Donna Troy’s has a relatively confusing origin story as compared to most heroes. This is because over the course of her publication history she has had to be tied into both Wonder Woman continuity as well as Teen Titans continuity, which meant that publication decisions had to factor in both of those considerations.
Her silver age story is the one which is most often referenced as a base for the character even though it has changed many times. In the later years of the golden age of comics, most Wonder Woman stories focused on the Wonder Family, which consisted of Hippolyta, Wonder Woman and two de-aged versions of Wonder Woman – Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot. When the idea was made to launch a version of the Justice League of America it was decided to use the pre-existing teen sidekicks of the main DC characters. Wonder Woman had never had a sidekick and so a new Wonder Girl was introduced, based somewhat off of the previous version although with a different background. In this origin Donna is an orphan after her parents are killed in a fire, and she is rescued by Diana and taken to Paradise Island. Through the use of the Purple Ray she was given similar powers to Diana. She also learned the ways of Amazon combat and physical training. When she was a teenager she joined the Teen Titans. In a slightly different origin story (told in the story arc Who Is Donna Troy?) she is an orphan after her mother has died of cancer. This is a variation of the previous story though, as it is the orphanage which catches on fire.
The most significant problem in the character’s history was what to do with her following Crisis on Infinite Earths. At the end of Crisis, the golden age/silver age Wonder Woman was obliterated from existence by an attack from the Anti-Monitor and the character was subsequently relaunched in a new series with a different origin by George Perez. This new Wonder Woman came to man’s world long after most other superheroes but all of Donna’s adventures with the Teen Titans still stood as in continuity, thus Donna had shown up well before Wonder Woman ever had, and not vice versa as had been the case before. She was first reimagined as a descendant of the Titans of Myth (the precursors of the Olympic Gods) but this was soon changed by John Byrne, who was writing Wonder Woman and sought to better incorporate in Donna’s background. He re-wrote her origin to be that she had been a magical doppelganger of Wonder Woman as a child that was brought to life. She was subsequently kidnapped by the Dark Angel and cursed to live lives which ended is some sort of tragedy (her superhero life was a reflection of this as well.) This remained as the origin story until she was later killed. It was then revealed that Donna had been but one of many replicas of herself that had the task of recording the multiverse. Thus the character later returned (albeit from a different reality) and this more cosmic origin became more defining for the character.
She was created as a member for the Teen Titans and first appeared in the Brave and the Bold #60 in 1965. She was created by Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani. The cover, which also features the heroine, was drawn by Nick Cardy.
As with her origin story, her publication story is equally divergent at times. In the silver age she experienced the typical character growth of characters in this era (stories were more self-contained and reflected less character development.) During this period most of her character development occurred in the Teen Titans series (she appeared only once in Wonder Woman comics, and this was in a backup story where she did not interact with Diana.) Since the post-Crisis reboot of Diana, the character’s creators have struggled at times to define the character very well, but she has nonetheless remained a popular and relevant member of the DC Universe.
In of the ways in which Donna has been made to be more her own character is through her costume. Her original costume was similar to Diana’s but since then she has used a variety of different looks including a red costume with yellow stars, an ancient themed costume when she was Troia, a Darkstar costume, and what came to be her now signature costume, black with white dots, resembling outer space. When Cassandra Sandsmark took on the role of Wonder Girl, Donna gave her the earlier red costume to wear, though she ends up wearing something completely different.
Major Story Arcs
Donna took part in many of the team’s earlier missions, but true to the style of the silver age, there was often not much continuity among the stories. What could be considered her first major story arc was “Who is Donna Troy?” Previously she had met a college professor named Terry Long and they eventually became engaged. Before marrying she decides to find her real parents. This results in the first significant rewrite of her origin but she does eventually decide to get married. It was after this point that Wonder Woman’s background was rebooted and thus the need to fix Donna’s story.
In the similarly named story arc “Who is Wonder Girl?” her origin story is retold once again, redefining her as a descendant of the Titans of Myth. She takes on the superhero name Troia from this point (there is subsequently a long gap with no character named Wonder Girl.) It is soon revealed that Donna is pregnant. As the child will have divine ancestry, the villain Monarch attempts to corrupt the child so that the child will eventually become his ally Lord Chaos. A team of future Titans is sent to the past to kill the child before it is born. Donna later renounces her godhood though this leaves her as a mortal. After she gives birth she later changes her mind and asks for the power back, though she is denied in this request. She also is stranded in the past for a time, and Terry goes back to his first wife (Marcia) and the two are divorced.
Soon after Donna accepts an offer to join the Darkstars, an intergalactic police force with the goal of replacing the Green Lantern Corps. Most of her story arcs centered around Zero Hour. She soon joined a New Titans team with a new lineup including Kyle Rayner (and the two of them became romantically attached for some time, though the relationship eventually failed.) It was at this point that the John Byrne origin was introduced and for the first time in her publication history she was shown as core member of the main Wonder Woman title. It is also in this period of time that her ex husband; Terry and son; Robert are killed in a car crash, whether it was accidental or on purpose was never shown.
