Teen Titans/Outsiders: The Death and Return of Donna Troy

Have I mentioned how much I hate cover spoilers?  Okay, okay, They sort of need to explain what this collection is all about, but does it have to be so blatantly obvious?  I’m grumpy about this stuff, but I like being surprised every once in a while.

This trade breaks up Donna Troy’s story into two parts.  In the first half, we get the story of how Donna died (a story that I’ve been curious about since I read a reference to her death in a Teen Titans trade).  The short story is this: a cybernetic being from the future travels back through time and activates a Superman robot, who goes on a tear.  In their efforts to stop it, Donna is killed.

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The scene was emotional, but something just didn’t sit right with me that it was a robot that killed her.  Maybe I don’t like feeling cheated out of getting to see a vengence/justice story, where her friends hunt down her killer.  There’s a coldness associated with her death, and it was upsetting to see such a great character brought down by a cybernetic being.

This entire chapter bothered me as well due to a second included death: that of Lilith, also known as Omen.  Now to be fair, I knew virtually nothing about Lilith, so I wasn’t exactly moved when she was killed. What bugged me was that none of the other Titans seemed affected by her death either.  They were all focused on Donna’s death, and Lilith ended up being overlooked.  If Donna was meant to be the focus, then why kill Lilith in the first place? What’s more, why kill her alongside Donna, if her death is just going to be overshadowed?  It left a bad taste in my mouth, seeing how mournful the Titans were for Donna while they made virtually no reference to Lilith.  I understand that Donna was more well-known within the superhero world, but Lilith’s treatment creates a negative image of the Titans and how they treat their own.  It detracted from the overall emotion of the scene to see them play favorites, especially when Lilith’s death added nothing to the larger story.

After Donna’s death, the comic gets a little wonky.  We learn that Donna isn’t really dead, but living on a far-distant planet as a Titan, one of the mythical gods of old.  She and her family are engaged in a vicious battle with those inhabiting the planet.  A small teleportation orb seeks out the Titans and Outsiders, and brings them all to this planet in order to save Donna and restore her memories.

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Truth be told, I didn’t care for this portion of the comic. It was drawn-out, and I never felt invested in the storyline. All of these Titan gods who sit up on their thrones and do nothing – it’s just not a very compelling story.

Donna ultimately gets her true memories back, and is able to help overpower the Titans and prevent them from overtaking worlds.  The comic closes with Donna starting a new life on this distant planet.

As a return, it’s a bit anti-climactic.  There’s some interesting explanation about how Donna is actually numerous versions of her self crammed into one being, with multiple histories and backstories.

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This part was by far the most interesting, but unfortunately it’s only a brief two-page synopsis and doesn’t make up the bulk of the comic.  I liked the creative way in which Donna’s multiple histories are explained and all tie together in the single universe, but the rest of the comic just fell a little flat.  I didn’t care about the Titans, and seeing as how Donna doesn’t even return to Earth, I’m left wondering why exactly her return was written.

Of course, Infinite Crisis is right around the corner, so there could easily be a good reason for this storyline.  My guess is that it’ll play a part in a larger story arc down the road, but as a self-contained story it was fairly underwhelming.  Donna Troy deserved a more exciting return story than the one that was presented here.

-Jess

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