Archive for Tiny Titans

Wanna Be a Kroc Star

Tiny Titans #40

The series’ brutish antihero gets his chance to shine, as Kroc eats the erasers at school, milks the cows, brings a burping pet lizard to class and causes a panic, eats everything he can in the cafeteria, causes havoc in the Fortress of Solitude, and leaves a… present… in the janitor’s closet.

Verdict: Thumbs up. So very, very crazy, and so very, very funny.

Avengers Academy #14

While the Avengers are taking care of a volcanic eruption in Italy, a report comes in about an attack by Electro in France. Reptil is convinced that the team is ready to handle more work in the field, and he lobbies to let the Academy take care of the villain. Unfortunately, once they teleport in, they discover that Electro isn’t alone — the entire Sinister Six is on hand, including Dr. Octopus, Sandman, Rhino, Mysterio, and the Chameleon. And while the kids make a decent showing against the bad guys, they still get stomped, and Doc Ock uses the Avengers’ teleportation technology to complete their heist in France.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The Academy taking on the Sinister Six kinda comes out of nowhere, but it makes for a good story. Several of these guys have gotten serious upgrades recently, particularly Doc Ock and the Chameleon, and they serve to give a nice reminder that, for all the Academy’s recent success, they’re still very inexperienced. And it’s interesting to see how well the team dynamics of the Sinister Six are depicted — many of them don’t like each other, but they’re all seasoned professionals who manage to play the Academy and the mostly-absent Avengers like well-tuned fiddles.

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Tickled Pink

Tiny Titans #39

Alfred has washed all the Bat-family’s laundry, and he’s washed Superman’s capes with them — so now everyone has bright pink costumes. Plasmus likes it, but he was already completely pink. Robin hates his new all-pink costume, even though he had a pretty brightly colored costume before. And Cassandra hates listening to Robin whine. Superman doesn’t like it, because Supergirl keeps getting the credit whenever he saves people. But is there anything all that bad about pink costumes?

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, everything about this series makes me grin. It may say it’s an all-ages book, but that just means grownups should love it, too.

Zatanna #12

There’s a redneck serial killer named Backslash running around San Francisco. He’s captured a fairy, which gives him the power to see the supernatural elements running around the city, and he’s armed with a magical sword that lets him rewind time to prevent any attacks against him. Can Zatanna stop him when she can’t say her spells backwards and can’t even run away from him?

Verdict: Ehh, it’s not bad, but the palindrome gimmick isn’t nearly clever enough to sustain that ending.

Dungeons & Dragons #6

The malfunctioning portal in the old dwarven fortress has sucked our party of adventurers backwards into their own memories, so we can see how they all came together for the first time. Adric Fell gets hired on to help excavate a lost city — aside from the usual mix of hired soldiers, there’s a wizard and his two apprentices tagging along. They have to escape from an underground monster called a bulette and rescue Khal the dwarven paladin, stranded in the middle of a river. Then they run into the lost city — a magical city that only appears for one night every ten years. The wizard figures they’ll be able to scavenge all the city’s ancient secrets. But they didn’t expect to be ambushed by a band of elves and eladrin, including Varis…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent action and dialogue, and it’s fun to see how these folks got together for the first time.

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Underwater and Outer Space

Tiny Titans #38

Obviously, our emphasis in this issue is on Aqualad, Lagoon Boy, and the other water-dwelling characters. After Aqualad and Lagoon Boy go for a swim, they meet Aquagirl and the other members of Underwater Tiny Titans — the Star Spangled Kid, Hard Rock, the Face, TNTeena, and Lagoon Girl. They also meet their Pet Club, which includes a sea cucumber, a real cucumber, a rabid raccoon (What?!), and a whole bunch of Starro the Star Conquerors. All that, plus there’s the question of how you change a wet diaper under the ocean…

Verdict: Thumbs up. There are some great gags in this one — Fluffy the Fish swimming in the ocean inside his fish bowl, the cucumbers, the complete non sequitur of the rabid raccoon as an underwater pet, the Starros, the diapers, and much more.

