of her character, and framing her perspective of such events in a real light. Readers get to witness this condensed, realistic approach to Renee’s transition from cop to crime fighter while simultaneously witnessing the prejudices, consequences, and the historical significance that occurred during her tenure. Personally for myself, I’ve always dug the character, but this book gave a very insightful perspective on her that shines a different light that is refreshing, and possibly the best showcase of her character in a long time. If anything, it shows that whenever she is used by capable writers that care about her, she can prove to be a compelling character, like any other.

The art by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Andrea Cucchi is masterfully drawn, matching the quality of the writing with every layout, panel and splash page. The colors by Jose Villarubia matches the atmospheric noir of the art, effectively evoking the kind of tone that a book such as this requires. The lettering by Steve Wands is well placed and provides much room to experiment, which is seen within the book, matching the graphic quality of the ensemble art.

Of the many books that I could have recommended from DC, this was my personal pick of the week. It’s a great character analysis on Renee Montoya’s struggle during moments in time, reacting to historical events that still hold relevance, and to some degree, a meditation on DC Comics as a whole. It’s a fantastic book that really explores who she is as a character of various identities that is trying to come to terms with who she is. It’s definitely my favorite installment of this series that The entire creative team has crafted. This story has something that anyone can relate to, regardless of orientation, race, or cape. I recommend adding this to your pull list for new comic book day.

Anthony Andujar Jr.

About Anthony Andujar Jr.

Anthony Andujar Jr. is an NYC cartoonist and lover of comics and music. So much so that it led him to writing comic book reviews in between it all.