When it comes to the comic industry, Brian Michael Bendis has put the work in and now has the ability to work on his passion projects and bring his childhood favorites to life. Like myself, Bendis and Mark Russell were huge fans of the Wonder Twins decades ago. It was a struggle to bring them back into the DC picture, but Bendis had some pull with this new Wonder comics line. After reading some quotes about why he ventured down this path, it’s clear these two fit perfectly into this realm of comics he was looking to create.
“We want to celebrate that absolutely wondrous time of life when you are just about to become the person you are destined to be, when you just start to discover your true potential, and even that magical moment when you ﬁrst start to ﬁgure out the world before the world ﬁgures out you. We want to make comics that celebrate wonder. The wonder of life. love and comics.” -Bendis
The Wonder Twins are high school kids just trying to figure it all out in this new blue world. Being young, dumb and reckless is one thing, but losing the planet you came from and having to come to this strange rock filled with a bevy of superpowered heroes and villains can be overwhelming. They go through their new life like any other Earthling, stumbling along the way.
But, like the best of us, they keep picking themselves up and improving each time. I mean, it helps when you’re interning at the Hall of Justice and have some serious backup, but this series doesn’t use the Holy Trinity as a crutch. Superman positions himself as the wise mentor who has done this superpowered alien on a new planet thing, and it comes off super genuine. Batman and Wonder Woman play less of a role, but can be seen dropping some gems of experience from time to time.
“The thing I really liked about the Wonder Twins as a kid, and it still resonates with me, is that they’re young and imperfect enough that they’re allowed to get into trouble and make bad decisions, whereas Superman and Batman are kind of godlike in how righteous they were. The Wonder Twins were given more freedom to not only make errors in moral judgment, but also be the ones who don’t have to come up with a solution for every crisis.”- Byrne
My favorite thing about the Wonder Twins is the quality of writing that makes it onto every page. Mark Russell shies away from little and sets his mark on plenty throughout the first 7 issues. The literary dismantling of the prison industrial complex is on full display. America insists on jailing criminals, addicts and alcoholics instead of institutionalizing or getting them substance assistance, which has resulted in by far the highest incarceration rate of any country. Russell picks this policy apart, in addition to plenty of other political and polarizing issues. Not one to forget about the smaller problems in life, he throws so much shade at men who catcall young girls on the street, I almost shed a tear in anti-misogynistic solidarity.
Artist Stephen Byrne brings a vibrant, Super Friends-ish look to the book. He gets to play around with some fun cameos and unknown villains, which constantly keeps you enticed for what you’re going to see next. There are also plenty of animals and forms of water that Jayna and Zan get to turn into, and that results in some really cool artwork. The woke agenda and colorful panels are balanced out with tons of humor and some absurd high school antics which make this an appealing book for people of all ages. One thing’s for sure, we’re all the beneficiaries of Brian Michael Bendis digging into the Hanna-Barbera vault and bringing the Wonder Twins back!
Reading Wonder Twins? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.