PS238 #49

There is a HUGE amount of stuff going on in this issue, mostly involving Cecil Holmes working several inter-connected gambits designed to bring Moon Shadow and Captain Clarinet back home from deep space and rescue the alternate dimension taken over by Victor Von Fogg. We also get some details about Zodon’s connection to the alternate world, and Alexandria Von Fogg discovers some of the Headmaster’s secrets.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Again, a lot of stuff happening here, but it all makes sense, and it’s all moving the story forward. That and the art is all awesome, too. Landmark fiftieth issue coming up next time, too.

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The Marvelous Marvels

Tiny Titans #37

For the most part, this is all about bringing Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel into the Tiny Titans universe (Cap Jr. and Hoppy the Marvel Bunny have previously made their debuts). While the Marvel kids make with the “Shazams!” and the “Krakooms!”, the Super-Pets take naps, Mr. Tawny appears as the school’s math teacher, Mr. Mind tries to get into Pet Club, and Psimon tries to discover his own magic word.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Just spectacularly cute and funny. I probably got the most enjoyment out of Psimon’s two pages of trying to figure out a magic word he can use — not to get Marvel powers, he just wants a T-shirt with a lightning bolt on it. And of course, it’s great to see the classic Marvel family back in comics.

Detective Comics Classics

It’s one of DC’s new reprint mini-collections, and it costs six bucks, but I just couldn’t resist a bunch of retro Batman stories. There’s an extremely cheesy Riddler story from 1968 written by Gardner Fox with the Riddler trying to cheat his way through his clues and Batman using detective skills and huge amounts of luck to save the day. There’s a ’69 Batgirl story with incredible art by Gil Kane. And there’s a story starring Robin and Batgirl from ’75, during Barbara Gordon’s short-lived (but not short-lived enough) career as a Congressperson, where the heroes have to fight off a resurrected Benedict Arnold and the Devil, which is everything that a good Bat-Family story should never be.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Yes, it’s just spectacularly cheesy and goofy, and sometimes absolutely idiotic. But I loved it anyway. And the Gil Kane art is so good, I’ll be spotlighting some of it later tonight.

Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #11

The Hulk recruits the Thing (if by “recruit,” we mean “tries to beat up”) to help him with a conundrum. The Hulk has discovered a Celestial hidden in the countryside and doesn’t know what it means. Ben gives a brief summary (My favorite way to describe the Celestials is “Because Jack Kirby said so.”), then calls in the Invisible Woman to help them figure out what to do with the dormant giant. But the Leader has his own plans for the Celestial. Meanwhile, Captain America and Nova hang out and meet a girl.

Verdict: Thumbs up, pretty much entirely because I thought the bits with Ben, Sue, and the Hulk were so much fun.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Lubbockite Todd Gray, purveyor of fine bloggery at Fanboy Fun, writes about Grant Morrison’s take on Batman. Here’s Part I and Part II, with another two parts still to come…
  • It’s never fun to learn about canceled comics.
  • I’ve been having some fun with this game. “Audiosurf” is like a racing/block-collecting game powered by your own music collection. It’s a few years old, but it’s dirt cheap!
  • I gotta admit — I love reading everything I can about this story. It was great to read about people power in Egypt, and it’s even better to read about it here in the U.S.

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Roll for Damage

Dungeons & Dragons #3

The party of adventurers — Kahl the dwarf paladin, Varis the city-loving elf, Bree the thieving halfling, Tisha the possibly-demonic tiefling, and their leader, Adric Fell — are in a heap of trouble. They’re surrounded by orcs, hunting for a shapeshifting villain, and Adric is in a duel to the death with an orc warrior. Can Adric keep from getting killed? Can the rest of the party discover the shapeshifter? What secret was the shapeshifter hiding, and will everyone be able to survive a trip through a trap-filled cavern?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent action and characterization. The artwork is a blast. The turning point in the duel was a nice surprise, and the reactions of the onlookers was pretty funny. All in all, I’m just really enjoying this comic.

Supergirl #60

We have three different stories in this one — first, we meet a tech-savvy (and possibly telepathic) sociopath who’s created a new telephone app to let people track sightings of superheroes — and to make it easier for supervillains to find the heroes. Second, Lois Lane has found out some dirt about secret Cadmus experiments. And finally, Supergirl gets ambushed by a bunch of heavy hitters from Superman’s rogues gallery. How are these all connected?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nice mix of stories, and all of them would be pretty interesting on their own. Good action, dialogue, and characterization, especially considering how many characters, both major and minor, there are in this story.

