I spend a lot of time talking about the wonders and troubles of Marvel Unlimited, but a question from readers reminded me this week that the Marvel app game is potentially confusing. On the one hand, you have the official Marvel Comics app, and on the other, you have Marvel Unlimited. What’s the difference between the two? How do they interact? And how can these two apps synchronize in the future to completely revolutionize and monopolize the landscape of digital comics?

Marvel Unlimited vs. Marvel comic application


Marvel comic application

What can you read? Digital comics you’ve purchased, directly through the Marvel Comics app, the Marvel digital store, or Comixology.

How much does the app cost? Free

Reading experience? Very smooth. Use Comixology’s smart transformations to create a very clear reading experience.

Can you read offline? Yes, let’s say you’ve downloaded all the books you want on your device before going offline.

Bonus privileges? Did you know those redemption codes are embedded in your comic book? Well, when you enter them at marvel.com/redeem, you will get the digital version of your manga. And you can read that digital version in the Marvel Comics app.

How often does Comic Book Herald use this app? Maybe once or twice a month. Not often, depending on digital comic sales or gifts.

Marvel Unlimited application

What can you read? Any of the more than 15,000 Marvel comics available through a Marvel Unlimited subscription (monthly or annual subscriptions like Netflix or Spotify – my review of whether Marvel Unlimited is worth it in 2014)

How much does the app cost? Free. Subscriptions are $ 70 annually or $ 9.99 a month.

Reading experience? Improved, but sometimes troublesome. Most of the bugs have been improved, but Marvel Unlimited’s smart panel reading isn’t as smooth as the Comixology app or Marvel Comics app. Text and images still sometimes get cut off in weird places.

Can you read offline? Yes, up to 12 problems at a time. Note that this functionality is rather quirky and may require alternative solutions of a [insane] fan of comics.

Bonus privileges? Have you heard of nearly every Marvel comic book ever published?

How often does Comic Book Herald use this app? Hourly.

In short, Marvel Unlimited is the app you use with your Marvel Unlimited subscription. It’s great for full-size tablets, and still fun for manga that really haunts tablets and mini smartphones (I can read 2-3 comics on my Galaxy S4 everyday).

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