Nyeun Chun Ti (Persuader)

Next in Lucy W.‘s neverending list is the imposing Persuader, a villain from the future. The axeman appears in Smallville, portrayed by stuntman Fraser Aitcheson. In the show, he’s a member of the Human Supremacist Movement, a xenophobic terrorist group; he comes back to the XXI Century to kill young Clark Kent, so ensuring Brainiac‘s survival and making so that he doesn’t inspire other aliens to come to Earth. Just as he’s about to kill the not-so-invincible Clark, he’s attacked and defeated by the Legion members who followed him, and sent back to his time. Despite his brief screentime, this appearance shows quite well the amount of raw power possessed by the Persuader, and especially by his unique weapon. Let’s see together who he is originally.

Nyeun Chun Ti was born in the XXX Century on an unnamed planet, characterized by a very strong gravity: as a result, all its inhabitants were remarkably strong and durable, a lot more than most of the other races. He received as family inheritance an incredible weapon of unknown origin, the Atomic Axe (even if it resembled more a halberd than a proper axe), and the legacy and name of the Persuader, a masked identity that had been feared for centuries also on other planets, like Earth, the world Nyeun’s ancestors came from. With his Atomic Axe, also the new Persuader became a criminal, an infamous thief who appeared to be pretty much unstoppable for the regular police force: his weapon could “cut” also the anti-gravity energy that allowed cops and their ships to fly, and their weapons couldn’t penetrate his tough skin. There was no law enforcer who had even the slightest chance to restrain him, thus the Persuader had the whole universe at his disposal…until a new law force emerged, the Legion of Super-Heroes. This new intergalactic police force was composed of many extraordinary individuals with astounding abilities, and even the Persuader was eventually defeated and caught by them. Under normal circumstances, he would have spent in prison a lot of time, but those were not peaceful times: the Controllers had developed a cataclysmic weapon, a Sun-Eater, a semi-sentient anomaly that destroyed stars. Unable to stop it alone, the Legion enlisted the aid of some of the galaxy’s worst and most powerful criminals, who would have assisted them in exchange of full pardon for their crimes: the mystic Emerald Empress, the man with the fatal touch Mano, the cyborg Tharok, the monstrous titan Validus…and the Persuader, of course.

The Persuader did his part, and assisted the Legion and his fellow criminals in finding a way to destroy the Sun-Eater; eventually, the threat was annihilated by one of the Legionnaires, Ferro Lad, who sacrificed himself in a kamikaze attack against the living weapon. The five criminals received full pardon as promised…but they had no intention to change life at all: together, they formed the Fatal Five, a small villainous team that became one of the gravest threats ever for the Legion of Super-Heroes. Tharok led the team, being the only one strong and smart enough to control all the others and to use each one’s skills at best. Persuader loyally followed him, and under his command he managed to conquer an entire planet from another dimension, using his Atomic Axe to open a breach between two planes of existences. When Tharok died, the Emerald Empress took the leadership, and the Persuader was the only one among the original Fatal Five who remained by her side. It was possibly during this time that he conceived a daughter with an unknown woman, someone who, one day, would have inherited both the Atomic Axe and the name Persuader after him. Along with the Empress, the Persuader recruited other three members to replace the missing ones: the fire-manipulating Flare, the acid-emitting Caress, and Mentalla, a powerful telepath who had been rejected by the Legion and looked for retribution. Many members succeeded in the group, but the Persuader always remained, proving to be irreplaceable. In one of his most ambitious plans ever, the Persuader used his Atomic Axe to cut through Hypertime, gathering from other dimensions, timelines and realities alternate versions of the Fatal Five, forming the Fatal Five-Hundred. In front of such a force, even the Legion of Super-Heroes paled in comparison, but also they had a backup in the form of the Teen Titans, another team from the past. The clash between the two coalitions would have been a showdown to be remembered for eons.

Nyeun Chun Ti is a brutal and greedy man, a natural predator who takes whatever he wants and stomps on whoever stands in his way. As the Persuader, he possesses superhuman strength and durability, and he wields the Atomic Axe, a unique weapon that follows his mental commands, and that can cut through literally anything, including energy and abstract things such gravity and magnetism. Basically a brute with an unstoppable weapon, the Persuader is nevertheless a force to be reckoned with, much more than a simple goon, not to be underestimated…


Nathaniel Tryon (Neutron)

Lucy W.‘s next character brings us to Smallville once again, as we meet less-then-secondary villain Neutron. In the episode Injustice, poor Neutron, portrayed by Jae Lee, is recruited by Tess Mercer to be a member of her super-team tasked with hunting down and destroying Doomsday…but he’s the only one who gets killed by the unstoppable behemoth, and off-screen even. This was possibly the most underused appearance of an established DC character in the show, cameos apart, as poor Neutron has actually a bigger history behind. Not much bigger, but bigger nevertheless. Let’s see together.

