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Birds of Prey’s Renee Montoya is a beloved comics and animation character

The finest of Gotham’s Finest

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(L-r) MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD stands in a doorway as Huntress while ROSIE PEREZ takes notes on a crime scene as Renee Montoya in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN). Photo: Claudette Barius/Warner Bros.

With Birds of Prey screaming into theaters, we’re shining a spotlight on the DC Comics movie’s cast of characters — from A to Zsasz. There are some long histories behind some of the superheroes and villains, but here’s everything you need to know about Renee Montoya:

What is Renee Montoya’s origin story in the comics?

From her humble beginnings as a Gotham City beat cop, Montoya rose to the rank of detective and was handpicked to serve in Commissioner James Gordon’s major crimes unit. She was partnered with Harvey Bullock for many years, and had lots and lots of encounters with Batman and his rogues gallery.

She dated Batwoman before Batwoman became Batwoman; she was forced out of the closet by Two-Face in a misguided attempt to win her affections; she quit the force and became a hard-drinking private detective after her partner was killed by a crooked cop. Eventually she even became a superhero herself, inheriting the identity of her mentor, the vigilante detective known as the Question.

Who created Renee Montoya?

Renee Montoya was created for Batman: The Animated Series, and the folks behind the comics liked her so much that they put her in the DCU before the show even aired. But it was writer Greg Rucka who really did the work to raise her profile — and to establish her queer identity — in series like No Man’s Land, Gotham Central, and 52.

What are Renee Montoya’s powers or abilities?

Renee has all the powers of a tired, angry, gay, female, Dominican police detective with strong morals.

Who plays Renee Montoya in the movie?

The legendary Rosie Perez, best known for movies like Do the Right Thing and Fearless, picks up the badge for Birds of Prey. Her Renee is older in the movie than she is in the comics, but basically the same — if she’d never gotten any recognition for her work.

How is Renee’s love life these days?

Well, for a while her ex (Batwoman) was engaged to her boss (Gotham City police captain Maggie Sawyer). So that was probably awkward.

What Renee Montoya comics should I read?

Gotham Central #6-10 (2003)

With one storyline, Greg Rucka and Michael Lark transformed Renee from background figure into lead character, and a queer icon to boot, as she dealt with being outed as a lesbian and stalked by longtime Bat-villain Two-Face. She does both incredibly.

52 #1-52 (2006-2007) (Find it here, here, and here.)

One of the most rewarding threads of DC’s groundbreaking year-long soap opera was allowing Renee to hit rock bottom and then come back, going from alcoholic ex-cop with anger issues to the latest generation of the faceless detective the Question in just 52 weeks. Rarely has rapid character development been so fun.

Lois Lane #1- (2019-)

As if a thriller based around the Daily Planet’s best reporter wasn’t exciting enough, the current Lois Lane series had an unexpected surprise when it debuted: Renee Montoya as a second lead, showing back up to find out the truth and beat up anyone who gets in her way, just like everyone wanted.