The next major story arc for the character was “Who is Troia?” (following the previous story arcs names which defined her character.) At this point Donna finally became an official Amazon after visiting Themyscira. As Byrne had defined her as being primarily a reflection of Wally West’s memories of her, it was necessary to identify who she was exactly. Dark Angel returned and Donna was given most of her memories back. However Donna still struggled to be accepted into Amazon society as well as figure out who exactly she was.
Donna was soon thereafter killed after an attack by the Cyborg Superman in San Francisco. However, it was soon revealed that she was not actually dead as she was said to “soon known another [life].” A short story in a Secret Files issue had a story named “Who Was Donna Troy?” in reference to the others which defined the character.
The character was relaunched with the Return of Donna Troy. In this series Donna is recast as a cosmic character, somewhat like a god that must control a weapon of great destructive power. She comes into contact with her original Titan teammate (along with a few others) but she struggles between her old persona and her new one. Donna is also identified as the nexus point of what was once the multiverse. Her alternate origins are explained a holdovers of the multiverse and as she describes “this new universe didn’t quite know what to do with some of the more complicated holdovers from the multiverse” (in which she was taking the blame off the writers and other editorial decisions.) Wonder Woman arrives and gives her Harbinger’s Orb which was used to record the history of the universe. She also recalls how she is meant to be one of the Monitor’s assistants and takes on this role, even in his absence.
Her next major story arc involved a lead up to the events of the Rann-Thanagar War and Infinite Crisis. Donna meets up with many associated with the Green Lantern stories throughout the character’s long history (Alan Scott, Air Wave, Hal Jordan) and eventually uses the help of Airwave to track signals back to New Cronus. Soon after Donna starts recruiting powerful members of the DC universe for an unknown cause. Among those that join her are Jade, Starfire, Supergirl, Red Tornado, Cyborg, Air Wave, Animal Man and Firestorm. She travels with her group to New Cronus where they try to top Alexander Luthor Junior from opening a rift in space. They are ultimately unsuccessful and several members are injured and Jade dies. Luthor is eventually stopped though and the events of 52 follow, where Donna gives a slightly updated history of the DC universe as a backup feature.
In the events described in the One Year Later timeline, Donna has relinquished her role as Troia and has taken on the role of Wonder Woman as Diana has taken a temporary break from superheroics, though she eventually returns the mantle to Diana and returns to being Troia. She also rejoins Kyle in the cosmic setting for some stories and she rejoins the Teen Titans though they do end up breaking up once more. She also plays a small role in Amazons Attack.
Donna soon joins with a loose group of heroes including Jason Todd investigating the events leading up to Final Crisis known as the Challengers of the Beyond which has the goal of keeping an eye on the Monitors, who they feel have grown too unpredictable. After returning to Earth she reunites with her old teammates to combat Raven's father; Trigon, though they later split up once more to pursuit other things.
In Blackest Night she is killed by the Black Lantern versions of her husband and son (who had died in a car accident during the Byrne rewrite.) She succumbs to becoming a Black Lantern but is saved and becomes a White Lantern and helps to sever Nekron’s tether to Earth. Following this she becomes a member of the Justice League and serves up until the events of Flashpoint from which she is rather absent.
She is absent thus far from the new 52 and there has been so far no news as to if she is returning or not.
Powers and Abilities
As with her changing versions her power have changed, but she has generally been shown to exhibit the same powers as Wonder Woman, except in a limited capacity. These include super strength, super stamina, super speed, enhanced reflexes and agility, increased durability (though like Diana she can still be injured by piercing weapons), flight, superhuman sense, enhanced healing factor. She has shown some abilities that Diana has not such as generation of photonic energy and truth sense. She is also an advanced hand-to-hand combatant due to her Amazon training. The silver age version of the character also had some specific abilities such as voice imitation (she could imitate the voice of any person she heard.) it was assumed that when she was a duplicate of Wonder Woman that she shared the same powers as Diana had been given by the gods, but many of these were never actually shown. She has also been shown to have a psychic rapport with Diana and the two can sometimes share dreams and memories.
She has employed many different forms of equipment of her long publication history. In the Silver Age she employed a lasso that was very strong, but did not have the exact properties of the Lasso of Truth. Later she is given the Lasso of Persuasion, which she can use to command those caught within it as long as Donna’s willpower is stronger (though she is said to have a will of Iron, for instance forcing Etrigan to revert to Jason Blood.) She uses the Amazon bracelets much as Wonder Woman does. In her different cosmic roles she has also used some other equipment. Her “Star Costume” can be used for interstellar navigation. Another part of her reborn identity was to guard the universe orb and therefore was a very important character. She also bore the Darkstar Exo Mantle for a time since at that period she didn't have her own powers as well as a Black Lantern ring but they both didn't last for very long.
Despite she is a part of both Wonder Woman and Teen Titans continuity, she has not been featured in many television series. Her most prominent are the Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure (1967), the Wonder Woman television series (1976-1977), and Super Best Friends Forever (2012).
Donna Troy appears in DC Universe Online. If a hero, she is shown controlled by Trigon with the other Teen Titans. The player must fight her and the Titans. In the villain storyline, Donna Troy must be fought also. Here, she tries to prevent the villain from reaching Raven and trying to rise Trigon. Donna Troy also is a villain Central City bounty, as well as a vendor for the T2 Magic gear.