There was a time in the last few decades where we were given some great characters who were sidekicks that never really did that part of the job all that often and were just great on their own. One such character is Cassie Sandsmark, Wonder Girl. No, she’s not Donna Troy, she knows that but is a big fan of her. So who is this sidekick to Wonder Woman who often ran around with every iteration of a teen super team? Let’s find out!
Cassandra “Cassie” Sandsmark is the daughter of Dr. Helena Sandsmark, curator of the Gateway City Museum of Antiquities. Cassie was always a troublemaker and this was noticed by the museum’s latest guest researcher, Wonder Woman, who became fast friends with Cassie and her mother. During a battle with a Doomsday clone and another villain named Decay, Cassie puts a costume together from the museum’s magical artifacts so that she could help Wonder Woman. Afterwards, Cassie is able to ask a request from Zeus himself, she’d ask for superpowers of her very own. Zeus granted this power but with the catch that Helena could take them away if she deemed it necessary. To help ease Helena’s concern and make sure Cassie was well trained, Artemis the Amazonian to be her mentor.
Being a big fan of the Wonder Girl before her, Cassie would don a black wig so as to look more like Donna Troy and aide in her secret identity. Cassie would eventually run into the teen sidekick team of Young Justice and become a member. Cassie would have to reveal her identity during a battle where it would take too long for her to change so she had to fight in street clothes. From here on Cassie would just let do away with the wig. She’d even go on to lead Young Justice toward the end of the team’s lifespan. This ended during a team up with the Titans when Donna Troy was killed.
Cassie along with several of her fellow former Young Justice members would end up joining up with Cyborg and some of the other Titans to create a new Teen Titans. During this time the god of war, Ares, would take an interest in Cassie’s heroics and even grant her a lasso of her own that would charge with Zeus’ lightning when she used it in anger. Ares would go on to reveal that her father is Zeus and that he wanted to ally himself with his half-sister. It is also during her time with the Teen Titans that she starts a relationship with Superboy.
Her own powers began to fluctuate wildly and Superboy had been beaten nearly to death in a battle so Cassie would stay behind with him when the rest of the team went to fight the beginnings of the Infinite Crisis. The two grow closer as they retreat to Smallville while Superboy recovers. Ares would inform Cassie that her powers problem was Zeus taking them back as he left this plane of existence and offered her some of his own power if she agreed to be his champion and accept him as her brother. She and a fully healed Superboy would join in the final battle where Superboy would die leaving Cassie shaken.
The aftermath is the Teen Titans disbanding for a time, Wonder Woman, Batman along with his family, and Superman leaving for a year. Cassie feels abandoned by her friends since Tim Drake, was best friends with Superboy and so she had no one else her own age to commiserate with over their loss. Alone, Cassie would begin to affiliate with a Kryptonian resurrection cult online. Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man, would end up working with Cassie since his own investigations of his wife’s grave defacement leads him towards this cult as well. They learn that the cult is dedicated to resurrecting Superboy and will test out their ritual on Sue Dibny to also help Ralph. The ceremony seems wrong and Dibny along with other heroes stops it while Cassie is conflicted on her allegiances.
When Wonder Woman, the Bat family, and Superman return a year later, Cassie joins back with the Teen Titans temporarily to fight off the Brotherhood of Blood. It isn’t until after a team up with the Doom Patrol that Cassie decides to join back with the Titans again full time. Now welcomed back into the team and surrounded by friends she is able to meet with Tim to mourn Superboy. The two kiss and things get real awkward for a long while between them but they are still able to focus on working together as long as neither brings it up. Cassie is able to connect with Supergirl who has returned and learned of the loss of Superboy.
While trying to get Raven to resurrect Superboy, Cassie and Tim are kidnapped by the villainous Titans East. Thanks to the rest of the Teen Titans, both current and former members, they are able to defeat Titans East. The resurrected Donna Troy is able to spend time with Cassie and Cassie is able to vent all the troubles she’s been having lately and able to finally have a shoulder to cry on. This venting is thrown for a loop when her friend Bart Allen is killed while on duty as the Flash.
The Amazons begin taking over the world and Cassie must pick a side and sides with her Teen Titan teammates. She kisses Tim once more and after several months the two date briefly. Trying to make up for what the Amazons did and tried to do, Cassie joins forces with her brother Hercules on adventures. They come across the New Gods killer who had also been attacking the Greek pantheon. When all is said in done, Wonder Woman and Cassie make amends after animosity from Diana’s year long departure.
Ares own son decides he wants to be his father’s champion and fights Cassie for his power and she loses. At this point Cassie has learned to will her own powers into existence. Tim leaves the Teen Titans after the assumed death of Bruce Wayne and Cassie takes over as the team leader. Due to bizarre circumstances both Bart and Superboy were able to come back to life and Cassie was able to reunite with Superboy. While all these team rosters are happening Beast Boy steps in as leader and Cassie isn’t pleased when the rest of the team agrees with him that the team needs help. During the events of Blackest Night, Cassie had to fight a weird, limbo state Superboy since he was still tied to death. She is able to help him break free of the control of the ring and she throws it into the sun.
New 52 Cassie does not like being called Wonder Girl and is the daughter of Helen and Lennox Sandsmark. Lennox is a demi-god son of Zeus so she is now related to Wonder Woman. She was a thief who stole some magic bracelets to enhance her abilities.
There you have it! Cassie always seemed rather cool, from grabbing a makeshift magic gear hero to blessed by gods to then manifesting ones all her own, she’s gone on one heck of a hero’s journey. She’s definitely got a easier to parse out story than Donna Troy. Not going to do that one. See you next time when the subject will most certainly not be Donna Troy. That’s some Hawkman status level of headache in continuity.
Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #105