Saturday, August 17, 2013

GOOD READIN': Girlfrenzy: Donna Troy

I'm pretty much a skeptic at heart. When I hear the term 'fifth week event', I picture a sling of franchise expanding one-shot comics, comics that you don't regret buying, but still aren't wowed with by the time the last page closes. Then I remember this Donna Troy based contribution to DC's 1998 Fifth Week event; Girlfrenzy, and I remember magic can happen in one-off issues, even if the main character spends much of the issue sitting in church.

Now the unofficial Donna Troy fanclub (of which I'm a lifetime member), always get a bit nervous when the former Wonder Girl is scheduled for attention, because she has been (and currently is still) the DC pinata of choice.

Here however, right from the first silent page where Donna gives food to a homeless woman, you know this issue's team has it right. Of course they do, the book is written and drawn by Donna's biggest friend in creative places, Phil Jimenez.

Titled Why?, the story splits in two, as Donna sits alone, telling a statue of Jesus 'We need to talk'. She then reads news stories conveying the second tale's events, as Greco-Roman powered heroes Captain Marvel, Donna Troy as Troia, and her 'sister' Wonder Woman, protect a Holocaust memorial parade against the forces of neo-nazi, the Red Panzer.

With her teammates preoccupied with the Panzer's forces, Troia hopes the lasso of truth will let the terrorist see the reality of his actions, but all it does is prove his 'God given mission' is the only truth he sees. Living in hatred and about to detonate a chemical weapon, Troia tries until the last to negotiate and find reason within his spewed forth hostility.

If that sounds thought-provoking and intense, remember, that's just the half of it. Donna's 'conversation with Christ' (because her Gods are 'beyond her reach') is what really wins this issue it's crown. From little moments like Donna saying she won't ask why her partner and baby boy were taken, to asking the big guy the big question...

...Phil nails every hit possible through his uncanny detailed pencils and one of the most human characters in comics. As Donna continues to wrestle with the turmoils of her life (there have been one or two), plus why any higher power would allow hate to fester within their greatest creation, you will find your mind chews over the subject too.

Will Donna arrive at any solid answers? No, but the comic would be weaker if she did. As her talk with Christ and the side tale of the Red Panzer's threat each reach their conclusions, the key lesson becomes this; if you are looking for the answer to the age-old question 'Who is Donna Troy?' you don't need to dig out an issue of The New Teen Titans, the answer thanks to Phil, is right here.

 What did you think? 


  1. As part of my reading my Wonder Woman collection, I actually re-read this issue about ten days ago.
    Its set three issues after Donna's return to the pages of Diana's comic, as our heroine herself lies at death's door following Neron's attack, an unfortunate side-effect of Magala's spell dividing Diana's powers between her and Artemis having not been lifted when it should.
    Donna has just lost her husband Terry and her kids in a car crash [a rather rushed and brutal killing off imo] and Donna, also here to talk to God over her 'big sis' death-coma [tho she had no idea about her connection to Diana at this stage] is just about to discover her true origins thanks to Dark Angel.
    In this Girlfrenzy one-shot, she juxtaposes between Diana and Captain Marvel, who each espouse the same but different aspects of their powers and heritage. Jimenez's work has always held that thread of social conscience running thru his writing and its on top form here, with Donna buying a meal for a homeless man and the three heroes fighting the neo-Nazi Red Panzer, with a dash of spirituality thrown in [Donna always was slightly more religious minded than most heroes].
    His version of Donna was extremely fulsome; she was the sensible bridge between Diana and Queen Hippolyte when their soap-opera bitchin' got too much, and it seems the only one who offered a dutiful apology to the Bana's when the Queen only did it out of Royal duty [and necessity].
    Jimenez also had Donna set up her own photography business Aurora, continuing her photographic career begun in the Teen Titans, and when Diana was taken up to Olynpus, it was Donna who along with Artemis and the new Wonder Girl Cassie Sandsmark continued her crime-fighting legacy by fighting Egg Fu [Egg Fu!!!!] and rejoining the Titans.
    In short, he gave her her 'mojo' back!
    I think Jimenez got the WW gig from doing this one-shot, and from what I can remember from interviews at the time, it was always his intention to have Donna in the WW book full-time, smashing stuff.

  2. Thanks for the awesome feedback Karl! You are right mate, Phil tackles some pretty human issues in his work.

    I'm glad he stayed away from that whole Dark Angel mess, I think that's sh#$t on a stick to be honest, even though it came slightly after this tail from other creators.

    Donna has always been the Jean Grey of the DCU, and her human nature really shines here. If his Wonder Woman run was won from this, it was deservedly so.

  3. You and Karl both said it so beautifully I have nothing to add. I'm just going to grab my tissues and all my old Donna Troy issues to relive it all over again. Thank you both sincerely.

  4. Your welcome Random. If I had known what would become of The New Teen Titans, I might've used tissues reading the Perez / Wolman issues the first time round. This is one of the best Donna issues since those days.

  5. Random
    May I recommend to you the trade paperback of The Death And Life of Donna Troy, which features some beautiful art from classic WW artist George Perez [who of course also drew Donna on the New Teen Titans back in the 80s].
    The original six-issue series was rather hard to get individually but this TPB collects it all, plus several fill-in pages from Wonder Woman Secret Files.
    The storyline is a bit convoluted but an absorbing read nonetheless, if you can get past the first story that features Donna's death and atrocious artwork but then kicks into high gear with having her resurrected amongst the Titans of New Chronus, and guest appearances from her fellow Titans.
    Whether youre a Titans fan or a Wonder Woman fan this book has something to satisfy both tastes. Its a pity tho that this six-issue mini-series was Donna's 'last hurrah' before the inevitable reboot erased her from continuity.
    I think apart from the 'Who is Donna Troy' tpb this must be the only other trade dedicated to her.
    Do try and get it, you wont be disappointed.

  6. Thanks Karl. I don't have that one yet, and was a little on the fence about getting it. But I think I'll go ahead if you say it's worth it. I'm a big Titans fan, and Wondy has been a large inspiration to me. One of the first big Superheroines in my "I want to be her when I grow up" list. I don't believe what the reboot says. Donna Troy still exists. They can't erase her.

  7. Random
    sorry I got the title of the TPB wrong, it should read as follows;
    'Teen Titans/Outsiders; The Death and Return of Donna Troy', that's the one I was recommending.

  8. I just re - read the issue and it made me remeber why Donna it's my favorite heroine a notch above WW and how well Phil handle the character, it's obvious that this was a work of love for him.

  9. Thanks for the comments L.A.V. - I get the exact same feeling when I finish reading it too. One of my all time favourite comics.