Tiny Titans: Return to the Treehouse #2
Written by Art Baltazar and Franco
Illustrated by Art Baltazar

It’s funny how, occasionally, different characters will affect you in different ways. Last month we encountered Superman in these pages, a character familiar to everyone and a figurehead of the comics industry. As much as I love Superman (and I do love Superman), the story just didn’t resonate with me. It was as charming and fun as ever, but it was just… missing something.

The Marvel family, on the other hand, have always been characters that I’ve appreciated, even enjoyed seeing in but parts and supporting roles, but I’ve never really read or seen anything where they take center stage that really grabbed me. The conceit is great, and I love the idea of giving great power to people who know what it’s like to be downtrodden so they’ll use it for good, and there’s a goofy charm to the innocence of Captain Marvel himself (I refuse to call him Shazam, because that’s not who he is and he can’t even introduce himself without revealing his identity), but I’ve never read more than a handful of stories featuring him and they were already showcase or anthology books like Adventures in the DC Universe Or part of a larger crossover. As a lead character, I just wasn’t interested.

You know where this is going.

I’m not saying I’m going to pick up every appearance of Captain Marvel now, but man this was a fun issue. The Titans play around with the magical aspects of the characters of Captain Marvel and the wizard Shazam, which allows Baltazar and Franco to bring in some more ideas to play around with in the story. It takes place almost entirely in one location like the previous issue, but there’s more to work with that makes it a more entertaining read.

The Titans, still in search of their treehouse headquarters, make their way to the Rock of Eternity and pretty much forget about the treehouse plot in favor of visual gags. As much as that central driving force and overarching plot is necessary, especially for a miniseries like this, it works much better as a clothesline from which to hang various vignettes and sketches rather than being the central focus of each issue.

In previous reviews, I’ve praised the writing by Art Baltazar and Franco, and I stand by it. Their scripts are witty, with a deep knowledge of the DC universe that isn’t showy or forced. References are made to characters and events ranging from A-listers all the way down to one-and-done obscurities that you might have to look up for yourself, but it all works and serves the story and tone. Most of all, though, it’s truly all-ages: young children can enjoy the simple, colorful art, while long-time older fans can laugh at the fun situations and cameos and not feel ashamed of explaining any of it. Nothing’s inappropriate; everything is acceptable for any and every reader.

I know I say this about just about every book I review, but it can’t wait to read Tiny Titans every month, and hopefully more people will enjoy it for what it is: a great comic.

Overall: Another fun entry that’s accessible for everyone and puts the spotlight on one of DC’s (or, you know, Fawcett, if you want to go old-school) more difficult to write characters. It’s breezy, it’s funny, and it’s highly entertaining.

Recommended If:

  • You just like well-written comics.
  • You want a reprieve from doom and gloom in other mainstream books.
  • You’ve ever wanted to see Billy Batson turn into a chocolate milkshake. Just… trust me. You do.

SCORE: 9/10