Nathaniel Tryon was born and raised in Metropolis, but nothing else is known about his early years. At a certain point in his life, he met two men, Ted Grand and Tim Moore, who became his friends and business partners. Specifically, the business the three were up to was the criminal one, as they sold their services to the highest bidder as professional saboteurs, nicknamed the TNT Trio. Hired by Lex Luthor to wreck a nuclear power plant, the three criminals made some serious miscalculation, and caused a meltdown while they were still inside. After a small explosion, Nat found himself trapped under some lead debris, while the other two abandoned him and tried to make an escape. Superman intervened, and while he successfully apprehended Grand and Moore, he failed to locate Tryon, as his X-ray vision didn’t penetrate lead. Using the last of his strength, Tryon managed to free himself, and he reached the rendezvous point in Lair #16…where Luthor himself diagnosed him a severe radiation poisoning. Claiming he could cure him, Luthor placed Tryon under an experimental ray, that was actually aimed to turn him into a super-powered agent to use against Superman. The process was supposed to last a week, but in the meanwhile Luthor was arrested, and Nat Tryon was left dormant under the ray for over a year. A fierce battle between Superman and the Mole eventually woke him up, but  by that time he wasn’t human anymore: Luthor’s machine had turned him into a being of sentient nuclear energy, kept from dispersing only by an experimental suit. Seeking revenge, Tryon named himself Neutron, and started looking for the ones he deemed responsible for his situation: Grand and Moore, who had abandoned him, and Superman, who had failed to save him. Twice.

Neutron had an easy job in finding Ted Grand and Tim Moore, as the two had changed nothing in their habits during the last year. Although he swiftly killed Grand, Neutron was stopped by murdering Moore as well by Superman, his third target. After a battle during which Tryon prove to be quite a threat for the Man of Steel as well, Neutron was defeated and imprisoned, locked in a cell specifically designed for him. Much to everybody’s surprise, his own included, Nat didn’t spend much time in jail, as a lawyer financed by Abraxas Industries, managed to convince a parole board to free him. The man behind the operation was the immortal Vandal Savage, who wanted to use him as a pawn in a plan against Superman…something that Neutron gladly agreed to help with. Trying to make the Man of Steel lose his popularity, Savage sent Neutron to wreak a building, making it look like the usual supervillain property-damage thing. Superman intervened, and although it was Neutron who struck the first blow, the hero answered proportionally…but at the end of it, Neutron told the media that the hero had attacked him while he was legally demolishing a building, a poor worker assaulted during his honest job. This part of the plan went smoothly, but eventually Superman had the upper hand in exposing Savage as the true villain of the story, and Neutron was arrested as a consequence, locked in a special cell in S.T.A.R. Labs, where some experts studied his unique physiology. When the villainous Psimon attacked the Labs to free his teammate Jinx, he manipulated Dr. Jenet Klyburn to release Neutron as well, making him a member of the new incarnation of the Fearsome Five. A couple of rounds with the Teen Titans were enough to convince Neutron to leave the team and be on his own: in his condition, he would have always found someone eager to hire him…

Nathaniel “Nat” Tryon is a greedy and ambitious man, haunted by a remarkable bad luck that put him in the way of a series of coincidental and surreal incidents. As Neutron, he’s an entity composed of living nuclear energy, able to maintain his human form only thanks to his suit, outside of which he can exist only for brief periods of time; he possesses enough strength to harm Superman, and enough durability to sustain his blows, and he can absorb and release an unspecified amount of energy, he can fly, and he can shoot powerful energy blasts. A short-tempered villain driven by rage and thirst for vengeance, Neutron is literally a walking atomic bomb, a nuclear man who threatens with his mere presence those around him.

Terrence Sloane (Mister Terrific)

We’re still far from the conclusion of Lucy W.‘s immense list, but now we can get down from space and meet another historical DC superhero, Mr. Terrific…well, the original one, Terry Sloane. Albeit being mentioned more than once in Arrow as a retired wrestler who donned the “Fair Play” belt because he never cheated on the ring, his last and only live action appearance dates back to Smallville, and in a picture only. He’s said by Dr. Fate to be “not terrific anymore”, maybe hinting at his death, but we don’t know anything for sure about him after being arrested following the anti-vigilante law. In the comics, he’s much more loved by the crowd. Let’s see together.

Born in New York City, Terry Sloane always stated, and demonstrated, that he was good in everything he did. A child prodigy, he completed high school when he was barely eleven years old, and the following year he was a college graduated already. Not satisfied with perfecting his mind alone, Terry also became an athlete, reaching an Olympic level in no time. Looking for new challenges, he founded his own company and entered business, and even there he was met with an overwhelming success, earning a great fortune with almost no effort. From the outside, Terry’s life was simply perfect, an unending sequence of successes and triumphs…but for its protagonist it was becoming a real curse. There was nothing that could put Terry in difficulty, nothing to give him purpose, he succeeded in everything and life held no surprise for him anymore. Deeply depressed because of his very perfection, Terry Sloane contemplated suicide. Just as he was about to kill himself, however, the man spotted a woman jumping from a bridge: he saved her, and learnt that she was Wanda Wilson, desperate for the fate of her younger brother, Billy, who had become a devout follower of a local mob boss, Big Shot. Wanting to do something good before bidding farewell to the world, Terry found a fancy costume and mask, and reached the hoodlums to challenge Big Shot. The outcome of the duel was predictable, and Big Shot ran out of the city with his tail between his legs. The kids who previously idolized the gangster now looked at the mysterious masked hero as a role-model, and Terry realized he could still do a lot if he became a beacon of honesty, altruism and “fair play” for younger generations. Inspired by that night, he became Mister Terrific.

Mr. Terrific’s first adventures revolved around Wanda Wilson and the kids from the slum, as he helped the young woman clearing her name after she was framed by another gangster, Jason Bleek, and founded the Fair Play Club to keep the kids far from criminality. He single-handedly dismembered the criminal empires of renowned gangsters such as Skinny McSlugg, Muggsy McGraff, Black Barax and many others, even helping personal friends of his in their problems. Finally, he had found a new purpose in his spotless life, but New York was just the beginning. Such a number of successes against criminality couldn’t go unnoticed, and Mister Terrific was contacted by the heroes of the Justice Society of America, and offered membership. He just couldn’t leave “his” kids alone, so he only accepted to become a reserve member, but his existence and exploits were now of public knowledge. When World War II began, Terrific became part of another group of heroes, the All-Star Squadron, and followed them in several missions, during which he also fought side by side with the JSA again. During one of such missions, Terry Sloane followed the time-traveling Black Barax to the future, where he met two members of the future JSA, Hawkgirl and another man who claimed to be the new Mister Terrific, chairman of the team. Flattered by the homage his successor paid to him, Mr. Terrific I was also happy to see that Mr. Terrific II was an African-American man, and that he was granted equal rights in a future not so distant from his own. Together with them, Sloane defeated Black Barax and convinced him to go back to his time, the same destination he headed to. Back in the 1940s, Mr. Terrific continued both to run his company, from time to time teaching at university, and with his heroic career, often teaming up with another member of the JSA, the Spectre. It was while working with him against one of his nemesis, the Spirit King, that Terrific made a mistake that would have changed his life forever…

Terry Sloane is a genius born, a brilliant academic, a resourceful businessman, an artist and a scientist, a devoted teacher and a passionate educator…a real Renaissance man who has more talents that he himself can count. As Mr. Terrific, he doesn’t possess any superhuman powers, but he’s a superb athlete and hand-to-hand combatant, a genius tactician with eidetic memory, a champion in whatever discipline he tests himself into. Committed to be an example for the kids, Mister Terrific lets all his deeds speak of a honest, upright and incorruptible way of living, following his philosophy of “fair play” printed on his very belt. For a man who has everything, dedicating his immense talent to others is the only thing that can keep him alive.

Mad Harriet

On with Lucy W.‘s request, we meet Mad Harriet, the last New God who ever had a live action version. She of course appeared in Smallville, where she was portrayed by Lindsay Hartley as Granny Goodness‘ second in command. She looked like a female Freddy Krueger, wearing a bladed glove forged in Kryptonite, and she was knocked out by Tess Mercer in her effort to kill her. In the comics, she doesn’t have any glove, being actually the only one among the Female Furies not to have a trademark weapon…and she definitely isn’t this pretty. Let’s see together.

