Marvel’s newest comics are exclusive to Marvel Unlimited, but are they good?

Marvel unveiled an updated version of its Marvel Unlimited service on Thursday, complete with the launch of a new line of digital comics featuring Marvel characters in a webcomic-style vertical scrolling format. Promising around 100 such launches before the end of the year, the so-called Marvel’s Infinity Comics they mark the company’s latest attempt to break into the web and digital comics markets, something it has struggled with in the past.

Does anyone else remember the Marvel Digital Originals show from 2018 or Marvel Infinite Comics from 2012? Yes, I don’t think so. Still, Infinite Comics represents one of Marvel’s biggest online impulses to date. But while there’s a lot to be said for the promise of the format and platform, what about the comics themselves? Are they, you know, really good?

Who is making Marvel’s Infinity Comics?

With 27 issues of various series released at launch, it is understandable that there is a great deal of creative talent working on Infinity Comics. The highest profile creators are probably the team behind X-Men Unlimited – Jonathan Hickman and The return of Wolverine artist Declan Shalvey, but other creators on various titles include Alyssa Wong, Gerry Duggan, Skottie Young, Gurihiru, Mark Russell and Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men co-host Jay Edidin. There are a lot of talented people working on these comics.

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What is Marvel’s Infinity Comics about?

Image: Jonathan Hickman, Declan Shalvey / Marvel Comics

Judging from the launch lineup: X-Men Unlimited, Giant-Sized Little Wonders, Captain America, It’s Jeff, Shang-Chi, Black Widow, a revival of the romance title from the early 2000s Spider-Man loves Mary Janeand a preview of the next printed series Amazing fantasy – it’s clear that Marvel is viewing these titles as introductions for new readers to get into Marvel comic production, mixing characters and titles currently enjoying the MCU’s attention with some evergreen favorites and titles that develop Marvel concepts. in genres friendly to webcomics. (It’s jeff is, of all things, a dumb humor comic featuring the baby land shark from West coast avengers and dead Pool.)

While each of the series has its own stories and tones, it’s obvious that the line as a whole is all about making Marvel seem more appealing to fans who aren’t reading Marvel comics yet. And when the only way to read these new comics involves subscribing to a subscription service that offers over 27,000 Marvel comics, that’s not necessarily the worst idea.

Why is Marvel’s Infinity Comics happening now?

The timing of the launch is curious. While it seems, at first glance, to be merely a fluke that the new iteration of Marvel Unlimited, complete with Infinity Comics, dropped when it did, it came a day after the debut of Wayne Family Adventures, the first in a series of collaborations between DC and Webtoon announced in August. In fact, Marvel’s announcement comes on the heels of DC augmenting its own digital comic book show with new content available exclusively on its own DC Universe Infinite subscription service, suggesting that Marvel has been paying attention to its Distinguished Competition in the last months.

Given the fact that Infinity Comics eschews the traditional digital comic page for the vertical scrolling format popularized by the incredibly successful Webtoon comic platform, it’s likely that Marvel and parent company Disney are also looking to appeal to an established comic book audience that so far she has stayed away from Spider-Man’s friendly neighborhood – Webtoon has more than 15 million daily readers, a number that significantly dwarfs Marvel’s own fanbase in terms of comic book production.

Are there any required reading?

As introductory comics, each of the Infinity Comics titles is practically plug-and-play, as long as you’re willing to skip a few details and go with the flow. (If you’re not already familiar with most of the characters in these comics, too bad, because they haven’t actually featured per se in any of the issues to date, but at the same time, if you’re not familiar with the Captain America, Wolverine, or even Shang-Chi, why are you reading something on Marvel Unlimited?) The only place this is not the case is number five Spider-Man loves Mary Jane series, which specifically refers to and relates to the 2005 print comic series of the same name. Fortunately, you can find back issues elsewhere in Marvel Unlimited. Look plays!

Are Marvel Infinity comics good?

Mary Jane rolls her eyes at a news broadcast about Spider-Man in Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane (2021).

Image: Sean McKeever, Takeshi Miyazawa / Marvel Comics

The First Wave of Infinity Comics is a mix, ranging from the deeply enjoyable: Kelly Thompson and Gurihiru’s It’s jeff It is an absolute joy, and I hope it lasts a long time, to mystify. (Spider-Man loves Mary Jane, why are you here? That series ended over a decade ago!) For the most part, they’re… okay. Only a couple of them really take advantage of the vertical scrolling format, and of those two, one: hello, Unlimited X-Men – takes the idea to the ground, taking it from a novel to overuse in record time. Yes, yes, we understand it; you can have really tall images now that’s cool. Now please do something with those tall images that is not “Wolverine rises or falls something for a while”. (No, an extended round trip where Wolverine hits the same guy doesn’t count.)

As might be expected of creators working on a new format, there are problems that clearly need to be solved; the pace of almost all problems feels slow, with very little actually happening, despite the amount of time required to scroll through everything. Similarly, there are clear issues with scrolling mechanics and spacing that must be resolved on the visual side, with nearly entire screens of near-blank space between scenes at times.

One would expect Marvel’s Infinity Comics to launch fully formed, with each issue a gem showing the potential of Marvel characters and the creators’ ability to play with the so-called “infinite canvas” of a vertical scroll, and I’m sure. that many at Marvel shared that hope. But the reality is somewhat disappointing. (Apart from It’s jeff, which is pretty perfect right from the start). it isIt’s a solid start, though, suggesting that if Marvel sticks with the show, there’s a chance for some great work down the road, once everyone has figured out how to make it all work.

A panel that appeared

Several Avengers and friends watch adoringly in their costume-themed swimsuits as Jeff, an adorable baby shark with legs, does an adorable all-fours march to the side of the pool with a snorkel / goggles on his forehead and fins on the hind legs.  and an inner tube around his waist in It's Jeff!

Image: Kelly Thompson, Gurihiru / Marvel Comics

Really, it’s about Jeff.