Tiny Titans #36

Terra takes Kid Devil and Hotspot on a field trip to the center of the earth, where everyone is able to make their heads burst into flames. And Beast Boy tags along, just ’cause he likes Terra. They all meet dragons, dinosaurs, man-eating plants, a cow, and this guy:

Yay! The Tiny Titans version of Etrigan the Demon!

Verdict: Thumbs up. Tiny Titans Etrigan!

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Master of Puppets

Zatanna #8

Zatanna confesses to her therapist that she’s had a nearly lifelong fear of… puppets? And this isn’t just some comedic phobia either — she doesn’t remember how the fear started, but for any professional magician working in the live entertainment business, there are puppeteers everywhere. And the ones that bug her the most are the Merry-O-Nettes, the puppets owned by an old vaudevillian named Oscar Hempell. Why do those puppets frighten her so? Is there a way she can get at the truth? And will learning the truth be worse than not knowing?

Verdict: Thumbs up. This was a really enjoyable comic book. There’s some great material with Zatanna’s backstory, some excellently chilling stuff, and, if you’ve got any kind of fear about puppets yourself, the kind of stuff that’s going to give you a serious complex. And Cliff Chiang‘s artwork is, as ever, amazingly beautiful and fun. Any doubts I’ve had about this series are definitely finished — this is a wonderfully fun comic.

Tiny Titans #35

Talon reveals to Robin that he’s actually the sidekick of Owlman, a superhero just like Batman from a parallel universe. Robin doesn’t believe him, despite all their many similarities, so Raven creates a portal to Talon’s world, which promptly leads to a mini-invasion of alternate-universe Titans. But are these evil Titans? Or do they just have funny-colored costumes? And how badly is Talon going to mess things up before it’s all over?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Pretty cool issue, with a lot of clever comedy bits.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Holy cow, Vertigo is finally going to publish Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s famously-trippy “Flex Mentallo” series!
  • David Brothers has another of his great posts on race in comics.
  • Here are some of the highlights of the classic D&D “Tomb of Horrors” module, as enacted by a bunch of cartoon animals.

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The Hero Sandwich List of Favorite Comics for 2010

I don’t think I’ve ever tried to do a year-end retrospective list — it’s always too difficult for me to pick out a list of things I enjoyed the most out of 12 whole months. But what the heck, I’m gonna try it today.

This list is strictly listed in alphabetical order. I can’t claim it’s a list of the best comics — I haven’t read all the comics, after all — but it’s the list of the 15 comics that I enjoyed the most.

American Vampire

Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque, and Stephen King came together to re-invent the vampire for the rough-and-tumble American West. Outstanding characters, close attention to setting, and rip-snorting horror make this a must-read for anyone who loves non-sparkly bloodsuckers.


The adventures of Stephanie Brown as the newest Batgirl are full of great humor, great action, great dialogue, and great characterizations. This is one of the best superhero comics around.

Batman and Robin

Grant Morrison’s triumphant run of Batman comics had its most epic stretch in these stories of Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne, as well as Alfred, Dr. Hurt, and the Joker. The scale of Morrison’s storytelling here was breathtaking.

Blackest Night

Possibly the most successful crossover storyarc in years, this grabbed readers’ imaginations and didn’t let go for months. Even better than its commercial successes were the overall excellence of the plotline. At its height, there was nothing as good as this story about zombies, power rings, and emotions.


I’m not a fan of the new series, but Garth Ennis’ original Crossed miniseries was the most harrowing, brutal, relentless, depressing, and terrifying horror comic to hit the stands in a long, long time.


This was, without a single doubt, the best comic series of the entire year. Nothing else came close. Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon deserve to win so many awards for this one. If you missed this series in the original run, you should definitely keep your eyes open in the next few months for the trade paperback.

Detective Comics starring Batwoman

Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III didn’t create the character, but they crafted her best stories. While Rucka brilliantly fleshed out her backstory, personality, and supporting cast, Williams took the stories and created some of the year’s most beautiful artwork and design.

Hellboy in Mexico

This story of, well, Hellboy in Mexico was my favorite, but I also loved all of the other collaborations between Hellboy creator Mike Mignola and fantasy artist Richard Corben. These two meshed together creatively in ways that very few creators are able to do, and all of us readers were the beneficiaries.

