||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (April 2010)|
The Wonder Twins, from Super Friends.
|First appearance||"Joy Ride" The All-New Super Friends Hour (September 10, 1977)|
|Alter ego||Zan and Jayna|
|Place of origin||Exxor|
|Team affiliations||Super Friends
Ten Elements of the Universe
|Abilities||Zan can transform into any form of water
Jayna can transform into any animal.
The Wonder Twins, Zan and Jayna, are fictional extraterrestrial cartoon superheroes created by Hanna Barbera for the Super Friends TV program. As the other characters on that show were published by DC Comics, they have strong comic book associations. Their first comic book appearance was in Super Friends #7 (October 1977), by E. Nelson Bridwell and Ramona Fradon. A modernized version of the twins debuted in Extreme Justice #9 (October 1995), by Ivan Velez and Al Rio.
Publication history 
The duo made their debut in The All-New Super Friends Hour and went on to appear 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) 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, Jane, and their sidekick was Mighty Monkey, before finally becoming Zan, Jayna, and Gleek. The names "Zan" and "Jayna" are derived from Tarzan and his love-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."
However, by the final seasons, the Twins were largely marginalized in favor of well established DC Comics teenage superheroes like Firestorm, until they were wholly eliminated in the final season in favor of Cyborg.
The characters were later introduced in the Super Friends comic.
Fictional character biography 
Super Friends 
Little background is provided for the Wonder Twins in the Super Friends cartoon, save that they are superheroes-in-training that are friends with the Super Friends.
According to the Super Friends comic book by E. Nelson Bridwell (writer) and Ramona Fradon (artist), Zan and Jayna are Exorian 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 wanted to use them as sideshow freaks. Fortunately, the circus' clown (or "laugh-maker") was a kind man and raised 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) had established his headquarters. Spying on him, they learn that Grax was 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.
Powers and abilities 
The Wonder Twins powers are activated when they touch each other and speak the phrase, "Wonder Twin powers activate!" This phrase is unnecessary and just a habit of theirs. Physical contact, however, 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 humanoid ice giant to a cage for a criminal to complex machinery (such as a jet engine, as he did in the episode "Eruption"). He changes into a gelatinous form at one point. On another occasion, he transformed 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.
Jayna can transform into any animal, whether real, mythological, indigenous to Earth or to some other planet, like Beast Boy. Since she must vocalize her choice of form to assume, she must know the common name. 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 an ant to a whale.
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 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.
A rarely-seen aspect of their powers is the ability to break mind control. On at least two occasions ("Invasion of the Earthors" and "Circus of Horrors"), while the twins were under the influence of mind control Gleek caused them to make contact, the activation of their powers freeing them instantly.
The Wonder Twins have a pet Space Monkey called Gleek who had 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 riding atop Jayna in her eagle form. (This led to the joke by some fans that Gleek's superpower was to make a bucket appear and disappear at will. See hammerspace.)
Other versions 
Extreme Justice 
The twins are introduced into post-Crisis DC continuity 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).
Ten Elements of the Universe 
Zan and Jayna are revealed to be two of the ten hereditary protectors of Exor. The "Ten Elements of the Universe" is the name given to a group of five pairs of royal twins on Exor, each pair possesses elemental powers including fire, love, vapors, plants, sound, metal, and shadows.
They later help avenge the murder of Empress's parents, wearing uniforms which resembled t-shirts and jeans. The Wonder Twins apparently enjoy the taste of CDs, as they ate several of Wonder Girl's favorite discs.
In other media 
Justice League/Justice League Unlimited 
- 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 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. Later on in the episode, Downpour and Shifter were with the Ultimen when they learned on their own that the Ultimen were clones created by Project Cadmus. After Wind Dragon had used his wind attacks to bring Maxwell Lord to the roof that they were on, Downpour became water that entrapped Maxwell Lord while Shifter became a lion asking which is worse: drowning in water or being eaten by a lion. Maxwell Lord convinced them to let him explain over the fact that Project Cadmus had created them in order to be better heroes with the clones having implanted images and interact with actors that portrayed their parents. When it came to attacking the building they lived in while hunting for Maxwell Lord's boss Amanda Waller, Downpour and Shifter fought Aquaman and were defeated. Clones of the characters later appear in the episode "Panic in the Sky" where they join the other Ultimatum clones into attacking the Watchtower. Some clones of Shifter formed a water trap around Fire until she managed to heat herself to the point of breaking free.
