Friday, November 13, 2009

The Wonder Twins on Smallville; review: Super Friends #37


Any one else excited about tonight's episode of Smallville? There have been many appearances by DC Comic characters on the show ... so why not The Wonder Twins!

Here is the YouTube link to the preview in case you haven't seen it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj2UNOZuflQ



That's right ... The Wonder Twins, Zan and Jayna. She could take 'the shape' of any animal. He could take 'the form' of anything made of water. On the Super Friends, they had tepid solo adventures that were, in essence, public service announcements against cheating, joy riding, etc.

With the Wonder Twins making their live debut, I figured I would dust off their one adventure with Supergirl, Super Friends #37.



Released way back in 1980, Super Friends #37 had a fairly legendary creative team. E. Nelson Bridwell wrote the story. Ramona Fradon was the penciller.

Titled 'Bad Weather for Supergirl', the issue gives a less than flattering portrayal of the Maid of Might. Even the cover has her sulking enviously while children fawn over the Super Friends.


The issue opens up with Supergirl telling the Super Friends that she, as Linda Danvers, is bringing some of her students from the New Athens Experimental School to Gotham City on a field trip. The trip is to attend the Nostalgia Convention, a sort of historical and pop culture exhibit and fair.

Since her students are big fans of the Super Friends, Linda is hoping that cousin Kal and his friends will drop by and say hello.



While waiting to check into the hotel, everyone notices that it is snowing ... an oddity given that it is the summer.

Linda sneaks off to investigate as Supergirl. She quickly discovers that it is the Weather Wizard who is trying to steal a valuale collection of presidential campaign buttons.


Wonder Woman also arrives to see what is causing the snow. The Weather Wizard turns out to be wily foe. He dispatches Wonder Woman with a point blank lightning bolt to the face.

Supergirl is able to save the Amazon and grab the stolen buttons. Unfortunately, the Wizard escaoes during the confusion.

Despite her heroics, Supergirl is sort of shunned by the students who flock to Wonder Woman to get an autograph.


It seems somewhat petty that Supergirl would get flustered like that.

And it certainly reads strange to hear her say 'I like being a celebrity, I hate being ignored!' Doesn't really read like a true hero does it? In fact sounds kind of creepy.


Back at the hotel, the kids ask why the Weather Wizard would steal some buttons. Linda explains that they are valuable because they are so rare.

In fact, lots of other collectibles can be valuable: comic books, movie posters, baseball cards.

As a kid, this was the first time I ever heard of something like a 'comic book convention'. I thought it sounded like the best thing since sliced bread.


Assuming that the Weather Wizard will strike again at another priceless collection, the Super Friends decide to stake out the convention. Again, the students flock to the Super Friends which makes Linda more jealous.

I think I would be more angry than jealous if my students thought the Wonder Twins were cooler than Supergirl. I mean ... really ... the Wonder Twins? It would mean that as a teacher/guidance councilor that I am not educating them.


The Super Friends' hunch turns out to be correct. The Weather Wizard does return.

One thing that I do like about this story is how confident Supergirl is portrayed when dealing with the villain. I like her witty banter as she confronts him. Unfortunately, the Weather Wizard collapses the roof on top of the patrons. Supergirl has no choice but to save the attendees and allow the Wizard to run off.


In what is the most unbelievable part of the story, the Weather Wizard actually evades direct interactions with Batman and Robin, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Superman.

He is about to escape when he is thrown back into the hotel by Zan who has taken the form of a monsoon. Jayna catches him in her shape of an elephant and tosses him to the waiting Supergirl.

That's right! It's the Wonder Twins and Supergirl who catch the villain and save the day!


The next morning, the students run to buy a copy of the Gotham Gazette hoping it will be loaded with pictures of the Super Friends. Instead, the front page is dominated by pictures of Supergirl!
They don't seem to understand that, for Gotham, Supergirl is the news. The Super Friends are always around. Her battered ego soothed, Linda puts on a big smile. The front page story has made her day.

Well ... I hope people weren't expecting War And Peace. This was the Super Friends after all, the Johnny DC title of its time. While it was good to expose the title's readers to Supergirl this wasn't a great showcase for Kara. Supergirl comes off a bit petulant. Still, in the end, she was the most effective hero against the villain and saves the day. The Fradon art is clean and simple, appropriate for the book.

