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|As a result of the New 52 in 2011, the entire line of DC characters was relaunched, incorporating properties belonging to the company's imprints: Wildstorm, Milestone, and Vertigo. As such, elements of this character's history have been altered in some way from the previous incarnation. For a complete list of all versions of this character, see our disambiguation page.|
Official Team Name
|Cheetah, Chronos, Electrocutioner, Giganta, Joker's Daughter, Killer Moth, Kite Man, League of Annoyance, Lex Luthor, Metallo, Mister Freeze, Mister Mxyzptlk, Parasite, Professor Ivo, Professor Pyg, Prometheus, Queen Bee, Rainbow Raider, Red Flag, Scarecrow, Scavenger, Sonar, Toyman, Trickster|
The Wonder Twins consist of two twin siblings from the planet Exxor named Jayna and Zan.
Their father, who was a friend of Superman, sent the twins to live with the Justice League on Earth for unknown reasons. The twins have the powers to change their shape, with Zan capable of transforming into water and Jayna able to transform into any animal, however they can only do so by fist bumping and saying "Wonder Twin Powers, Activate!".
Links and References
Wonder Twins Powers Activate: 10 Interesting Facts About The DC's Dynamic Duo
Growing up in the 1970s , there was no cartoon network, and almost all cartoons aired on Saturday mornings. Children across America woke up early Saturday mornings to watch their favorite cartoons and from 1973 to 1985, there was none more popular than the Super Friends. The Super Friends consist of superheroes lead by Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman. Yes, it was campy and the animation was not the best, but it was a team of our favorite heroes fighting supervillains that threatened the world.
RELATED: Superman: 5 Reasons Henry Cavill Should Be Replaced (& 5 Why He Should Stay In The Role)
In 1977, creator Norman Maurer brought to the Justice League a new sensation of superheroes, the Wonder Twins. A brother and sister duo whose powers activated with the touch of their hands.
10 The Wonder Twins Have A Pet Monkey Named Gleek
When fans of the Super Friends think of the Wonder Twins, they remember the activation of their superpowers with the use of a phrase. In reality, the phrase was not needed, they only had to touch hands to trigger their powers. One can turn into the shape of any form of water and the other can transform into an animal. But what is often forgotten is their pet, Gleek (voiced by Michael Bell, who also was the voice of Zan). Yes, the monkey who has always kept things in order and was comic relief for the show. So, to categorize him as a pet would be a bit of an understatement. He was more like the third member of the team.
9 The Wonder Twins Were Introduced In An Animated Series Before Comic Books
Usually, to be on television or to be included in a series, superheroes (for the most part) are taken from comic books or graphic novels. Comic books characters have to be popular to warrant a television series. But the Wonder Twins were introduced in 1977 in The All-New Super Friends Hour, “Joy Ride”. Later that year they were introduced in issue #7 in the Super Friends comic book as a tie-in to the show that gave fans a more detailed view of the twins’ backgrounds.
8 Jayna Can Transform Into Any Animal Whether Real or Mythological
On the 1977 animated Super Friends television series, Zan’s twin sister Jayna could transform into any animal. Usually, it was a flying creature like a falcon, pelican, or even an eagle. But as it was later discovered in the comic book series that she can transform into any animal whether real, mythological, inherent to Earth, or indigenous to some other planet like her home planet of Exxor.
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Most importantly, she must know the common name of the animal, or else she will transform into a strange creature.
7 The Wonder Twins Replaced Another Duo On The Show
The Wonder Twins replaced Wendy Harris, Marvin White and Wonder Dog. Some might ask, “Who were they?”
Wendy and Marvin were two American teenagers who were companions of the Super Friends. No, they did not have superpowers, but they did have a pet named Wonder Dog. Wonder Dog was half bloodhound and wore a cape, like Marvin. Marvin had a large green “M” on his chest as well, reminiscent of his big buddy Superman.
The trio only lasted for a short time and were replaced by the Wonder Twins in The All-New Super Friends Hour.
6 The Voice of Jayna Is The Stepmother Of Actress Helen Hunt
BJ (Betty Jean) Ward voiced Jayna in 1984 after Louise Williams voiced her for six years from 1977 to 1983. Ward is an actress, voice actress, and singer. She was married to Gordon Hunt until he died in 2016. Her stepdaughter is Academy Award-winning actress Helen Hunt who played in Twister, As Good As It Gets, and in the TV series, Mad About You.
