This UK kids magazine is one of three regular Spidey magazine offerings from Panini. Spider-Man & Friends targets the 4-10 year old market, while sister publication Spectacular Spider-Man (UK Magazine) aims at the pre-teen and teen crowd. Finally, their Marvel Heroes (UK Magazine) hits the same mid-teen crowd but with a video game/movie angle.
But let's get back to Spider-Man & Friends. It features a distinctively drawn semi-Manga style kiddie Spider-Man, his cousin Spider-Girl, plus early school versions of Hulk, Wolverine, Beast, Storm and Captain America along with guest appearances from many other big name Marvel heroes and villains. Toy tie-ins are also available, plus in 2009 they produced a hardback annual.
Published every four or five weeks, this UK magazine features a toy taped to the front of each issue. Inside you'll find a four page Spidey & Friends story with three panels per page, captions of 8-20 words per panel. Then there's some nice simple kids puzzles, some coloring, a couple of competitions, and a page or two of Spidey merchandise. It's similar to the formats used for the older kids' magazines, just pitched for a much younger target audience.
Our titanic tale is... "Hide And Seek!"
"Let's Hide" quoths the Lizard. And with that, we're off on another rip-roaring ride. Beast, Thing, Thor, Hulk and Lizard are hiding. Spidey counts to 10. Then he finds all his friends, because they all hid in places that are the same color as they are. Hulk in a green tree, etc.
No, seriously. That's it. No fantastical coincidences, no bizarre situation needing improbable solutions. Spider-Man didn't need to make a web helicopter. Hulk didn't need need to use his super-strength to repair a broken tractor so the farmer could reap his corn and take it to market it and sell it for money to repair his broken VCR.
Just... the heroes hide and Spidey finds them.
Look, the only really entertainment value in any of these stories is to see just how crazy and cockamamie the situations can become. This just has nothing at all. What's next? Hulk has a birthday, Spidey makes a cake and they all eat it? Or Lizard needs a bath so Spidey turns the tap and then pulls out the plug?
One web for everything that happened, plus one bonus web. Total score is... hmm... one web.