Marvel Heroes (UK Magazine) #31 (Story 1)

 Posted: Jun 2012
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)


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. There are thirteen pages of U.K.-produced original story content set out of mainstream continuity. Normally this is made up of two short stories each six or seven pages in length. Typically there is a nominal link between the two tales.

The remainder is filler content. Early issues included a great deal of non-Marvel "infomercial" material. More recently, the advertising tie-in has become exclusively for Marvel products. The percentage of "infomercial" filler has also dropped, and now most of the bonus content is genuine content such as puzzles, art, and fact-files in a similar vein to the {{Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine)} sister magazine.

Story 'Blind Date!'

  Marvel Heroes (UK Magazine) #31 (Story 1)
Summary: 23-Feb-2011 (She-Hulk & Thing Story. Spider-Man References)
Publisher: Panini Magazines
Editor: Ed Hammond
Writer: Tony Lee
Inker: Gary Erskine

Once again, there's no Spider-Man appearance anywhere in this issue (other than the odd appearance in the supporting material). However, out of some strange sense of obligation to preserve these obscure UK-created stories for posterity, we'll be reviewing both parts of this month's tale, starting with "Blind Date!"

Specifically, She-Hulk and The Thing are both on a blind date, arranged as a joke by Johnny Storm. Things aren't going well at the restaurant where they are having lunch, and it's a great relief to both of them when their meal is interrupted by the appearance of the Red Ghost and his Super-Apes!

Jen (aka She-Hulk) and Ben (aka Thing) fight the Ghost and his monkey pals, who are apparently rather surprised to have encountered the heroes. By the time the good guys have wrapped up the villains, it has become clear that the target of the attack was somebody else entirely. Specifically... a young women named Margaret Yokel, who is the key witness in the trial currently being brought against the Kingpin on the other side of town.

Clearly, the goal was to kidnap (or kill) the star witness, cause a mistrial, and have the charges dropped. Thanks to the timely intervention of "Team Jen & Ben", all that was foiled. But the forces of justice are not yet entirely in the clear. Daredevil arrives on the scene to announce that they have only minutes left to make the trip to the courthouse and arrive in time! Time for the heavy-weights to hand over responsibility.

And with Daredevil now taking on the job of bodyguard for Ms. Yokel, She-Hulk and Thing can sit down to enjoy their desert, and the rest of their date, with the atmosphere decidedly warmer now that the ice has been broken between them.

General Comments

I wonder if writer Tony Lee is up-to-date with the mainstream universe version of She-Hulk's love life? In the regular continuity, Jen Walters has a reputation as a "cape-chaser", a sexually aggressive flirt who has enjoyed a significant number of short-term physical relationships. In that context, this story is rather risqué for a kid's magazine. But I suspect that was unintentional.

Anyhow, getting back to this particular tale, much of the fun of the story is in the telling. Two particular jokes hit home for me. Firstly, the heroes defeat the super-apes by tempting them with dessert. Firstly they distract the three smaller simians with cream cakes. Then they hurl confectionery at the back of the head of the largest ape, before quickly hiding. When the big monkey turns around, he believes that the other apes threw the food, and a nasty food fight quickly ensues. It's nicely done, and raised a giggle from me.

Secondly, as the cake fight is under way, the Red Ghost implores his team to "put down those tasty cream filled treats right now!" Unless I'm very much mistaken, that's a tip-of-the-hat to the Hostess Twinkies advertisements of a long-gone era.

Overall Rating

This was a witty little tale which packed a great deal into its mere seven pages. Some top-notch artwork rounded things out nicely.

Let's give it four webs, and follow onto the conclusion in the backup tale, Marvel Heroes (UK Magazine) #31 (Story 2).

 Posted: Jun 2012
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)