Written by Art Baltazar and Franco
Art by Art Baltazar
32 pages, color
Published by DC Comics
After a 50-issue run on the all-ages series Tiny Titans, I was a little sad to hear that Art Baltazar and Franco were wrapping up the title. Fortunately, they’ve promptly moved over to a brand new comic, Superman Family Adventures. And like Tiny Titans, it’s a book that I think really does appeal to all ages; little kids will like the fun adventures, while more comic-savvy readers will get a good chuckle over some of the inside jokes aimed at them.
With Superman Family Adventures #1, Baltazar and Franco have a slightly more iconic and recognizable cast than in Tiny Titans. Sure, the Teen Titans Go! animated series didn’t hurt, but at times it feels like just about everyone knows who Superman, Lex Luthor, and Lois Lane are. Of course, Baltazar and Franco include the whole shebang; Supergirl, Krypto, Superboy, Perry White, and Jimmy Olsen all make appearances here. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until they dig up Comet the Super-Horse or Streaky the Super-Cat. The story itself is in many ways traditional Superman fare; Lex Luthor uses robots to attack Metropolis as part of a plot to gain super-powers of his own. And while it’s a simple story, it’s easy to follow for young readers, and more importantly they’ll find it fun. Characters use teamwork to defeat the robots, and there’s just the right amount of peril for both ordinary people and superbeings alike.
I did have to laugh at the nod to the new costume from the regular Superman comics being used here. "I really like the new V-neck collar!" made me chuckle; it’s the sort of thing that Baltazar and Franco like to toss in for the parents (or perhaps just older readers who like fun comics regardless of whom they’re aimed at), and that’s what helps keep this title entertaining for all ages. I also have to commend Baltazar for being able to draw quite the heroic looking Superman. His younger-aimed style might seem simple at a glance, but it’s got more heft than you’d think. His Superman comes across as manly and strong, and the progression from one panel to the next is quite frankly showing more storytelling ability than some comic artists meant for older readers.
Superman Family Adventures #1 might be primarily aimed at the kids, but I bet older readers are getting just as much fun out of this series. And if you like it, well, there are 50 issues worth of Tiny Titans (helpfully collected into multiple volumes, too) to let you catch up on all the fun. It might be simple, but it’s also simply fun. As long as there are comics by Baltazar and Franco, I’ll be reading and grinning.