Raised on Apokolips, the girl known as Mad Harriet lived in the hellish orphanage run by Granny Goodness, and since she was a child she stood out for her unnatural taste for violence and torture…as well as for her crippling insanity. Despite this last detail, Granny Goodness selected her as one of the first Female Furies, the elite squad trained to serve Darkseid at the maximum of their capacities, and she received the name Mad Harriet. Unlike her “sisters”, Harriet didn’t want any weapon, preferring to tear the flesh of her enemies with her bare hands…but she was provided power spikes that imbued her sharp claws with energy nevertheless. During the first mission of the Female Furies on Earth, the girls were opposed by the Suicide Squad, and Mad Harriet found a natural adversary in Bronze Tiger. The martial artist, albeit mortal, proved to be more than a match for the New God, and Harriet nearly lost her life, but she loved any single moment of it. This was but the first time her path crossed with the one of people from Earth, and every time Mad Harriet managed to stand out among her sisters, always being a relentless and uncontrollable fighter. She even befriended a mortal, Harley Quinn, whose insanity perfectly matched her own, but for this she was scolded and punished by Bernadeth, the co-leader of the Furies, who couldn’t abide a New God getting close to a mortal. Not that Harriet didn’t enjoy her punishment, of course.

Her missions, of course, led her not only against humans, but also against the New Gods of New Genesis, Apokolips’ sworn enemies. During one of these, she was even captured by the enemy, but she was sent back to Apokolips, as her unpredictable insanity made her far a too dangerous prisoner to be of any use. She came back to Earth soon enough, when a rogue Parademon stole a Beta-3 Gizmoid, a world-killer device invented by DeSaad, and hid it on the planet before being killed by his companions. The planet’s destruction caused by an Apokoliptian device would have started a war with New Genesis Darkseid wasn’t yet ready for, so the Female Furies were sent to St. Roch, Louisiana, to retrieve the machine. The Female Furies arrived on Earth with a Boom Tube, but it was too late already: the Gizmoid had begun its mission and copied the template of Hawkgirl, becoming a robotic version of the heroine, apparently unstoppable. Even Bernadeth’s attacks didn’t have the slightest effect on the machine, and it looked like any attempt to stop it was destined to fail…until the real Hawkgirl, previously knocked out by the Gizmoid, came back to her senses, and allied herself with the Female Furies. The attack this time was successful, as Hawkgirl cauterized any wound left open by the Female Furies, so that the Gizmoid couldn’t regenerate itself, until it fell apart. Hawkgirl, overfatigued, collapsed, but Bernadeth forbid Mad Harriet, Bloody Mary and the others from killing her, recognizing the heroine’s worth, and sparing her for the time being as a sign of gratitude. Mad Harriet came back to Apokolips with a very much alive thirst for blood, certainly not satisfied by a mission with no casualty left behind…

Mad Harriet is a completely deranged woman, a sadistic and masochist monster who enjoys inflicting and suffering pain. As a New God, she’s an immortal with superhuman strength, speed, durability, stamina and agility, while as a Female Fury she’s a superb hand-to-hand combatant, who wields power spikes that imbue her claws with energy and make them able to cut through also the flesh of the most powerful beings in the universe. Crazy, unpredictable and cruel, Mad Harriet is one of the most dangerous beings on Apokolips, a psychopathic warrior with no restraint and no sanity left.

Garth Ranzz (Lightning Lad)

After three months of new characters, we can finally come back to the requests left hanging, at least before the Christmas hiatus. Starting from Lucy W., we meet another member (the last one, at least for now) of the Legion of Super-Heroes: Lightning Lad. Always appearing in Smallville, he is portrayed by Callum Worthy, and he’s one of the three Legionnaires coming back in time to help Clark…and he’s quite an overzealous fan of Superman, nearly disappointed by “how normal” he is as a young man. In the comics, of course, most of his adventures take place in the future, albeit with the usual continuity issues. Let’s take a look.