Notably, she was also the voice of Jana of the Jungle, the female version of Tarzan in 1978. It was short-lived only lasting a year created by Hanna-Barbera. Jana has long blond hair, a dress made out of animal skin, and a necklace that served as her weapon.
5 The Wonder Twins Are Rumored To Be Based On Donny and Marie Osmond
“I’m a little bit country. And I am a little bit rock n’ roll” was a famous quote from the cutest singing tandem in the seventies, Donny and Marie Osmond. So, it would go without mention, that the cutest brother and sister duo of the Justice League are rumored to be marketed after their personalities. As Donny Osmond posted on his Facebook page in 2019, "I can see the resemblance...he's got a defined jaw, dark hair and a sister full of sass."
RELATED: Wonder Woman 1984: 10 Other Movies To Watch With The Cast
Although not twins, Donnie is two years older than his younger sister, Marie, the pair was undeniably popular. They had star quality written all over them with their youth and good looks. The Donny and Marie Variety Show was a hit for ABC and ran from 1976 to 1979.
4 The Wonder Twins Have Appeared on Teen Titans Go!
The Wonder Twins appeared on season 1 episode 14 of Teen Titans Go! , “You’re Fired”. Khary Payton, Ezekiel on The Walking Dead, voiced Zan and Tara Strong voiced Jayna. Payton also voices Cyborg on the show.
In this episode, Beast Boy accidentally blows up a planet on a mission and is fired from the team. The team holds tryouts for his replacement and wants to hire Jayna because during the tryouts she mutates into a tiger but the team was not impressed when her brother transformed into a puddle of water. But they realize that they cannot hire one without the other because their powers only activate when they touch hands.
3 The Wonder Twins Appeared On A Live-Action Television Series
Although animated, the twins did make an appearance on a live-action television series in Season 9 of Smallville.
David Gallagher (known for his role as Simon Camden for ten seasons on 7th Heaven) played Zan, and Jayna was played by Allison Scagliotti of Syfy’s Warehouse 13. Gleek, their pet monkey, was absent from the television show, but his image was on the back of the twins’ cell phones and there was a Chimpanzee’s laugh for a ringtone.
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In the episode titled “Idol”, the Wonder Twins come to Metropolis to help young Clark fight crime using their abilities to shape-shift but end up hurting him instead of helping him.
2 Their Original Powers Were Different
We all know when the Wonder Twins touch fists and shout, “Wonder Twin powers activate!” Jayna transforms into an animal, mainly a flying creature like a bird or even a pterodactyl. Zan transforms into a form of water in any state usually carried in a bucket by their pet monkey, Gleek. But originally, according to an interview with animator Darrell McNeil, Zan would have the ability to stretch with Plastic Man-like powers, and Jayna would be able to transform into anything, not just animals.
1 Their Original Names Were Dick And Jane
According to the same interview, The Wonder Twins' names were originally Dick and Jane. Due to Norman Maurer’s interest in Jane, Zan and Jayna were borrowed from the Edgar Rice Burroughs characters in Tarzan, Janya from Jane, and Zan from Tarzan. Also, their pet Gleek’s name was going to be Mighty Monkey.
Married to the daughter of The Three Stooges Moe Howard, Joan Howard, Norman Maurer was the Super Friends series developer and story editor. He was also responsible for the creation of 3-D comics.
NEXT: The Flash: 5 Characters Who Make The Show Great (& 5 Who Ruin It)
NextHawkeye: 10 Things Only Comic Fans Know About Lucky The Pizza DogAbout The Author
Sean K. Mitchell is a graduate from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. Since an early age, he has enjoyed the escapism of both movies and television, allowing one to lose themselves in entertainment euphoria. Sean has written entertainment reviews for several websites. Currently, he is a List Writer for Screen Rant.
|“||Wonder Twin powers... activate!||”|
— The Wonder Twins
The Wonder Twins' are Zan and Jayna, alien siblings from the planet Exxor with shapeshifting ability, but they can only activate them when they touch hands. Zan has the ability to morph into any form of water, while Jayna can transform into any animal. They are both members of the Junior SuperFriends.
Continuity from SuperFriends Comic Book
The twins were born mutants on the planet Exxor to Fonab and Rua. Each of them gifted with a specified aspect of shape-shifting. This trait had been virtually bred out Exxorianbiology. Meaning, very few Exxorians had the gift any more. It was something consigned to the past. So they were unique. Another aspect that contributed to their gifting, was that it took physical contact to bring about the change.
