Comics : Marvel Heroes (UK Magazine) #6

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This review was first published on: Jan 2010.

Background...

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.

As per the regular formula, two original and separate 7-page comic book stories headline the issue. It's Spider-Man's turn to feature in the magazine and he gets the first slot. Later, Storm appears in her own seven page tale. Spider-Man also appears in much of the filler material.

In Detail...

"Let Them Eat Cake!"
Marvel Heroes (UK Magazine) #6 (Story 1)
Mar 2009 : SM Guest
Summary: 25-Mar-09 (Spider-Man)
Publisher:  Panini
Editor:  Ed Hammond
Writer:  James Peaty
Pencils:  Neil Edwards
Inker:  Ian Sharman
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 Reprinted In: Marvel Heroes Annual (UK) 2012

A Spider-Man datafile precedes the story. We learn useful facts like "Spidey is roughly 15 times more agile than a normal person." Hey, cool, there's a human agility scale, eh? There's also a "power ranking grid" giving vital attributes: (Strength 12, Speed 10, Intelligence 13, Agility 14, Powers 14). So... an average person has an agility of "0.93" I'm deducing. I should grab a ruler and measure my agility some time! That would be a laugh.

A summarized origin story is presented. Peter's Uncle Ben is "killed by a burglar", though Peter's role in letting the burglar escape is omitted. Hmm... that's a pretty big omission there, guys. So instead of "Power & Responsibility", instead Peter simply becomes "New York's Greatest Hero - Dedicated to combating evil and helping those in need." Mom, Apple Pie, etc., etc.

This month in our UK Teenager's magazine, Peter is buying a special cake to celebrate Thanksgiving with his Aunt May. It's a triple chocolate frosted two-tier fudge cake. Frosted, eh? That's American language there too... in England they're more likely to say "icing" rather than "frosting" on a cake. This mag sure is trying hard to be American! Anyhow, we're given some back story. Last year, Peter failed to get the Thanksgiving cake to Aunt May - because he was saving people as Spidey, though naturally his Aunt doesn't know that.

So, Peter's at the cake shop picking up his sticky-sweet treat, when a van explodes in electricity and Hydro-Man shows up. Peter becomes Spidey, battles Hydro-Man, but it's a two-man-trap. Electro is there too. Seems last year Spidey spoiled Electro and Hydro-Man's Thanksgiving by capturing them, so now they're returning the favor. You have to wonder of course how they knew to launch their attack right outside the cake shop. Perhaps Peter was at the exact same place last year too, and they just chose the same time and place. Do I get a no-prize for that explanation?

Spidey wins the fight by lining up the two villains one on either side, then leaping out of the way so they zap each other. PUH-LEEEEEASE! That's the oldest damn trick in the "fighting against super-villain team-ups" book. Is that the best ya have, Mr. James Peaty (writer)? Spidey then returns to being Petey and picks up the cake. He arrives to the Thanksgiving dinner only to discover that after last year, his Aunt didn't trust him to get it right this year, and had her next door neighbor order it "on-line", even though Peter promised he would get it right this year.

Punchline: Now there's two cakes. And Peter doesn't even like that cake - it's too rich for his tastes.

Moral of the tale: Aunt May has so little faith in her nephew that she's not prepared to give him a second chance.

Second Moral: Aunt May orders her dinner on-line, she doesn't cook it herself. That's what makes Thanksgiving special, eh?

In General...

What a ghastly Spider-Man story! Peter and his Aunt are almost unrecognizable - and I mean that both in terms of the art and in their characterizations. What a total write-off!

Overall Rating...

Ghastly. Truly ghastly. One web.

Footnote...

Filter Material includes: Two pages promoting upcoming Marvel movies. Two pages featuring "interesting bits" from the Hulk movie a couple of years back. The two page Spidey fact file already mentioned, a Spidey poster, an Avengers centerfold poster, and a Storm poster.

There's two pages of puzzles, then two pages of "spot the difference" (quite a good puzzle that one). Finally there's a Wolverine mask to stick on cardboard and cut out, plus a page of fan mail, a coloring in page, and a one-page Human Torch profile to wrap-up.