Son of Luc and Perla Ranzz, Garth Ranzz was born in the 30th Century on planet Winath, an agrarian planet on the border between the Dominion space and the United Planets one (albeit it was part of the latter). The second of three siblings, Garth grew up with his older brother Mekt and his twin sister Ayla, and they were pretty close. Once, the three siblings were invited to a party on another planet in the system, but on their way back home their ship experienced a malfunction: it crash-landed on Korbal, a small planetoid rich of wild life. The ship was out of power, and Garth, always the impulsive one, had the not-so-bright idea to lure a herd of Lightning Beasts, the top predator of the planet, near the ship, so that they could recharge it with the electricity they spontaneously generated. The plan didn’t go exactly as Garth wanted, and the Beasts ended up attacking him and his siblings. Instead of killing them, however, the lightning bolts imbued the Ranzz trio with the ability to generate electricity from their bodies, an effect of the Beast’s energy united with the genetic experimentation Winathians suffered at the hands of the Dominators decades before. With their new abilities, Garth, Mekt and Ayla recharged the ship themselves, and headed back home. Not much time passed, however, before Mekt mysteriously disappeared, leaving his family to worry. Wanting to know what had happened to his brother, Garth left Winath as well, and he boarded a shuttle directed to Earth, in the travel that would have changed his life forever.

On his same shuttle was traveling R. J. Brande, one of the most influential and powerful billionaires of the galaxy…and his wannabe killer. Alerted by Imra Ardeen, a girl from Titan who had read the assassin’s mind with her telepathic abilities, Garth joined forces with Rokk Krinn, a guy from Braal who possessed magnetic powers, and together they foiled the attempt at Brande’s life. The billionaire was grateful to the trio, but also impressed by their abilities: he told them they should have stuck together and made a job out of their heroism, and he even offered to finance their group. As the trio accepted his offer, Brande petitioned to the government of the United Planets, and obtained the foundation of the Legion of Super-Heroes, an inter-planetary group sanctioned by the government and tasked with patrolling the galaxy. Garth took the name Lightning Boy (later Lightning Lad, that would have become his main one, and eventually Lightning Man), and joined the group as one of the three founding members, along with Imra, who became known as Saturn Girl, and Rokk, Cosmic Boy. Lightning Lad immediately bonded with Cosmic Boy, and the two became best buddies in no time, but he also developed some deeper feelings for Saturn Girl, who however didn’t seem to reciprocate his affection. As the Legion of Super-Heroes started collecting more and more members from all around the galaxy, the original trio decided to use a newfound time traveling technology to visit the past and learn from the greatest heroes of history. In their time travels, they gained two remarkable honorary members: Superboy and Supergirl. The situation with Imra, however, was going nowhere…at least until Zaryan the Conqueror threatened the girl’s life…

Garth Ranzz is an easy-going, fun-loving guy, quite impulsive and aggressive, but always trying to do the right thing (at least until he doesn’t lose his temper). As Lightning Lad, he’s able to absorb electrical energy from the surroundings, and channel it usually for offensive purposes in the form of lightning bolts; his prosthetic arm augments his powers several times, making him able to single-handedly repel even Prince Evillo‘s Devil Dozen. Despite being a hot-head who seldom listens to orders, Lightning Lad is nevertheless a trustworthy and dependable ally, a friend ready to give his own life for his teammates, especially for the one who would have become his wife, Saturn Girl.

Imra Ardeen (Saturn Girl)

In the meanwhile we also have our tv series to take care of, so this week (and the next ones) will be pretty cramped. In this week’s episode of Supergirl a lot of things happened: in Wake Up, in fact, Mon-El comes back to Earth on some spaceship, but he acts weird. We learn he comes from the future, and that he also has a wife…Imra Ardeen, portrayed by Amy Jackson. Imra comes from the moon Titan, and her name is definitely not an unknown one, as she’s the leader of a popular team of superheroes from the future that also Mon-El is part of in the comics. Imra already appeared in Smallville, this time with her alias Saturn Girl, portrayed by Alexz Johnson: she comes back in time with her teammates Cosmic Boy and Lightning Lad to help Clark in dealing with Brainiac, who’s successfully possessing Chloe Sullivan. Now, let’s take a look at the first female character ever to be portrayed as the leader of her team.