While still infants, a great plague swept across Exxor killing hundreds, including their parents. The orphans Zan and Jayna were taken to a special center, but the administrators knew that no surviving Exxorian family would adopt mutant children. Instead, they released the twins to the care of a man named Dentwil who owned a Trans-World Carnival. According to Exxorian law, the twins were his legal property and could not leave his care until they were twenty years old. Dentwil placed the children on display and amused customers with Jayna's ability to transform into Exxorian animals, and Zan's power to turn into waterspouts. Their schooling was done by Illik, one of the carnival workers. He became like a surrogate-father to them, even getting them a pet monkey named Gleek, who also performed in the circus.
Zan and Jayna wanted more. As they grew into adolescence, they grew disenfranchised over the fact that they received nothing monetary from Dentwil aside from food and shelter. When they approached Dentwil, he reminded them that he owned them till they were 20 years old and that he would do no such thing. Finally, the twins had enough and they used their shape-changing powers to cause fear in the circus' patrons and to coerce Dentwil into relinquishing his hold over them. In fear of being mauled, he told them to go, so they took one of his personal space cruiser before he could change his mind and headed back to Exxor to plan their next move. They landed in the uninhabited Fejanian Wilderness. While there, they came across an old house. In this house was Grax who was planning to take revenge on his old enemy, Superman and destroy the planet he now calls home -- Earth.
They immediately head out towards Earth to warn her people of their impending doom. Not long after they arrive, they are met by Marvin and Wendy in a field outside of Gotham (the Junior SuperFriends were at the Hall of Justice by themselves when they were notified by the Trouble Alert of the approaching spaceship). They were able to communicate with each other using the intergalactic space language, Interlac. Because of their bravery, the Wonder Twins were able to save Earth.
After engaging in several adventures with the Wonder Twins, Wonder Woman gives Jayna one of Wendy’s bracelets that will enable Jayna to contact her and the remainder of the 'core-five': Batman, Robin, Superman and Aquaman. Then together with the rest of the SuperFriends, they arrange for the twins to live with an old scientist friend of Bruce Wayne's named Professor Nichols to help them adjust to their new life on earth. He accepts, and he becomes their mentor. He provides them with a cover identity as foreign exchange students to account for their lack of knowledge of Earth's customs. Supposedly hailing from Eksjö, Sweden, Zan took the name John 'Johann' Fleming, while Jayna adopted the identity of Joanna 'Johanna' Fleming. Furthering their disguises, Zan began wearing a blonde-colored wig to cover his pointed ears, while Jayna merely used her super-powers to alter her physical shape. With their new Earth identities firmly in place, Zan and Jayna began a new life for themselves at Gotham City High School, but they were always available to aid the SuperFriends in times of need. There uniforms are given a 'hero' upgrade. Superman provided them with ‘new’ emblems on their uniforms which have the first letter of their names in the English. He did this because the twins liked the look of ‘S’ symbol on Superman uniform. During this time, the SuperFriends also assist in training them at the Hall of Justice.
It wouldn’t be long before Illik, the Laughmaker finds the twins on Earth. He arrives on Earth with the Exxorian High Counselor Ulpar. He warns them of two Exxorian shape-shifters, Yeltu and Fegla. They were originally part of the Tracer Department of the Exor Police who were sent to find the twins. Once they found them, they became intrigued by the costumed heroes they saw and took the identities of Wonder Woman and Superman. The SuperFriends decide to go to Exor to help defeat these criminals. After a long battle, they defeat the criminal shape-shifters. The High Counselor then delivers a message to Zan and Jayna. He tells them that the Grand Rulers have declared them free of their obligations to Dentwil and they may return to Earth if they choose. Illik chimes in too. He tells them that even though Gleek belongs to the Trans-World Circus, he would be better off with them.
The Wonder Twins and Their Mascot
- According to Darrell McNeil (assistant animator for the Super Friends from 1976-83), "They were created by Norman Maurer, series developer then story editor of All-New Super Friends Show ... as all-new, super-powered “junior Super Friends” to replace the non-powered Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog of the first series ... They were originally called Dick, Jane, and Mighty Monkey, which evolved into (Tar)Zan, Jane(a), and Squeeks, then finally Zan, Jayna, and Gleek."
- McNeil goes on to say that, "Originally Zan (Dick) had “Plastic Man” powers and Jayna (Jane) could transform into anything, not just animals, but they were scaled back to their present powers as it made the other Super Friends (even Supes) seem almost superfluous. This decision was made before the decisions to re-expand the show and bring in the guest heroes."
