The Tiny Titans, a group of superhero kids in the DC comic universe, are back in this latest volume of their adventures. The story begins with Superboy, Supergirl, and their pets returning from a trip and discovering that the Tiny Titans’ treehouse has vanished. Two Brainiacs (Psimon and Brainy 5) have shrunk and enclosed it in a glass bottle to get a Brainiac Club Shrinking Badge. Raven restores the Titans who were trapped inside, but Psimon and Brainy 5 manage to escape with the treehouse still in the bottle.
The rest of the book details the Tiny Titans’ efforts to find a new treehouse. Alfred builds one that is quite similar to the Bat Cave (a bit TOO similar), Superman makes one that looks like the Fortress of Solitude (but it starts to melt), the Wizard in the Rock of Eternity makes them one (basically, a huge boulder), Aquaman gives them a treehouse in his underwater city of Atlantis (but not all the Titans can breathe underwater) and Wonder Woman pitches in to build them an invisible treehouse (which they can never find).
Many previous Tiny Titans stories involved adventures that took the superhero kids and put them in situations that reflected ordinary, everyday experiences that kids have, such as getting a new principal, going to the dentist, playing at someone’s house and accidentally making a mess, etc. This book had very little of that, and instead served as more of an introductory tour of major heroes, concepts, and locations in the DC universe. For this reason, I found that it lacked much of the charm found in earlier volumes. Additionally, the Titans’ journey had many plot holes and inconsistencies. For example, Martian Girl and Beast Boy are trying to catch up with the other Titans, who have gone to Atlantis in the Bat Sub. They take a boat out on the ocean, and discover that the boat is actually Offspring in boat-shape. Offspring holds his breath and stretches his neck to look around underwater for Atlantis, and when the trio finally finds it, Martian Girl and Beast Boy transform into underwater creatures to join the rest of the Titans. This left me wondering: why did they even want to use a boat in the first place? Another example was during the Titans’ trip to Paradise Island to visit Wonder Woman. The rule about males not touching the ground on the island was made clear at the beginning (necessitating fuzzy pink slippers for the boy Titans – cute, but how are they different from shoes?). The rest of the Paradise Island story arc is full of action wherein males touch the ground: they fall to the ground, tunnel through the ground, etc. Why mention that rule if they’re just going to break it over and over, without commenting on it?
The artwork in this book is as bright, kid-friendly, and charming as in previous volumes. An emphasis on thick lines, primary colors, and a minimum of background scenery gives it a youthful look and feel that compliments the story and characters very well. Panels and text are large and dynamic, and emotions are conveyed clearly and intuitively.
This book will appeal to kids in the target age range (7-10 years) who are huge fans of previous books because of the characters or artwork. Big DC fans may be bothered by the plot inconsistencies, reducing the overall appeal compared to other Tiny Titans titles.
Tiny Titans: Return to the Treehouse
by Art Baltazar, Franco
DC Comics, 2,015
Publisher Age Rating: 7-10