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Thursday, July 16, 2015

If Shawn Wrote Comics: The Origin of Wonder Girl

The cast I'd use in a WW run! Great art
by Bill Walko! 
A couple of years ago I proposed ideas for a hypothetical Wonder Woman run of comics I wanted to write. And currently I’m using many of those concepts I proposed in the Isis series of paperbacks and eBooks. However, one of the proposed Ideas for my Wonder Woman run was revamping Donna Troy. If anyone needed a simplified origin it’s Donna Troy.

Donna Troy has one of the most jumbled and confusing origins in all of comics. One writer says she’s young Wonder Woman. Another says she’s the reflection of Wonder Woman in a mirror, And another says she’s a baby that was saved and brought back to Paradise Island. It’s a mess. Throw in a few decades of Teen Titans, New Teen Titans, New Titans, Team Titans Byrne’s run on Wonder Woman with Dark Angel, and most of the FUBAR mess of Graduation Day and the 21st Century and her history becomes a bigger mess. Sadly the more people try to fix Donna Troy, the WORSE she becomes.

It’s sad because Donna Troy is a GREAT character. She’s DC’s superheroine next door, the best friend everyone can count on in a crisis or have a good time with. She’s the character every girl and boy can relate to. I believe I believe she deserves an origin that’s as easy to follow as her teammates Robin, Speedy, Aqualad and Kid Flash, something every kid can remember right off the top of their heads.  

In my proposed simpler origin for Donna Troy she’s Diana Prince’s 13-year old next-door neighbor, the daughter of a Photographer and an artist. A precocious kid who Diana and her crew (I want bring in both Artemis and Nubia, because most real women travel in groups) meets and takes a shine to. Donna relates to the ladies and soon becomes a fan of her alter ego Wonder Woman and a mascot to the Paradise Island crew when they’re in the city. In a few story arcs we see her taking heroic action without powers against school bullies, and being helpful around the neighborhood. She even saves Diana Prince out of a jam of two! Donna imagines herself as a sidekick to Wonder Woman, but Diana tells her to focus on school, and leave the superhero adventures to Wonder Woman.

Over time Dr.Cyber’s spies notice the relationship between Donna and Diana and target her in the hopes of sending a message to Diana Prince. Donna’s Dad gets some pictures of some Cyber wrongdoings by accident and to destroy the evidence, Cyber in her usual over-the-top fashion has the Troy’s apartment firebombed. In the flames Donna’s still a hero, trying to save her parents, but succumbs to the flames and smoke and a series of burns on her body. Wonder Woman saves Donna but the girl has been badly burned over most of her body. With her injuries far beyond mortal science and , Diana has two choices: Let her friend die or take her to Paradise Island. With the blessing of the doctors, Diana takes Donna to Paradise Island.    

Back on the Island Queen Hippoloytia is hesitant to help Donna fearing that she could be compromising Paradise Island’s secrets by allowing a mortal to use their technology. But seeing how much Diana loves Donna she grants her blessing to help the dying girl. Using Nubia’s Purple Ray, and clay from Paradise Island to soothe Donna’s burns the girl is healed.

A few days later Donna wakes up and learns the tragic news: Her parents have been killed in the bomb attack by Dr. Cyber. Reacting to the tragic news, Donna breaks a steel bed rail with her newfound super strength and gives the ladies more of a struggle as they try to console her. Diana, Artemis, and Nubia are surprised by this turn of events. As Donna is sedated she swears to get revenge on Dr. Cyber.

After Donna is sedated, the three women ponder what to do with Donna Troy now that she has powers like theirs. Artemis fears that her human nature may make her a threat to everyone, while Nubia fears that she has created a Frankenstein monster that may harm people. Diana tries to convince the ladies that Donna is a good kid and has been a great friend to them, and wouldn’t do anything to hurt anyone. If anything she’d use her newfound powers to help people. But the ladies aren’t convinced. The debate over Donna ends in a stalemate as the ladies go back to their quarters for some much needed sleep.

While the ladies sleep, Donna wakes up. Driven to get even with Dr.Cyber, she slips out of the Paradise Island infirmary and into Diana’s dorm room for some clothes. Rifling through the closets, she finds Diana’s old bracelets, (short blue version) an old “eagle” tank top similar to her oldschool shirt, star spangled trunks some blue jeans (she’s American and jeans are the most American thing out there, plus the idea of a preteen flying around in panties always creeped me out) and a pair of black red and white striped trainers. I’d put the gold =W= on her belt buckle and some stars down the legs of the pants to modernize things a bit, but I’d want all the classic elements to remain there so she’s instantly identifiable as Wonder Girl.

With the costume complete, Donna and goes to the hangar to “borrow” Diana’s invisible Jet. Unfortunately, the plane is not tuned to her brainwaves. On the trip down, Donna accidentally trips and falls out but stops herself in midair. In addition to the super strength, the Purple Ray gives Donna the ability of flight.

Donna flies around the world and returns to Washington D.C, New York or wherever Diana and her Royal Guard live and have their adventures. After getting a bite to eat from a fast food place after flying 8000 miles from Paradise Island to America, she stops a stick up at a neighborhood store blocking bullets with her bracelets and getting a kick out of it. Spectators watching her stop the robbery call her Wonder Girl as she flies away.