- Some people believe that the Wonder Twins are responsible for originating the ultra-hip "fist bump" maneuver with their "wonder Twin powers, activate!" transformation maneuver.
- The Wonder Twins made their first appearance in SuperFriends, #7. Although they were created for the series, their first appearance was in the comic book.
- In the episode "Universe of Evil", the Wonder Twins' counterparts (from the Super Enemies) appear on screen but don't have any dialogue (they are only seen in shadow, in the darkened Hall of Evil). Evil Gleek does, however, have a starring role in the episode.
- ↑As shown in SuperFriends, #14 (November, 1978).
- ↑As shown in SuperFriends, #14 (November, 1978).
- ↑As shown in SuperFriends, #14 (November, 1978).
- ↑As shown in the comic book issues SuperFriends, #7 (October 1, 1977); SuperFriends, #8 (November 1, 1977) and SuperFriends, #9 (December, 1977).
- ↑As shown in the comic book issue SuperFriends, #10 (March 1, 1978) and SuperFriends, #29 (February 1, 1980).
- ↑As shown in various issues of the Super Friends comics as well as the series.
- ↑As shown in the comic book issue SuperFriends, #21 (June, 1979).
- ↑This quote is from an interview by Marc Tyler Nobleman with assistant animator, Darrell McNeil. The blog article is entitled, Super ‘70s and ‘80s: “Super Friends” — Darrell McNeil, animator. This blog article is from a larger series entitled, “Super Friends” — Introduction.
- ↑This quote is from an interview by Marc Tyler Nobleman with assistant animator, Darrell McNeil. The blog article is entitled, Super ‘70s and ‘80s: “Super Friends” — Darrell McNeil, animator. This blog article is from a larger series entitled, “Super Friends” — Introduction.
The 7 Best (and Worst) Wonder Twins Transformations
Zan and Jayna, better known as the Wonder Twins, first appeared in the classic cartoon Super Friends, and although they were meant to connect with the kids watching the show, the pair ended up as frequently parodied gag characters. These alien siblings, however, stood the test of time and made a handful of appearances throughout the DC Universe. Best known for their quirky catchphrase “Wonder Twin powers activate!” the twosome were able to shapeshift into different forms: Jayna, could become any animal, even a mythological one, while poor Zan could take on any form of water. Clearly someone got all of the good genes. With writer Mark Russell's acclaimed new Wonder Twins comic now available to read on DC Universe, let's take a look at the best (and worst) Wonder Twins transformations. Activate!
BEST: FORM OF AN ICE RINK
In the debut of 2019’s Wonder Twins #1, Zan and Jayna are thrust into the hard life of being heroes and the even harder life of fitting in at high school. The two aliens from Exxor are not only new to their high school, they’re new to the entire Earth! Navigating the nuances of high school is hard enough for an Earthling, now imagine being from another planet and suffering from Thunderlust-- which is exactly what it sounds like.
Zan tries to fit in by joining the hockey team. When practice is cut short due to a melting rink, he proves his usefulness by making himself change into the ice rink itself. He gets major props from his coach! It’s especially fun to see Zan and Jayna using their powers as any high school student would. There’s no harm in it!
WORST: SHAPE OF A GIANT GREEN FIRE-BREATHING GORILLA, FORM OF A WALKING SPIKY ICE WALL?
Extreme Justice isn't on many Greatest Titles in the DC Universe lists. It’s more '90s than a tamagotchi on a Lisa Frank backpack, and surely earns the “extreme” in its title with everyone’s superfluous armor and enough random pouches to make Rob Liefeld blush.
The Wonder Twins were no exception to this when they appeared in Extreme Justice #9. Trading their familiar Vulcan looks for a generic Buffy villain vibe, Zan and Jayna crash land on Earth. As they encounter the locals, they are (naturally) mistaken for monsters causing them to retaliate. During these battles, the pair turn into various shapes including a griffin, a werewolf, and a water tornado but he worst transformation is the combination of a giant green fire-breathing gorilla and a walking spiked ice wall. The gorilla gives me some Rampage meets Saiyan Saga Vegeta vibes, but maybe that’s a creature from their world, so I can forgive it. The walking ice wall though is baffling and quite useless. Honestly, why would you choose ice when your twin sister (with whom you share a telepathic link) has the ability to breathe fire? Sure, you’re stopping the bullets, but bullets can go through ice. Plus, you look like a giant spiky potato.
