The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #1 is a brand-new take on the titular hero while also blending in some of the old to add to its flavour. Jeff Lemire manages to marry the political and philosophical roots of both Steve Ditko and Dennis O’Neil to create a take that is wholly his own. Meanwhile, Denys Cowan is back and just as great as he has always been. This may be a new Vic, but it sure feels like Question fans are right at home.

Different Iterations

Vic has been reinterpreted several times for a character that has only been around for a little over 50 years. Steve Ditko envisioned him as an Objectivist, but this was severely toned down to accommodate the Comics Code Authority. Steve Ditko’s true philosophical feelings were presented in the reworking of Vic in Mr. A and then parodied by Alan Moore in Rorschach in the famous comic Watchmen. Dennis O’Neil, who in my opinion had the best take, killed the Objectivist Vic off. In his place rose a Zen Vic, one who was more curious than angry.

Vic passes judgment on a prostitute.
The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #1; DC Comics (2019)

Rick Veitch made Vic an urban shaman with binary gas now hallucinogenic, a unique but odd take. The Justice League Unlimited cartoon has returned to its more Objectivist roots, but with a conspiracy theorist twist to make it palatable for children. The New 52 made Vic an immortal mystic who committed a heinous crime and was forced to forget his name and lose his face.

The New Take In The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #1

Jeff Lemire has now thrown his proverbial fedora into the ring and reinterpreted Vic yet again in The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage. Yet his version is somewhere between two others. Vic is certainly self-righteous and flat out a dick to people ala the Steve Ditko version. But his rampant curiosity and martial arts background come from the O’Neil version. Several of the O’Neil supporting cast reappear and are changed such as Myra being Wesley’s sister rather than his wife that he blackmailed into marriage.

Vic talks to Richard Dragon
The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #1; DC Comics 2019

While the cross between the angry and curious Vic may seem strange it’s actually keeping within character. Vic has always had two sides, two of him and usually one dominates the other. Anger and curiosity are the two demons that he must control otherwise it will get him killed. Well, as we find out at the end of the issue, The Question and potentially Vic has been around far longer than originally thought. Perhaps this is the New 52 immortal version reinterpreted? Who knows, but needless to say I’m fascinated to find out.

Denys Cowan Still Got It

The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #1 is a beautiful book. The art is rough and sketchy and is perfect. This isn’t something you get in a lot of comics anymore, and it’s what is needed for The Question. It isn’t a pretty book, it’s an evocative book. Each panel feels grimy and nasty, as though the moral decay of Hub City is leaking through the seams. When you read The Question, you should feel that. Denys Cowan is the true master of showing this grit in detail. Hub City isn’t a nice place, it’s a hellhole, and Vic is a man trying desperately to beat back the darkness with nothing but his fists. Desperation and bleakness ooze off the page and it’s wonderful.

A montage showing how everything is connected
The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #1; DC Comics 2019

Myra looks like Myra, Wesley has changed to be younger, Tot looks like Tot, and Vic looks really handsome. While some of the changes were going to happen as it’s been over 30 years since The Question #1 by Dennis O’Neil and Denys Cowan came out, I still wish they looked the same. I miss the rugged and tired yet still handsome Vic. Perhaps that will appear later, it still looks amazing though.

The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage Is A Must Buy

This has been a Question fan gushing about this for a while now. I know how it looks and that I’m perhaps biased, but just got pick The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage #1 up. This is what a Question book should be and being Black Label it’s able to go as far as it wants. You won’t find anything like it on the comic book store shelf. Welcome to Hub City, it’s hell on earth!