By Mark Russell, Stephen Byrne, Dave Sharpe
Wonder Twins #1 is a brilliant introduction to the two characters who readers may be unfamiliar with. With a teen audience in mind, it keeps things low-key and heartfelt throughout the issue, wisely putting character first and although there is a good number of cameos from every core member of the Justice League to remind you that this book takes place in the DC Universe, it doesn’t feel like it takes away from the core cast at all. Jayna and Zen’s origins are explored in this issue that is largely aimed towards new readers, but there’s plenty of charm that’s worth making this book a must-buy.
The character beats are hit nicely as audiences are keen for Jayna and Zen to succeed, as they struggle adapting to life on a new planet, in this case Earth, and all the social norms that come with it. Their powers are unique and their weaknesses help make them interesting protagonists, with the tone and the story representing a clean break from the rest of the DC Universe. There’s a series of panels where the purpose of the Hall of Justice is explored, so that the right heroes show up for the right job, and that the entire League doesn’t show up for what amounts to a simple bank robbery. There’s little in the way of over-arching plot, as a back to basics approach really makes this issue a delightful approach to read.
The book is appropriately titled “It Gets Weirder” and that seems like the perfect description for Wonder Twins #1. It’s not your usual superhero comic, and writer Mark Russell makes that clear from the get go. The Justice League almost feel out of place, particularly Batman, but rather than detract from the book’s charm it simply adds to it, and never undermines the risks that come with fighting crime in favour of a cheap joke. By casting the Wonder Twins as outsiders – shy Jayna is forced by an over-eager teacher to read the announcements to the whole school and Zen comes into trouble when his thunderlust occurs at school, you want these characters to succeed against the odds. Even when you have Superman in your corner it isn’t always going to be an easy ride.
Pencils and colours are both handled by Stephen Byrne, whilst Dave Sharpe takes the letters. The artwork is clean and welcoming, much like the tone of the book itself, with a lighter colour palette than most of the rest of the DC Universe. Thanks to a keen eye for detail that Bryne casts on the emotional reactions of the characters Wonder Twins #1 gives the creative team, and the characters their own unique corner of DC to play with.
Wonder Twins #1 casts spotlight on locations within the DC Universe such as the Hall of Justice that don’t always get fleshed out, with the building almost feeling like a character of its own in this humorous first issue that balances most of the story between there and life at the High School attended by the Twins. The book emerges as a breath of fresh air that will only get more entertaining and quite possibly – even weirder – as things continue.