Wednesday, July 24, 2019

DC Universe Review

DC Universe is a subscription-based digital comic book service that was launched on September 15th, 2018. This app is available on multiple platforms including iOS, Droid, Xbox One, and more. How does DC's content streaming service stack up to Marvel Comics'  Marvel Unlimited?? Continue reading to find out that answer and many more.

Unfortunately, the 1966 Batman show is not included.

Last but not least, DC has released a digital streaming service to compete with Marvel Unlimited and Comixology and others. I read many different comics by different companies but I grew up loving DC so I was happy when DC Universe was released. I decided to hold off getting it for a bit so some of the early bugs could be found and fixed and as we are getting closer to its one year anniversary I decided it was time.

DC Universe allows you to watch DC TV shows, movies, and comic books. The comics section is split up into four parts. All Comic Series lists all the comic books available like Action Comics, Detective Comics, etc. Get To Know suggests comics and movies to watch to get you up to date on your favorite hero. Storylines sorts all the comics from a major event (like Crisis On Infinite Earths) into one place making it a lot easier to read the storyline. Last up is Showcase which groups comic books into groups based upon a topic. Some examples are "All America" which is a group of comics based upon patriotic heroes or "Pride" which is a group of comics that were either created by or starring LGBTQ people.

You can also watch movies and cartoons on this app as well as read comics. There is a surprising amount of content for you to binge on. They have the complete Adventures Of Superman show from the 50s which I grew up watching. There are many other classic TV shows Like Shazam! from the 70s or Batman The Animated Series from the 90s. Speaking of the 90s you can also catch up on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman. I was very into comics when this show came out, particularly Superman comics, so I watched this show a lot. I haven't watched it in many years but I bet it's one of those shows that has aged very poorly.

The biggest holes in their available TV shows are from the CW's Arrowverse which includes the TV shows Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and The Legends Of Tomorrow. I've watched a few episodes of The Flash but I wasn't a huge fan of the CW shows but when they announced that they would be doing a Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover with all the shows I got all excited so I'm starting at the beginning so I can get caught up for when the new seasons start.

Sorry Arrowverse fans.

There are also many different DC Animated Films DC to watch. Some examples are Batman Year One, The Death Of Superman, or Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm which is one of my favorites from the day it came out.

If you are looking to watch the new Wonder Woman or Justice League movies you're out of luck. The newest live-action movie that you can currently watch is Watchmen from 2009. But there are all four original Superman and Batman movies. If the later Batman and Superman movies aren't your thing you can also try out the Supergirl movie from 1984 which is a great movie to sit down with and laugh at.

DC Universe also produces new shows based upon their characters. Currently, you can binge the first season of Swamp Thing, Krypton, Doom Patrol, and Titans. I'll admit that I've not watched any of these shows but my friend is a big Swamp Thing fan and he likes the new show very much so try them out if you like what you see.

As with most apps, I did experience some issues. I tried reading comics on my Xbox One with the DC Universe app, I also used my computer and my iPhone and they all had problems. The biggest issue was the app freezing up. I would rate this as just annoying because reloading the app nearly always fixed any issues. For ease of use I would pick my computer or iPhone, the Xbox app ran the worst but again it isn't bad enough to keep me from using it.

Here's a screen cap of the app crashing on my iPhone.

The panel reading mode mostly works but I did have some problems with it just like I did with Marvel Unlimited. I could be wrong but to me, it seemed that the panel reader worked great on popular stories but if you pick out a random comic book from the 70s or 80s there is a good chance that the panels will cut off part of the picture or text and it is annoying enough that I usually turn it off.

An example of the panel reading mode not lining up right.

I also noticed that if you read famous stories like Batman Year One or The Death Of Superman the comics are in great shape and have been digitally fixed originally for Trade Paperbacks. Now that subscribers have the option to read any random comic book that isn't collected in a trade paperback you'll notice some differences. An example is Batman #234 from August 1971. The first story is written by Denny O'Neil with Neal Adams are and Dick Giordano as the inker. First off you can tell that this story has been recolored. All the text boxes and balloons have been cleaned up. Also, In my opinion, there is no better Batman artist than Neal Adams.

The second story in this issue is by Mike Friedrich with pencils by Irv Novick and inks again by Dick Giordano. You can easily see the difference between these two stories. The colors are original as are the word balloons and text. The first story looks contemporary and not 50 years old but the second comic does look 50 years old. I'm not trying to knock the writer or artists of the second story as there is nothing wrong with either but they definitely do not look new.
I also think there is some room for improvement in the DC Universe. First off, when you finish reading a comic you are given the option to read the next comic in that series. If you want to go back to an earlier or later issue you need to back out and search for that specific issue. This isn't a huge issue but it would make my experience a bit better. This isn't a big problem, especially with reading a limited series comic book, but when you want to jump around to different issues while reading through Action or Detective Comics which are over 1000 issues you're going to find it tiresome.

The app also has some major stories all collected so you can read each issue without having to look up the next issue to read. This was great but there were many stories that I did have to go searching for. I think a great idea would be to allow DC Universe customers to create their own story lists as I'm sure there would be many people who would do all the work for free. I had to look up the reading orders to some of the series and I shouldn't have to.

You have a few options when it comes to compatible devices for DC Universe. As of now, you can run it on iOS, Andriod, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and Xbox One. If you have none of the devices listed you can also run DC Universe from your PC.

So we've come to the end of my review and you're probably wondering if I would recommend DC Universe and with a few caveats. First off if you don't like DC's superheroes then stay clear. If you like DC comics then I definitely recommend this app.

As far as price goes you have two options; monthly or yearly. If you go for the monthly option it will cost you $7.99 which is a great price. For the cost of two print comic books, you get access to thousands of comics to read not to mention TV shows and movies. You can also pay for a year at $74.99 which brings the cost down to $6.25 a month. If you see anything you like there is also a free trial so you have nothing to lose by trying it out. I give DC Universe an 8 out of 10.

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