Marvel Heroes is the third UK Spider-Man/Marvel Magazine title from the Panini stable. The others are Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) for early teens, and Spider-Man & Friends (UK Magazine) for the pre-school market. Marvel Heroes replaces Rampage (UK) which was aimed at the mid-late teen market and mixed Marvel material with general Movie/Video Game content.
This magazine features 36 glossy pages. As the title indicates, the content is 100% Marvel related, and most of the major Marvel Heroes get a look-in from time to time. The audience is clearly mid-teens, with plenty of DVD, movie and video-game link-in.
Two original and separate 7-page comic book stories headline the issue. This time around there's a Hulk story and an Iron Man story. Strangely, despite the fact that the villains from both (Kraven and Doc Ock) are both classic Spidey foes, the web-head himself doesn't make a proper appearance in either tale.
Never mind. Spider-Man does appears in some of the bonus puzzles and articles, and I'm sure he'll get his own story before too long.
There's no Spidey story this time, and of the two stories that do appear, one of them is a reprint of a story from Rampage! But just for the record, I'll detail the contents of the magazine page-by-page to give you a feel for the structure and material.
The inside cover features a photo gallery of the headline acts we can expect to see: Spidey, Silver Surfer, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Avengers, and X-Men. Then there's an index page, and our first page of "content" which is essentially a 1-page ad for the "Incredible Hulk Movie" DVD... "Out to buy from October 13th!"
Next page is a list of the animated Marvel DVDs available to buy this month, and a promo for some new Marvel toys. Hmm... not looking good so far. Page 5 and still no actual content.
Page 6 features a "promo" for the Spider-Man web of shadows. It's a not-very-critical mini-review with some cut-scenes, which is hard to distinguish from a soft-sell advertisement. Page 7 is a promo for the "Avengers Next" animated series DVD, and a promo for the "Spectacular Spider-Man TV Series" on Nick Toons, 9:30am and 4:30 pm every weekend.
Page 8/9 is a double-spread Hulk "Fact File" which is the first sign of any real content. We learn that "The angrier Hulk gets, the stronger he becomes!" and other similar deep inside knowledge that you would otherwise never discover. Did you know his real name is "Dr. Bruce Banner"? Or that his eyes were "green" and his skin color is "green"? Well, now you do!
Spidey doesn't really get a proper look-in here. He's in a few posters, a puzzle, and the odd bit of promo. The Hulk story is pretty damn funny, but remember it is a reprint from only a few years ago.
However, Iron Man story is well above expectations also. The other original material is about what you would expect, but it's a shame to see so many pages of thinly-disguised product placement padding things out.
Four webs for the stories, two webs for the commercial hype-fest that makes up the remaining 60% of the pages. Call it an average three webs. Welcome to the latest UK Marvel Magazine title, y'all.