Joe the Barbarian

Grant Morrison’s fantasy story is both epic and mundane in scale, which is really quite a trick — Joe is in diabetic shock, and he’s hallucinating that his home and toys have turned into a fantasy kingdom. But what if he’s not really hallucinating?

Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit

The second chapter of Darwyn Cooke’s adaptation of Donald Westlake’s crime fiction is a beautiful tribute to Cooke’s retro-cool art sensibilities and the pure fun of good pulp crime novels.

Power Girl

Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and Amanda Conner created the best version of Power Girl ever for a year’s worth of funny, smart, sexy, exciting superhero stories. These creators loved this character, and you can tell that in every story they published about her. I still hope they’ll be able to come back to this title eventually.

Secret Six

Far and away DC’s best team book, Gail Simone has hooked us a bunch of people who are extremely likeable and also completely crazy and prone to trying to kill each other from moment to moment. This shouldn’t work as well as it does, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s colossal fun to read every single month.

Strange Science Fantasy

Scott Morse’s retro-pulp series packed a heck of a lot of audacious fun into six short issues. This was a treat visually, emotionally, intellectually — even on a tactile level, what with the heavy, rough paper it was printed on.

Thor and the Warriors Four

The Power Pack go to Asgard. I didn’t really expect much of it, to be honest, but readers were treated to godlike quantities of humor, excitement, whimsey, and awesomeness, thanks to writer Alex Zalben and artists Gurihiru, and to Colleen Coover’s excellent backup stories.

Tiny Titans

Probably the best all-ages comic out there right now. These comics are smart and funny and cute and just plain fun to read.

Aaaaand that’s what I got. There were plenty of other comics that just barely missed the cut, but these were nevertheless the ones that gave me the most joy when I was reading them.

So farewell, 2010. And hello, rapidly onrushing 2011. Hope you’re a better year for all of us, and I hope we can all look forward to plenty more great comics to come.

Now y’all be safe and have a good time tonight, but call a cab if you need it — I want to make sure all of y’all are here to read me in 2011.

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Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #9

Man, I love the cover art for this one. Great work, cover artist Ronan Cliquet!

This issue’s story is fairly simple: Nova has learned that there is an impostor hiding out in the Avengers, so while the rest of the team fight giant monsters, he and the Vision (and the Vision’s girlfriend) investigate everyone by sneaking into their rooms and digging around in their sock drawers. Superheroes are kinky.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Seriously, it was a nicely tense story, even if I question some of the reasoning here — why would Nova pick the Vision as his investigating partner instead of Thor, who also knows about the impostor? Still, good fun, nice dialogue, another well-done issue.

Tiny Titans/Little Archie #3

Raven and Sabrina hang out at Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe, Veronica drags Robin along to meet her dad, Archie gets to spend the day playing in the Batcave, and Jughead and Cyborg compete in a hamburger-eating contest.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of fun. Fave moments: Archie running wild in the Batcave, with all the bats and penguins and rabbits; Mr. Lodge’s utter contempt for anyone his daughter brings home; and Batman calling the Joker to ask if he knows of any supervillains who have kids with orange hair.

Marvel Super Hero Squad #12

Yay, Christmas issue! Santa’s sleigh crashes into the heli-carrier, forcing the Super Hero Squad to dress up in Santa costumes and run around the city delivering presents. Possibly even better is the backup story, where the X-Men reveal that Rudolf is the most famous mutant of all, before they embark on an insane toboggan race.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of funny stuff here, cute dialogue, and a nicely seasonal dose of mayhem. The bit with Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer as a mutant is really pretty epic.

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Hell is for Heroes

Hellboy: Double Feature of Evil

We get a couple cool Hellboy stories here, written by Mike Mignola, illustrated by Richard Corben, and framed as a couple of late movies at the most run-down theater in the universe.

In the first one, Hellboy is called in to investigate a man named Sullivan who claims his home is forcing him to kill — he tricks someone into entering a specific room in the house, the door slams, screams ensue, and a few gold coins bounce down the staircase in payment. When Hellboy enters the room himself, will he be able to combat the evil both inside and out? The second story focuses on a lunatic who thinks he’s a reincarnated priest of the Egyptian god Horus who raises a bunch of mummies to fight Hellboy and kidnap a woman he loves. But when the pressure’s on, what happens to an Egyptian priest who prays to the wrong god?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I love all these collaborations between Mignola and Corben — they really play to each other’s strengths in these stories. I don’t think I could pick which of these was my favorite story — both are great examples of the best in horror comics. Corben’s art really should be savored — every panel is beautiful.