Imra Ardeen was born on Titan, a moon of Saturn, , in the XXX Century, and she was member of a race of powerful telepaths. Since she was little more than a kid it was apparent that her natural abilities surpassed by far the average ones of her people, and she felt the commitment to do something good with her powers. Growing up, she became more and more convinced to join the Science Police, the military branch of the United Planets. She was admitted to the academy as a teenager, and she left her homeplanet to start the job of her dreams…but destiny wanted something different for her, apparently. On the cargo bringing her to Earth, Imra heard with her telepathy the thoughts of someone who was planning to assassinate one of the passengers, billionaire R. J. Brande. Wanting to stop the murderer, Imra managed to obtain the help of two other young men on the cargo, Garth Ranzz, from Winath, and Rokk Krinn, from Braal: together, the trio managed to stop the assassination, thus earning Brande’s gratitude. The billionaire, in fact, was so impressed by the teenagers’ work that he recognized in them heroes able to take up the legacy of long lost legends like Superman, and prompted them to officially take the mantle of superheroes. Intrigued, the three of them accepted the offer, and naming themselves, respectively, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad and Cosmic Boy, they founded the Legion of Superheroes, starting to operate anywhere in the galaxy, and looking for new recruits to join them in patrolling the system. Many young heroes from all corners of the universe joined them, including Brainiac 5, who opened to them the possibilities of time travel: now, they could recruit heroes also from other eras.

While still under the unofficial guidance of Cosmic Boy, the team traveled back to the XX Century, where they recruited a young Superman. They also saved him from the Legion of Super-Villains, and Imra even offered her own life in exchange of Superboy‘s one, even if she was eventually saved by Saturn Queen. Messing with time, however, also brought some unwanted knowledge: she learnt that a member of the still growing Legion was fated to die in 2975, the same year the team had organized elections to decide their leader. Imra used her telepathy to mind-control all the others and force them to elect her, so that, when the time came and Zarya the Conqueror attacked, she ordered everybody to stand down, prohibiting them to use their powers, and offering herself as a sacrifice. Garth, however, disobeyed her: in love with her since the first moment he saw her, he offered his own life in her place, and turned out to be the Legionnaire destined to die. Distraught by her friend’s death, Saturn Girl finally realized that she reciprocated his feelings, and she became obsessed with bringing him back. Saturn Girl eventually found a way to resurrect Lightning Lad, but this required a life for a life…and, once again, she was ready to sacrifice herself to bring Lightning Lad back. Just before she could make the ultimate sacrifice, however, Saturn Girl was knocked out by Proty, a shape-shifting member of the Legion companion to Chameleon Boy, who was deeply attached to her. Proty transformed into Imra, and died in her place. Lightning Lad came back, and he declared his love to Saturn Girl, who did the same: the two became a couple, but Imra still had to face her fellow Legionnaires, who now knew she had manipulated them in electing her. She was surprised, however, in seeing that they actually valued her leadership, and that they were grateful for her attempt to save them all: they confirmed her as the team’s leader, and they even re-elected her for a second term. Many challenges were awaiting the heroine, but first she had to plan her long-awaited marriage with Garth…

Imra Ardeen is a heroic and selfless girl, a committed heroine who feels the responsibility coming from her abilities, and who’s always ready to sacrifice herself for others (even too much…). As Saturn Girl, her natural abilities grant her telepathy, which she mastered to the point of being at the same level of Martian Manhunter: she can read and communicate thoughts, she can mind-control other people, she can communicate telepathically even from a dimension to another, and she can even project strong mind-blasts; the Legion’s technology allows her to fly and to travel through time, and she’s a skilled tactician and hand-to-hand combatant. One of the greatest heroes of her time, Saturn Girl leads one of the largest and most powerful teams in history, acting as moral guidance to young heroes who rightfully look to her for inspiration.

Zan & Jayna (Wonder Twins)

Two in one, as the next entry in Lucy W.‘s list is the dynamic duo known as the Wonder Twins. Originated in the Super Friends tv series, they were soon included in the comics, and they both made their live action debut in Smallville Season 9, portrayed by David Gallagher and Allison Scagliotti. In the show, Zan and Jayna are not aliens as in the comics, but they’re a couple of metahumans with shapeshifting abilities who idolize The Blur. Unfortunately, while trying to help him in doing something good for Metropolis, they actually put him in trouble with authorities, but they eventually learn that being heroes is all about responsibilities rather than having fun stopping the bad guys. They also make some sort of cameo in The Flash, as the man and wife (weird…) rescued by Flash at the beginning of Crazy for You, portrayed by Matthew Yanagiya and Crystal Mudry. They didn’t have any sort of superpowers here…but maybe they just forgot to say “Powers activated!“. Let’s see together (multiple realities ahead).

