Comics : Marvel Heroes (UK Magazine) #33

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This story is part of an Arc: "Hulk vs. Death's Head"
     Part 1 / Part 2

This review was first published on: Jul 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 issue is among the last of the original stories before the book became a reprint title.

In Detail...

"The Hero Inside"
Marvel Heroes (UK Magazine) #33 (Story 1)
Apr 2011 : SM Reference
Summary: 20-Apr-2011 (Hulk Story. Spider-Man References)
Arc: Part 1 of "Hulk vs. Death's Head"
Script:  Ferg Handley
Artist:  John Ross
Colorist:  John Charles
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 Reprinted In: Marvel Heroes Annual (UK) 2015

Bruce Banner (fugitive, aka the Hulk) meets Betty Ross (part-time girlfriend of the aforementioned) at Central Park. But it's a trap. Betty is a life model decoy, and the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are watching the meet.

When Bruce figures it out, Betty attempts to subdue him with sleeping gas, but she isn't quick enough. Banner becomes the Hulk, and S.H.I.E.L.D. sends in the flying armoured soldier squadron. After four pages of Hulk vs. Robot Suit fighting, the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. finally manage to attach a small device to the Hulk's skin.

The device allows Banner's mind to take control, while still remaining in giant green Hulk form. Now S.H.I.E.L.D. can negotiate with Banner, and explain their current difficulty. You see, fugitive aliens from the D'Bari race have navigated their city-sized space craft into orbit around the planet Earth.

The D'Bari have declared their intention to colonize the planet. They have displayed their military superiority by turning their destructive weapons onto the moon. However, wanting to avoid damaging their new home, they have offered the Humans the chance to surrender.

But now comes the part that makes no sense. They have offered the humans the opportunity to send a warrior representative to the moon, to fight in single combat against the D'Bari's chosen hero. If the Humans win, then they get to keep their planet. If the D'Bari win, then the Humans surrender without a fight.

The agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have taken it upon themselves to appoint the Hulk as their representative in this fight for the world.

In General...

Frankly, the "send out a hero to fight as a representative of everybody" thing is a bit difficult to swallow.

If the history books are to be believed, there are instances in history where this was the "done" thing. But only in very specific situations, surely? I can only see it making sense in cases where both sides were fairly evenly balanced, and where both sides have more to lose on average by fighting than they would by conceding.

Furthermore, in order for this to work, it seems to me that both sides would have to be from a similar ongoing culture where there was some social pressure to keep faithful to the deal after you lost. Yes, losing your "champion" might reduce your will to fight somewhat. But when the price at stake is your very existence as a species... it's hard to see that either side is likely to follow through with their commitment should their hero lose the one-on-one fight.

So with all that in mind, I can't see anything about this setup that makes any possible sense at all. The whole exercise seems like a pointless waste of time for both teams. So why would S.H.I.E.L.D. even consider being involved... other than perhaps a stalling exercise, to which they make no reference.

Overall Rating...

All this posturing and fighting in the first seven-pages that comprise part one of this mini-arc are clearly constructed for no other purpose than to get the Hulk onto the moon where he can fight Death's Head (who is the interplanetary bounty-hunter depicted on the cover).

While it achieves that end, it doesn't do it particularly convincingly. I'm gonna give it a couple of webs.

Now come and join me for the conclusion in Marvel Heroes (UK Magazine) #33 (Story 2).