Comics : Marvel Heroes: Save The Day

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Book of the Month Club

This review was first published on: Feb 2013.

Background...

This is another of the nearly-a-dozen activity books published by Reader's Digest in 2006 and the following years. You can find the rest in our Marvel Heroes Books (Reader's Digest) title.

"Marvel Heroes Save The Day" is 8" x 10.8", with a glossy folded cover which is actually stitched rather than stapled.

Inside are... well, the page count is a bit complicated. So let's be precise:

  • There are 16 pages of illustrated story.
  • There are 2 sheets of stickers.
  • The front inside cover has a glossy scene where you can place (and re-place) stickers.
  • The back cover is a DOUBLE gate-fold panorama. That makes a 3-page sticker scene, and a 2-page sticker scene.

In Detail...

Marvel Heroes: Save The Day
Mar 2010 : SM Guest
Find ISBN 9780794419400
Summary: A Panorama Sticker Storybook (Spider-Man Appears)
Publisher:  Reader's Digest Children's Books
Writer:  Michael Teitelbaum
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Review

So this book is actually two separate parts, really. First, there's a full-length 15-page illustrated story in this book. Secondly are the re-usable stickers and the panoramic glossy scenes where they can be placed. The story makes up most of the page count, which was a surprise to me, as the cover had suggested otherwise to me.

Spider-Man is investigating a warehouse which is receiving a bunch of high-tech stolen goods. Spider-Man enters and discovers the Green Goblin. The Green Goblin then introduces his allies - Magneto, Doctor Doom, Red Skull, the Abomination, Juggernaut, Sabretooth.

Spider-Man protests that "eight against one isn't fair". But he can't count. There are actually only seven villains.

Suddenly, the Avengers crash through the wall, and everybody fights.

Then Galactus appears "from out of nowhere" and he fights too.

The Fantastic Four are here too... they fight Galactus. But they need help. Iron Man calls for the X-Men, who soon join the battle.

More fighting. Then Wolverine discovers that Galactus is just a giant robot. Professor X discovers that all the other villains are Skrulls. Professor X uses his mental powers to block the Skrull's ability to shape change. Then everybody fights Skrulls. Professor X explains that the Skrulls stole the hi-tech stuff to built a Galactus robot to take over the world.

Of course, it would have been even simpler if Professor X had also blocked the Skrulls' ability to stand up and fight. But then we wouldn't have two more gratuitous pages of combat.

Defeated, the Skrulls "scrambled to their spaceship and took off, heading back to their home in the Andromeda Galaxy."

Yay! The Heroes Save The Day!

In General...

What a load of bollocks.

Just like all the other written plots in this series, this one is a "kitchen sink" affair. Writer Michael Teitelbaum goes utterly over the top here, piling hero on villain on hero on villain with the no regard for good taste or common sense.

Mind you, I'm prepared to give Teitelbaum the benefit of the doubt here. He has a long track record as a writer, and I could easily be convinced that he has is tongue firmly in his cheek here. Nobody could construct such a ghastly, overblown, super-saturated story by accident. This must be a work of irony.

In a way, it's like those restaurants who produce those massive burgers that contain three days worth of calories, and make you sign a medical release form before you eat. They know that what they have created is entirely unpalatable - but it looks impressive in pictures, and no matter how unhealthy the product, there's always a market somewhere.

There's also something odd about the art in the story. Much of it appears to be created from patchwork. Rather than scenes being illustrated, it appears that some of the characters have been clipped out of other books and comics, then carefully photoshopped together to make up a scene. Often, the characters aren't looking in exactly the right direction, and often the page layout has no real overall form.

That theory is also supported by the fact that the art is created to "Marvel Artists", implying the art came from so many creators they they can't figure out who they actually "borrowed" the material from.

Overall Rating...

So, where does that leave us?

Well, the story is utterly abhorrent. The art is a hodge-podge of stolen clip-art, smudged together into ill-structured scenes. In fact, the stickers and the large glossy scenes are really the only decent part of the book.

This is shameless productising. I've seen worse out of China and the UK, but this is about as bad as U.S. content usually gets.

Sure, the paucity of the material is somewhat masked by the glossy production quality. But today I refuse to be fooled by a bit of shiny cardboard.

One and a half webs.

Footnote...

P.S. I can't understood why the Skrulls would cross the space between two galaxies, just to fight over our crappy little planet. Their own galaxy contains hundreds of billions of stars. It's pure ego to suggest they would come all this way for our messed-up little ball of dirt.