Is DC Universe's Comics Library the Answer to Marvel Unlimited? Not Really

Marvel Unlimited may be the service to beat, but it isn't exactly the gold standard in terms of quality and functionality. Though there are few comparable publisher-specific services to compete with, Marvel U has its fair share of problems (Dark Horse's is the most obvious, and it, too, is rather problematic to use). While DC Universe can't hope to compete with the utter vastness of Marvel Unlimited, it does have the potential to outclass the competition when it comes to collected storytelling, connectability and the overall interface. Addressing these issues will help the fledgling service stay competitive in the early launch days.

A curated list of comics for beginners may not be ideal for everyone, but it offers the potential to include collected storytelling. Marvel Unlimited may have (nearly) everything, but its very basic story collections makes crossover storylines an imposing chore. DC Universe may be starting small, but there's a chance it could expand over time, and there's already evidence that it could improve on this feature.

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If DC Universe offers only the most iconic stories, something like The Dark Knight Returns would essentially have to be offered in one collected edition, instead of requiring readers to follow along over several different issues. As the library expands, this should eventually lead to the inclusion of stories like Crisis on Infinite Earths, and then prominent crossovers like The Death of Superman. If DC isn't planning on simply dumping everything into on place, the way Marvel Unlimited operates, it means DC Universe would almost have to feature collected editions of the publisher's biggest stories.

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DC Universe also promises to allow users to read comics right on their television screen, which will hopefully improve on Marvel U's shoddy web interface. Marvel's app also struggles with continuity between multiple iterations of the app, meaning titles you read on your phone won't necessarily appear on your iPad. If DC Universe allows users to read on their television -- an admitted odd reading experience -- it it has to include the ability to then seamlessly segue to icking up where you leave off on TV to your tablet or phone. A more reliable continuity between the iterations of the app will make reading a little easier, and ensure that newer readers won't become frustrated and quit.

The way the service has been marketed, it looks like DC Universe will be focusing on its television and film properties first and foremost, with the comics simply an added bonus. Hopefully, this doesn't mean the reading interface is an afterthought. There won't be an expansive comic book library, but the service has the potential to be a better functioning app than Marvel Unlimited, and thus and overall better experience, that will make watching and reading more enjoyable. Long-time fans may not be happy without a collection of back issues, but a well-functioning app is the next best thing. Let's hope DC can make good on a promising start, and eventually give the people what they really want the most—unlimited DC Comics wherever they go.

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