DC Comics’ side hustle, Wonder Comics continues to build up momentum with the release of the highly anticipated Wonder Twins #1 comic written by Mark Russell, illustrated by Stephen Byrne and lettered by Dave Sharpe. And, as with all Russell’s output, it’s an irreverent, knockabout, fun book. But, more importantly its a comic that hits its target readership perfectly. Although, that is as much in part to Russell’s zingy script as it is to Byrne’s beautiful, unfussy artwork that’s perfect for those YA readers out there. It’s certainly a comic I’ll be sharing with my own teenage daughter as a book we can both enjoy, collect and talk about. Job done.
Although, that would make for a rather short and redundant review, doesn’t it?
The street level world in which we meet the Wonder Twins in – or rather school based world – is one used to the trials and tribulations that come with living on an Earth full of superheroes. And one in which the Halls of Justice are just up the block, so to speak, from the twins’ new school. These skirmishes, and mild crises on infinite school corridors, may not affect the rest of the school, but it certainly has an effect on Zan, who had hoped to make a name for himself amongst the female students, only to fall flat on his face when the roll of thunder comes calling.
Looks like that popularity that everyone craves, but so few achieve in High School, is going to be hard to grasp for after this first issue. It’s a great punchline which has its set-up seeded into the narrative quite early on, when the pupils are all encouraged to do a class talk on how their “ancestors have embarrassed” them. It’s also a great example of Russell’s storytelling skills to plan out this book so well that he is able to account for almost one joke per page. That’s a skill many writers simply do not have and the fact that he makes it look this effortless and the book read so breezily is harder than it looks I imagine. And, with taking it o account when reading these comics that are primarily aimed at the YA readership.
No matter who is interacting in this book, the laughs keep on coming. And, there’s no bigger laugh when it’s at the expense of Batman, who shares his own school boy tragedy with the twins. No, not THAT one, but a crush that crushed him and left him with a rather unfortunate nickname. Something he and Zan have in common, then.
We get to met the Hall of Justice’s ‘super computer’ which is rarely used for anything other than listening to music, as Superman freely admits. It’s a truism, sadly, we can all relate to. But, when you see the mismatched pairings the computer throws out, you’ll see why the Justice League need an extra pair of hands or two.
Even the threat that causes the Justice League to run – when they are sent to the correct job that is – is a great choice and, hopefully, we’ll be seeing more of such maligned, but glorious goofy super villains, in future issues. Hell, we haven’t even seen hide nor hair of the League of Annoyance!
The tone – from the script to the art, and the colour choices – in this first issue is a strong indication of what to expect from this series going forward, and I can’t wait for the second issue to drop already.
This is a cleverly done-in-one book that solved the conflict that arises from the appearance of this issue’s main nuisance in a way that’s both fun but simple. If I was writing this up as a school report, I’d be awarding this an A+, but with the advice for improvement being that Zan must try harder to concentrate in lessons.
I can see this book only picking up new readers from issue to issue once the word gets out. I’m glad I grabbed my copy now, rather than wait for the trade, where I can only imagine – if promoted correctly by DC and book stores – it could well be an even bigger hit. One of the best funny books out there this week.
Wonder Twins #1 is out now from DC Comics and you can read our interview with Mark Russell here.