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Comic Book / Who Is Donna Troy?

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Who is Donna Troy? is a 1984 story of the Teen Titans, in their issue #38. It is one of the most remembered stories by Marv Wolfman and George PĂ©rez with the Titans.

At this point, Donna Troy knew very little about her origins. As a young child, she was in an apartment fire and was rescued by Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman took Donna to Paradise Island, where Donna was adopted as Wonder Woman's sister and received similar powers with the Amazon science. However, her life before the fire was a complete mystery. In fact, Wonder Woman could not identify her parents because the apartment was not even rented, and nobody was supposed to be there.

In modern day, Terry Long proposes marriage to Donna, but she's unsure because she does not know anything about her past. So Terry asks Robin, the best detective he knows, to investigate it. Checking around the burned house, Robin finds an old doll with something written on it: "From Uncle Max, from Mystic Mt. Newport News". Grayson locates "Uncle Max", who used to repair toys for an orphanage using that alias. The orphanage is now closed, but Robin finds the elderly woman who ran it, Elmira Cassiday, who recognizes Donna on sight. Donna's mother had put Donna up for adoption because the mother was dying of cancer, and Cassiday gave Donna the doll before Donna was adopted by the Stacey family. Happy ending?

Not yet. Dick Grayson wants to know who died in that apartment fire, and why. Dick and Donna eventually find Donna's adoptive mother, Fay Stacey (now Fay Evans) — the Staceys were not the ones who died in the fire. Mr. Stacey had died and Fay declared bankruptcy and could not keep Donna. It turns out that the people who died in the fire had not adopted Donna at all. They were in that apartment waiting to illegally sell Donna to someone else when the explosion and fire occurred. Now Donna Troy knows everything about her past... at least until the next crisis crossover.

Who is Donna Troy? contains examples of:

  • Canon Discontinuity: Unfortunately, this story became obsolete in the aftermath of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Wonder Woman was reimagined as a rookie who had just discovered the world of men. And so, Donna's origin had to be changed as well. Wonder Woman was removed from the fire flashback and replaced by a common firefighter, and she was never raised by the Amazons. She was raised by benevolent aliens instead, and returned to Earth with fake memories kicking off the continuity snarl that haunts Donna to this day.
  • Determinator: Dick Grayson. There were FIVE times in the story when he could have stopped, decide that they have enough details, and nobody would have criticized him at all. And yet, he continued. In fact, Donna Troy had already given up at the first difficulty.
  • Dumb Struck: Elmira Cassiday. Her first word after some many years was "Donna!" when she recognized her.
  • Friendship Moment: The whole story really. Donna might have asked Dick to solve her origins because he's a detective, but its clear she trusts him with because he's her friend. Similarly, Dick takes the case and refuses to give up on it because Donna is his friend.
  • Happily Adopted: Donna Troy has absolutely no problems with the Amazons that raised her after the fire. It's just that she wants to know what had happened first.
  • Missing Mom: Donna finally learns the name of her long missing and unknown birth mother, Dorothy Hinckley. Hinckley had to tearfully give Donna up as an infant due to her terminal cancer, and her knowledge that she was not long for this world.
  • Never Recycle a Building: After so much time after the fire, at least a decade, the burnt building is still there.
  • No Infantile Amnesia: Donna has pretty clear memories of events that happened when she was 3 at oldest.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: That's how Robin described his relation with Wonder Girl.
  • Quest for Identity: Donna's curiosity about her past prior to being rescued from that fateful fire by Wonder Woman and taken to Paradise Island had been an ongoing issue for Donna for a long time.
  • Renamed the Same: It turns out Donna's unknown birth name was Donna Hinckley.
  • Slice of Life: Robin and Wonder Girl fight no supervillains here, in fact there are no fights. And they only use the costumes here and there because they can't help it, but stay most of the story in their civilian clothes.
  • Status Quo Is God: One of the mysteries of Donna's past was her birth name, as she was named "Donna" by the Amazons. Guess what, her original name was Donna after all.
  • The Topic of Cancer: Brushed against. Donna's birth mother Dorothy had to give up Donna despite loving her and not wanting to let go due to having terminal cancer and knowing she wouldn't live long enough to raise her child.