Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

The Many Confusing Lives of Wonder Girl

With the exception of Hawkman, there probably isn't a single character in mainstream comics with a messier backstory than the original Wonder Girl herself: Donna Troy. Her origins have changed so many times now that DC has even produced multiple story arcs about how many different origins she has.

Wonder Girl was first introduced in 1959 in Wonder Woman #105. Originally, she was a teenage version of Wonder Woman, similar to Superboy, who appeared in flashback tales from her youth. A few years later DC began to publish a series of out of continuity stories that saw Wonder Woman team up with her younger self. Eventually, Wonder Girl started to appear in the regular continuity, but with no explanation as to whether or not she was still the teenage Wonder Woman or a completely separate character.

In 1965 Wonder Girl became part of the newly formed Teen Titans, a team comprised of teen sidekicks including Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad, but her exact origins and status remained unknown. It wasn't until Teen Titans #22 in 1969 that writer Marv Wolfman finally gave her a new origin and the name Donna Troy. She was now Wonder Woman's adopted sister, an orphan she'd saved from a fire and taken back to Paradise Island to be raised as an Amazon. Wolfman elaborated on this origin further during his run on The New Teen Titans in the 1980s with George Perez.

Everything was hunky-dory until 1986 when Crisis on Infinite Earths happened. Following the collapse of the DC multiverse into a single reality, Wonder Woman's entire history before that event had been wiped away ready to be rebooted by Perez. However, New Teen Titans was largely unaffected by the events of Crisis and still had Donna on the team as Wonder Girl. How could there be a Wonder Girl when this new reality hadn't had a Wonder Woman yet?

So Wolfman and Perez came up with a whole new origin for Donna that severed all her ties to Wonder Woman and the Amazons. She was still an orphan saved from a fire, but this time by one of the Titans of Myth, who gave her powers and the last name Troy. She was raised on their homeworld before being returned to Earth with her memories erased. Soon after discovering her new origins, Donna changed her look and adopted the new alias Troia.

You'd think DC would just stop there, but no.

John Byrne took over writing Wonder Woman in the mid-90s and because he just had to put his own stamp on everything, he decided Donna needed another origin. He also decided that she didn't need a family and killed them all off in a car crash, but that's a whole different kettle of fish. Keen to tie things back to Wonder Girl's original comic origins, Byrne decreed that Donna was now a duplicate of Diana created by an Amazon sorceress when Diana was a young girl so she'd have someone to play with, being the only child on the island. This duplicate was then kidnapped by the villain Dark Angel and cursed to live many lives bound by suffering. Eventually the curse was broken and Donna gained her original powers and was re-established as an Amazon and Diana's sister.

But wait, we're not done yet. Not by a long shot.

For some stupid reason Donna was killed off in 2003 during the events of the Titans/Young Justice crossover 'Graduation Day'. Because no one stays dead in comics, she was resurrected two years later in the four issue mini-series The Return of Donna Troy, which aimed to clear up and make sense of her many origins. The series explained that since Crisis, Donna had become a sum of every Donna in the multiverse and now remembered all those different versions of herself. Even Dark Angel was revealed to be a Donna variant gone bad.

We'll skip ahead now to 2011 and the mess that was the New 52, DC's ambitious, but deeply flawed attempt to reboot its entire fictional universe to hook in new readers for all its titles. This would've been a great opportunity to simplify Donna's backstory and re-establish the origin Wolfman came up with for her in Teen Titans #22.

But, alas, no.

I'm not even going to bother trying to explain the two confliction origins this messy era cooked up for Donna. The Rebirth relaunch in 2016 just made things even more muddled, and as of now I have no idea what her actual origin is supposed to be and I suspect neither does anyone at DC. Following the Dark Night: Death Metal miniseries in 2020, the company has apparently adopted a "Screw it" approached to its incredibly tangled continuity and decided that everything is canon. So right now Donna Troy's origin can best be described as "All of the above".

Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig


  1. I'd completely forgotten about the 'Troia' era. Aww. Now I'm all nostalgic. Great article!

    1. It was a wild time for sure, but it did give us the full starfield outfit, which remains Donna's best look.

  2. Donna Troy remains one of my favorite characters and I have some amused nostalgia for the unnecessary complexity of her origins!

    I also have a soft spot for her original Troia suit and the slightly ridiculous scene where the Titans explained the significance of each element. It's such an odd suit but somehow it works!

    (The complete starfield one is better though.)

  3. Oh, and let's not forget the Wonder Girl of the 1970s WONDER WOMAN tv series who was simply Diana's little sister Drusilla. She appeared a few times in the first season but was ignored after that (probably because actress Debra Winger was moving onto bigger and better things).


We love comments! We moderate because of spam and trolls, but don't let that stop you! It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.