Even in an extended family full of orphans and semi-neglected children, Mia Dearden wins any “hard luck” contest.
Ollie may have been orphaned at a young age, but he had a trust fund to fall back on.
Dinah may have become as much a mother to her parents as they were to her, but at least she never doubted their love even as she worried herself sick staying up nights as her grades slipped.
Roy may have been orphaned and cast out by adopted family… twice, but he managed to land on his feet.
Connor may have been ignored by his mother most of the time, but at least he eventually found the support he needed at the Ashram.
Mia had no one. No money. No support. No love.
Her mother died at an early age leaving her with an abusive father, who took her innocence in every since of the word. The abuse drove Mia into the streets and into the arms of a pimp named Richard who promised her the love and protection she needed. Richard kept half his promise in a half-assed way, renting her out by the hour to anyone with the cash to pay the rent on their hotel room for another day or another hit of Meth..
It was better than life with her father but not by much. At a time when most girls are thinking about which college they should go to or what boy they’d like to go to the Freshman prom with, Mia was already an experienced call-girl and a junkie. Mia didn’t see much of a future for herself or a way out… until a knight in green leather saved her life. And then, more remarkably, gave her a chance at a new life.
Oliver Queen – newly returned to life and action as Green Arrow – happened upon the young lady as he was conducting a raid on the drug party of a corrupt city councilman. Quickly coming to the conclusion that the young lady the councilman was sharing his bedroom with was a) an unwilling participant and b) horribly underage, GA made his displeasure known (i.e. he roughed the councilman up), told Mia that there were a lot better ways to make money and gave her the business card for a youth center that needed help. A youth center run by his good friend Oliver Queen.
Mia, being fairly smart and street-smart, saw through Ollie’s "disguise" in under a minute. Still, with nothing else to look forward to (especially after having knifed a “frisky” Richard the night before), she threw herself into the role of kick-ball coach and an uneasy ally of the city’s protector.
Mia stuck around through all the weirdness – the revelation that the Ollie she knew was a soulless shell and a copy of the original, the return of the original Oliver Queen and a new roommate in the form of an easily teased monk and a half-dozen disasters ranging from alien invasions to demonic attacks. She pestered Ollie about learning the bow and becoming a superhero.
He reluctantly agreed to the former when she pointed out that – given his lifestyle – odds were she’d need to protect herself somehow. But Ollie protested against the later, noting that his experiences with Roy had taught him that teenagers have no business being put into the hero game but that he’d be glad to teach her everything he knew about heroing… once she was 21.
That plan changed drastically down the line, when a particularly harrowing disaster demanded extra help and Mia was the only other person in the city Oliver could trust watching his back. And in the aftermath of a full medical check-up following the attacks, that was when the whammy hit: Mia tested positive for HIV.
Whether it was from the sex or the shared needles was unclear. What was clear was that Mia’s life would never be the same. Things in general became a lot more urgent, as did Mia’s personal need to do something to impact the world in a positive way. So after taking every possible precaution and ensuring that Mia was in good enough health to manage some light vigilante work, Mia officially became the new Speedy.
Mia took to being Ollie’s partner like a shot although she didn’t take to being a Teen Titan nearly as well. Ollie may have meant well when he tried to get her a place in the Teen Titans, hoping some time among other young heroes might benefit Mia as it did Roy but Mia stood out like a sore thumb. In terms of life experience, she was much older than anyone on the team save perhaps Robin and as supportive as everyone was about her condition, Mia really felt more comfortable among her adopted family.
Today, Mia’s role on the team has evolved somewhat with her having taken the role of the Arrow Family’s technical genius - a role which has been assumed more out of necessity than inclination. In truth, Mia doesn’t have much of a natural inclination toward computers or electronics. She’s no Barbara Gordon. She’s not even a Wendy Kuttler. And yet, Mia has taken on the role of the team computer geek for one reason – she’s the only one who can do it.
Ollie is uncomfortable with any technology more advanced than a crossbow and is still resisting trading his old vinyls in for CDs.
Roy is competent with a computer but isn’t around Star City enough to be a reliable tech guru.
Connor is – well – a monk. Say no more.
And Dinah – after years of personal tutelage at the hands of Oracle – is now using an iMac to manage the books for Sherwood Florist II. It’s not that Dinah is as bad with computers as she claims – she just feels uncomfortable with any electronics that doesn’t double as a fashion accessory. This is the real reason why her earpiece was built into an earring and her microphone into a necklace. Covert operations be damned – she just wanted something she could wear and not lose.
Still, Mia has used what talents she has effectively. It’s amazing how many criminals are stupid enough to post videos of their crimes on YouTool or brag about things to their friends on SpaceBook. And to two mentors who are used to using Mapsco, the ability to use GoogleEarth/GoogleMaps may as well be a superpower
Mia and Ollie: Mia admits that she ride the old man harder than anyone besides Dinah (“Ummm.. forget I said that THAT way.”), but she honestly does love Ollie. How can she not? She’d never voice her feelings in that way (before witnesses, at least) but she has totally bought into what Green Arrow had to sell the night he changed her life.
Mia and Dinah: With Dinah being who she is, she couldn’t help but become the closest thing Mia had to a real mom in a long time. Even when Dinah and Ollie were just dating, she took a hand in seeing Mia get some basic martial arts training (“Can’t have you making the rest of us girls looking bad.”). From there, a bonding of sorts formed, as they realized that they alone in the world had the power to make Oliver Queen freeze up with a few words.
Mia and Roy: See #13.
Mia and Connor: See #17 and #19