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Speedy II

Alias: Mia Dearden

Joined: Teen Titans (third series) #21 [2005]
Related Links: Green ArrowSpeedy I (Roy Harper)

Speedy II Quick Bio: Tough-as-nails Mia Dearden was rescued from a life on the streets by Green Arrow. But Mia’s past came back to haunt her when she was diagnosed as HIV positive. Resolved to make a difference, Mia became the newest arrow-slinging heroine as Speedy, sidekick to Green Arrow.

Recent File Photo:


Archived File Photos (in chronological order):

Hero History


Aimless

A troubled teenager, Mia Dearden left home after being abused by her father. With her mother deceased, she took to the mean streets of Star City until a sleazebag named Richard took her in, forcing her into a life of prostitution in return for shelter. Mia escaped her pimp the same night the original Green Arrow returned from the dead, rescuing her from a depraved Star City politician. Ollie convinced the teen to turn her life around. She accepted shelter in the home of the elder Stanley Dover, who hid the fact that he had less than honorable intentions.

As Oliver Queen got his life back in order, Mia fantasized that she would one day become Green Arrow’s new crime-fighting partner and began taking up practice with the bow. Once the Emerald Archer learned of her desire, he nipped it in the bud, instead emphasizing that she concentrate on her academic studies. Mia began to work after classes in the Star City Youth Recreational Center with Queen and Ollie’s son, Connor.

 ABOVE: Mia tests positive for HIV in GREEN ARROW #43 [2004].

 ABOVE: Mia insists on becoming Speedy in GREEN ARROW #45 [2004].

ABOVE: Speedy tells the Teen Titans she’s HIV positive in TEEN TITANS (third series) #23 [2005].

On Target

When Mia tested positive for HIV, she was more determined than ever to do something special with her life. Green Arrow felt he at last owed it to Mia to give her a chance. Mia became sidekick to Green Arrow as Speedy. To complement her training, Mia also joined the Teen Titans.

Mia was at first hesitant to tell the Titans she tested positive for HIV But after a battle with Dr. Light, Mia mustered the courage to confess her condition to her teammates.

After the Infinite Crisis, Speedy tried to help Robin keep the Teen Titans together. When that task proved daunting, Speedy went into seclusion with Conner Hawke for almost a year. Upon returning, Speedy resumed her super-heroic career in Star City.

Speedy later assisted the Teen Titans again when the team was besieged by Superboy-Prime and his army of Superboy clones. Together, Titans past and present defeated the clones and trapped Superboy-Prime within the impenetrable Source Wall at the edge of the universe.

 Powers & Weapons


Green Arrow has taken Mia under his wing, training her with a bow and arrow. Mia is an above-average fighter and acrobat.

 

 

Essential Reading


Green Arrow (second series) #2-3 [2001]: Mia Dearden is rescued from a life of forced prostitution and abuse by Green Arrow, and guesses his secret identity right off the bat. But Ollie’s roommate, Stanley Dover, warns Mia that she’s not ready to become another Speedy just yet. First appearance of Mia Dearden in issue #2.
Green Arrow (second series) #11 [2002]: Mia dreams of being the next Speedy, partner to Oliver Queen’s Green Arrow. But given the sometimes tragic history of young superhero sidekicks, the Emerald Archer is wishing the young girl would forget the whole idea. Still, she is getting better with a crossbow even if she can’t seem to make it to school on time in the morning.
Green Arrow (second series) #43-44 [2004]: Mia tests positive for HIV
Green Arrow (second series) #45 [2004]: Mia becomes Speedy II.
Green Arrow (second series) #46 [2005]: Ollie and Speedy hit the West Coast to visit the Teen Titans!
Teen Titans (third series) #21-23 [2005]: Speedy II joins the Titans; Doctor Light has forced the Titans’ hand and staged a publicized battle with the young heroes to take back his reputation. Hawk & Dove assist the Titans in battling Dr. Light. Speedy II joins the Teen Titans in issue #21. Mia tells the Titans she is HIV positive in issue #23.
Teen Titans (third series) #99-100 [2011]: It’s all-out war as Titans old and new come together to face the greatest threat to their existence. Superboy-Prime gathers his own “Legion of Doom,” comprised of various Titans villains. He then creates an army of Superboy clones to besiege the Titans. Together, Titans past and present defeat the villains and trap Superboy-Prime within the impenetrable Source Wall at the edge of the universe.

