On Monday, Marvel released an update for its Marvel Unlimited iOS and Android apps that addresses the two biggest complaints people have had about it: Not being able to download enough comics and not being able to find comics in the first place. And for fans who want something tangible to go with their digital comics, they have just launched Marvel Unlimited Plus.
Marvel Unlimited is a subscription service that allows the user access to over 13,000 Marvel comics as long as the subscription is active; it costs $9.99 a month or $69.00 a year. It’s kind of clunky on a computer, but earlier this year they released iOS and Android apps that are much easier to use. The apps allowed readers to download up to six comics to for offline reading, which many readers felt wasn’t enough, and as I noted in my review of the iOS app, it was often hard to find specific comics.
This week’s update increases the number of comics that can be downloaded to 12 at a time, and it also allows the user to search for a comic by publication date. The search function is a little clunky: You can scroll through years or month/year combinations, but you make your choice by clicking “done,” and then you have to touch the “search” button to see the comics. When you are done with the page, you hit “cancel” to return to the search page. It’s not particularly intuitive—the red “done” button feels like it’s going to close out the page, not move you to the next step, and on the results page, a simple back button would be much clearer than “cancel.” Still, just being able to do this is a step in the right direction.
Marvel Unlimited Plus is sort of a platinum version of Marvel Unlimited. The annual fee is $99, and for your extra thirty bucks you get a welcome kit that includes a special Ultron figure and an issue of Age of Ultron with a variant cover. Plus you get a membership card—what, no decoder ring?—and other perks such as “special Marvel news and discounts,” which sounds like unlimited e-mails to me. In an interview with USA Today, senior product manager Julia Druk called Marvel Unlimited Plus “a dramatic expansion of the benefits we’re offering to our members,” adding, “Instead of a relaunch, it’s more of an expansion of the platform to become that ultimate fan experience and offer the best part of Marvel — not just the best of digital comics.”
A former book editor and newspaper reporter, Brigid Alverson started MangaBlog to keep track of her daughters¹ reading habits and now covers comics and graphic novels for Comic Book Resources , School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly Comics World, Robot 6, and MTV Geek. She also edits the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. Brigid was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards. Send her an email to firstname.lastname@example.org