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. Over time, the excessive self-promotion which marred earlier issues was gently scaled back to more acceptable levels.
Spider-Man swings past to feature in a story ever now and again. But not this month, which belongs instead to Ghost Rider and Union Jack. Who? Oh yeah... one of those UK hero guys. I remember. Maybe.
Well, it's still "Iron Man 2" promo season, so the first three pages of this magazine are dedicated to:
Page 1: Promotions for the movie.
Page 2: Marvel Super Hero Squad Wii Game.
Page 3: Iron Man Armored Adventures (Series on DVD).
But somewhere shortly afterwards, they actually get around to offering us a story, like this one which features Johnny Blaze (aka Ghost Rider) spending Halloween's night in Salem Massachusetts (thanks spell checker). Yeah, the place where they held the witch trials back when.
Well, Johnny tends to be drawn to where trouble lies. Though first up he deals with some kids teasing a girl who hears voices in her head. A "penance stare" soon has the bullies confessing all their misdemeanors.
But that's not the main event, oh not at all. The main event is at the top of a hill where a beam of mystic energy is shooting forth. Investigating, Ghost Rider finds a bunch of demons opening a gateway to channel the evil Blackheart back into existence on Earth! At the heart of the ritual is, of course, the pretty young goth/emo girl who we encountered last paragraph. I mean last page. I mean, shortly before.
Well, Ghost Rider fights his way close enough to use his "penance stare" on the girl. That's enough to break the link, and send all the demons packing. He then comforts the girl, and rides off into the sunset, leaving her his leather jacket as a reminder that she's never alone. And that's the end of a purely linear storyline which, while tidy enough, was so "safe" and trivial as to make me wonder why it ever saw the light of day at all.
Meh. What's with this rubbish. Hero meets Villain. Hero defeats Villain. Bystanders are rescued. Can we seriously not do any better than that?
Well, I can't see how this story has made the world a better, more interesting or more entertaining place. Have a web and consider yourself lucky.