A Speedy sketch by Damion Scott.

Speedy: HIV Hero


WINICK ON “GREEN ARROW,” MIA’S HIV STATUS AND MORE
by Jonah Weiland, Executive Producer
Posted: October 14, 2004
courtesy of http://www.comicbookresources.com

CBR News caught up with series writer Judd Winick Wednesday to learn more about his plans for Mia and where he’s taking the character. A word of warning to readers concerned about spoilers, there are a few in the text below.

First, some background. Mia Dearden first appeared in Kevin Smith’s run early in the current volume of “Green Arrow.” She was born into a troubled family with an abusive father. Mia ran away from home when she was still very young and ended up in Star City, home to Ollie Queen AKA Green Arrow. In Star City she hooks up with Richard, her new boyfriend, who quickly becomes her pimp, turning Mia to a life of prostitution. Eventually, Ollie saves Mia and takes her under his wing, training her with a bow and letting her stay at his home.

When Winick took over the title from writer Brad Meltzer, he started to think about what to do with Mia Dearden, keeping in mind her rather sad beginnings.

“I guess [Mia’s HIV status] is something I came up with,” Winick told CBR News Wednesday evening.” “I have no idea if Kevin was ever planning on doing it, but when I [read Kevin’s stories] I actually thought this was a natural direction that this would go. Kevin Smith had done an AIDS storyline in ‘Daredevil’ before, he’s never been one to shy away from stories with a social message or any kind of social agenda. I thought this was a place he might go. We got Mia as someone who had an abusive boyfriend; she’d obviously lived on the streets and was getting by as a prostitute. It’s not an unlikely progression.”

When Winick approached DC Comics with his idea, the writer said DC was behind the idea 100%.

“DC was enormously receptive right from the start. They thought it was a good idea. Bob Schreck spearheaded this, of course. Dan Didio was behind it and so was Paul Levtiz. Dan was hoping that someone was going to do an AIDS related storyline somewhere in the DC Universe, he thought it was very relevant. It was just sort of happenstance when Bob told Dan we were planning on doing this. So we were ahead of the curve.”

While the subject of HIV and AIDS has been discussed in mainstream comics before, this story is a bit different as we now have a starring hero, not a throw-away supporting character, who’s infected with the virus and Winick plans on portraying her life and struggles with HIV in as realistic a way as possible.

A 2005 commission by Phil Hester.

 “On my watch, and hopefully on the watch of everybody who’ll work with DC, there’s no intention of having Mia take ill as a result of HIV,” said Winick. “She will never die of AIDS related causes on my watch and hopefully on anyone else’s watch. The point of this character is she’s living with HIV, as many people do. There are people who have been living for 20 years through combination drug therapy and live relatively unencumbered lives. Some people are on the combination drug therapy and it’s an enormous hassle and there are tons of side effects and terribly uncomfortable. It runs the gamut. This character is not about Mia dying of AIDS, it’s about how she’ll be living with HIV as many, many people do.

“We have every intention of Mia living a long and healthy life. Keep in mind that we have DC characters that have been around for 60 years and haven’t aged a day. We sort of have to keep them in amber and we just kind of fudge and mess around with things like how did Nightwing grow up? Well, he did and Batman’s only about 34 years old!”

Socially relevant storylines involving Green Arrow date back to the early 1970s when writer Denny O’Neil and artist Neal Adams tackled the subject of drug abuse in “Green Lantern” #86, which co-starred Green Arrow. In this issue we find Ollie Queen dealing with the realization that his side-kick, Speedy AKA Roy Harper, has a drug problem himself. Since then, Green Arrow comics have tackled numerous socially relevant storylines, Mia’s HIV status being just the latest. This social relevance found in the title played into the writers decision to take over the title in the first place.

