Saturday, March 09, 2013

Marvel Unlimited debuts on iOS: Subscription access to Marvel's entire library of comics

Marvel Unlimited debuted on iOS on Thursday. Previously a Web-only service, Marvel Unlimited -- as you might expect from its name -- provides "unlimited" access to the comic book publisher's library of comics, which currently totals over 13,000 titles.

A number of fans have probably been introduced to the Marvel comic book world via Marvel's movie titles. You've find those characters here: the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America, Spider-Man, X-Men, and so forth. You'll also find characters unknown to the movie viewer, such as Nova, the New Warriors, X-Force, and more.

To access Marvel's comics on an unlimited basis, though, readers have to subscribe to the service. The service runs $9.99 monthly or $59.88 annually (which is a 50 percent savings). Alternatively, customers can buy single digital comics.

Here's how the app is described in the iOS App Store (it is coming soon to Android):
Introducing the Marvel Unlimited app for iPhone and iPad - a new benefit of our digital comics subscription program!

Members of Marvel Unlimited can now experience over 70 years of Marvel’s greatest comics like never before – with our patented Smart Panels technology, and the ability to read offline when not connected to a wi-fi or cellular network.

Not a Marvel Unlimited member yet? No worries! You can preview every issue in the archive and read dozens of full free issues to explore the benefits of Marvel Unlimited risk-free!

Download now and explore the Marvel Universe!
There is a slight problem with the iOS app, though. It seems unfinished. In other words, it's buggy. It's a sentiment confirmed by many of the comments in the App Store. For example:
This was finished? by littlenomad

Nearly impossible to use on a small screen, like the iPod touch or iPhone. Panels are too small. Navigation is clunky. I'm thrilled Marvel is trying to introduce a Netflix-like subscription service, but this app just doesn't appear ready. Comixology STILL features the best panel view technology. Marvel can make improvements to this app and come close. Here's hoping they will, and soon.
That is bad enough, but then this is the review by an iPad 2 user, who can't even use the app.
Not opening on iPad 2 by debaserno13

Seems to work well on my iPhone 4 but it keeps crashing on the iPad. I'd prefer to read comics on the iPad's larger screen. Seems ok on iPhone.
There are some other issues, too. Strangely, the app doesn't even measure up to the company's own Marvel Comics app. Marvel Unlimited won't even remember where you left off in a comic that hasn't been downloaded.

Speaking of downloads, Marvel Unlimited limits users to just six downloads at a time for offline reading. In addition, and to be honest, not surprisingly, the comics in Marvel Unlimited's library are at least six months old. If you want to see the latest titles in any given series, you need to buy them separately (as was noted above, you can buy comics even sans a subscription).

As a note, since the Superior Spider-Man series is only five issues old -- the series with Doc Ock now in possession of Spider-Man's body -- well, you get the drift.

There is hope that when the Android version arrives it -- as well as a hopefully updated iOS version -- will operate better.



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