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.
The format generally consists of a couple of six or seven-page stories, with the rest of the content just advertising, puzzles, promos, posters and other filler. This month, both stories are by the same writer, and both are loosely linked, as has become the trend for this title. Neither features Spider-Man. The first stars Daredevil (despite him receiving no mention on the cover) while the second pits the Avengers against Carnage.
The first tale opens with Matt Murdock (aka Daredevil) interviewing Flint Marko (aka Sandman) in a page of plot which really has nothing to do with the rest of the story other than being a reason for Daredevil to be at Ryker's Island Prison. Said "rest of story" is centered around The Cobra sneaking into Ryker's Island prison to free his partner-in-crime Mr. Hyde. Many villains are released. Hijinks ensue.
Among the madness, Cobra and Hyde use some stolen "Pym Particles" to shrink down in size in their attempt to get off the island. However, due to Hyde's blunder, they are left without access to the corresponding "growing" particles. There's plenty of squabbling, Daredevil helps recapture everybody, and that's that. Except that some anonymous trouble-maker gives the abandoned "growing" Pym particles to Carnage (a fellow prisoner who didn't actually get released).
I'm not sure what kind of "top security facility" would provide a spot that allows Matt to change into Daredevil without being captured on video camera. Even if you did allow that Matt's super-senses might let him find a spot where he wasn't noticed, his presence as Daredevil was definitely noticed, and surely a quick scan of the visitor's register would make it pretty clear what his civilian identity must be.
Anyhow, the whole series of events adds up to... absolutely nothing really. There's no point to this story. It's just a bunch of stuff that happened. There's no twists, surprises, lessons, excitement, or anything to on any level justify the effort involved in creating the whole thing. It's as exciting as my grocery list. I don't even know how to rate something like this. I'm struggling to even keep it in my mind. It's fading already... as if it never happened.
Except of course that there's one consequence we do need to resolve. Those mislaid Pym particles. And that leads into Marvel Heroes (UK Magazine) #18 (Story 2).
This store is complete... but utterly pointless.
Is it really that hard to script a plot which achieves something other than taking up page count? Is there really such a tragic lack of writing talent in the UK that this kind of filler is the best effort the once-proud nation can offer? Home of Shakespeare, and... well... also of this sort of stuff.
As the Swan of Avon himself said... "Thou art some fool, I am loath to beat thee."
But beat thee I must. One and a half webs.