Morning Glories #4

Casey is working on a plan to rescue Jade from the psychotics running the academy and is trying to recruit some of her fellow classmates to assist her. The only one who flat refuses is Jun, who has his own suspicions of how dangerous the school is. The other three agree to help and meet in the basement to make Casey’s homebrew recipe for tear gas. But of course, no plan goes off without a hitch, especially in a place as surveillance-heavy as the Morning Glory Academy.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Great intrigue all around, ever deepening mysteries, ever greater dangers. Excellent dialogue, even if it sometimes does run on for too long. They say the next issue will be the end of the first storyarc, and I’m very keen to see how they’re going to wrap this up.

Tiny Titans #34

Everyone thinks Superboy and Zatara look exactly alike. They don’t see the resemblance, but sure enough, when Raven magically switches their costumes, the mistaken identity cases get even more extreme. Supergirl takes Zatara off for a flight even though he can’t fly, and Cassie, Starfire, Barbara, and Bumblebee drag Superboy along to get him to create party favors for their tea party. All that plus Robin spends the whole issue eating breakfast, Jor-El shows off his observational skills, Plasmus gets a tuxedo, and everyone gets their own Kid Flash costume.

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, lots and lots of funny stuff. I only wish we’d seen more of the cast in this issue — these stories seem to hit their highest points when more of the Titans get to participate in the madness.

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Pussycat Dolls

Tiny Titans/Little Archie #2

It’s time for another meeting of the Tiny Titans’ Pet Club, and Josie and the Pussycats have been invited to bring her pets — but of course, the Pussycats aren’t cats, they’re a rock band! Soon, they’ve got the rest of the Riverdale kids thinking the Pet Club is a big costume party — all while an old Archie bad guy called the Mad Doctor Doom (Ring, ring! Marvel’s lawyers calling!) and his pompadoured sidekick Chester plot against our pint-sized heroes. Once everyone gets to the Titans’ treehouse, Moose shows up with his pet moose, Moose, followed by Archie dressed as Pureheart the Powerful, Jughead as Captain Hero, Betty as Super Betty, Veronica as Superonica, and Reggie as Evil Heart. All that, plus we finally get to meet Jughead’s dog Hot Dog, and we get detailed instructions on how to dance the Batusi.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I believe we’ve established by now that I love everything about this comic book, yes? Well, I loved the stuffing out of this one, too. Excellent humor and art, and just all-around fun.

Marvel Super Hero Squad #11

Tigra, She-Hulk, and the Wasp decide it’s time they finally started getting some credit for their superheroic deeds, so they set out to get themselves inducted into the Super Hero Squad. They soon find themselves up against a bunch of toad aliens who’ve kidnapped the entire Super Hero Squad. Wasp works to shut down the ship while Shulkie beats up the toad champion — but can the heroines rescue the Squad, keep the ship from crashing in the city, and get their big promotion? Meanwhile, in the followup story, the Squad members re-enact “The Magnificent Seven,” with Thor delivering all his lines in a combination of Wild West drawl and Asgardian thee’s and thou’s (“Huzzah! Pointeth me towards them varmints!”), the Falcon delighted that he’s going to get to be James Coburn, and the Silver Surfer doing a great impersonation of Robert Vaughn.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Both stories were a lot of fun. I loved Falcon’s genre awareness in the Western story, and almost everything Thor said was good for a laugh.

Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #8

Nova has traveled to Asgard with Thor, where they discover that Odin is an impostor! They team up with Valkyrie and travel to visit the Norns, a trio of fortune-telling witches, who reveal that Odin is held captive by the trolls. Will Nova be able to hold his own in the land of the gods? And what kind of trouble is brewing back home in New York?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nova is so completely and amusingly over his head in Asgard, completely awed by everything, and it’s fun to see him win the respect of Valkyrie. The day-in-the-life antics back in NYC are fun, too, and the cliffhanger is first-rate. Definitely looking forward to the next issue…

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