In the first version of their origins, Zan and Jayna were twins born on planet Exxor. Unlike the absolute majority of Exxorians, they still carried an ancient gene that had granted shapeshifting abilities to their race in old times. Seen as mutants and outcasts by the other aliens, the twins were raised by their parents, but when mother and father died, they found themselves alone in the world: nobody wanted to take care of freaks like them. Well, amost nobody: only a freakshow wanted freaks, so Zan and Jayna joined a Space Circus and started travelling the galaxies as two of the main attractions, with Zan being able to transform in water (any form) and Jayna in any known animal. Luckily enough, the circus owner, known only as the Laugh-Maker, was a good man, and he treated the two orphans kindly; he even gave them a rare blue Exxorian monkey as a pet, an animal who became a trustworthy companion and who they named Gleek. The trio became quite famous at the circus, but eventually Zan and Jayna started to feel wary about their life as “artists”. When it became clear the Laugh-Maker didn’t want his most popular attraction to leave the show, Zan and Jayna exploited a moment of distraction to escape (with Gleek following them). Hiding on a transport ship, they succesfully reached another planet. While exploring their new world, however, they stumbled upon a dangerous man, a space conqueror named Grax. The four-armed alien was planning a vendetta against his nemesis, Superman, and quite in a big scale, as he wanted to destroy planet Earth using experimental super-bombs. Basically good kids, the twins decided they had to do something about it, and snuck on another ship to reach Earth. Once on the planet, they took contact with the Justice League of America while searching for Superman: they warned the heroes of Grax’s plan, allowing them to defend their planet in time. Grateful, the JLA offered them membership, and the Wonder Twins, as they were called, became the heroes’ sidekicks. They were even “adopted” by Professor Carter Nichols, from Gotham City, and pretended to be Swedish students Johan and Johanna Fleming to blend in. Finally, a brand new life could truly begin for them.

After Chrisis on Infinite Earths, the Wonder Twins’ story was rebooted as everything else. In New Earth, Zan and Jayna were always born on Exxor, but their world’s condition and fate was much different. All Exxorians were able to shapeshift, but their planet was conquered by a brutal warlord (possibly Monarch), who enslaved their people, twins included. Thanks to their incredible powers, however, the two siblings managed to escape their master, and they stole a ship. They crash-landed on Earth where, hungry and exhausted, started looking for food. They reached a gas station, where they tried to obtain nutrition from the locals…but they couldn’t understand their language, nor Earthlings could understand theirs, so a huge misunderstanding was just around the corner. People in the gas station reacted violently to the two strange individuals who wanted to steal food, and the twins, not getting what was happening, used their powers in self-defense. As news of a couple of super-powered beings attacking civilians spread, Captain Atom intervened with his newly formed team, Extreme Justice, created to pro-actively fight crime rather then waiting to defend (or avenge) innocent bystanders. The Wonder Twins proved to be more than a match for the super-powered beings coming at them, with both of them transforming in powerful creatures to counter their abilities (Zan became an ice giant, a living whirpool and a water monster, while Jayna transformed into a griffin,  a sea serpent and a werewolf). Eventually, Atom understood the aliens they were fighting were simply tired and hungry, and interrupted the fight, offering them food and shelter. Slowly, the twins learned English, and started communicating with Atom and the rest of the team. With their remarkable powers, they even helped them fight the Legion of Doom, managing to scrap a robotic copy of Gorilla Grodd. After the shared battle, the Wonder Twins decided to stick with Extreme Justice: maybe, after wandering so long among the stars, they had finally found a place they could call home.

Zan and Jayna are siblings who share the deepest of bonds, the kind of affection born only between people who can rely only on each other against the rest of the world (or the universe, in this case). As the Wonder Twins, they share a telepathic link that keeps them in constant contact even from great distances; after touching each other’s hand, they can activate their specific powers, with Zan being able to transform in any form of water (ice, water, vapor…) in any possible shape, even absorbing nearby water to increase his mass, while Jayna can turn into any kind of animal, natural, mystical and alien, modifying her size from ant to whale and obtaining the beasts’ specific abilities. Extremely powerful, the Wonder Twins are, luckily, good guys, siblings who suffered a lot, and who are more than determined to prevent other people to go through their same pain.