Wonder Twins #1 review

Zan and Jayna, teenagers from the planet Exxor, are spending time on Earth. They’ve been learning about their new home for six months and are ready to try a US high school. Jayna has signed up for extracurricular activities…

… while Zan doesn’t quite get Show & Tell.

When not at their apparently peculiar school, they’re hanging out at the Hall of Justice, where Superman tells Wonder Woman and Batman how they came to be on Earth.

Soon the senior heroes are called away, leaving the Wonder Twins to make an unusual new friend, before they return to school, using their powers to race one another there.

If you’ve ever come across any of my Scooby-Doo Team-Up reviews, you’ll know I keep them short. It makes sense, because the series is such a breezy read that a quick recap, a joke or two shown and a ‘just buy it!’ is about as far as I go. There’s not a lot of critical thinking needed because I always find it so darn entertaining, and charming. Really, I just want to give it a shout-out so more people will try it, and there’s a better chance of the series continuing.

Same deal here. Wonder Twins #1 from DC’s new Wonder Comics imprint is just delightful from start to finish and I don’t want to give too much away. Taking its cue from the Seventies Super Friends cartoons, it successfully melds the innocence of those stories with the cheekier sensibility of today’s times. Zan’s class talk isn’t for the kiddies, but DC know little ‘uns aren’t going to be buying, or to have bought for them, a $3.99 comic book.

We don’t find out just what happened on Exxor that was so bad, but writer Mark Russell will likely reveal all in time. For now we get to see Jayna and Zan’s personalities, how they interact and their approach to problem solving. We see the adult heroes reveal a bit about their own teenage years and watch the kids make an enemy in Mr Mxyzptlk. And we see it all through the artistic eyes of Stephen Byrne, whose full-colour visuals have an animation sheen recalling the old cartoons, but with a lot more espression. Russell’s script is as wry as we’ve come to expect from the writer of DC’s Flintstones, Prez and Snagglepuss Chronicles, and very smart, with an interesting new wrinkle on how to rid the world of Mr Mxyzptlk. Putting the words on the page is letterer Dave Sharpe, who’s been using breakout display lettering in word balloons a lot lately, to great effect.

Byrne’s cover is super-cute, and I love that ‘hand-some’ logo. There’s a variant by Dustin Nguyen emphasising the weirdness of our stars, along with sidekick Gleek…who neither appears in, not gets a mention, this issue. I look forward to him showing up – given what we learn about Exxor this time, who’s to say he’s actually a space monkey?

Whatever the case, I’ll be there to see it. Wonder Comics has introduced three series so far and while every one is a winner, this goes straight to the head of the pack.

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