by Doc Quantum and Libbylawrence
Donna Troy, the New Teen Titan known as Wonder Girl, sat in the chair next to a hospital bed, silently praying for full recovery from the coma her teammate had been in since the end of the so-called Crisis on Infinite Earths. It was a miracle that Kole Weathers was still even alive, given that she had been attacked by three Shadow Demons that easily destroyed the crystalline barrier she’d erected to protect the Robin and Huntress of Earth-Two. The destruction had been so complete that neither Kole nor the others could be located, and were believed dead. Later, however, Kole’s unconscious and injured body was discovered not far from the incident, and she was brought to the nearest hospital. Donna wondered whether that meant the Robin and the Huntress from that parallel universe had also survived, but she supposed she might never know the answer to that. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: For the answer, see DC Universe: Crawling from the Wreckage, Book 1, Chapter 1: Retirement.]
She had briefly considered transporting the young woman to Paradise Island for a special healing treatment with the Purple Ray, but then decided against it. Kole would be better off not being moved at the moment. Besides, the doctors were hopeful that she would recover soon.
Indeed, Donna hoped that she did recover soon. Such a recovery would mean quite a lot to her, a bright spot in a very dark time. It was bad enough that her sister had been slain during the final hours of the Crisis, but the public funeral ceremonies for Diana and the others had taken a lot out of her. (*) In the space of a few days, Earth had lost too many of its heroes, and Wonder Woman — her beloved sister — had been one of its greatest.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Final Crisis,” Crisis on Infinite Earths #12 (March, 1986).]
The funeral ceremony on Paradise Island shortly after had been the hardest one to attend, though. Donna didn’t relish the idea of returning to her childhood home again for a long while; it had torn her apart to see her proud mother, Queen Hippolyta, weep as she had. Her mother had hardly even noticed when Donna left the island, so lost as she was in reliving memories of Diana’s past viewed through the Magic Sphere. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Legends Live Forever,” The Legend of Wonder Woman #1 (May, 1986), a series that is only partly in continuity.]
Rising from the bedside, Donna bent over to kiss Kole’s forehead. “Sleep well,” she said, and walked out of the hospital. The weight of the world seemed to rest on her shoulders now. She had been racking her mind as she tried to decide whether or not to continue the legacy her sister had begun by becoming the new Wonder Woman.
And while Donna was still mourning for her sister, her husband Terry Long was dealing with the repercussions of a long bout of writer’s block when he failed to produce the needed academic paper in order to retain his position as a professor at Manhattan University. Now he was worried not only that he would fail to get his tenure, but that his very career was in jeopardy, when they’d been married for just over half a year now. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “We Are Gathered Here Today,” Tales of the Teen Titans #50 (February, 1985).]
There were other problems, too. Dick Grayson, Koriand’r, and Joseph Wilson had left for Tamaran in the midst of the Crisis when Princess Koriand’r — who called herself Starfire — had received a summons from her father to return home at once. (*) After Dick Grayson — the former partner of Batman now known as Nightwing — had returned, she found him in an awful state. He was unshaven, wore only a bathrobe, and apparently hadn’t bothered showering for days. He gave her the news that Kory had gone through with an arranged marriage of state and would be staying on her home planet. (*) With that, he quit the team, leaving it entirely in Donna’s hands. When Donna confronted him about this, it had not ended well. After his recriminations about her poor leadership in his absence goaded them into coming to blows, he finally left to search for their teammate Raven, who had been missing since the Crisis. It was reported that Raven had been kidnapped by the Church of Blood, along with her mother, Arella. (*) Dick had left in search of her and hadn’t been heard from since.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Light Within, the Dark Without,” The New Teen Titans v2 #14 (November, 1985), “For Better, For Worse,” The New Teen Titans v2 #17 (February, 1986), and “This Road to War,” The New Teen Titans v2 #15 (December, 1985).]
Joseph Wilson, AKA Jericho, had been spending most of his time at his lover Kole’s bedside ever since his return from Tamaran, upon learning of her injured state. The rest of the time he stayed with his mother Adeline, assuming that the team was all but disbanded, and Donna had to admit that he was not far off.
