by Art Baltazar & Franco
It’s back! After a short run on Superman Family Adventures, Art and Franco moved over to Dark Horse Comics to work their Aw Yeah! magic on the Hellboy Universe. Unexpectedly, the duo is back with DC Comics for a Tiny Titans mini-series. Tiny Titans: Return to the Treehouse is a six-issue-mini. Though it is short, the story is just as fun and charming as the previous work from Art and Franco. Super-Boy, Super-Girl and Krypto are headed back to the Titans’ Treehouse after their family adventures only to discover that their home base is missing! Cameos, goofy comedy and some entertaining adventures abound in this solid first issue.
Braniac 5 and Psimon are trying to earn badges in the Braniac Club before their next meeting and have to find something to shrink in order to earn this prestigious honor. Deciding that the Titans’ Treehouse is a perfect target, the two take aim and bottle the superhero headquarters. Soon after, the Super-Kids come to discover the missing tree house and take off in search of Robin and Ace the dog in hopes of finding their headquarters and the rest of their friends trapped inside. Throughout the story are numerous comedic scenes. Beast Boy and Terra go back and forth between hopelessly infatuated and violent towards each other. The beats feel like almost something like Lucy from Peanuts and how she would handle a crush. It’s very playful but made sporadic enough so as to not become grating.
The super hero kids set off to investigate the mystery using a plethora of goofy gadgetry including a Bat-GPS that is set to scan for wood, leading the group to a number of unintended destinations peppered with cameos. Art and Franco drop in DC characters in a lot of their work and continue that tradition here. It doesn’t require a knowledge of the DC Universe to follow the story, making it no more complicated or confusing for kids or newer readers. However, the moments function like fantastic Easter eggs for individuals who do catch the references. Alfred, with the best intention in mind, provides the children with an alternative headquarters, though it feels a bit too cold and overcrowded, poking a bit of fun at the Batcave.
As this is the first of six issues, the mystery and chase is not to be resolved here. Just as the heroes close in on the culprits, fate steps in and Braniac 5 and Psimon are able to escape. It is an absolutely enjoyable first issue and it is a reminder how much this series has been missed. Art and Franco are writing real all-ages books. Tiny Titans: Return to the Treehouse should be high on anyone’s list. Those familiar with their work should know exactly what to expect here, and this is as good as what has come before. The book won’t be around for long, and readers would do well to not miss out!