27 years ago - Mari Jiwe McCabe is born.
10 years ago - 17-year-old Mari witnesses the death of her parents at the hands of her uncle & flees to America, where she is discovered & begins her modeling career.
7 years ago - 20-year-old Mari, having achieved fame & fortune, returns home & confronts her uncle. She learns of her shamanic heritage & takes her father's amulet from him.
3 years ago - 24-year-old Mari nearly looses control of her powers & seeks out Buddy Baker. He helps her understand her powers and inspires her to become a hero in her own right. she begins fighting crime as Vixen.
1 year ago - 26-year-old Mari is recruited to represent Africa in the Global Guardians as they take stewardship of Superbia.
Vixen began life in the Detroit Era Justice League, a team we all remember for being a collection of characters we don't care about. Vixen continued to appear for years as a background character. It was obvious that there was something about her that worked but for whatever reason she just wasn't getting her due.
When Brad Meltzer put Vixen on his Justice League, it was clearly a conscious effort to start to give an underutilized character some traction. She was extremely well used for a time, but the editorial restrictions place on the book once Dwayne Mcduffie took over all but killed it. Still, when she's used well she's extremely entertaining. She was fantastic in Justice League Unlimited, and while her animated series hasn't started yet at the time I'm writing this, it looks pretty promising.
If there's any singular change I've made, it's drawing out the time it takes for her to actually become a superhero. Comic characters usually spend all of one issue moving from the acquisition of their powers through their motivation for putting on the costume to actually becoming a superhero, but in Mari's case it felt more natural to allow her to grow into the roll, spending time working with the Flash and Animal Man to develop her sense of what it means to do what they do. Also, I aged her down a little. Even though she's been learning these skills for a while, she's still young and ready to take on the world.
Just a note about her costume; the idea of a fashion model becoming a superhero makes a weird sort of sense somehow. Inasmuch as a lot of her movement comes through the manipulation of her powers, she might be one of the only characters on whom those heels might be slightly less absurd.