Donna soon returns to her burned out apartment for clues to the whereabouts of Dr.Cyber. She’s soon attacked by a Cyber Squad looking for Wonder Woman. Donna makes light work of the armored ladies and gets a clue to where Cyber is. Cyber watching from the helmet cam of her CyberSquad realizes that it isn’t Wonder Woman.

The ladies on Paradise Island wake up and plan to visit Donna. When they see her missing from her hospital bed, they wonder where she went to. Nubia tells them to look at the six o’clock news in their city on the TV. On seeing Donna in action, the ladies gear up, get in the invisible jet and head for the city. Diana worries that Donna’s desire for revenge could prove Artemis and Nubia’s fears right and ponders if it was in their right for them to give a human so much power.

Donna looking for clues to Cyber’s wherabouts is surprised by a hologram that emits from the damaged helmet of one of the fallen CyberSquad members. She tells her if she wants to get her revenge to come to her office tower in the city. Donna flies out of the window and makes a beeline for Cyber’s office tower. On the way cross-town she spots another fire and is reminded of the one that killed her parents. When she hears the wails of a crying baby she realizes that she has the power to help others and stops to save the child. As she flies down, cell phone cameras capture her. More people call her Wonder Girl as she hands the child to her parents. Donna likes the sound of that name as she flies away and starts thinking of using it as her codename.  

Donna soon arrives at Cyber’s tower and walks in unchallenged. The guard tells her to go to the top floor. Donna being naïve heads upstairs on the elevator. When she gets off she finds herself trapped in a holographic simulator not unlike the X-men’s Danger room. Cyber in her usual over-the top style introduces herself in a hologram and mocks her calling her a little Wonder Girl, and sends another CyberSquad to attack her. Donna easily defeats the CyberSquad and then is forced to take on some holographic menaces as Diana and crew make their way to the burnt out remains of the former Troy home. There, Nubia finds the holographic message and the ladies race over to the CyberTower (think Apple) where they see Donna taking on the holograms. An observant girl, she spots Cyber at the controls and breaks through a two way mirror and confronts her as Diana, Artemis and Nubia break through the glass of the windows of the top floor the simulator. While Artemis is eager to engage Diana holds her back anticipating What Donna will do to the defenseless Cyber. Donna realizing that she has a responsibility to do what’s right with the great power she’s been given by her friends decides that vengeance is not justice, and she’d be betraying the people she loves by killing Cyber in revenge. As Donna’s walking away to rejoin her friends, Cyber in usual Diva fashion gets the last word in saying that she can’t pin anything on her. Like Corporate Lex in Superman, Cyber is a Teflon Tech queen.

The debate over what to do with Donna Troy continues as the ladies return to Paradise Island. Queen Hippolotya seeing how the arguing is effecting the girl takes action. She decides to let Donna stay with Princess Diana and her royal guard. Dubbing her the Pledge of Paradise Island (want to fit some sorority stuff in there), she’s given her own magic lasso, and is put under the authority of Diana, Artemis and Nubia and will be trained and mentored by all three women as they return to their journeys in America. If she proves herself worthy she’ll earn the title and privilege of a full sister in the Amazon fraternal order.

It’s a rough synopsis (wrote this in three hours), But in my proposed script I wanted to clarify some things about Donna Troy. The way I’d plan things readers would know Who Donna Troy is from day one. The girl next door. The friend who helps the helpless. A girl looking to learn from a group of strong intelligent women. The kid whose unfortunate tragedy is turned into triumph. Given power she shows how responsible she can be with it and has the potential to be as great a hero as the women mentoring her.

Moreover, the origin I’d propose is consistent with those of Wally West, Dick Grayson, and Roy Harper. So she has something a bit more solid to connect them with her as a Teen Titan when they form the team. It’s an origin that’s easy to follow, fits in parts of Donna’s previous history seamlessly within an easy-to-follow sequence and is so easy to remember a child could figure it out.

The reason why I wanted to use Dr.Cyber in Donna’s origin is because she was poised to become one of Diana’s big bads. I always felt Dr. Cyber could have become an A-list villain with Lex Luthor and the Joker with the right stories. Oldschool non-disfigured Dr. Cyber has an over-the-top BITCH personality that makes you just HATE her, and I wanted add Donna’s origin to part of Diana’s ongoing feud with Cyber, as another reason why she dislikes her so much. The Cyber/Diana feud never got PERSONAL and I believe if it did, it might have been one of the top feuds in comics, right up there with Green Goblin/Spiderman in the 70’s and Batman/Joker in the 1980’s. Cyber was the only woman who can push Diana’s buttons the way Lex pushes Clark’s. Readers need to see that kind of heat in a Wonder Woman comic to see what really makes her great as a heroine.

Inspired by the Dr.Cyber/Wonder Woman feud from the Diana Prince Era I used a few story points in Isis: The Beauty Myth and Isis: Wrath of the Cybergoddess. In those two books I worked hard to get the chemistry right between Isis and Raheema so readers could feel the heat between the characters in their feud. I want to bring that kind of intense chemistry to Diana to make the relationships between her and her rogues gallery a bit more intense. After reading a lot of Wonder Woman comics I find while she’s got a decent rogues gallery, she hasn’t had that one big defining feud, the one where things got personal and readers got themselves emotionally invested in the story. I believe Cyber is the right villain to give her that kind of emotional involvement so they can get emotionally invested in Wonder Woman.    

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