“Gym Class Heroes”
In an attempt to whip Sidekick City Elementary students into shape, Coach Lobo creates a fitness day. He assigns the Titans to race a lap around the world. Rather than leave the kids empty handed Lobo provides an incentive--the first to cross the finish line will receive an “A” in the class. However, he never says they can't use their powers or special abilities.
The writers Art Baltazar and Franco have prepared another witty and humorous script without using violence or explicit content. Batgirl’s sneaky plan, to ride the Batcopter along with an Adam West shark repellent gag, is sure a draw an instant chuckle from readers. However, Lobo‘s introduction as gym coach serves as the climax of humor in this issue. The “muscle-headed” coach conducts class wearing jeans, his signature skull belt buckle, a tank top, and a metal whistle around his neck. Baltazar and Franco’s interpretation of the character as a faculty member compelled me to share sympathy with the poor Titans. Lobo’s expectation for his students to survive a lap around the globe is both cruel and priceless.
Art Baltazar’s childish illustrations and oversized heads add a lighthearted tone to the series. The artist’s simple designs, opposed to the realistic images most contemporary comic art features, are innocent, delightful, and uplifting. Visually Baltazar’s work resembles Genndy Tartakovsky’s cartoon Dexter’s Lab.
The downside to Tiny Titans #16 occurred in the race element. I enjoyed Batgirl’s trickery to use the Batcopter, and Robin and Aqualad taking to the river to finish the race. However, it would’ve been more satisfying to witness Franco and Baltazar utilize every Titans powers or special abilities to circle the world. For instance, Terra could’ve flown to the finish line on a rock. Cyborg could’ve had rocket powered boots to keep up with Kid Flash, Supergirl, and Inertia.
At the end of the day, Tiny Titans #16 offers a crafty and amusing comic. Although the race could’ve provided more variety, the introduction of Coach Lobo is reason enough to purchase this comic.
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