Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Wonder Twins #2 Review

Prison Stinks

Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Stephen Byrne
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: March 13, 2019
Cover Price: $3.99

I was so surprised by the first issue of the Wonder Twins.  Going in, I didn't know what to expect, but I thought it was witty, fun and full of clever references that made me smile.  SO, I was certainly looking forward to this issue.  How was it and am I still a fan?  Let's find out...

We start the book in Lexicon Prison where the Scrambler is up to no good and uses his powers as a Freaky Friday get out of jail free card.  It's an okay setup to the bad guy, but I'm not sure it needed three pages.  Maybe that time would have been better spent setting up, I don't know...maybe the Wonder Twins?

We do get Zan and Jayna next as they head off on their Honor Club field trip.  It seems that the idea of showing them trying to fit in is long gone and then the issue takes a turn down agenda avenue as it becomes a vehicle for Mark Russell to rail on the overcrowded prison system.  The problem is, it is forced through Jayna who admits later to not even knowing what prison was before now and suddenly the girl who didn't want to open her mouth the last issue is the spokesperson for every jailed villain in the DCU.  On top of that, the whole thing is surface level social commentary with no reference points to know who is in the right here. In this comic book world, the biggest complaint is that bad guys get out of prison too easily after committing heinous can't just flip the narrative because you just say so!  I will admit, though, that Lex Luthor having prisoners work as telemarketers gave me a chuckle.

The other part of the story is the formation of the Annoyance League, the "minor league" Legion of Doom.  The characters are pretty funny in a pathetic way, but Russell uses Drunkula to once again push against the prison system with a sprinkle of a villain trying to better himself.  In the end, it all slams the reader right in the face when we see Drunkula didn't even get a chance to be good...because of the revolving door prison system.  Fun times!

We do actually see Gleek in this issue and the Twins get to hang out with Beast Boy for a bit, but while there is some fun to be had, it is weighed down by the sudden forced and preachy narrative.  The clever nods and jokes about the ridiculousness of the main characters and the cartoon they came from are all but gone and instead, they seem to be there only to push Russell's social commentary. I applauded him for putting aside his usual forced narrative in the first issue and now it shows up to slap me in the face.  If you like this sort of thing (and if you are reading a Russell book there is a good chance you do), have at it.  I read comics as an escape and after the fun of the first issue, I feel left behind here.  I wish Mark Russell would stop trying to be so important for a second and just write a fun comic.  He did it last issue so he is capable of it.  Maybe that would help sell a few more issues as well.

I do continue to love the art in this series and all the character designs here are great.   If anything, this book has already made me a fan of Stephen Byrne and I will continue to look for his work in the future.

Bits and Pieces:

While there is some fun here, it is taken over by the usual Russell social commentary that I find shallow and thus pretty annoying.  After a clever first issue, I felt this one fell flat and left me wondering what the overall focus of this mini will be.  I loved the art but can do without the agenda.


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