I love to say “I told you so”, so that’s what I’m doing right now. Well, not really, but still. I totally called it. Vic Sage is The Question and he lives once again in the new DCU. As a colossal fan of the character, I decided to just blabber on about it and bring a little optimism as usual. Now… this being a revamped universe, there’s some changes to the character. The question is… what HAVE they changed?
1. His face (or lack thereof)
When the Circle of Eternity punishes him, they melt his face. So I don’t think he wears a mask anymore. I think he’ll be able to change his face to and from this form at will, and he’ll generate mist rather than use a fancy chemical and mask. Nothing too drastic, and it’s kinda cool. Also, his voice appears to be muffled… I doubt that’s permanent, but to be fair, there’s no way of knowing that either.
2. His past life.
Vic Sage’s true identity has ALWAYS remained a mystery. It’s basically the basis of the entire character, and that still stands. But now it’s being presented in a much different way. When Vic is punished by the gods, it is said this happened centuries ago when man first discovered magic. Is Vic Sage a man from the past? There’s a chance he was pulled back in time to that moment for judgement, but… there’s no way to know that. He also says he’ll “rise to power again” and “the [gods] will fear [his] name as does the world”. Hmmm… maybe he was actually a legitimate bad guy and now seeks redemption? Like an ancient dictator of sorts? Or maybe he WAS ALREADY The Question, and he was so efficient that the crime-ridden world feared him like Batman does today? His sin is never actually specified, and all remains vague as heck. Maybe he was searching for answers he had no business of knowing and he found them. He may’ve been wanting to know secrets of the universe and maybe he had a theory that involved history being rewritten, and ended up getting in trouble or unleashing some evil. But one thing’s for sure: his original backstory didn’t involve being cursed by gods.
3. Where he may be now
In Justice League #6, Phantom Stranger and Pandora are discussing the third Sinner who we did not know about at the moment. They mentioned that he “knows not to interfere with humanity”. Now, this may be the biggest change… has he been wandering from a distance for centuries??? That seems more like Phantom Stranger’s thing. This and his past life are the only real things that make me nervous.
What’s the same and why this could all work out
Who is Vic Sage? That’s essentially the basis of the character right there. The never-ending self-seeking of identity. All the way back in Denny O’Neil’s beautiful run on The Question, that’s what he’s been about. And his curse is exactly that, and it even strengthens that aspect further. Another major thing about him is that he’s always been the one character who’d never be afraid to question authority. Back when he was first concieved with Charlton all the way to his eventual death in 52, he fought corruption. Every version of The Question stood up to the big guys and what better way to do that than have those “big guys” be gods? That’s pretty badass if you ask me. I’d also love to see them explore JLU’s take on the character with the whole conspiracy theorist angle or turn him into a paranormal investigator of sorts.
As for the mystic side, that’s always been a subtle part of the Question mythos. He’d died before 52 and was reborn, and at one point he was given the ability to communicate with the “souls” of cities. The Question is about mystery, nothing about him is certain, and supernatural things and stuff can compliment that (that was not a typo, by the way). The Question may have been a more street-level character, but who’s to say he still can’t be? Nobody said he could fly, hurl balls of magical fire, or cast spells, he could still physically be a normal guy who can change his face.
But one thing’s for sure, he’s probably going to have a more important role in the universe with the coming Trinity War, and who knows? Perhaps his curse will be lifted at the end of the war and he’ll be just a faceless man in a trenchcoat fighting injustice and seeking answers.