- Posted by Johanna on June 2, 2012 at 4:54 pm
- Category: Superhero Reviews
Putting out a magazine for kids in connection with the Avengers movie is a terrific idea. (Especially since the free comic book Marvel put out was such a bad choice.) The first issue of the ongoing Marvel Super Heroes Magazine is dedicated to the team.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure the result is that good a value, since it’s high-priced for what you get, and the material doesn’t contain much new information that isn’t already known from the movie. The magazine is 32 pages for $4.99, which seems very slim. There aren’t any ads, though, unless you count the page urging you to subscribe to future issues (8 issues a year are planned) and the one asking you to provide your opinions on the publication. (Shades of manga!) There’s also a release form for readers and their parents to sign if they want to submit a letter, art, or photograph.
The magazine seems to have a bit of difficulty navigating the differences between the comics (or maybe the cartoons) and the movie. The cover features the film characters, while the first page also sticks Black Panther, Ant-Man, and the Wasp in around the edges.
It’s more of an issue with the comic content, a two-part Thor story by Joe Caramagna, Kevin Sharpe, and Terry Pallot that runs a total of 11 pages. It was originally published in Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #19 at the end of last year, and it features Thor and Loki fighting over the hammer Mjolnir. It’s not a bad little story, if it does have an obvious moral, but it turns on the idea that Thor, without his hammer, turns back into Don Blake, an idea not familiar to media viewers. It also makes Odin out to be a jerk and gives me a lot of sympathy for Loki, who’s used as a pawn here, although he also acts stupidly.
The magazine pages are full of art, sometimes overwhelmingly so, with call-outs and captions and all very shiny with computer coloring. It made my old eyes tired, but I am clearly NOT the audience for this, which wants to show kids how cool these characters are. It does a good job, with nothing I found particularly objectionable. (The interior art is even credited.) There are no movie photos or images, although a battle profile shows Loki fighting the team.
There are two pull-out posters. One on the inside cover features Iron Man against Loki; the other is a standing team shot, including the Scarlet Witch. That’s not the only activity that encourages you to destroy the mag: there’s a cut-out mix-and-match as well. Several puzzle pages include a maze, a rebus, and my favorite, the logic puzzle in which you have to determine which Avenger has been replaced by the Space Phantom. Of more interest to me were the Who’s Who-style bio pages. This issue profiles Black Widow, Hawkeye, Captain America, and the historical team. (Although I don’t buy Hawkeye gets a 5 out of 7 in intelligence when Black Widow gets a 3.)
It’ll be interesting to see what the next issue, out in July, looks like, since it’s dedicated to Spider-Man (in connection with the next movie). You can subscribe to the magazine at a discount to the cover price, and giving a kid the thrill of getting her or his own mail may be worth the cost. (By the way, that site doesn’t work if you don’t let them set cookies.) The magazine is also available through Target, Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Barnes & Noble, which seem the right audiences for this product. Someone shopping at comic book stores will be happier with the Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes comic.