Just Who The Hell Is Donna Troy?
By Alan Kistler a.k.a. Continuity Cop
Let's face it. With the exception of Hawkman ((shudder)), no DC character has suffered a more convoluted history of constant revision than Donna Stacey Hinckley Troy a.k.a. Troia, formerly known as Wonder Girl, formerly a member of the Darkstars.
Now try to keep with me, it might get a little rocky.
When the writers first began telling tales of "Wonder Girl" it was in the same spirit of the old Superboy tales. That is, they were intended to be tales of Wonder Woman "when she was a girl." However, an editing mistake in a later story soon set the standard that Wonder Girl was actually a girl named Donna Troy, the ward/sidekick to Princess Diana a.k.a. Wonder Woman. Now, a history had to be created for her.
It was said that Donna was the only daughter of Donna Hinckley, who gave the girl up for adoption when she discovered she was dying of cancer. Young Donna was adopted by the Stacey family. Her adopted father Carl died in a car accident soon afterwards, and thus his wife Fay, unable to support a child alone, gave Donna back to the orphanage.
Donna became part of a child-selling ring. Two criminals involved masqueraded as her parents in the interim. Sometime later, there was a fire and the building was burned down, killing everyone in it except for Donna, who was saved by the timely intervention of Wonder Woman.
Donna was then taken to Paradise Island, home of Wonder Woman and the other Amazons. After being granted Amazon powers by the mysterious "Purple Ray", she was given bracelets and a lasso similar to Diana's and went off into Man's World as "Wonder Girl." She later became a founding member of the Teen Titans and was as recognized among comic readers as Robin and Kid Flash.
So, all's well, right? Nothing to worry about. Simple history, simple stuff, eh?
It WAS all okay, until that fateful year of 1985. The year when DC produced THE CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. For those not in the know, THE CRISIS was a major crossover that involved all the DC titles (in fact, it was the first of its kind). And one of its primary purposes was to revise and simplify a lot of the DCU's history. After THE CRISIS, certain changes were made to major characters. Some changes were hastier and more extreme than others. Wonder Woman was the target of such a change. Once THE CRISIS ended, it was determined that Wonder Woman's history would now start at ground zero. Although Batman and Superman were still major heroes who'd been around for some time, Diana was now a new hero and therefore all her history before the events of THE CRISIS was now non-existent. It had been completely wiped from continuity.
Okay, we may not like that but we can deal with it. One problem. Although Wonder Woman was now to start from ground zero, the same decision did not hold true for Wonder Girl. Donna Troy was still a hero who'd been around for many years and had been a founding member of the Teen Titans. But with Diana now considered a new character, this meant that Donna Troy's career as Wonder Girl actually PRECEDED that of Wonder Woman.
Yeah, I know. You'd think that logic would've gone one way or the other. Either BOTH Diana and Donna would be new character or BOTH would be old heroes with history. But nope! Due to some inexplicable reasoning, the DC gods decreed that they wanted it both ways.
So, what did this mean for Donna Troy? After all, her past of having been raised on Paradise Island could no longer apply if Wonder Woman had not come to Man's World yet. So, a new history had to be made.
Now, it wasn't Wonder Woman who saved Donna from the fire but Rhea, one of the Titans of ancient myth. Rhea brought Donna to New Chronus, the home of the Titans. Donna was but one of a group of other children who were gathered from around the galaxy to be trained successors to the mythical Titans. Donna and the other children remained there for 13 years, training and gaining powers. Upon being returned to their home planets, their memories of being on New Chronus were erased. It was expected that after 50 years of living at their homes, they would return to take their place as gods.
Donna returned to Earth, taking the last name Troy. She wandered around a bit, a fraction of her powers appearing. Believing she was a mutant, she designed a costume to look like the American flag and took the name Wonder Girl. For years, this went on and Donna had no idea about her secret past, other than the fact that she'd been rescued from the fire by a mysterious figure. It was only sometime after she joined the New Teen Titans that she learned of the mythical Titans.
