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 established pattern in recent issues was to have a pair of interlinked half-length stories. Most recently this has effectively become one single story with a break in the middle. Sometimes the two halves have separate titles, sometimes not. In any case, the total "story content" of each issue adds up to about fourteen pages. The rest of the content is advertising, puzzles, promos, posters and other filler.
This month features Spider-Man on the cover (and scattered around various references in the filler material). But the main story belongs entirely to Iron Man and War Machine, in a gratuitous and shameless "Iron Man 2" movie tie-in!
This issue is a special "Iron Man 2 Movie Special!" It's a flip cover issue retailing for £2.99 instead of the regular £2.50, and instead of the regular 32 pages, this super-sized special includes ten pages of Iron Man 2 movie tie-in content to bring the issue size up to a whopping 32 pages!
Hey, hang on a sec? Despite the hype and the price rise, this is actually the same size magazine? All I can surmise is that the "Repulsor Cannon" toy included with this issue is a little larger and contains a little more Chinese plastic than the "Rocket Blaster", "Water Blaster", "Rocket Launcher", whatever-Blaster toys that the previous issues featured. But from a pure magazine point of view this ain't an act of Marvel generosity.
I can't really say that the Iron Man story is a "gift" either. I mean, if you're looking for 12 pages of cartoon art featuring Iron Man and/or War Machine in damn near every panel, then this is for you. But there's not much else to amuse the little grey cells in this low-brow slugfest. Quick summary. Iron Man allows himself to be captured by Hydra, then gets rescued by War Machine allowing them to capture Hydra in return. It turns out that the Stark tech is superior in all ways to the Hydra tech, so there's no real contest.
Is this is story? *Shrug*. I guess so. It's a series of sequential panels with narrative which describes and illustrates a continous chain of events in a structured order. Is it anything other than a big Iron Man movie/magazine inter-Marvel circle jerk? Absolutely not.
The ten pages of Iron Man 2 promo material includes a bit of a movie character summary, some movie promo, a movie tie-in competition, a promo for some movie tie-in toys, and a promo the Iron Man 2 hardback UK annual. Remember kids, you're actually paying for this.
No question about the rating. One web for this commercial drivel.