What are the Exorian sibs without their periwinkle monkey pal? Your Major Spoilers review of Wonder Twins #2 awaits!
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Stephen Byrne
Colorist: Stephen Byrne
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Editor: Mike Cotton
Publisher: Wonder Comics/DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 13, 2019
Previously in Wonder Twins: After being exiled from their homeworld, alien shape-shifting brother/sister duo Jayna and Zan take on the traditional Earth custom of a high school field trip… to a local LexCorp prison? If they’re being honest, their after-school assignment from the Justice League is what they’re really looking forward to: taking on vampiric menace Drunkula, a villain from the League of Annoyance! And what’s this guy the Scrambler up to, anyway?
Plus: Gleek debuts!
INSERT TONGUE IN CHEEK AND STAND BY
Our story opens in a Lexicon prison, with a stereotypically fat guard snottily abusing his prisoner, only to forget that he lives in the DC Universe. The prisoner, a villain AKA The Scrambler, outwits him with his mind-swapping powers, exiting the facility in style and calling up Lex Luthor to reclaim his position with the Legion of Doom. Sadly, he’s lost his seat at the table, and is sent down to the farm league: The League of Annoyance! At the same time, Zan and Jayna’s high school experiences budget cuts that mean they can’t afford the planetarium, instead taking the class to… Lexicon Prison! That can NOT be safe. The aliens are puzzled by the existence of “prison” as a concept, and even their guest-mentor Beast Boy can’t help them wrap their minds around it. When the League of Annoyance sends one of their members, Baron Nightblood (AKA Drunkula) out for general mayhem, our heroes get involved and apprehend him, only to find that they don’t know what to do with him.
MAYBE A BIT TOO SELF-CONSCIOUS FOR MY TASTES
As much as I liked Russell’s social commentary on ‘The Flintstones’, this issue’s exasperated take on the prison industry doesn’t work for me. There’s just a little too much metaphorical rib-nudging in the dialogue, and while the decision to have two aliens learning about the absurdities of Earth is a time-tested trope, both issues of Wonder Twins have failed to use it to its full potential. I’m very much in love with Stephen Byrne’s art, though, especially his super-cute nerdy Jayna, and his take on Beast Boy is the best Gar Logan I’ve seen since the New 52 relaunch. The all-too-short battle between vampire and twins is quite impressive, making me want this book to have less wry commentary while sitting and reading a magazine and more of that.
BOTTOM LINE: FOR A SPECIFIC AUDIENCE
Given that the book’s focus is a nearly fifty-year-old comic book and that the biggest comedy set piece features a parody of seventies Hostess ads, this is a comic that is aimed squarely at me, but it doesn’t hit its satirical mark quite squarely enough for my tastes. Wonder Twins #2 seems to want to cast the light of truth on the real social ill of the prison/industrial complex, but never seems to get past a “What’s the deal with that?”, which is a bummer given the strong art and the presence of some interesting characters, earning a still-better-than-average 3.5 out of 5 stars overall.
Also: Poor Gleek is pretty much an afterthought, which is kind of a bummer.
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WONDER TWINS #2
What could have been biting satire falls flat, but the characterization has promise and the art is wonderful. Kind of a mixed bag...