As for Super Friends #37's place in a Supergirl collection, I find that owning these rarer appearances in odd books (like the seat belt public service issues or the Radio Shack computer issues) are what make me think I am approaching a more comprehensive Supergirl collection. For that reason, I think it fills an appropriate niche in a Supergirl collection. If you can find this issue it is usually around $5.

And as for the Wonder Twins, I am interested to see what Smallville does with the characters.

Overall grade: C

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Given the fact that a played out and poorly inked Win Mortimer was SG's prime penciler in those days, I'd a killed to get Ramona Fradon on Supergirl.
:D
And yes, the story kinda patronizes Kara...On the other hand Kal IS the job, kousin Kara LOVES the job so of the two she'd be the one who'd be more alert to the perks of being a celebrity.
:D

John Fer

Saranga said...

ooh I may be spending this weekend catching up on smallville..

Nikki said...

I'm very hesitant about the Wonder Twins, especially the hero worship they seem to have. I'll see it tomorrow, still have to catch up on last night's sueprnatural. Speaking of smallville, i can't wait for 'Society'!

Gene said...

With regards to Smallville, call me when Kara comes back. I keep seeing articles on the Superman Homepage that Martian Manhunter and Zatanna will come back. What do Supergirl fans get? Lara Vandervoort (who happened to be across the street in Vancouver filming "V") saying in an interview that she hopes she comes back.

I was also not pleased with that depiction of Supergirl in that Super Friends comic, especially when Wonder Woman bossed her around. Yet I wonder why Supergirl never made an appearance on the actual cartoon itself?

Anj said...

And yes, the story kinda patronizes Kara...On the other hand Kal IS the job, kousin Kara LOVES the job so of the two she'd be the one who'd be more alert to the perks of being a celebrity.


I agree ... Kara loves being the hero. That is pretty evident.

Anj said...

Speaking of smallville, i can't wait for 'Society'!

Me too.

Sounds like a lot of the JSAers are going to be showcased.

Anj said...

Speaking of smallville, i can't wait for 'Society'!

Me too.

Sounds like a lot of the JSAers are going to be showcased.

Anj said...

What do Supergirl fans get? Lara Vandervoort (who happened to be across the street in Vancouver filming "V") saying in an interview that she hopes she comes back.

I saw that interview on Attack of the Show. I'll probably post about it tomorrow.

I really hope Smallville brings her back again.

Mart said...

Lovely memories, thank you. That's MY Supergirl! New Athens Experimental School . . . that was before the Secret Hearts soap gig? She was sooooo fame hungry, that girl - maybe it came from all those years of being shut away and mostly ignored by Cousin Kal?

TalOs said...

Zan and Jayna rock!!! BD

God how I loved watching Super Friends every Sat morn growing up in the 80's!

Anj said...

Assuming that the Weather Wizard will strike again at another priceless collection, the Super Friends decide to stake out the convention. Again, the students flock to the Super Friends which makes Linda more jealous.

I think I would be more angry than jealous if my students thought the Wonder Twins were cooler than Supergirl. I mean ... really ... the Wonder Twins? It would mean that as a teacher/guidance councilor that I am not educating them.

With all due respect Anj, huh? If Supergirl were to do that last part advised wouldn't that just make the students think their teacher is bias if anything? :/

Man I can't wait to also see this particular ep of Smallville! :D

Anj said...

Lovely memories, thank you. That's MY Supergirl! New Athens Experimental School . . . that was before the Secret Hearts soap gig?

Yes ... that was before the move to NY and becoming a soap opera star.

I admit I haven't done many back issue peeks at those Superman Family issues. I'll see if I can find one soon.

Anj said...

With all due respect Anj, huh? If Supergirl were to do that last part advised wouldn't that just make the students think their teacher is bias if anything? :/


Thanks for the post.

I think that reflects my bias against the Wonder Twins.

You're right. Supergirl would celebrate all heroes.

Anonymous said...

I take the contrary position re. Smallville, I earnestly hope Vandervoort and Kara do not make any more appearances on said series. the producers have made clear their discomfort with the character, given the plunge in Smallville's ratings it seems logical to assume that if Kara came back it would only be for an epic death scene something to goose the ratings.
I liked LV's performance, she SMOKED Tom Welling and made him look like an Easter Island monolith, but the showrunners can't be trusted with Supergirl, so I say let it go.

John Feer