This still didn't really explain why Wonder Girl's costume and weapons were identical to what Wonder Woman would design and use years later. But most readers were willing to let it slide rather than just bitch about the silly little retcon.
Now, this was the status quo for some time. But then, John Byrne came along and began writing for the Wonder Woman title. And one thing he did was kill Diana (temporarily, don't ask) and have her mom Queen Hyppolyta take over the role of Wonder Woman. Hyppolyta (or "Polly" to her friends) later engaged on a time travel adventure with Jay Garrick a.k.a. the Golden Age Flash. During this adventure, Polly was transported to the year 1942 and stayed as a member of the Justice Society for the next nine years. Thus, she became the Golden Age Wonder Woman.
This fixed one minor glitch. Now, Donna Troy was said to have become Wonder Girl because she was inspired by the Golden Age career of Hyppolyta. So, that settled things on that end.
Then, for reasons I don't really understand, John Byrne chose to complicate matters further.
It was revealed that when Diana was still a young girl living on Paradise Island, she became very lonely. And so, secretly, the resident sorceress Magala made a copy of her, an avatar which would act as a twin sister and as a playmate. This went on for a while, in secret, until the villainess Dark Angel arrived. Dark Angel had been an enemy of Polly during the Golden Age and now, after all those years, she sought revenge on her old enemy by kidnapping her daughter, Diana. But instead of Diana she accidentally kidnapped the avatar. Thinking that this was Diana, she decided to give her the name of Donna Troy, as a joke on her Greco-Roman heritage. She then decided to have her revenge on Hyppolyta by torturing her "daughter" in more ways than once. She would make her life a living Hell repeatedly. She used her fantastic magic to insert Donna into the life of a newborn and then watch her live on until she reached the lowest point of her life, a point where she felt she could suffer no more. At that time, Dark Angel would appear and cause Donna to start life anew, traveling back in time by several years and having her live a new life that would also end up with some great tragedy. And then the cycle would repeat. And each time this happened, whoever had met Donna during that life would immediately forget her, as she would be retroactively removed from her previous existence so that she could fit into the new existence.
If you're confused, read over the last paragraph. It should make a little more sense after a couple of read-throughs.
Finally, one of Donna's lives ended up being the one I've just described, the one where she actually became a super-hero. But after her ex-husband and son were killed in a car wreck, Dark Angel reappeared in order to start her life anew again. But when everyone was retconned into forgetting she ever existed, two factors went awry.
At the time Dark Queen arrived, Hyppolyta was still back in time with the JSA. Thus, having been outside of the normal flow of time, she remembered Donna when she returned to the modern-day and found that all trace of the girl had vanished. And by happy coincidence, Wally West a.k.a. The Flash was conducting tests concerning the nature of the Speed Force, an energy field that empowers him and all speedsters. Since the Speed Force exists in very close relation with the timestream, Wally also retained his memories of Donna as his former Titan teammate.
Joining forces, Hyppolyta, Flash and Jay Garrick discovered the truth of Donna being an avatar and of her multiple life torture. To end it once and for all, they devised a way to break the cycle by continuing the life that they were familiar with, the life of Wonder Girl who later became Troia. To help return Donna to existence, they had to essentially "recreate" her based on Wally's memories. Thus, Donna was brought back and all who had forgotten her now regained their memories.
Yeah, I know, my head hurts a bit too. Anyway, due to this "resurrection", a couple of interesting side-effects occurred. First off, she gained some powers similar to Wonder Woman (since she's basically a clone of Diana made by magic, this makes sense), although on less powerful levels. Also, she's become almost a living avatar of purity. Her very touch repelled the demon Goth and her presence was rejected when the Titans once attempted to venture into Hell.
What else may happen to Donna Troy (currently calling herself "Troia" again), we can be certain of one thing: If they do any more revisions on this gal, I swear to God I'm just gonna shoot SOMEONE!!!
Ahem. Excuse me for that outburst. Anyway, that's the basic lowdown on the convoluted history of Troia. Now, go forth and enjoy the rest of this month's issue. :)
All characters are DC Comics
This column is © 1999 by Alan Kistler.
All artwork is © 1999 by their respective artists.