Garfield Logan and Vic Stone had gone off in search of the former’s adoptive father, billionaire Steven Dayton, who as Mento — formerly of the Doom Patrol — had become mentally unhinged after using his Mento helmet to cure himself of a fatal disease, and had become dangerous. Victor Stone, the cybernetic hero known as Cyborg, had been seriously damaged in an ensuing battle with the crazed ex-hero and was in critical condition at STAR Labs. Gar Logan, the Changeling, had decided to call it quits. (*) And Wally — well, Wally West was stepping into some big shoes of his own.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Homecoming,” The New Teen Titans v2 #18 (March, 1986) and “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,” The New Teen Titans v2 #19 (April, 1986), which are only partly in continuity.]
She turned to see a red streak race up and stop in front of her. Well, speak of the devil, she thought. “Wally, it’s good to see you,” she said with a genuine smile. “How are things with you?”
The young man dressed in his uncle’s costume looked away for a moment. “Well, it’s not easy, but… I guess you would understand, huh?” The new Flash looked back into her eyes. They hadn’t been teammates for a while now, but there was still a close connection between them.
“I understand totally,” Donna replied, and reached out to hug her longtime friend. They just stood there, slowly rocking back and forth in a warm embrace. Since adolescence, Dick and Wally had been as close as brothers, and she suspected that Wally thought of her as the sister he never had. The bond they shared now, though, with the deaths of not only her sister Diana but also Wally’s Uncle Barry, the original Flash, had brought them closer together than they’d ever been before. (*) They had both lost not only their family, but their heroes.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “A Flash of the Lightning,” Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 (November, 1985) and The Flash: The Funeral of Barry Allen.]
Dick Grayson, clad in an entirely black outfit, scaled the walls of Brother Blood’s compound on the island-nation of Zandia in the Mediterranean. He had grown a beard, and with the bags under his eyes he looked far older than his actual age. He was sure Raven was somewhere in this building, and he had gained access to the compound by disguising himself as a hired security guard. Since he’d been detected the last time he was inside Blood’s church, Dick had stopped by STAR Labs to pick up a heart dampener that could alter his heartbeat and thus fool the medi-probes he knew would scan all visitors. Upon investigating Raven’s disappearance, Nightwing had followed her trail to the Church of Blood at Buzzard’s Bay, Massachusetts, where he discovered that she’d next been smuggled here to Zandia.
He stopped near a window, taking a quick glance inside using a small mirror. Three armed guards. And with the security patrolling below, this would not be easy. He would try the roof. Rather than risk the sound of his grappling hook’s servo engine possibly being heard by guards stationed up there, he painstakingly climbed hand over hand the rest of the way to the edge.
Only one guard here; he was in luck. The relaxed guard was enjoying a cigarette and had left his rifle straddling his legs as he sat on the edge of the roof a few feet away. Dick watched patiently for his chance.
The guard flicked the butt of his cigarette over the edge of the roof and took a moment to watch it fall by the light of the moon until he could see it no longer. It was the last thing he saw for a while, as Dick in that moment swung silently onto the rooftop and struck him from behind with a single, well-placed karate chop that plunged him into unconsciousness. It was one of the first tricks he’d learned from Bruce as a boy while training to become Robin the Boy Wonder.
Dick made a quick decision to undress the man and wear his uniform. It helped that Dick’s naturally black hair and the tanned complexion he’d gained on Tamaran made him resemble the native Zandian somewhat. The man even had a similar beard to Dick’s. As long as he kept his head down and acted relaxed, he reasoned that he could pull this off.
Minutes later, he walked through the corridors in search of Raven. He’d passed by a couple of guards who made a couple of remarks at his appearance and smell, but he just responded with a casual laugh. His Zandian was rudimentary, but he’d understood it was a passing joke. Coming up to the room he’d been told by his source was the one holding Raven, he relieved the guard with the one Zandian phrase he’d practiced until it sounded perfect, waited until he left, and entered the room.
“Raven!” Dick said at the sight of his friend and former teammate. “And Arella,” he added at the sight of Raven’s mother, “they’ve captured you, too?”
“Dick, it’s not what you think,” Arella started to say.
“Raven, what have they done to you?” Dick interrupted as he noticed that his friend was still unmoved by his voice. He knelt down and attempted to see her face. “Raven, look at me.”
The Titan known as Raven brought her hands up to her head and removed the hood on her white outfit. “Dick? It has been a long time, hasn’t it?”
