It seems like every few months I trip over another funky little "Reader's Digest: Marvel Heroes" book of some kind. Each and every one has their own little gimmick, and even if the stories are a bit lame, the packaging is always interesting!
This one is no exception. It's a magnetic playset in a carry case that is 8" x 10" excluding the handle. It's a bit less than an inch deep, and it hinges on the left hand side to reveal the contents.
Inside, there are two and a half sheets worth of "fridge magnet" characters. They look like stickers, but when you tear them out of their surrounds, you realise that they're actually thin magnets.
There's a fair range of characters. There's Hulk, Fantastic Four, Spidey, Wolverine, Daredevil, and several Avengers. On the villain side, there's Doom, Magneto, Green Goblin, Venom, Abomination, Red Skull, and Sabretooth. There's also a few webs, pumpkin bombs and flames to help you make an interesting scene.
The back of the case is inlaid with a thin sheet of metal. Also included are three double-sided scenes for you to use as backdrops. Simply choose your scene, lay it over the metal backing, and place your magnetic characters in front.
To help you get into the right mood for your dramatic creation, there's a couple of books included. Specifically, "Marvel Heroes: Super Origins - The Villains" (ISBN 978-0-7944-1953-0) and "Marvel Heroes: Super Origins - The Heroes" (ISBN 978-0-7944-1951-6). Each is 4.5" x 7", stapled bound with a shiny cardboard cover. There are 16 glossy pages in each of the two books.
Each hero and each villain stars in their own two page mini-profile in their respective book. There's a couple of paragraphs of background text, then a character name, a list of powers, and a list of friends and enemies.
Here's Spider-Man's intro, to give you the flavor. "Peter Parker was a great student. He loved science. One day he went to a science exhibit. The exhibit was all about radiation. A spider was hit with lots of radiation. That same radioactive spider bit Peter Parker. From that bite, Peter gained his spider powers and became the Amazing Spider-Man!"
The text is inoffensive and clearly written. The magnets are very attractive, as are the background sheets. Everything is glossy, bright, and very appealing.
At an asking price of US $16, this set isn't exactly cheap. But there's no doubt some serious costs involved in printing and assembling a product like this.
This is a premium product, with enough visual appeal to justify the hefty sticker price.