About ten months ago, I signed up for Marvel Unlimited. It is a decision that I do not regret.
In a previous post, I talked about how I read the core books of Marvel’s Civil War event. On its own, it is not a very good story. It starts with a great premise, the registering of Super-Heroes with the government, but it did not end satisfyingly. One side inexplicably gives up and gives in.
Then I got Marvel Unlimited.
In the Marvel Unlimited app, Marvel does right by Civil War. It puts eighty-seven (87!) comics, in time-line order, that makes this story almost complete. I now understood the motivations behind some of the head scratching moves of characters such as Captain America and Spiderman. In the excellent Civil War: Frontline series, you see how the story arc affects people that are not even mentioned in the seven core comics. Then when you tie it in with Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s brilliant run of Captain America, Civil War becomes a timely story with no easy answers for its characters or for us.
Yet, the story is still not complete. I have just read the New Avengers story line leading up to Civil War and currently reading the post-Civil War New and Mighty Avengers. There are still stories that lead up to Civil War that I have not read including Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee’s Sentry.
This is the true power of Marvel Unlimited. It unlocks a complex, and sometimes, convoluted, universe. It saves me from spending thousands of dollars, but it also makes me spend quite a bit. We go to a lot of cons. If there is an artist that works on series I like, we make sure we go comic shopping and find hard copies of those comics as we did with Steve Epting. We still have a binder at our local comic book shop (and luckily we have quite a few great comic book stores in the New Orleans area) in which I still buy Marvel comics, especially event comics and certain series that we love like Star Wars and Deadpool. I have bought some trade paperbacks and will buy more especially since Marvel Unlimited doesn’t have everything (particularly Brian Michael Bendis and Micheal Gaydos’ Alias which is what the Jessica Jones Netflix series is based on).
Marvel Unlimited also helps get us excited about upcoming movie projects. Now, I know that Civil War the movie and Civil War the comic will be two different projects. However, it also has me excited for Black Panther and Captain Marvel, which I probably wouldn’t be as excited for if I had not read their comics. Luckily, Marvel does treat the cinematic and comic universe differently. This allows the actors to follow the characteristics of each character as in the comics, but they also allow the actors to have some breadth in creating their own version of the comics. For example, Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk is easily recognizable as Fisk from the comics, but his traits and mannerisms are the work of Mr. D’Onofrio.
Recently Geek and Sundry posted an article about how reading comics can make you smarter. As a teacher, I would of course like to see more research (I should have thought of this when I was in grad school; it would have made for a great thesis). Having read more comics than regular books in the last year, I do think they have a place in reading circles. Too often, comic books and graphic novels are often not considered literature by people who should know better. Most high school students read Night, as they should, but why hasn’t the brilliantly moving Maus reached that status as well? It amazes me that people that think they know a lot about Iran and the middle east have never read Persepolis. Marvel’s Civil War came out a decade before a certain politician started talking about having a group of people being registered in this country for being different. Just because a book uses pictures and words to tell their story doesn’t mean it’s a lesser platform.
Now, excuse me, I have more comics to read.
Note: I haven’t forgotten about DC. More on them as we get closer to Dawn of Justice.