Chosen One of the Day: Zan from the Wonder Twins

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Sep 8, 2017

What's the best super power? Don’t think about it too hard, just answer. If you could have any super power in the world, what would it be? Flight? Invisibility? Teleportation? The ability to refill things (glass, bank account, bowl of chips at a party)?

There are literally hundreds of super cool powers you might have chosen from to answer that question. Perhaps you picked the ability to transform into any animal, real, mythical, or alien, the signature power of Jayna, one half of the famous Wonder Twins. You know what you definitely didn’t pick? The powers possessed by her brother, Zan.

You see, while his sister can become all manner of lions and tigers and alien bears, Zan has the endlessly useful ability to transform himself as well … into any form of water.

I’d like to know what the Wonder Twins creators were smoking when they pitched that and whether they were sharing with the DC executives at the time, because somehow the publisher who created Superman ended up with a hero who can turn into a puddle.

Solid, liquid, or gas, Zan is here for all your moisture-related needs. Generally, that meant while his sister shape-shifted into an eagle to fly swiftly to the aid of one person or another, Zan would come along by transforming into a literal puddle of water which was then contained in a bucket carried by the twins' space monkey sidekick, Gleek. Half of Gleek’s entire purpose was just to carry one half of the twins around in case … what? There was a wicked witch who needed melting? Someone needed to rehydrate during a battle? (Sidenote: Would drinking Zan in water form be considered cannibalism?) Mostly he was just around to make thing slippery, but how effective is a hero who can be neutralized by a wet floor sign?

Sometimes he could become something useful, though usually only when the writers got around his ineffectiveness by turning him into a thing made of ice. You know, like an ice cage for trapping bad guys, so long as the temperature remained below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Or, in one of the most famous scenes, into the always-handy ice unicycle.

On Smallville, he turned into fog.

Even the Teen Titans recognized how much cooler Jayna’s powers were. When they were looking to replace Beast Boy during an episode of Teen Titans Go!, they hired Jayna on the spot thanks to her awesome abilities. When they realized she needed her brother around in order to activate her powers, they reluctantly give the male half of this heroic duo the extremely important job of receptionist, a job he hates so much he actually decides to sabotage his sister in order to get them fired.

He’s so embarrassed when he gets caught that he literally flushes himself down the toilet. So I guess his powers were useful after all?

Sorry, Zan. But hey, someone has to get the crappy powers, right?