Marvel’s new webcomics line needed more time to bake

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Marvel unveiled an updated version of its Marvel Unlimited service on Thursday, with the launch of a new line of digital comics featuring Marvel characters in a webcomic-like vertical scrolling format. Promising a hundred such releases before the end of the year, the so-called Marvel’s Infinity Comics marks the company’s latest attempt to break into the digital and online comic markets, which has seen it struggling in the past.

Anyone else remember the Marvel Digital Originals program from 2018 or the Marvel Infinite Comics from 2012? Yeah, I didn’t mean it. Always, Infinity comics represents one of Marvel’s biggest online pushes to date. But if there’s a lot to be said for the format and platform promise, what about the comics themselves? Are they, you know, really good?

Who Makes Marvel’s Infinity Comics?

With 27 issues of multiple series released at launch, there is naturally a plethora of creative talent working on Infinity Comics. The most prominent designers are probably the team behind X-Men Unlimited – Jonathan Hickman and Wolverine Returns 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.

What Are Marvel’s Infinity Comics About?

“I am Wolverine.  And I'm the best at what I do, ”a narration says as Wolverine dives harshly into space in X-Men Unlimited (2021).

Image: Jonathan Hickman, Declan Shalvey / Marvel Comics

Judging by the launch line-up – X-Men Unlimited, Giant Little Wonders, Captain America, It’s Jeff, Shang-Chi, Black Widow, a cover of the romance title from the early 2000s Spider-Man loves Mary Jane, and an overview of the next printed series Amazing fantasy – it’s clear Marvel is seeing these titles as introductions for new readers to get into Marvel comic book production, mixing characters and titles currently enjoying the attention of the MCU with favorites and leafy titles persistent evolving Marvel concepts into genres suitable for web comics. (This is jeff is, of all things, a humorous comic book starring the baby land shark from West Coast Avengers and dead Pool.)

While each of the series has their own stories and tones, it’s obvious that the line as a whole is aimed at making Marvel more appealing to fans who aren’t already reading Marvel comics. And when the only way to read those new comics is to sign up for a subscription service that offers over 27,000 Marvel comics, that’s not necessarily the worst idea.

Why is Marvel’s Infinity Comics coming now?

The timing of the launch is curious. While it seems, at first glance, to be a mere fluke that the new iteration of Marvel Unlimited, starring Infinity Comics, was scrapped when it did, it came a day after the debut of Wayne Family Adventures, the first in a series of DC-Webtoon collaborations announced in August. Besides, Marvel’s announcement follows DC’s launch of its own digital comic book program with new content available exclusively on its own DC Universe Infinite subscription service, which suggests that Marvel has been paying attention to its distinguished competition in recent months.

Given that Infinity Comics eschews the traditional digital comic book page for the vertical scrolling format popularized by the unbelievably successful Webtoon comic book platform, it’s likely that Marvel and parent company Disney are also looking to attract an audience of established comics that have so far stayed away from Spider-Man’s Friendly Quarter – Webtoon has over 15 million readers per day, a number that dramatically eclipses Marvel’s own fanbase in terms of production. comics.

Are there any required readings?

As an intro comic, each of Infinity Comics’ titles is pretty much plug-and-play, as long as you’re willing to skip certain details and go with the flow. (If you’re not already familiar with the majority of the characters in these comics, you’re out of luck, as they aren’t quite featured in any of the issues on their own so far – but, at the same time, if you don’t. aren’t familiar with Captain America, Wolverine, or even Shang-Chi, why are you reading something about Marvel Unlimited?) The only place that isn’t is the five-point issue. Spider-Man loves Mary Jane series, which specifically references and is linked to the 2005 print comic series of the same name. Fortunately, you can find back issues elsewhere on Marvel Unlimited. Looked works!

Are Marvel’s Infinity Comics Good?

Mary Jane shines on a Spider-Man news show in Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane (2021).

Image: Sean McKeever, Takeshi Miyazawa / Marvel Comics

Infinity Comics’ First Wave is a mixed bag, going from the deeply pleasurable – Kelly Thompson and Gurihiru This is jeff is a total joy, and I hope it will last a long time – to bewilderment. (Spider-Man loves Mary Jane, why are you here? This series ended over a decade ago!) For the most part, they’re… OK. Only a few of them really take advantage of the vertical scrolling format, and of those two, a – hi, X-Men unlimited – executes the idea in the ground, taking it from novel to overused in record time. Yes, yes, we understand; you can have really big pictures now that’s awesome. Now please To do something with these great pictures that isn’t “Wolverine goes up or down something for a while”. (No, a prolonged back and forth where Wolverine hits the same guy doesn’t count.)

As you would expect from creators working in a new format, there are issues that clearly need to be addressed; the pace of almost every problem seems slow, with very little in fact event, despite the time needed to scroll through the whole. Likewise, there are obvious issues with the scrolling and spacing mechanisms working on the visual side, with almost entire screens of almost empty space between scenes at times.

One would hope that Marvel’s Infinity Comics would launch fully formed, with each number one gem that shows off the potential of Marvel characters and the ability of the creators to play with the so-called “infinite web” of vertical scrolling – and I ‘ I’m sure many at Marvel shared that hope. But the reality is somewhat disappointing. (Apart This is jeff, which is really perfect from the start.) is, however, is a great start that suggests that if Marvel sticks to the agenda, there is the potential for a great job down the line – once everyone understands how to make it all work.

A panel that has jumped

Various Avengers and friends watch adoringly in their costume-themed swimsuits as Jeff, an adorable baby shark with legs, takes an adorable crawl to the poolside with a snorkel / goggles on. forehead, 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 all about Jeff.

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