Renee Montoya’s meta-history is just as interesting as her in-character backstory. She was an original character created for the Batman: The Animated Series show in 1992 — an honest cop and a woman of color. Along with other fan-favorite TAS characters like Harley Quinn, she made the jump to DC Comics canon and has since appeared all over the place. In live-action media, she was a minor cop under the Joker’s control in The Dark Knight. She occasionally appears on Gotham, but mostly as part of the (awful) “bisexual confusion” arc with Jim Gordon’s fiance Barbara.
After around 2000, Montoya was a regular fixture in Gotham Central (the comic about Gotham’s police force) and various other Batman-related titles. There’s an arc in which Two-Face outs her as lesbian to throw her personal life off balance. Then in 2004 there was an (unrelated) arc in which she had a little revenge tailspin against corrupt cop Jim Corrigan and ended up quitting the police force. When her story picks up in 52, she’s an alcoholic who spends most of her time obsessing about the life she lost.
Cue The Question — the previous Question, Vic Sage. He was a journalist with a well-known face who wore a “faceless” mask to conceal his identity while engaging in heroics. (Rorschach of Watchmen is actually an iteration of this guy, and Sage is one of the slightly-darker DC heroes, but not usually to that level). In 52, Sage is dying of lung cancer and has chosen Renee Montoya to be his successor. By the end of the comic she’s agreed, after the two investigate a possible gang takeover in Gotham involving the attempted human sacrifice of Kate Kane, the previously-discussed Batwoman, whom Renee is dating. Their romantic relationship was shortlived, but realistically so, and compelling. The Question went on to appear in a number of other comics, and is scheduled to appear in the New 52 soon.
So that’s the Question. She’s been a cop and that’s how she approaches heroism. She’s popular with the fans and a mainstay of Gotham City-related media, and I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of the stories we could tell!
She’s got a lot of appearances, and I’ll point you toward Wikipedia to find something that looks good to you. Personally, I most enjoyed her arc in 52 with Batwoman!
- 52 Vol. 1-4 by Geoff Johns et al. (pub. 2007, ISBN 978-1401213534; 978-1401213640; 978-1401214432; 978-1401214869)