Wonder Twins #4 – Mark Russell, Writer; Stephen Byrne, Artist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Teenagers and Bad Dates Belong Together
Ray: With every issue of this oddball Wonder Comics series, Mark Russell uses the adventures of nerdy Jayna and loveably doofy Zan to illustrate commentary about the real problems facing teenagers or society as a whole. Sometimes that commentary gets a little too one-note, but the humor and characters are usually strong enough to carry it through. That’s the case with Wonder Twins #4, focusing on the Wonder Twins as they go on a pair of disastrous first dates. The story begins at a science fair as Jayna’s invention falls flat but her genius friend Polly Math dazzles everyone with an experiment involving a living internet. Polly’s been an intriguing addition to the series, both in her complex relationship with her father and with her scary mind that seems one step away from a mad scientist. A bit where some catcalling construction workers distract her and make her forget a potential cure for cancer is a strong barb against street harassers if maybe a bit too on the nose.
The science fair spins out into a pair of dates, as Jayna catches the attention of a school jock, while Gleek helps Zan open a conversation with a fellow student. Zan’s date starts well, but then she runs into an ex-boyfriend who she still clearly has feelings for – while Zan is blissfully unaware that he’s become the third wheel and is just enjoying the ridiculous action movie. Jayna, meanwhile, finds out that her beau is a supervillain-in-training at the Legion of Doom’s annual mixer. Calling himself “Red Flag”, his supervillain MO just seems to be doing vaguely jerky things like yelling at waitstaff and spouting Fox News talking points. The issue has a nice message about the silliness of the whole “friendzone” line of attack, but it feels overly broad just like Russell’s guest-starring issue on Harley Quinn. It’s beating the same few points home for the first issue, but the characters are likable enough that I barely noticed.
Corrina: I’m not sure what this series is trying to be. Sometimes, it dissolves into tragedy, and sometimes it’s goofy, and sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.
Everything worked for me this issue, especially Zan’s reaction to the whole “friend-zone” label, as he points out that making a couple of friends is likely to be a better bet for a long-term relationship than a short-term girlfriend. He’s refreshingly lacking in ego, which works for him, especially when he’s a contrast to Red Flag.
Luckily, no one is murdered on the page this issue, Polly Math continues to be a fine character, (Ray calls the segment of street harassment on the nose but that’s the reality for so many women, especially for teenage girls like Polly), and setting up Lex Luthor as the ultimate villain could pay off dividends.
If Wonder Twins sticks with this tone, it’ll become one of my favorite series.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.