He gasped in shock. “Raven! Oh my God, what’s happened to you — your face?” And he stared, transfixed, into her altered visage.
The most shocking thing about it, he realized, was just how beautiful and contented Raven now looked. It was as if the burden of being the daughter of the demonic Trigon had somehow been completely lifted from her.
He embraced Raven then, her mother’s earlier warning that all was not as it seemed having fallen on deaf ears. Arella herself had been battered, and Dick gasped as he saw how roughly the woman had obviously been treated. “You can trust me to get you two to safety. Don’t think I’ll let these madmen hurt you if I can help it,” he said softly.
Raven smiled almost beatifically. “Richard, he has the truth in him. All he says, all he does, brings that which is good. You must learn to embrace the ways of Blood while we wait for our master’s resurrection!”
Dick frowned. “Hitler also had all the truth, at least as his warped mind determined it.” Turning to Arella, he said, “She’s under their sway, isn’t she?”
“Yes, so don’t let her appearance fool you,” she said tearfully. “In some ways, they have her in a grip as tightly as ever did Trigon.”
“Now it is time for us to show you the light!” Raven said, and called for the guards.
Dick whirled to face a squad of men. Estimating the distance and speed of their use of weapons, he acted with a single swift motion, knocking the first man into the path of the others before spinning to kick him flat. Three quick flips enabled him to crash into the rest. “You won’t stop me from getting them out of here!” Dick yelled.
“She is not going anywhere!” said an imperious voice from the shadows. “Greetings. I am Mother Mayhem,” she said softly. “Welcome to your initiation into the Church of Blood. You will need to be ready, for Resurrection Day is nearly upon us.”
Realizing that Raven would not leave of her own volition, and with the number of guards and Arella to consider, Dick knew he needed to play for time.
“Okay, take me to your leader,” he said with the barest hint of the punning young daredevil he’d once been.
In the meeting room of the newly rebuilt Titans Tower, which had been destroyed months earlier in a battle with Trigon the Terrible, Wally West and Donna Troy sat drinking coffee with her husband Terry Long, who had been waiting at the Tower for Donna’s return. It was an open question whether there would be any team to again occupy it.
“There doesn’t seem to be much of a team left, is there?” she said morosely as she held the warm cup in her hands.
“I wish I could be of help, Donna, but my new responsibilities as the Flash will be keeping me busy for a while,” Wally told her as Donna continued to stare into her cup. “Uh… but you can be sure to count on me for the time being, at least until the Titans get off the ground.”
Terry rose and placed his arms over his wife’s shoulders. “Honey, these things seem to go in cycles — you know that. Just give it time. I’m sure that the New Teen Titans will be back again soon.”
“Why?” she said simply. “Why should the Titans get back together? Is there a reason? Do you really think that New York or the world would miss us if we didn’t re-form?”
Terry and Wally exchanged concerned glances. Then Wally spoke up. “Of course they would, Donna,” he said, raising her chin up to look at him. “This Tower is a testament to that fact. If there had been no New Teen Titans, how do you think our world would’ve fared against Trigon?” (*) At Donna’s skeptical look, Wally continued, “Oh, sure, the JLA would’ve come up against him, and possibly the Outsiders, too, but what if they’d been too late? Because Raven was on our team, we had foreknowledge of Trigon’s coming.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Terror of Trigon,” The New Teen Titans v2 #5 (February, 1985).]
“Donna, if there’d been no Teen Titans then, we wouldn’t have been worrying about rebuilding this Tower — we would’ve been worrying about rebuilding this entire city,” he emphasized.
She continued to eye him evenly before finally breaking the tension with a smile. “Thank you, Wally,” she said.
Terry hugged her and rose for the kitchen. “Now, I’m going to fix you two some of my famous Long Island clam chowder. And I won’t accept no for an answer,” he said, turning around a corner.
“So how’re you two doing?” Wally asked.
“It’s been hard for him. I haven’t exactly been a ray of sunshine in his life right now. But he’s really been there for me. Wally, I never knew how much married life would mean to me until after I was married. He’s been the rock in my life that I’ve desperately needed, even while he’s dealing with all his own troubles at work.” She looked away, a determined look on her face now. “But the time for mourning is over. It’s time for me to face up to my responsibilities — my legacy.
“I’m going to become the new Wonder Woman.”