Fans of comic books be it the big names like Marvel or DC or more independent labels have always enjoyed their stories. Comics are easily available and give a nice dose of super hero action to keep the fans happy. The industry is one of the biggest areas of entertainment with games and movies branching off the worlds that are created on paper, but as with all paper based print they move on with the technological world.
Marvel (as well as other comic book companies) have moved with the times and allowed readers to read the comics online for quite a long time now. In the age of the smartphone and tablet though the readers that are used are often not optimised for the viewing pleasure of the reader. This is why Marvel created an actual app to provide its readers with access to all the latest comics, as well as a few free ones too. This review looks specifically at the free Android version (though it is available on iOS too).
When you open up the app the aim of course is to sell you the latest comics that are available in stores. This will also be what the readers are looking for, the ability to get hold of the next part of their stories. These are the first things you see as well as easy to use options to view your already owned comics, featured comics (the new releases) and the store where you can purchase them and previous back issues to fill in the spaces that you may have missed.
Marvel have also been kind enough to provide the users with free issues of the comics. These free issues provide the reader with the start of the stories as a way to catch their interests and make them want to read on. The option they then have of course it to buy the next issue and continue to enjoy the story. So yes, even if the app itself is free you will be buying the comics, but fans will obviously be ready for this fact and it’s no surprise to anybody who buys magazines, newspapers and books online.
The reader itself works well on both phone and tablet, although of course you’ll have a bigger viewing space on a bigger screen. Pinching on the screen zooms into each panel of the comic making it easier to read and see the details of the imagery, swiping from left to right will move you onwards through the pages. When the artwork is spread over two pages you find you have to zoom out more to enjoy it, but that’s a little issue that is no bother really.
Another nice feature of the app is the ability to search out a physical copy if you want it. If you are in an area that supports the functionality the app will search out a comic store that is known to stock that issue. For collectors and people who do like to hold a comic book in their hands instead of reading it on a screen this is obviously a nice feature.
This app is not unique and uses the same technology as provided by both DC Comics and Comixology, but of course this one centres on the Marvel comics themselves on your Android device. As the app itself is free there are really isn’t a problem with this, you just have one app for the Marvel comics and get the other apps if you require them. It should be noted though that for users of Marvel’s Digital Comics Unlimited subscription service that is available from their site, this is not available through this app. This app is for buying and reading purchased comics only. As a user of the Unlimited service though it would be a nice upgrade to have a way to access the service on an app such as this. Until then Unlimited will only be available on the PC and MAC.