RIP Marvel’s Comixology App, Long Live Marvel Unlimited
Marvel’s back issue app Marvel Unlimited is an immensely powerful and useful tool to read back issues. The value of the app has only increased in recent years as Marvel cut the time between print and digital to 3 months. Marvel is now poised to address one of the main issues with the platform—how it presents collections and crossovers. With the news that Marvel is ending support for their Comixology-based app, and migrating users’ purchases to the Marvel Unlimited app, it appears that collection support is coming to Marvel Unlimited and likely here soon as evident from recent Marvel Unlimited search results.
As of time of writing, several of these trades have been hidden on the app as these likely were accidentally made available. This happens quite a bit on that ol’ App.
What does this mean for Marvel Unlimited
One may wonder why collection support matters and that comes down to a few reasons:
First and foremost, a bunch of collections include more than just the comic issues printed but fun back matter such as writer notes, artist sketches, and more. To only redeem collections by granting access to specific single issues of a comic would neglect these features and affects the values of digital trades.
Second reason is less noticeable, but important for the user’s quality of life—it makes crossovers much easier to manage. Marvel Unlimited support for crossovers is a joke. Luckily, they are often collection a playlist of sorts, but jumping between chapters of a crossover often require leaving a series, opening another series, and repeating the process for the duration of the series. Not the worst thing for a small crossover of a couple parts but for crossovers like X of Swords which spans 22 chapters and 9 different ongoing series, it’s awful.
The process is clunky and fills me, a tech-savvy and enfranchised readers, with dread as I try to attempt. Hell, it made something simpler like House of X/ Powers of X a pain and that only involved two miniseries!
The Future and Concerns
The promise to honor all past purchases on the Marvel app will require Marvel to include these collections. Collection support will improve quality of life on the app and the process will be manageable. It’s already known that whenever Marvel releases a trade collection any older, undigitized issues are added to Marvel unlimited. So, this is just an extension of the process.
My only concern is that Marvel will take this opportunity to create a second tier of subscription and place the collections behind a pay wall only for Annual Subscribers (not unlike DC’s Universe Infinite Ultra). Time will only tell. Maybe if they copy DC’s model further by including Max imprint material along with cutting the Print-Unlimited wait to a month (again, not unlike DC’s effort).
An additional question I am left with, what does this entail for future digital redemptions of print comics’ code? I wonder if Marvel will start offering in-app purchases for new comics for Marvel Unlimited. It’s possible. With the death of Comixology, the digital future of comics just keeps becoming more fluid.
In the mean time, I am optimistic and welcome improvements to Marvel Unlimited. Just hope they don’t adopt DC’s lead and name the new service something even clunkier than DC Universe Infinite Ultra.