Okay, I had said that I would put Marvel Unlimited through it’s paces and then report on it. This is that report. I’m going to break this into sections and kind of talk about each.
The comic selection is pretty extensive, if not a little annoying. While there are a ton of books from a number of time periods, their focus really seems to be form 2004 onward sort of centering around Civil War (2006). Most of the series that you can think of are there, but there will be random issues missing. It’s the random issues that are missing that get annoying, and it never seems to fail that it’s part 6 of 6 that’s missing in a story arc. I assume they do it, hoping that you will buy it to get that last piece of whatever arc you are reading. As far as newer comics go, those are about six months behind current comics and they do have _most_ of the major titles.
If you were have ever had a subscription to MDCU then you know that the overhaul to the site is very welcome. It looks modern and slick. The web reader is pretty smooth, but I have found a few problems with some of the older issues. I’ll get to that in a moment. First, the viewing options: Single page puts one full page up in the window for you to read. 2 - page Brings up two pages next to each other (like a comic book). Finally, Panel View focuses on each individual panel, it’s similar to comixology’s guided view. Now it’s the panel view that I found the problem, but pretty much just in older books. It will quite often cut off speech and thought bubbles with no way of navigating around to see them, and they are usually too small to see in single or double page view. It’s a minor annoyance, but still an annoyance. The old reader had a roll over text zoom feature that could be pretty handy, but that has not yet found it’s way into the new reader. Also, when launching an Unlimited comic, you have the option to launch it “Read Now” or “Buy.” This will allow you to buy the digital comic for reading in the Marvel Digital app or the native Marvel Reader (the one powered by comixology). It’s a good option particularly when you bring up that issue missing from Unlimited and just _have_ to read it.
The mobile reader has pretty much the same options, but with the added bonus of pinch to zoom which solves that little problem I listed above. The problem with the mobile reader is that it is slower and can be a little buggy, but over all, it’s pretty dang cool. The mobile version does not, however, have the option to purchase the digital comic.
A feature exclusive to the mobile platform, allows you to store up to six comics on the device for reading offline. So, if you are like me and have a wi-fi only iPad, this feature is pretty handy. Quite simply, you select the comic you want, and select offline mode. It is then downloaded to your offline library and ready to be accessed. I have a couple of problems with this. The first, is that of the three times I have used the feature, it has really only saved 4 of the 6. I don’t know if I’m just brain damaged, but I have no idea where those other two comics went. It is even more baffling because as soon as I reconnect to wi-fi they reappear. So who knows, I’ll attribute it to being the first version of the software. Second is that the comics have the same latency issues in offline mode as they do when connected to the internet. That’s weird. I would think it would be faster and smoother.
Previously called your “must reads.” I used to use the feature to mark comics in a series that I wanted to read for quick access. It used to be that you added them to your must reads and then could mark them as read when you had finished an issue. This is no longer the case. Adding something to your library can still be like a must read section, but if you lose track of what you have already read, you could have some problems finding the next issue to read. Again not a big deal, but I’m not really sure why you need a library of books that you don’t own.
All in all the service is pretty good and the mobile apps are a nice addition, but still need a little work and smoothing out. $9.99 a month is a pretty good price for essentially an all you can read comic service. Also keep in mind that it’s the only one of it’s kind.
If I missed anything, let me know in the comment section.