BEST: FORM OF A FLOOD, SHAPE OF AN UNDERWATER T-REX
The two alien teens made their way into the Justice League Unlimited episode “Ultimatum” as part of the Ultimen team. Although in this version, Zan and Jayna appeared more alien and were known as Downpour and Shifter (which is way cooler). As part of Amanda Waller’s Project Cadmus, the siblings were clones implanted with false memories. It’s a very fun episode that reinvents many of the original Super Friends for the Ultimen team.
Downpour and Shifter have one of the coolest scenes where they fight Aquaman. Downpour is able to change into a flood, filling the entire room with water while Shifter takes the shape of an underwater T-Rex (which is honestly more original than anything in Jurassic World). The two hold their own against the King of Atlantis, but ultimately their unstable powers give out.
WORST: FORM OF AN ICE MISSILE
Zan’s limitations of forms of water don’t stop him from trying. In the Super Friends episode “A Pint of Life,” he and Jayna need to get somewhere fast. Rather than Jayna turning into one of those eagles from The Lord of the Rings, Zan turns into...an ice missile.
First off, pretty sure he should be a rocket, not a missile -- since he’s transporting passengers. But not only is this not something that exists anywhere, its shape and pink hue make him look rather… well… like nothing a kid watching cartoons should recognize. This is a horrible choice for very obvious reasons. Just stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to, Zan.
BEST: SHAPE OF A SEA SERPENT
Although the twins aren’t featured much in the Young Justice comic (and when they are they’re usually eating CDs), Jayna does have a cool scene where she changes into a sea serpent. She retains the purple coloring when changing, which is a cool detail. Anything is better than their early 2000s outfits… yikes!
WORST: SHAPE OF AN OSTRICH, FORM OF AN ICE SAIL
By now it’s clear that Zan doesn’t know how ice works. But it’s most obvious in this opening scene from “The Witch’s Arcade” episode of Super Friends. Zan has transformed himself into an ice sail so that he can sit on Jayna’s ostrich back and use the wind to propel them down the boardwalk… on a skateboard. Is this Mad Libs? It’s bizarre on multiple levels. Why does Jayna think that an Ostrich is the best animal to ride a skateboard? There are a million YouTube videos that prove a bulldog is the better choice.
BEST: SHAPE OF AN EAGLE, FORM OF WATER
Probably the most iconic pairing of the Wonder Twins are the eagle and bucket of water. It’s important to note that Zan only turns into the water and Gleek is the one who procures a bucket from somewhere. Jayna lifts Gleek and the bucketed Zan high above to look for a vehicle that is teetering off of a cliff. Not the best use of the form, but since this is a classic, we’ll let it slide.
What's your favorite Wonder Twins transformation? Let us know in our Community!
Wonder twins the
DC Comics characters
This article is about DC Comics. For other uses, see Wondertwins.
The Wonder Twins (Zan and Jayna) are a fictional extraterrestrial twin brother and sister superhero duo who first appeared in Hanna-Barbera's American animated television series The All-New Super Friends Hour. The pair can activate their superpowers by touching hands and saying the phrase "Wonder Twin powers, activate!" Jayna can transform into any animal, and Zan can become water in any state. The pair also have a pet monkey, Gleek, who assists in their crime-fighting activities.
They subsequently appeared in comics based on the animated series and were later introduced into the main DC Comics Universe. They have since appeared in other media, including the animated series Teen Titans Go! and the live-action TV series Smallville.
The duo made their debut in The All-New Super Friends Hour and then appeared in The World's Greatest Super Friends, Super Friends, and Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show. Zan (voiced by Michael Bell) and Jayna (voiced by Louise Williams from 1977-1983 and B. J. Ward in 1984) are siblings from the planet Exxor (also spelled Exor) who were being informally trained by the superheroes. Unlike their predecessors, Wendy Harris and Marvin White, this pair was able to participate in combat with abilities of their own.
Hanna-Barbera animator Darrell McNeil recalls the twins were created by Norman Maurer, the Super Friends series developer/story editor. They were originally called Dick and Jane, and their sidekick was Mighty Monkey, before finally becoming Zan, Jayna, and Gleek. The names "Zan" and "Jayna" derived from the Edgar Rice Burroughs characters Tarzan and his romantic interest Jane. According to McNeil, "Originally Zan (Dick) had 'Plastic Man' powers and Jayna (Jane) could transform into anything, not just animals, but they were scaled back to their present powers as it made the other Super Friends (even Superman) seem almost superfluous." Jayna's distinctive hairdo was based on that of an animation checker at Hanna-Barbera, while the pointed ears were inspired by the character Spock from the Star Trek franchise. The twins' personalities were heavily based on Donny and Marie Osmond, who were extremely popular at the time and had their own show on ABC as well.
