I’ve recently resumed my subscription to Marvel Unlimited (MU), the Netflix-like subscription service Marvel offers. For $10/month (or $70 annually), Marvel Unlimited offers most of the back library of Marvel comics, including issues published up to six months ago.
I’ve listed below the pros and cons of my experience with Marvel Unlimited.
Marvel Unlimited’s more affordable than single issues
New comics from Marvel cost $3-$4 an issue, with Marvel engaging in twice-a-month double-dipping of certain titles. Throw in the various crossovers, and it’s a reminder following Big Two comics is a very expensive means of entertainment.
Some have switched to waiting for trade paperbacks to save money. A logical tactic, since everything from DC and Marvel is now written for the trades anyway. Marvel Unlimited offers another affordable alternative. Similar to trade paperbacks, I can actually afford to catch up on runs of books like the recent “Storm” title, “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl,” and “Howard the Duck.” All three of those series would cost north of $100 (to date) to outright buy as single issues.
This is probably Marvel Unlimited’s strongest value point for me. Comics are an expensive hobby, so anything that (legally) saves money for me is worth pursuing.
Much of Marvel’s back catalog is available
I can easily gain access to a lot of Marvel’s back catalog. “Howard the Duck?” Silver Age Fantastic Four? Miles Morales’ Ultimate series run? The 870 different “Deadpool” titles? They’re all there.
I’m already reading comics digitally
I switched to reading comics digitally years ago, so joining Marvel Unlimited isn’t as big a change as going to digital from paper comics. It’s another app that gets installed alongside Comixology on my tablet.
Marvel Unlimited offers the same advantages as reading comics digitally through Comixology. I don’t need to store a ton of paper comics, which is good given my limited apartment space. I also don’t have to deal with a physical comic shop not carrying everything I want, or go to a physical shop period. It’s easier to just pull up desired comics on my tablet.
The Marvel Unlimited app also allows you to download a dozen comics to save for offline reading access. This feature’s useful for reading on a tablet when in areas without Wi-Fi access.
I’m renting comics, not owning them
Like with Netflix, I’m only renting access to reading digital comics, not actually owning them. As soon as I stop paying for a monthly subscription, I’ll lose all access to them.
Marvel Unlimited’s app could use improvements
Marvel Unlimited’s app could use some improvements to its user interface, which feels a bit clunky. An easier way to read the next issue in a series, or more clearly marking an issue as read, would be nice. The app also stalls sometimes at loading a comic.
Not everything is available (yet)
Much of Marvel’s catalog of comics are available, but not everything’s available yet, so some runs have gaps in older back issues. However, more back issues and series are added each week.
Marvel Unlimited makes reading and catching up on my favorite Marvel books very convenient and affordable. The advantages make up for the six-month delay in new issues and rental model. Thus, I’d say it’s very much worth the cost. I still hope their rivals at DC Comics offer a similar service someday.