WALLY, STEPHANIE… Who's Next? Why DC Needs DONNA TROY
CREDIT: DC Comics
The rebooted DC Universe now has a Wally West and a Stephanie Brown — two oft-requested, fan-favorite characters.
But where is Donna Troy?
Fans will remember that in November, DC teased the return of Wally West, Stephanie Brown and Donna Troy. The cryptic tease, which occurred briefly during a segment of an "All Access" video on DC's website, clearly showed Donna Troy's name on a whiteboard.
According to the Donna reference, which said "Donna > SM/WW," readers may be seeing a new version of Donna Troy sometime soon in the pages of Superman/Wonder Woman.
That's comforting to fans of Donna Troy, but it hasn't been confirmed. And DC creators have made it clear to Newsarama in the past that DC's editorial folks tend to change their mind, demanding rewrites — or at least it was cited often in the early days of the New 52.
So is DC still planning to bring Donna Troy into the DCU? Then again, did they ever plan to?
And perhaps more importantly, is Donna Troy as important a character to the New 52 as obviously fan-favorite characters like Wally West and Stephanie Brown?
One of the reasons for fan adoration of Stephanie Brown was that the character was the first female Robin in DC continuity — before that continuity was erased with the reboot. Her time as Robin endeared her to many fans (and her eventual stint as Batgirl made her even more of a draw for readers), but just as important was the fact that she held the title as "first." Fans wanted her recognized within the DC Universe for her contribution, as a female hero among a list of boys.
Similarly, Donna Troy was unique among the many boys who served as part of the Teen Titans. During most of the early years of the Teen Titans, Donna was the only female on the team. This made her not only the idol of any female fans who read the book, but also made her an object of attention from the book's many young, male readers.
"I fell in love with Donna (like a lot of young impressionable boys)," Mike Johnson told Newsarama, "not only because she was 'purty' and powerful, but because she was kind. She was… the moral center of the team, the rock on which the others depend… the heart and soul of the Titans."
While it may sound odd to describe one of a female character's strengths as her "attractiveness," but at the center of her attraction to many fans was that she was not only a powerful part of the team, but she was genuinely compassionate and friendly. And she was a good friend to the other heroes in the Teen Titans — not a girlfriend or a sexy companion, but instead, a close, caring, completely platonic friend.
In an era when the idea of "strong female character" too often means that a woman is portrayed as not only super-strong, but super-sassy and/or super-sexy too, a decent, kind teenager like Donna Troy would be a welcome part of the female-hero landscape.
The new hero Wally West is very different from what he was just before the reboot — the 2010 version was a red-headed, married, father of two, while the new one is a 12-year-old biracial boy. While writers on The Flash have hinted that he'll soon be a speedster sidekick to Barry Allen (just like the old Wally West was when he first entered the scene), some fans are still voicing concern about the changes to the character.
Surprisingly, their concerns aren't always related to his race change — many are even more disappointed by his age. Why? Readers are concerned that a 12-year-old boy isn't likely to serve on a Teen Titans team alongside Dick Grayson, who's 20-something.
It just goes to show that fans are desperate for a Titans reunion — and by Titans, we mean the one created by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez. The legendary Wolfman/Pérez run on "The New Teen Titans" began when the book launched in 1980. Pretty soon, it arguably became DC's most popular title.
Now that all the superheroes in the DCU are super-young, the it's actually possible to form a team that includes characters like Dick Grayson, Wally West, Roy Harper, and Donna Troy. There's even a young Cyborg in the New 52, and new versions of Raven, Starfire and Beast Boy.
Yet a reformed Teen Titans wouldn't be quite the same (and would be short on girls) without its aforementioned "heart and soul" of the team, Donna Troy.
Who Is Donna Troy?
There's another reason to get excited about the prospect of a new Donna Troy: The New 52 could clean up her continuity and turn her into an even greater hero than she was before.
In the past, Donna Troy was everything from Wonder Woman's adopted human sister to a magically created godlike being. She's been dead (but soon brought back), she's been the leader of the Justice League, and she's traveled across various alternate Earths. So it's enticing to think that a new version of Donna Troy might wipe that slate, keep the character's personality and connection to Paradise Island, but recreate her mythology in a modern and exciting way.
Yes, it's true that DC hasn't exactly been sailing smoothly through the continuity waters since the New 52 launched. But for some characters, the New 52 has created a renewed interest in their mythology. From Swamp Thing to Phantom Stranger to Lois Lane, the reboot has given creators the chance to redefine several of DC's lesser known characters, often shifting the spotlight to give them renewed life.
That same type of revision could do wonders for a girl who's already a Wonder. And if any character was already equipped to win over the hearts of readers in a brand new spotlight, it's Donna Troy.