The Wonder Twins were the most prominently featured characters in their first season on Super Friends. However, by the final seasons, the twins were largely marginalized in favor of well established DC Comics teenage superheroes like Firestorm, and were wholly eliminated in the final season in favor of Cyborg.
The characters were introduced to comics in issue #7 of the Super Friends tie-in series (cover-dated October 1977, but published in July 1977), by E. Nelson Bridwell and Ramona Fradon. The Super Friends comic book provided considerably more details of the Wonder Twins' background and how they came to join the team than was provided in the television series. Because of the different production lag times between animation and comics, the first comic book appearance is chronologically before the first television appearance.
In the 1990s, they were introduced into the main DC Universe in Extreme Justice #9 (October 1995), by Ivan Velez, Jr. and Al Rio. The series rewrote and updated their origin story. Velez, an avowed die-hard fan of the Wonder Twins, intended to begin a revival of the characters, but was taken off the series after the first issue with the Wonder Twins. Though the twins remained with the series until its cancellation with #18, they were used only sparingly after Velez's departure. Following the cancellation of Extreme Justice, the Wonder Twins showed up only sporadically in the DC Universe, with their last significant appearance being in 2003.
DC published a six-issue Wonder Twins miniseries in 2019, written by Mark Russell and drawn by Stephen Byrne. The series was a critical and commercial success, and was extended into a 12 issue maxi-series.
In November 2019, the first 6 issues of "Wonder Twins" were collected as a trade paper back, and released under the title "Wonder Twins - Activate". In the following August, the second six issues of the maxi-series are being released in another trade paper back titled "The Fall & Rise of the Wonder Twins".
Fictional character biography
Little background is provided for the Wonder Twins in the Super Friends cartoon, save that they are superheroes-in-training that are friends of the Super Friends and were born on November 6.
According to the 1977 Super Friends comic book by writer E. Nelson Bridwell and artist Ramona Fradon, Zan and Jayna are Exorian. The twins are metas, genetic throwbacks to an ancient race of Exorian shapeshifters. Their parents died when they were still babies during a plague, and, because of their origin, no Exorians want to adopt them. They are adopted by the owner of a Space Circus who only wants to use them as sideshow freaks. However, the circus' clown (or "laugh-maker") is a kind man and raises them. He also gives them Gleek as a pet. Eventually, as teens, the pair escape the circus and hide on a planet where a space villain called Grax (an enemy of Superman) has established his headquarters. Spying on him, they learn that Grax is planning to destroy the Earth using hidden superbombs. The twins decide to travel to Earth and warn the Justice League, which is how they come to replace Wendy and Marvin (who were planning on retiring as heroes anyway) as their sidekicks. The heroes arrange for the kids to live with an old scientist named Professor Carter Nichols and they even take secret identities as Johan and Joanna Fleming. "Johan" and "Johanna" were supposedly transfer students from Esko, Sweden, disguised with blonde hair (Zan wore a wig, while Jayna uses her powers to transform into a human to change her hair color and ear shape), to allow them to attend Gotham City High School.
According to the twins' self-titled 2019 series, Zan is older by three minutes.
In 1996, the twins were introduced into post-Crisis DC continuity in the series Extreme Justice as escaped slaves of an alien overlord. Unable to speak English, they inadvertently attack some civilians and the Justice League. During their fight with the JLA, Zan becomes an ice golem, a water monster, and a demonic-looking whirlpool, while Jayna becomes a griffin, a werewolf, and a sea serpent. The pair are later emancipated by the Justice League and join Captain Atom's team in issue #16 (May 1996). That same year, they appeared in the crossover storyline Final Night and in the series Total Justice.
In a 2002–2003 storyline by Peter David and Todd Nauck in Young Justice, they help avenge the murder of Empress' parents, wearing uniforms which resembled T-shirts and jeans. In late 2003, they appeared in the fourth issue of the Marvel-DC intercompany crossover miniseries JLA/Avengers, which was written by Kurt Busiek and illustrated by George Pérez.
In 2007, they appeared in Teen Titans #70, and in 2011, and in DCU: Legacies #9, a story by Len Wein and Rob Leigh.
