What is this? Some sort of follow up to the mega-popular Digital or Bust? Stop the presses! Or, I guess, stop the internet-posting? There really aren’t presses for this kind of thing, unless you imagine that internet is one big press and every blog or webpage post is “pressed” onto the net… heavy man.  But that’s not the point here and really serves no relevance so let’s move on.

Today we’re going to talk about Marvel Unlimited. You know, that digital service that costs anywhere from $69 to $99 per year, depending on whether or not you want regular or “plus”? Unless you’re Canadian and then plus isn’t even an option for you so… there’s that. So this little idea boasts “instant access to over 13,000 comics” and in theory it’s a great idea for those that want to sample comics, from the past and relatively recent releases, without jumping right into a trade or collection.

Marvel Unlimited Banner from the official website. Ooooh, shiney.

Now, for my money I managed to get a special $10 off coupon so I tried the yearly package—something I probably wouldn’t have done if I didn’t get that coupon, to be honest. After the first week or so of playing with it and downloading the comics and reading a few I, admittedly, haven’t touched it. I plan on going back to it eventually, but here are some of the things that quite possibly have turned me off of it:

You can only “take” 12 comics with you. That is to say, you have a limit of 12 comics at any one time you can download to your device and read while you’re “offline”. This really isn’t a huge deal but it would be nice to be able to download whatever, whenever on the off chance the 12 that you picked while connected to Wi-Fi (pronounced Wiffy) might not be the ones you suddenly want to read. Just saying, it happens. Sometimes the comics you’re in the mood for change from the morning to, say, lunch time. So if you load up a bunch, like you can on say that little thing called Comixology, you should be able to read ‘em all. Just saying… its minor, but it’s something I’ve thought about.

Another thing, and this thing is more major than that last thing, and that’s their “panel view”. I know they can’t outright rip off Comixology and their fantastic guided view, but they already have an app that uses their technology and ideas so why the hell couldn’t they have worked together with Comixology on this one? Hell, even the look of their Comixology Marvel app is better than Unlimited. To me, it’s an absolute no brainer. The panel view that Unlimited uses is not unusable, but it’s much better to just read it as a full page at a time, providing you have something the size of an iPad 2.


Aside from those two things I think, really, the selection is pretty decent. I can find stuff that I haven’t read in a while, like the early 90s Venom series that was my last series until my resurgence into the comic world just a few years ago, and I can find stuff that I’m interested in checking out but maybe can’t find trades to, like Devil Dinosaur. There are some holes in their selections, especially in the older stuff, which is to be expected, but it gives the impression that they’re going to tease you with, for example, a really great Black Panther issue from Kirby—who we lost 20 years ago today, RIP King—but then not follow up with the rest of the issues. It’s almost as if Marvel Unlimited is forcing you, if you enjoyed it, to go hunting for the trades that may or may not even still be in print which leads to a whole other set of issues and problems.

Maybe that last part is imagined, but you have to think that this new feature is just another way to get people hooked and to get people into comic shops. This, really, is great because the comic industry can always use new readers hungry for good trades which eventually turn into making them a monthly reader and then they turn their friends onto comics and the cycle continues.

Unfortunately, I’d almost rather spend the $69 bucks on a few trades instead of bothering with Marvel Unlimited. I’m spoiled with the Comixology guided view which, as I said, is just far superior to what Unlimited is offering. Right now, I need to go back and read some more comics from Unlimited and give it another go but as far as I can tell, I won’t be renewing my subscription for another year once this expires.

Call me picky, or a digital snob, or whatever—I can handle it, I think—but I don’t know if Unlimited is for me. But I want to know what you true believers think about this. Have you tried it? Do you love it/hate it/are indifferent? Has this jumble of words turned you off of it or onto it? Comment below! No, seriously, comment. I want to know if I’m just nuts.

Regardless of my craziness, at the end of the day read comics, folks. That’s the absolute bottom line. Read ‘em however you can and however you want to. Share the love with friends, family, pets—whoever. Just read comics. Oh, and comment below.

About The Author Tyler

Owner/founder and editor-in-chief of MangaMavericks.com (formerly All-Comic.com) with an insatiable manga/anime addiction

comments (3)

  • Personally I think this service is great, although it’s probably not for everyone. I think the service is best for someone who is fairly new to comics and hasn’t read much of what has been published in the past. For example someone who likes the characters of the X-Men or Avengers but has never really read comics. This could be a younger person who is just starting to get into comics, or an older person who always found them difficult to approach. For someone who is new to comics, they can come off as being incredibly expensive. For example the classic Uncanny X-Men books still cost 1.99 each on Comixology, a new reader may look at that the price tag and the hundred plus available titles and feel overwhelmed instantly. Marvel now offers hundreds of books for that person to read for a flat monthly fee. That same person could read 50 books from that same Uncanny X-Men series in a month and save themselves 90 dollars.
    It’s also great for finding something read with little risk. You can jump from series to series looking for a series you enjoy, with out having to spend money per book.
    The service has flaws, the quality seems pretty poor even on newer books, not to mention the delay between a books release and the the time it hits the app is way too long. I get that they don’t want to give away new books, but a six month lag time is a bit much, you always feel so far behind and it prevents newer readers from getting involved with discussions around new books. Also if you’ve read the classics and have been reading comics for awhile there may not be a whole lot here for you.
    I think just like with the Marvel Now! titles this is ultimately a means of getting more people into reading comic books and for that I think it is very effective and I think it’s a great plan. I think the app itself needs work, but I think the idea for something great is there.

    • Comments! I love comments! Thanks for commenting! Also, I can see your point about who a program like this might be aimed at. I think that if the overall quality was greatly increased, however, it could be a great thing for EVERYBODY, not just new people looking to experiment or dabble in comics. It’s also certainly a money saver and some stuff, like Devil Dino, isn’t even ON Comixology so I couldn’t buy it even if I wanted to. Like I said, I have to give it another go and maybe my opinions will change a bit. Maybe I’ll have to do a follow up column once I really dive into it.

      Also, again, thanks for the comment!

  • Pingback: It's Actually a Pretty Good Deal or: How I Learned to Stop Hating Marvel and Embrace Marvel Unlimited - All-Comic.com

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