Adult Swim 
- In 2001, Zan appeared in season 1, episode 2 of the Adult Swim series Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law. In the episode, Zan (voiced by Michael Bell) is on the stand being questioned by Harvey. The following exchange ensues:
- Harvey Birdman: You stated that you had express knowledge of one of the more familiar Super Friends' whereabouts - a Wonder Woman, I believe?
- Zan: Um, that's correct. Uh, she was at home.
- Harvey Birdman: Any idea why she wouldn't have answered the town's distress call?
- Zan: Well, she said she really needed some "me time." So she unplugged her communicator and... and took a bath.
- Harvey Birdman: How do you happen to know this?
- Zan: I was... I, I was the bathwater.
- [Flashback to Wonder Woman taking a bath with Zan as the water]
- Zan: [giggles] Form of a washrag!
- In 2007, 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-humor parody. Zan and Jayna were portrayed as well-meaning but inept, with their attempts at heroism always ending in tragic failure.
Zan and Jayna appeared in the Smallville season nine episode, "Idol", which aired on November 13, 2009. 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 labeled as aliens, the two are implied to be from another world and claim to be of Swedish descent in order to explain their odd sounding names. The Twins are portrayed as being obsessed with "The Blur" (the name given to Clark Kent before he officially adopts the Superman identity), and attempt to impersonate him in order to build up his positive reputation. They send a crate to young reporter Lois Lane containing several bound and gagged drug dealers who turn out to be undercover cops that Zan and Jayna abducted by mistake, thus ruining a calculated police drug sting. When an attempt at stopping a robbery accidentally causes a citywide blackout in Metropolis, the Twins are ambushed and abducted by Clark and his partner Chloe Sullivan. After being threatened into giving up their vigilante activities, Zan and Jayna prove their worth when Lois is thrown from the rooftop of the Daily Planet building by a crooked politician who wants to expose "The Blur's" true identity. Jayna transforms into an attack dog and captures the politician as he attempts to flee the scene, while Zan transforms his body into a massive cloud of mist, providing the cover Clark needs to lower Lois safely to the ground unobserved. After this, the Twins are encouraged by Clark to continue their super heroics outside of Metropolis, albeit on their own reputations rather than attempting to emulate him.
In popular culture 
- A Youtube sketch done by Barely Political as part of their "Super Therapy" shows Robin answering his cell phone and sharing gossip about "the hot Wonder Twin".
- In a cutaway gag in an episode of Family Guy, Peter shows himself as Zan and transforms into Jayna's tampon, going into her purse and saying that it was time for the waiting game.
- In a segment of Robot Chicken the roles of Zan and Jayna were taken by the Olsen Twins. The two young women had to defeat a monstrous dragon creature. Gleek was killed in the process by a banana peel that the monster slipped on.
- In season 3, episode 13 of Scrubs titled "My Porcelain God", JD has a daydream about his and Turk's "best moment", which was when JD found a double prize in his cereal. The prizes were two decoder rings, which he and Turk used to pretend be the Wonder Twins. After they both show the rings and say "activate" while touching the rings together, JD announces that he is going to take the form of an ice menorah.
- In an episode of Girlfriends, Joan and William get excited about planning an event and pretend to do the Wonder Twins transformation sequence complete with calling their forms.
- In the 6/12/2002 strip of the popular web comic, Penny Arcade, Gabe and Tycho discuss whether Wonder Twins was about incest.
- In the first episode of Season 8 of NCIS, Tony DiNozzo described the Wonder Twins as TV superheroes when they touch their rings, they activate “form of a waterfall, shape of a dinosaur! That kind of thing".
- In the 5th season episode "Ramble On" of That '70s Show there is a Superfriends segment where Jackie Burkhart and Steven Hyde portray them as an incestuous couple.
- The Wonder Twins are mentioned in an episode on the 5th season of Castle.
- In Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon in a Hanna-Barbera convention, there are two obese people who dress up as the Wonder Twins.
- Super Friends #7 (October 1977)
- Super Friends #42 (March 1981)--Jayna defeats Superman in a training exercise by becoming a Kryptonian Tanthou Flez ("Winged One")
- Extreme Justice #9 (October 1995)
- Beatty, Scott (2008), "Extreme Justice", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 117, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- Young Justice #49–51
- Cosmic Teams: Zan and Jayna
- DCU Guide: Wonder Twins
- Seanbaby's Wonder Twins page
- Kryptonsite: Smallville Spoilers
- The New Adventures of the Wonder Twins at TV.com