So What’s the Deal With Marvel Unlimited Offline Reading? (Part 2)

In general, I try to keep a positive outlook on Marvel Unlimited. The subscription library has come a long way since I fell head over heels for it in in 2010, and at the end of the day, the fact that reading this many comics at this price point is even an option is great. It could always be worse. It could be DC Unlimited.

Nonetheless, despite my endless recommendations, offline reading is somehow actually getting worse. For the reader who only consumes comics within the comfort of a Wi-Fi signal, this won’t matter, but for those of us commuting longer distances, inability to read comics offline is increasingly causing problems.

Here’s the scenario: I spend an inordinate amount of time curating twelve issues of comics to read (typically based on preparation for My Marvelous Year reading club’s next reading list). I dutifully set them all to “read offline,” with no bulk select option, and pull out my cheap but efficient RCA Viking Pro Tablet on the train the next morning.

Best case, my first offline comic loads no problem, but then inevitably the next comic in the series sends me the all too familiar refrain: “Oops! Something Went Wrong! Try reloading, or banging your head on a sharp corner!”.

Now, I’ve read an obscene amount of comics, and I’ve learned to take my lumps with Marvel Unlimited. I’ve been able to mostly just say “Ok, fine, not reading that one today,” and keep my level of ire to defcon “mildly annoyed.” In part, I also assumed that an app update would likely cure this behavior, sooner rather than later.

We’re going on well over a month now without a fix, and worse, I’m actually starting to see new problems. For example, this morning I loaded up Marvel Unlimited, only to find that all my offline reading options require me to sign in first.

You know, sign in. With an internet connection. That would mean I didn’t require offline reading in the first place!

Again, I try to keep a level head about these things. We live in a world where a free mobile app registers the rage and ire of Pokemon Trainers everywhere when it won’t load for a few hours. At the end of the day, my life is simply more enjoyable with Marvel Unlimited, and I’d recommend it to almost anyone.

Nonetheless, this IS a paid service, and I’d love to see it get better. I’m way too invested personally to walk away, but if I was a new subscriber, and every time I tried to read some comics on the train the app failed, I wouldn’t keep paying. I can entirely understand this mentality.

The most frustrating part for me is that this isn’t the first time we’ve been down this road. Offline reading has been plagued with problems at best, and downright unusable at worst. I had hoped with the introduction of Comixology Unlimited, and their significantly better offline reading capacity and experience, that Marvel Unlimited might feel some pressure to improve.

To date, no luck. There’s a lot to be excited about with Marvel Unlimited these days, including an ever expanding library that has been sprucing up weak spots in the catalog all 2016, but offline reading casts a dark hyperbolic shadow over the whole service.

If you’re reading at home, I can’t recommend Marvel Unlimited enough.

If you want to read on your commute? I can’t really recommend Marvel Unlimited anymore. If you do give it a shot, I’d make sure you bring some backup hard copies of DC’s Saga of the Swamp Thing, as I’ve had to do all month. You’re going to need something to read.

What do you think? Is Marvel Unlimited offline reading letting you down? Having no problems at all? Discovered the latest and greatest hacks to work around these issues? Do what feels right to you in the comments.

13 Replies to “So What’s the Deal With Marvel Unlimited Offline Reading? (Part 2)”

  1. I have a great 4g data plan on my phone that I use as a wifi hot spot for my iPad. After my first foray into offline reading earlier into this month, I have decided that option doesn’t exist. Marvel Unlimited still somehow seems 100% worth it though.

    1. I kind of love the “offline reading isn’t really a thing” approach, that actually seems a lot smarter than butting my head against the same wall repeatedly 🙂

      Still worth it for me, too, and then some… but this feature!

  2. I use the app on my iPad Pro, I don’t use offline reading that often since I am within wifi, but the times I have used it, I’ve never had a issue so far.

  3. When you want to read offline have yiu tried actually turning off your wifi receiver on the device, or put it in “airplane mode? ” I find some apps assume yiu are online if the wifi is on, even if there is no connection.

    In any case, I’ve had the same frustration with Marvel Unlimited.

    1. Yeah I’ve played around with airplane mode some, and no luck so far. This trick actually worked reasonably well when offline reading was an issue about a year ago, but less so now.

      Won’t keep me from trying again, I’m sure 🙂

  4. I use the ios version on my ipad air 2 for my daily commute, always offline. Offline mode works 99.9%* of the time for me. The main exception is if my ipad auto-connects to a public wifi network with no internet access – then even if I disconnect from the wifi it wants me to sign-in before letting me read anything ‘offline’.

    *not an actual statistic.

  5. For me the only time so far I had a problem with it was after my phone and tablet upgraded to Marshmallow (Android). After that I had to re-download the offline comics. Since then, no problems. I hope it continues this way, because most of the time it is my only option (think flying, airplane mode ;))

  6. I bought myself an inexpensive tablet before I went on vacation so that I could have comics to read during the plane ride and commutes. It’s incredibly disappointing that I can only read these books when I have WiFi, which I don’t always have access to while travelling.

  7. I used the offline mode on a train between Chicago and KC recently (thank for nothing, Sprint) and had no issues once I turned on airplane mode. I have seen the “Oops!” message a few times but more often have seen an issue with the “Download” icon on it that doesn’t seem to want to download; I have to remove and re-add it to my library to fix.

    I will say the most recent update where they added the “Mark as Read/Unread” feature is AWESOME!!! I was very glad to get that and I feel like the sorting options have improved greatly as well.

  8. I do most of my reading on an iphone 6 and i’ve never had this issue in the two years i’ve been reading on it. I put the phone into airplane mode a lot when i read so it doesn’t use any data and the app loads up twice as fast.

    I’ve only had 1 issue since they did the big update a couple months ago. its always the same thing. Randomly an issue won’t let me into the screen where you can click “read now” or “add to library” i have to delete the app and reinstall to get it to work.

    The android version doesn’t seem to get the updates that the ios one does. I use an old Verizon tablet when i’m at home and the app works differently on there.

  9. Hey Dave, just wanted to chime in. I use offline reading for my daily commutes underground in NYC. It works like a charm on Apple devices. I use an old old ipad2 almost exclusively for the marvel unlimited app. As well as an iPhone 6. Both have been working great since the last few updates. Offline reading is when I get most of my reading done. I hope it’s gets figured out for the tablet you are using!

  10. I just read the first 7 issues of Ultimate Spiderman and all four issues of Ultimate Daredevil on a flight from Baltimore to Orlando. I didn’t have any issues with the offline reading. My issue is that I want to download more than 12 issues! I ran out of comics before the plane landed. Hope it gets better for you. Thanks for all you do.

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