Marvel Heroes: Justice for All, 2-in-1 Invisible Ink & Sticker Puzzles (Lee)

 Posted: Aug 2013
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)


This is another one-off Marvel Heroes "Invisible Ink" from Lee Publications, the guys who created "Yes & Know", "Magic Pen" and "Invisible Ink" books.

This one follows their standard format, being 48 pages, 5.5" x 8", staple-bound at the top of the book. The books are sold shrink-wrapped, because that helps keep the "Magic Pen" (Orange in this case) from getting lost. There's always a sturdy cardboard insert in the book too, to stop the shrink-wrap from distorting the book out of shape as it sits on the shelf.

Story Details

Despite appearing prominently on the cover, Spider-Man only makes a flying Cameo appearance in this book. The main stars are the Avengers, and the X-Men (who don't get a cover mention at all).

All the material in this book is new, and the pages are printed in alternating red and blue (which is new as well... the earlier books were uniformly grey for Magic Pen pages and blue for Invisible Ink pages).

I did say "48 pages". But in fact, half of each page is blank, so there are only 24 pages on which to use the special pen which reveals the invisible ink drawings in the indicated region of the page. As you can see from the sample page, each drawing features a one-line sentence introduction, a line drawing over half of the page, and a blank region where you need to apply the afore-mentioned pen in order to make stuff appear.

At the centre of the book in a stapled insert are the two "Sticker Puzzles" as mentioned on the cover. These consist of two 5 x 6 grids of squares, each with 30 corresponding (numbered) stickers which when placed in the corresponding places form a complete image.

General Comments

I'm generally a big fan of anything by Lee Publications. Unfortunately, this one just feels a bit lack-lustre. The images are unexciting, and rather disconnected. I sort of feel as though the captions and illustrations should comprise a complete narrative. But they don't.

The pictures aren't colored ("Invisible Ink" means grey lines, you need "Magic Pen" for the colored images). The sticker puzzles aren't challenging, or interesting, and they don't form a particularly appealing image.

Finally, I have a nasty suspicion that some of the artwork is borrowed from the pool of artwork being used for the current series of Parragon and Scholastic. That's another disappointment from a publisher which up until now has been quite good at creating original material.

Overall Rating

Despite the fresh-looking cover, this collection is actually less impressive and less interesting than the equivalent Marvel "Magic Pen" and "Invisible Ink" books from several years earlier. It's all a bit of a disappointment really.

The price on these books has crept up and the quality has crept down. I suspected the day would eventually arise when I had to give a below-average rating to one of these Lee Publication products. It seems like that day is today.

I still have enough residual fondness for these "Invisible Ink" books not to twist the knife, but even so I have to give a below-par two-and-a-half webs.

 Posted: Aug 2013
 Staff: The Editor (E-Mail)