Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Wonder Twins #11 Review


Byte Me

Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Stephen Byrne
Letterer: Steve Wands
Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 22nd, 2020

The Colonel 86 computer program is running amok in the internet. The robot uprising Sam Waterston and Old Glory Insurance warned us about is at hand. Can Zan, Jayna, and the Maths stop it in time? Let’s find out in Mark Russell’s Wonder Twins #11!

The issue begins right where we left off, with the Hall of Justice computers infected by the Colonel 86 virus. Hawkman astutely asks how they’re supposed to fight the internet, and that’s pretty much it for our JL heroes in the book, other than Supes catching a plane and he and Diana helping with a riot later on. Which is fine, seeing as how this is a Wonder Twins book, although Zan and Jayna don’t figure much into the issue either until the very end.

So Mark Russell is once again not really using the Wonder Twins to the fullest in issue #11- that’s a bold choice Cotton! It’s also an indicator that Russell is in full political satire mode, sadly at the expense of the book’s protagonists. Readers should know what to expect at this point, but it’s still depressing when it happens so blatantly. Wonder Twins is at it’s best when Russell’s satire is tickling your funny bone, not hitting you over the head with political views. And as stated, the real shame is minimizing the roles of socially-conscious Jayna and heartfelt Zan- whom Russell writes wonderfully.

There is still a lot of fun to be had despite the anti-MAGA veil being at its thinnest to date. The chaos that erupts after Colonel 86 takes over is perfectly depicted by the cliché of a random man running around on fire and screaming. All the Lex stuff is great, including his “fake” Lex News broadcasts. Even the promise of Colonel 86 bringing back coal mining jobs (along with other dated ideas, since the program itself is outdated) to the cheers of his ok boomer followers was fun enough without being as over-the-top as some of the rest of the book.

As for the art, what else can be said about Stephen Byrne’s work? If you’re not into his style, that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it. The rest of us are probably waiting for some new superlatives to be invented. It’s as supaweberbsome as ever. Trademark.

The book closes with a stinky surprise cameo, a meaningful Philo Math oration (kind of ruined by the cameo character’s confusing speech at the same time), Wonder Twins activating (finally), and an unintentionally cheesy 80s sitcom “what we learned” moment from Jayna.

Bits and Pieces:

At this point, if you’re one of the few still reading Wonder Twins, Mark Russel’s extreme political satire feels more like preaching to the choir than sticking it to the man. Largely ignoring the charming twins Russell himself has crafted always feels like a missed opportunity, doubly so this late in the series. Luckily Wonder Twins #11 still has enough light moments and Stephen Byrne’s stupendous art to make it worth your time.


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