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 is a recent replacement for the relatively short-lived Rampage (UK) which was also aimed at the mid-late teen market.
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 early/mid-teens, with plenty of DVD, movie and video-game link-in.
As per the regular formula, two original and separate 7-page comic book stories headline the issue. Spider-Man isn't in either.
Let's have a look at the two stories in this issue. First up, "I was the Man on the Ant Planet" by writer Al Ewing. This is a rather silly, giggle as we go piece. Ant-Man (aka Henry Pym) calls the white house and asks to talk to the President. He doesn't get through, so I'm guessing this is set in some universe/time where Pym isn't an Avenger. That means he has to deal with this himself.
Ooops, I didn't mention the crisis. Seems ants are disappearing all over the world. Pym slips into micro-man mode and wanders off to his nearest ant hill. But before he can get into the Queen's chamber, he needs to fight his way through the over-enthusiastic bouncers on the door, using "ant-judo" no less. Once the they've learned not to tangle with Henry Pym, they explain that dimensional portals have been popping out of nowhere and sucking ants off to an unknown fate. What do you reckon the odds are that this will happen to Henr... oh. There he goes. Slurp!
On the other side he finds himself in a far-off micro-civilization where ants are being oppressed. By oppressors... using nasty oppressive techniques! How mean! Pym leaps to the attack, but his ant-judo fails him and he is humbled by the scaly green-skinned humanoid natives. Worse, they sic their controlled ants onto ant-man, forcing him to meet his fate at the hands of his former insectoid allies! Is this the end for...?
...oh, no. It's not. Despite his hands being manacled, our hero manages to bang his helmet against the wall, releasing his growing gas. At giant size, his transmitting control helmet is powerful enough to overcome the enslaving whips used by the villains against his ant friends. With the ants freed, they make short work of their former captors. The hero's work is done!
Very silly, and it works on pretty much every level. The cartoonish artwork perfectly compliments it. The final result, a perfect example of how to write an amusing, out-of-continuity half-length story which appeals to pretty much any market. Nice one.
Four fun webs.
Extra stuff. Two pages of advertising for X-Men figures and X-Men books. Two pages "learn to draw the Incredible Hulk". Two pages "data file" for the Ant-Man, including references to his "Ant-Judo". It also names him as a founding member of the Avengers, which makes his inability to contact the President about a global emergency rather surprising.
Two one-page posters (Ant-Man, Thor), a two-page centerfold poster of the X-Men. Two pages of "guide to the X-Men", a one-page "spot the differences of the FF", a one-page Iron Man/Hulk coloring page, a Captain America cutout and glue to card mask, a page of fan art and letters, a one-page competition form, and an Iron Man fact file card to go in your heroes info card index.