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. Over time, the excessive self-promotion which marred earlier issues was gently scaled back to more acceptable levels.
The established pattern in recent issues was to have a pair of interlinked half-length stories. There's the occasional one-story exception. In any case, the total "story content" of each issue adds up to about fourteen pages. The rest of the content is advertising, puzzles, promos, posters and other filler.
This month we have the typical two halves, with the same writer but different artists. Spider-Man doesn't appear in the main plot this month, but as usual he pops up from time to time in the puzzles and bonus art work that fill out the remaining pages.
This issue's story is an Iron Man/X-Men crossover. Part One takes place on Iron Man's home ground. The mutant X-Man Bishop is on a public relations visit to Stark Industries when his mind is overcome by an external force and he suddenly attacks the employees of Stark. Naturally Tony Stark himself puts on the Iron Man armor and battles Bishop, eventually subduing the rogue hero.
The magazine asks: "Just why did Bishop go crazy? - and who's behind this chaotic turn of events?!? Turn to page 22 to find out!"
That's assuming you think the surprise is likely to justify the effort of continuing with this turgid tale. Personally, I doubt it. But I feel an obligation, so I shall continue my review in Marvel Heroes (UK Magazine) #23 (Story 2).
Fighting, and a bit more fighting. Not much to wrap the brain around though. Let's offer a cautious two webs for now...