Monday, July 5, 2010

2009 Donna Troy & Wonder Girl commission by Jun Bob Kim

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I'm going to try to do posts about the Wonder Girls, but it really isn't a major interest for me. You see, unlike the Superman and Batman families, Wonder Woman hasn't been tight with any of the bearers of her standard. Diana was the original Wonder Girl, but do to an editorial foul-up, she ended up an early member of the Teen Titans. Rather than employ time travel to explain the mistake, the Titans character was revealed to be a second identical Wonder Girl. Of course, her history was nonexistent, which began the long strange trip that was Donna Troy's biography.

Donna Troy was saved by the Silver Age Wonder Woman as an infant from a fire, then raised as a sister on Paradise Island. Understandably, if Wonder Woman was already active in Man's World, she couldn't have had much time for her little "sister," and didn't. The 1987 Wonder Woman reboot made Donna a contemporary or elder to Diana, not that it matter, since Troy herself was rebooted as "Troia," and all ties to the Amazons were removed. Then John Byrne took the character back, and made her a literal mirror image of Diana who magically became a playmate of the real Amazon Princess, but was kidnapped and forced to live torturous lives in alternate realities. I'm not sure what Troy's story is today, but between her convoluted origins and loose connection to Wonder Woman, she's more a vestigial Wonder Woman concept than a character relevant to the Amazing Amazon.

I'm no great fan of John Byrne's run on Wonder Woman, so it should come as no surprise that his androgynous poseur Wonder Girl Cassandra "Cassie" Sandsmark failed to impress. Peter David took her on as a member of Young Justice, but even there I didn't see much point in her existence. It wasn't until Geoff Johns revamped Young Justice into a much needed revival of the original Teen Titans concept. Combining genuine, modern teenagers with the trademark melodrama that made the '80s Titans a best-seller, Cassie became defined by her stubborn determination, reasonable rebelliousness, and a long simmering romance with Superboy. Unlike Donna, Cassie could lay claim to having been Wonder Woman's sidekick, at least for a short while. Cassie also had clear ties to the Greek Gods and a decent continuity of her own. However, the rare instances Diana has butted into Cassie's life since the YJ days have rung a bit false, since for the most part, the characters lack a real relationship. Diana wasn't even Cassie's tutor in the use of her powers, as the task was pawned off on Artemis.

In short, Diana was an absentee mentor/mother/sister to both Diana and Cassie, plus Amazon comic book history is plagued with family issues. I've liked some incarnations of Donna Troy, but her continuity and very identity is toxic at this point. I prefer Cassie as a character, but she belongs to the Titans, a group I lost interest in a long time ago. They'll be around, but don't expect adoration.

Anyhow, the artist is Jun Bob Kim, who barely has any Wonder Woman images on his site. That's pretty unusual, but I respect folks who make their own way. For more, scope the guy's blog, or check out these Jun Bob Kim spotlight posts:

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