Wonder Twins #2 Review - What does Rehabilitation look like in the DC Universe
Updated: Apr 5
I had a great time with Wonder Twins #1. It was a fun and humorous take on the classic and often forgotten 70's characters. This issue is fun but there is a really dark and serious undercurrent just beneath the surface.
Although the comic is billed as a Young Adult comedy, the series underlying themes are very strong especially if you take the time to soak them in.
Wonder Twins #2 asks the question? What does rehabilitation look like in this world?
Zan points out how pointless it is to pick-up criminals only for them to escape or be set free without being truly rehabilitated and committing the same crimes over and over again going right back to prison.
We also learn that in many instances the villains are locked up and then exploited as cheap labor in a For-profit prison system. There is some great social commentary here. As an African American male with friends in "For-Profit" Prisons, this issue resonated with me a lot more than I expected.
This issue makes a nice political statement without going overboard. The primary villain for this issue is Baron Nightblood. He's a bad guy with a very human problem.
Nightblood is an alcoholic Vampire that wants to avoid biting people and potentially drinking blood that may contain alcohol. The Baron is a villain but is also trying to remain sober.
In a sense Nightbood is working to rehabilitate himself which is ironic because all of the systems around him are complete failures and actively working against his progress to better himself.
He's also a member of the "League of Annoyance" a group of D-List villains looking to break into the big leagues.
He's called Count Drunkula in jest and tries to find an identity outside of simply being a vampire and biting people.
The impression that we're given is that Nightblood doesn't even want to be a villain but is a slave of the identity that is projected upon him by his allies, and the heroes that use him as a punching bag.
This aspect of the issue is tragic, especially as the body count starts to mount. I almost wish that Mark Russell played the issue straight and focused on telling the story without the humor elements.
The comic takes the edge off of its strongest elements with laughs. I guess without the humor the book would have been oppressively bleak but I wonder what the book would have looked out if there wasn't a joke on every page.
The art is solid but nothing really stands out. The action beats are cool and it's interesting to see the use of the main characters abilities in combat. The action packs a punch but the encounter ends too quickly.
There's isn't a ton of action here but when the totality of the issue is considered it's not a bad comic. It may even be great depending on your sensibilities as a comic reader.