Comic book fandom is in full bloom. The old issues are still flying off the shelves, new issues are coming out on a weekly basis, and blockbuster TV shows and movies are bringing in fans and newcomers alike. With that in mind, Marvel couldn't have found a better time to launch "Marvel Comics for iPad," an interactive service that lets you download all sorts of comics to your device, without having to worry about buying protective sleeves or people getting smudges on the pages.
When you first boot up "Marvel Comics," you're introduced to a friendly interface that shows you the number of options available. A "My Comics" tab shows your collection with the press of a button, "Features" shows you some of the more popular offerings to hit the service, "Free" highlights what's available without a charge to you (otherwise, most of the issues run $1.99 apiece), "Top 25" shows you the most popular picks amongst your fellow readers, and "Browse" lets you look for particular favorites, should you be in the mood for the adventures of Iron Man or Wolverine.
Once you do access the individual comic books you're after, going through them is a snap. You can go to any page you please using a scroll bar at the bottom of the screen, allowing you to flip right to the pages you want. (With all comic books , we humbly suggest starting at the beginning.) From there, if you need to zoom in to certain panels, simply draw your fingers in the space you want zoomed in, and boom. You get a better view of the detail in that specific panel. The only downside to this is you can only view one page at a time, rather than the default two you'd be looking at with a physical comic in your hands.
Still, this app is fantastic. The fact the pages won't be damaged by coffee spills, bends, or even old age is a huge plus, and you can shop through dozens at a time, either opting for the freebies or paying the $1.99 for the newer (or more vintage) favorites. They're easy to access as well, and if you've got a large amount of space on your iPad, you'll really rack up quite the collection. Plus, hiding them from your girlfriend is a huge plus. She'll probably think you're less of a dork, even if you're still wearing a Captain America shield shirt.
One sore spot that hardcore fans will find hard to ignore is the lack of access to a Digital Comics subscription. Those who have bought comics before through Marvel's service might be bummed by the fact their purchases don't carry over here. No word yet if Marvel is looking to import the service anytime soon.
If you can overlook that small issue, however, "Marvel Comics for iPad" is an absolute must. The interactivity with the app is simple and, in some ways, tremendously addictive. And with all the offerings available at both premium price and free of charge, there's no reason you can't find something to read here. Download it and indulge in your nerdiness. As Stan Lee would say, "Excelsior!"
Price: Free ($1.99 for select issues)
File Size: 10.6 MB
Platform: iPad (also available for iPhone, iPod Touch)
iPadNewsDaily Rating (out of 4): ★★★★