Comics : Marvel Heroes (UK Magazine) #32

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This review was first published on: Jun 2012.

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. 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.

Also, just like its sister titles, Marvel Heroes (UK Magazine) was put to the sword when Disney took over the Marvel properties in 2011. This is one of the few original stories remaining before the book becomes a reprint title... and then most likely a cancelled title shortly after.

In Detail...

"Iron Fists of Fury!"
Marvel Heroes (UK Magazine) #32
Mar 2011 : SM Reference
Summary: 23-Mar-2011 (Luke Cage & Iron Man Story. Spider-Man References)
Editor:  Ed Hammond
Writer:  Ferg Handley
Pencils:  John McCrea
Inker:  Lee Townsend
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Luke Cage and Iron Fist are "Heroes for Hire". An elderly Chinese man asks them to help out his son, who runs a grocery shop in a rough part of town, and who is being shaken down for protection money.

The "Heroes" agree to take the case, for a low or even zero fee. They stake out the joint, and observe super-villains Shocker and Constricter come in and run the rounds, collecting the extortion money. Luke and Iron Fist follow the villains back to the lair of gang boss Hammerhead. With the ringleader identified, the Heroes bust in, take names, and kick butt. Case closed, presumably.

When the old man never comes to offer them any thanks, the Heroes head back to the grocery story where they learn that (a) the grocery store owner's father is long dead, and (b) the extortion problem does not appear to have been solved.

Staking out the grocery store for a second time, they see another pair of super-villains come round to collect the protection payments. This time it's Electro and Bullseye.

The Heroes manage to defeat these two villains too (though only just, after a much harder fight this time). Then they interrogate them and learn that they were working for another gang boss... this time it's "The Owl". The good guys head over to the Owl's secret lair, and finally learn that the old Chinese man who first enlisted their assistance was actually Chameleon in disguise, working for the Owl to trick the Heroes into eliminating some of the competition.

Another round of butt-kicking, and the case is finally closed. Or, at least as closed as these things ever are in the comic books.

In General...

Well, I can't really see that the Owl's plan was ever a particularly smart one. Surely he could have guessed that once the Heroes for Hire had become involved in wiping out he competition, they would very likely become an equal difficulty to his own plans.

Then again, he's not famous for being very smart.

Overall Rating...

While this story generally "works" just fine, I couldn't really find anything to endear it to me. There's nothing that really offends me, but equally there's nothing that appeals to me on any level either.

It's not particularly clever, or emotionally intense. The fight scenes are adequate, the dialog is basically competent. But I don't see anything original or rewarding in any sense.

So, I'm gonna give it a right-down-the-middle three web rating, and move on to the next issue.

Footnote...

I couldn't find any story title inside the magazine itself. Maybe Panini decided to remove it as a cost-cutting move?

Anyhow, I have called the story "Iron Fists of Fury!" since that is the tagline on the cover. It's not a particularly memorable name, but then again, it's not a particularly memorable story either.