Wonder Twins #12 was out this week, bringing the current seers to a satisfactory conclusion that wraps up the various plot lines and gives us the happy endings I was secretly hoping several of the characters would get. And all with a wry sense of humour that we’ve come to expect from writer Mark Russell. With many throwaway lines more scathing and satirical than you’d think for a comic book supposedly aimed at a younger readership, but sugar coated thanks to the Saturday morning stylings of Stephen Byrne.
Having had a stay of execution after the original 6 issue run, I’ve enjoyed these new adventures which has allowed many of the supporting cast the space to breath and to grow with a great deal of hope thrown in for good measure. Overall this issue, and the series as a whole, has been an optimistic, fun look at the genre we all love so much. And, in a DCU that’s seems to be edging and more to the dark side ahead of the next cataclysmic crisis this Summer over on Dark Night: Death Metal, it’s always a welcome for a truly ‘funny book’ on the shelves. A much needed palette cleanser but with bite.
Russell’s wicked sense of humour and his skill to pass indirect comment on may of the ills plaguing society today – refugees status, decreases to public funding, underpaid public servants, and more – are all skilfully added to a script that asks of its audience to focus on the super-heroics, while delivering much needed social commentary hidden as witty banter and dialogue. As a (sometimes) teacher myself, I couldn’t help but relate to the tale of Mr Peterson, winner of ‘Teacher of the Year’, who receives a much-needed cash prize and a decal sticker for his car. A car he uses to hold down a second job as an Uber driver! Just one great example of how Russell can concisely condense critical social issues into just one gag. And, there’s gags aplenty, and not all of this nature. Don’t worry, you won’t be supporting a socialist in buying this comic, but in my mind, Russell is a much needed voice in comic today. Whether that’s commenting on the hypocrisies of Christianity and organised religion in general over on Second Coming, or poking fun at the criminality of public underfunding, Russell does it with a smile, and encourages us to do the same. We’re all on the same page, after all, right? You can tell he once worked for MAD Magazine, that’s for sure.
But, back to the issue in question.
Zan and Jayna have a great deal to cope with, what with harbouring known criminals in their apartment and a very disgruntled Justice League. However, what does assure me that this is indeed a book aimed at younger raiders is that positioning fo the Wonder Twins throughout the issue as the voice of reason. They make the adults see sense and that helps lead to an appropriate resolution for all involved. I was especially happy to see my favourite character of the series, the Scrambler, also get how very own happy-ever-after, although I still hope to see him again one day. A daft name, but a great power that surely, can’t be left alone for too long? I’m still holding out for a mini-series starring the Scrambler and maybe other members of the League of Annoyance, which also gets another airing in this issue.
By the end of the issue, and the series, not only has Russell and Byrne’s been able to enrich the more funkier, funnier side to the DCU with some great new additions, but he also gets to add to the legacy of the Justice League with his very own addition to the League and its resource base. And, in true comic book tradition, he even gets to give this new operating arm of the League it’s very own acronym title. Nice. It’s also one of the few comic books out there that actually does show that rehabilitation is sometime possible in a world where the older heroes seem to have real problems achieving these goals. Maybe it’s time for the old-timers to listen a little bit more to the next generation and their new ideas for crime-fighting and rehabilitation? Not a bad final thought posed by Russell and Byrne on this little series that could. And did.
Wonder Twins #12 is available now from DC Comics/Wonder Comics