Speedy (Mia Dearden)

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Mia Dearden is a DC Comics superhero, the second character to take the mantle of Green Arrow's sidekick Speedy. Created by writer Kevin Smith and artist Phil Hester, she first appeared in Green Arrow vol. 3, #2 (May 2001). She is notable as one of the few HIV-positive characters in comic books.

Mia Dearden, the new Speedy. Art by Marcos Martín.
Mia Dearden, the new Speedy. Art by Marcos Martín.

Character history

Mia Dearden is a teenage runaway who was abused by her father. Unable to survive on her own, she fell in love with a man who offered her shelter and food in exchange for exploiting her in a prostitution of children|child prostitution ring. Mia was rescued from one of her clients, a depraved local politician, by the Green Arrow, who had just returned from the dead and to Star City. Sent by the Green Arrow to see Oliver Queen (his real identity) for help, Mia saw through Queen's disguise and became his new ward. Mia continued to work with Oliver, who was busy trying to reconstruct his own life, and after coming upon her crossbow, Ollie began to train her as an archer. Mia continually petitioned Green Arrow to allow her to serve as his sidekick, but Oliver demurred, not wanting to put another teenager at risk.

Mia appeared in Green Arrow as a supporting character until 2004, when writer Judd Winick revealed that she was HIV|HIV-positive, a legacy of her prostitute past. With this knowledge, Mia redoubled her efforts to convince Green Arrow to let her become the new Speedy, and the Green Arrow finally relented. Mia takes up the Speedy mantleGreen Arrow vol. 3, #45, and subsequently Oliver decided that she would do well to join the Teen Titans. In order to earn her spot on the team, Cyborg had the new Speedy face off against Robin. While Robin beat Speedy, Mia proved herself to be a very skilled fighter and worthy Titan. Shortly after her first official mission with the Titans, she revealed to the team that she was HIV-positive.

The first Speedy, Arsenal (Roy Harper), gave Mia a set of his old arrows, including a mysterious blue arrow labeled: "Only use in an emergency". Not even Roy knew its power. Mia was tempted to use the arrow in her first mission against Doctor Light; against a possessed Superboy, Indigo, Lex Luthor, and Brainiac; and again when they faced off against the demon servants of Brother Blood. When she finally used the arrow, it turned out to be a Phantom Zone arrow, stolen from Superman's Fortress of Solitude by Roy when he was Speedy. Mia used the arrow to attempt to trap Superboy-Prime; however, he was able to escape almost immediately, apparently through his super strength.

After the events of Infinite Crisis, Mia recuperated from injuries on an island with Green Arrow and his son Connor Hawke, returning approximately a year later Green Arrow #64. In her time on the island, Mia trained in new styles of fighting and healing, and on working as a team with Green Arrow.

Jason Todd, the former partner of Batman, recently kidnapped Dearden. Jason believed he and Speedy shared similarities, though he kidnapped her to retaliate against Batman's interference in his gun smuggling operation. By involving the Green Arrow, he was trying to show Batman the price of enlisting others into their conflict. Jason took Speedy to Smith O'Neil High School, where the former Robin untied her so that they could fight. Jason commented on how alike they were, living on the streets and having to do bad things in order to survive. He was also aware of her past and situations; with her family, as a prostitute, and her H.I.V. status. Jason defeated Speedy but allowed her to escape, after telling her that neither Batman nor the Green Arrow would ever understand him, but that she would. Afterward, he blew up the school and left. Despite her vehement denial, Red Hood's words have apparently affected Mia on some level.

Powers and abilities

Mia possesses no superhuman abilities, but is an accomplished archer. Unlike Connor Hawke, who relies on simple wooden shafts, Mia, like Ollie, employs trick arrows. In addition to a bow, Mia is also proficient in the use of a crossbow, much to Ollie's chagrin. Connor Hawke and Black Canary taught her many forms of martial arts and self defense prior to taking up the mantle of Speedy, and was an accomplished athlete and street fighter before Oliver found her. One year after Infinite Crisis, she expanded her training on an island with Connor and, like her mentor, is now an expert sword fighter.

Mia is HIV positive, and as such she is forced to take antiretroviral drugs with all the attendant side effects. Due to her condition, she also has to be very careful when injured in combat.

See also

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