(Spoilers for various comics including The Question [1987-1990] and the cartoon Justice League Unlimited [2004-2006]).
*This article is on the character Charles Victor Szasz, alias Vic Sage, alias The Question. Though there will be a follow-up article on the character Renee Montoya, also known as The Question.*
Vic Sage, alias The Question, is a superhero creation of comic book writer/artist Steve Ditko (Blue Beetle #1 ). Sage is originally a reporter who believes in the Ayn Rand type of (political and social) conservative views. Boiled down, this means Sage believes that everything is only good or bad, and nothing can exist in a moral grey. A similar kind of view is held by the character Walter Joseph Kovacs, alias Rorschach, in the comic book series Watchmen (1986-1987). Kovacs being an homage to this original version of Sage. In turn, the character of Kovacs would later influence the Justice League Unlimited version of The Question due to how both suffer from paranoia. Sage is also known to wear a mask held on by a special gas that also dyes his hair when he is The Question.
Yet, both the original and Justice League Unlimited versions of The Question might be too close to Rorschach. Meaning that both versions are too similar and non-comic book readers would not see much difference. Both of these versions of The Question have another single problematic element to them. In the case of the former, his political nature may polarize both general and comic book fan audiences. While the latter might be hard for general audiences to relate to as a protagonist. However, there are two other versions that could be good for making into a live action adaptation.
The less likely of the two is the New 52 version of The Question. This variation is a nameless, and faceless, mystery immortal who is part of a group by the name The Trinity Of Sin. Its members include The Phantom Stranger, Pandora, and The Question (Trinity Of Sin: The Phantom Stranger #13 ). Though this version has less material to adapt from, this does free up showrunners who want to make something more original. He also could be made into a dark supernatural protagonist for DC’s streaming service DC Universe. However, not having a clear backstory from the outset may bore certain potential viewers. Thus the (writer) Denny O’Neil and (artist) Denys Cowan version might be the best choice for live action storytelling (The Question [1987-1990]).
The O’Neil/Cowan version is similar to the Ditko version, such as having the Vic Sage name, basic (and non-supernatural) origin, and job. However, this version’s real name is Charles Victor Szasz. Also, he is less extreme in his political and social views. Instead, this variant is more questioning on various topics. Not to mention that he does not suffer from paranoia. Finally this version has a wealth of stories that could be good for movies, the CW, or DC Universe (including his storyline from the comic series 52 [2006-2007]).
Though this is all speculation, writer Marc Guggenheim in 2017 said something about DC possibly having plans for some live action version of The Question (Linked article written by David Stephens at Screenrant.com Dec. 21, 2017). Whatever the future turns out to be for Vic Sage, it will always leave us with questions
. Mysterious Suspense #1 (1968) publisher Charlton Comics. Cover Art by Steve Ditko.