“I’m accused of having a greater social agenda than I actually do,” said Winick, the writer of “Pedro & Me,” a chronicle of his time spent on MTV’s “The Real World” with Pedro Zamora, who died after a public battle with AIDS. “I’ve done a smattering of stories that are socially relevant and I’m considered the soap-box guy. I’ve done one story arc in ‘Green Lantern’ featuring a gay character who was a survivor of a hate crime. Sunfire was gay in ‘Exiles.’ And there’s other stuff sort of there that people like to hang their hat on, saying I’m just this big commie out there pushing an agenda. It’s only a handful of stories.

Speedy joins the Teen Titans.

“That being said, I’ve always liked that aspect of Green Arrow. He’s always been the sort of socially conscious super hero and that makes for good stories and a good character. When asked does this story belong in comics, it’s right there! These stories have been told in ‘Green Lantern’ and ‘Green Arrow’ for decades. They have a very long history of telling stories that have some sort of social conscience.”

Mia’s story will get even bigger, when she takes on the mantle of Speedy and becomes a hero in her own right, not only as Green Arrow’s sidekick, but as a member of the Teen Titans, beginning with “Green Arrow” #46. Along with “Teen Titans” writer Geoff Johns, the duo plan on helping the new Speedy explore her life as best they can.

“Geoff and I are friends and we talk about everything we’re doing,” said Winick. “Our storylines blend into one another on ‘Outsiders’ and ‘Teen Titans,’ anyway, so Geoff has known about this for a while. I’ve been planning on doing this ever since I took over the title and Geoff found out about that not long after. When we launched ‘Outsiders’ and ‘Teen Titans,’ one of the thoughts he had was, ‘What do you think about her joining the Titans?’ I thought that would be awesome. We immediately worked out the cross-over and that happened very quickly. There’s a rhyme and reason to it. It may seem like it’s happening too soon, but as we discuss in the issue…basically Ollie lays it out. He wants her to join the Teen Titans. Why? Because Roy had helped form the original Teen Titans and [Ollie] thought it was a really important part of [Roy’s] growth experience and him as a person, being with this group of young people who are super heroes. It was good for Roy. That’s especially important for Mia on the level of her becoming a superhero, not because of her HIV status. [Ollie] felt that she should be around other people who are doing this. It shouldn’t just be Ollie, Connor, sometimes Roy and maybe Dinah. That’s family and she needs friends. That’s what Ollie tells her.”

Many have criticized mainstream comics for being less than friendly to female characters, especially when awful things happen to them completely out of the blue. In the case of Mia, Winick contends the HIV storyline is a natural progression of her back-story, not some random occurrence.

“Let’s not forget, she’s a superhero,” added Winick. “She’s HIV positive, but she’s not Captain HIV with a big logo across her chest. She’s Speedy! She’s going to be Green Arrow’s sidekick and she’s a 17-year-old girl. These are the things that lead as far as I’m concerned. One aspect of her character is she is HIV positive. She takes medication every day, she lives her life and does her thing. Yeah, negative things happen to her, but also, in my opinion, as we point out in the book, it made possible some positive things. Green Arrow would not have allowed her to do this unless she had tested positive. That’s what we’re coming to. She’s able to plead her case better and convince him to allow her to do this because she’s HIV positive. It shows just how serious she is.”

Winick added that readers should not expect every issue of “Green Arrow” to deal with Mia’s HIV status. It’s a part of who she is, but it’s not the total sum of her life.

“We deal with it through the conclusion of this story arc. In issue #46 it’s dealt with in a minor way when she joins the Teen Titans, but in the next six issues I don’t think it even comes up. It’s mostly about her in costume fighting the fight.”


Sources for this entry: DC Secret Files, supplemented by titanstower.com.


End of titanstower.com transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind titanstower.com. He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author