Unlimited Marvel Comics sounds like a prize you would win after mailing out completed forms from the back of sugary cereal-boxes, but that is exactly what you get with Marvel’s ‘Digital Comics Unlimited’.
The new service released on iOS devices for a fairly reasonable price. The library of comics stretches back decades, and all of them are yours to read for $60 a year. Just $5 a month if you pay annually, $10 if you want to pay per month. After that you can start searching by the comic’s creator, your favorite character or other keywords. It’s an amazing advancement to get more people reading comics, and even though true comic-book readers may never turn to the digital age, it’s a wonderful alternative for those that wouldn’t mind or have small children that love to read.
This isn’t the first time that Marvel has launched an unlimited service, but the previous installment was web only. The content was still the same but the clunky user-interface and slower loading times just never felt right for most users. Now with the innovation that iPads bring, a digital comics just feels more natural.
Natural but not perfect. Marvel is still basing the app on web-based comic-reading, which loses a certain functionality and response time that a dedicated app would have (DC Comics have their own dedicated app and so does Marvel, but the unlimited-service went with browser based reading). The second problem is that although you can read the 13,000+ comics, which often times start from your favorite character’s first introduction, there is a 6 month delay on new comics from paper-release to digital-release. The regular Marvel app will still have newer comics, and the store down the street will have new comics but your unlimited plan will make you wait.
Setback number two is the very strange comic-limit Marvel put in place on the iPad. Users can only store six comics at a time to read ‘offline’. Which means if you are headed off to the park, or a long car-ride with your kids, you will only have 6 to choose from before you need to download more. While it is not totally impossible to ‘download on the go’ most iPads have more than enough room for the content and the limit just seems like a poor judgement call. I mentioned that there were 13,000+ comics to choose from, and there are, but that isn’t all of Marvel’s available stash. There are comics that are missing, and some of the less popular characters do not have a full archive of comics to choose from. It is because of this that I strongly suggest you search online for your favorite characters before going forward.
The current promotion of $60 a year is a limited-time offer, and will soon be $120 a year. I would say this app is perfect for young children. If you are a parent that would like your kids to start reading comics (or feel that they would enjoy them) it is a giant buffet for them to dive into, which will allow them to find a favorite character without spending a lot of money. Moderate comic-book fans probably have a lot of missed content that the library does contain and even the most die-hard fan would enjoy the trip down comic-book lane. If you are a seasoned reader, the missing content might agitate you, so checking out what’s available is key.
more info: marvel.unlimited
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