In "Smallville: Titans", a story arc in the series Smallville season 11, Zan and Jayna are members of the team with Conner Kent/Superboy, Speedy, Blue Beetle and Miss Martian at Jay Garrick's school for the "gifted."
In the 2013 comic Justice League 3000, the handlers of the new Justice League who work for Cadmus Labs were introduced named Teri and Terry, and nicknamed The Wonder Twins.
In "Superpowers", a 2017 backup series in Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye, cartoonist Tom Scioli offers a slightly different version of the origin of the Wonder Twins, set on an alternate Earth.
In February 2019, the first issue of a 6-issue mini-series was released on Wonder Comics, titled "Wonder Twins". It was well received and did so well in sales that it was expanded to a 12-issue maxi-series. The Wonder Comics imprint is considered part of the current DCU, so this places the Wonder Twins in current DC continuity.
In September 2019, the Wonder Twins had a cameo appearance in Action Comics #1015, which also guest starred new Wonder Comics hero Naomi.
Wonder Comics appeared in the crossover storyline that begins in Young Justice issue #12, which features Naomi and the Wonder Twins as guest stars.
The Wonder Twins appeared on the cover of Superman: Heroes #1.
Powers and abilities
The Wonder Twins powers are activated when they touch each other and speak the phrase, "Wonder Twin powers, activate!" Physical contact is required. If the two are out of reach of each other, they are unable to activate their powers. As they are about to transform, they would each announce their intended form. "Shape of...", "Form of..."
Zan can transform into water at any state (solid, liquid, gas) and add to his mass by incorporating water in his immediate area. In the case of becoming solid ice, he can also become any form he chooses, from a 5,000-foot (1,500 m) humanoid ice giant to a cage for a criminal to complex machinery (such as a jet engine, as he did in the episode "Eruption"). In the episode "Pressure Point", he changes into a gelatinous form. In "Terror from the Phantom Zone", he was able to transform into liquid nitrogen. In addition, he can transform himself into atmospheric disturbances (usually very localized) involving water, such as a blizzard, a monsoon, waterspout or a typhoon, as he did in the episodes "The Water Beast", "The Beasts are Coming", and "Stowaways".
Jayna can transform into any animal, whether real, mythological, indigenous to Earth, or indigenous to some other planet like Exxor. Since she must vocalize her choice of form to assume, she must know the common name. As revealed in "The Mummy of Nazca", naming the wrong animal will cause her to assume the wrong animal's form. She has been known to take the form of anything from a mosquito to a whale, as in "The Water Beast" episode.
In the Super Friends comic book, their powers were shown to be more extensive. By transforming into an animal of Kryptonian origin, for instance, Jayna could gain both the creature's natural abilities and the super-powers that all Kryptonians possess under Earth-like conditions; she was even capable of overpowering Superman in the form of a Kryptonian animal. Similarly, Zan was able to transform into anything tangentially related to water or ice, including a frost giant in the "Demons of Exxor" episode.
In addition to their powers of transformation, the two share a telepathic link, enabling one to alert the other over a distance when in dire circumstances, as revealed in the episode "The Village of Lost Souls".
The Wonder Twins have a pet Space Monkey named Gleek, who has a useful prehensile tail and who could act as a conduit for the twins to activate their powers should they be out of reach. Gleek also served as a courier when the twins needed to travel: Jayna would typically transform into a large eagle, and Zan would transform into water, "jumping" into a bucket which Gleek would be holding while clutched by Jayna in her eagle form.
A rarely seen aspect of their powers is the ability to break mind control. On at least two occasions ("Pied Piper From Space" and "Circus of Horrors"), while the twins were under the influence of mind control, Gleek caused them to make contact and the activation of their powers freed them instantly from the mind control.
In other media
- In the Justice League episode "Injustice For All", statues of the Twins are briefly seen in a museum devoted to super-powered heroes. Later in the same scene, the two statues are destroyed during the battle between the heroes and villains.
- In Justice League Unlimited, two characters called Downpour and Shifter appear in the episode "Ultimatum" where they were both voiced by Grey DeLisle. They are members of the Ultimen, a group of superheroes created by the government and Project Cadmus with Maxwell Lord as their sponsor. The group is a pastiche of the heroes that were created for Super Friends, with Downpour and Shifter specifically a pastiche of the Wonder Twins. Downpour and his twin sister Shifter have albino white skin, pink eyes and pointy ears. Downpour would say the name of a liquid in order to turn into that liquid (like flood, water, and tidal wave) while Shifter would say the name of a creature (like a sea serpent, a lion, a rhinoceros, a cape buffalo, and a Tyrannosaurus) in order to become that creature.
