TINY TITANS: RETURN TO THE TREEHOUSE #1 (Art Baltazar, Franco) is a fitting return to form for existing fans.
Following the zany adventures of the teenage toddler heroes, TINY TITANS celebrates its return to publication with a literal return to the Tiny Titans treehouse – only to discover the treehouse missing, having been shrunk by a Brainiac 5 and Psimon team in search of an evil merit badge, with those unfortunate members still in the clubhouse becoming, literally, Tiny Titans. Despite the meta gag of the premise, however, there’s not as much in the way of the fourth-wall-tapping tongue-in-cheek humor and continuity jokes that earned the old TINY TITANS title much of its reputation, though its fondness for cameos remains strong.
In a reboot characterized by almost unrelenting violence and dark themes, more lighthearted books like TINY TITANS are a welcome breath of fresh air. And with a combination of Art Baltazar’s intentionally cutesy style and both creators’ knowledge of canon and tongue-in-cheek humor, it’s little wonder that TINY TITANS has a surprisingly substantial adult following.
This issue specifically is full of fun easter eggs for DC fans, from the Brainiac Club (some shrinking required) to cameos by Swamp Thing, Solomon Grundy and Metamorpho. Combined with fun title comments at the bottom of each page, there’s plenty to leave fans of the series satisfied.
TINY TITANS is certainly not a title without charm. But for those less interested in its particular brand of softer, lighter fun, there’s really not a lot there – compared to other titles with a broader appeal, TINY TITANS can be rather hit or miss for readers. And in an issue fairly light on the meta humor that made the series its reputation, it’s a relaunch with surprisingly little to draw in new readers.
A hit with younger and older readers alike, the previous TINY TITANS series was quite popular as all-ages titles go. For kids and fans of that old title alike, TINY TITANS: RETURN TO THE TREEHOUSE #1 is a welcome relaunch full of lighthearted adventures and a welcome addition to DC’s frequently lagging all-ages lineup. For adults not already enamored of the TINY TITANS universe, however, it may not serve as the best introduction.