- In the late '90s, Zan and Jayna appeared in a promo for Cartoon Network where they demonstrated their powers. Zan expressed disappointment that he only transforms into "lame" things like water and ice. Michael Bell reprised his role as Zan for this promo.
- Zan appeared in season one episode of the Adult Swim series Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law. Here, Zan (voiced by Michael Bell) is on the stand being questioned by Harvey Birdman. In 2006, the Adult Swim website ran a series of five webisodes entitled "The New Adventures of the Wonder Twins". These shorts were not canon, but rather a dark-humorparody. Zan and Jayna were portrayed as well-meaning but inept, with their attempts at heroism always ending in tragic failure.
- In the Family Guy episode "A Fish Out of Water", Peter Griffin and his dog Brian put their rings together and simultaneously say "Wonder Twin powers, activate", after which Peter states what he wants to be changed into. Brian tells him they got the rings as a Franken Berry prize. In another episode, "Fast Times at Buddy Cianci Jr. High", Peter reveals that he was once one of the Wonder Twins. In his flashback, it is revealed that after activating their powers, Peter turned himself into Jayna's tampon. Jayna was voiced by Rachael MacFarlane.
- Zan and Jayna appeared in the Smallville season nine episode, "Idol". Zan was played by David Gallagher and Jayna by Allison Scagliotti. They both carry cell phones that have an image of Gleek on the back and that make the sound of Gleek laughing as a ringtone. Though not explicitly indicated to be aliens, they are implied to be from another world and claim to be of Swedish descent in order to explain their odd-sounding names.
- In The Flash episode "Crazy for You", Barry Allen rescues a man and woman by the names of Jayna and Zay from a burning car. Unlike in the comics, it appears these versions are a couple rather than twins.
- The Wonder Twins appear in the Teen Titans Go! episode "You're Fired" with Zan voiced by Khary Payton and Jayna voiced by Tara Strong. They appear among the heroes at the audition for the replacement of Beast Boy.
- The Wonder Twins' pet Gleek appears in the fifth part of the sixth annual Arrowverse crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths.
The Teen Titans Go! incarnations of the Wonder Twins appear in Lego Dimensions. They appear in a sidequest where Jayna requests the player to find a bucket to catch Zan with in case he tries to escape again like he did in the "You're Fired" episode. The Lego Batman Movie incarnations also cameo in the Lego Batman Movie story pack.
- ^Marc Tyler Nobleman (2011-07-29). "Noblemania: Super '70s and '80s: "Super Friends"—Darrell McNeil, animator". Noblemania.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
- ^ abcdSchwirian, John (February 2010). "Purple Prose: The Perplexing Popularity of the Wonder Twins". Back Issue!. TwoMorrows Publishing (38): 59–64.
- ^Dominguez, Noah (October 6, 2018). "Wonder Twins Activate on First Issue Cover". CBR.com. Retrieved November 21, 2018.
- ^Super Friends #7 (October 1977)
- ^Russell, Mark (w), Byrne, Stephen (a). "The Great Scramble". Wonder Twins #6 (September 2019). DC Comics.
- ^Extreme Justice #9 (October 1995)
- ^Beatty, Scott (2008), "Extreme Justice", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 117, ISBN , OCLC 213309017
- ^Kesel, Karl (w), Immonen, Stuart (p), Marzan, Jose, Jr.(i). "Dusk". Final Night #1 (November 1996). DC Comics.
- ^Priest, Christopher (w), Bernado, Ramón José; Morgan, Tom (p), Giordano, Dick (i). Total Justice #1–2 (October - November 1996). DC Comics.
- ^David, Peter (w), Nauck, Todd (p), Various (i). Young Justice #49–51 (November 2002–January 2003) DC Comics.
- ^Rogers, Vaneta (October 3, 2013). "BRYAN Q. MILLER Brings the TEEN TITANS To SMALLVILLE". Newsarama.
- ^"Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye" #1 (October 2016). DC Comics.
- ^Super Friends #42 (March 1981)--Jayna defeats Superman in a training exercise by becoming a Kryptonian Tanthou Flez ("Winged One")
- ^"I Was the Bathwater - Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law - Adult Swim Video". Video.adultswim.com. 2007-06-22. Archived from the original on 2012-12-31. Retrieved 2013-09-10.
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