Alright Marvel Unlimited subscribers – time to hash one out: I’m noticing more and more series missing multiple issues in the middle of a run.
Did the new Marvel website redesign and Marvel Unlimited app release damage the database? Why is my comic reading suddenly feeling so… limited?
In general, I haven’t had a lot of sympathy for noobs complaining about the Marvel Unlimited selection.
I have zero problems with the “6 month delay” for new comics (although I would like to see Marvel stick to that schedule). I don’t really have a problem with Marvel’s selection, either. I tend to find that most comics I want to read are included in their entirety.
But that vast, 13,000-plus comic book selection starts to feel a lot less satisfying when individual issues are randomly not included in the middle of a series.
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The above screenshot captures all 12 issues in Brian Michael Bendis’s and Alex Maleev’s all-too-brief Moon Knight (a borderline Age of Ultron prequel; who knew!).
As you can see, the patented Marvel Unlimited “Read Now” graphic is mysteriously absent from issue number five. And only issue number five.
It’s one thing for Marvel to not offer Garth Ennis’s run on Punisher at all. Ok – I’ll read something else, maybe Moon Knight, and hope they add it later.
But catching a missing issue in the middle of a series? It’s completely inexplicable! Marvel has clearly dedicated the resources to include Moon Knight to digital Unlimited subscribers. Where’s the fifth issue?!
Was I able to go on reading the series? Of course. It was hardly the end of the world, and in a damning testament to the per-issue value of Moon Knight, I’m not sure I even missed anything important.
Nonetheless, this is a frustrating experience. Imagine starting LOST on Netflix only to find episode 14 is missing from each season. People would freak out! This is sequential story-telling; you can’t just rip a chapter out of the book and act like you have everything you need.
This is far from the only instance, too.
As a reader pointed out on my Best of Marvel Unlimited post, the Inhumans series is currently missing two issues: #3 and #5.
So apparently Marvel Unlimited is having some serious issues with older series as well.
And now I see it with AvX: Consequences too.
I won’t pretend to know more than I do about why this is happening, but it is becoming increasingly annoying for a long-time, avid fan of the service.
The last three digital reading experiences I’ve had have been cut short, or muddled by missing issues. I’ll keep on reading (I think this is what they refer to as dependency) with the hope that these are fluky instances of missing issues. If this is the new normal, though?
Let’s just say my years with the service aren’t Unlimited.
What do you think? Is this an overreaction, or are you having the same issues (or lack thereof)? Do what feels right to you in the comments.
Just pirate back issues. Better product, complete product, better product quality. And you can get all of a series in one shot.
Another Dave says
I started from the beginning of the Silver Age with the first Ant-Man story. I have been reading each Marvel series in release order. I’m currently on August of 1968. I’m getting to the point where there’s going to be a big gap in Daredevil, which I can’t understand why all of FF has been added, but not all of Daredevil since it did really well on Netflix. But for each issue I come across that has not been added, I leave a comment asking for it to be added. I usually get a response back from an admin with in about 24 hours or so. It’s the usual, “Hey, thanks for contacting us, we’re not sure when it will be added…”, but at least they’re paying attention. So, if you see something is missing, leave a comment. That way they’ll know what kind of interest there is for a series or certain issue. For one thing, they’ll get tired of responding to people. I’ve probably left close to 300 comments so far. I know it’s not automated, since some were individually responded to, then some they collected all of a certain series I had commented on, because I leave a comment on each issue missing not just the first in a run. One occasion, they found out the page was incorrect and that they would contact their developer to get corrected.
Up to you of course, but I recommend you check out My Marvelous Year. It’s the Comic Book Herald reading club, and we’re going through each year of Marvel Comics throughout 2016. We’re already on 1965, so we’ll be at your place in no time!
Sounds like a neat idea!
I’m still plugging away at my randomly chosen 1988, and Daredevil is missing from the first few months of ’88 too, for some reason. Think it kicks in starting with April. You can kind of see the new copyright date for when the comics were presumably added to Unlimited. Tons of stuff added in 2013 it looks like.
Honestly so far it’s thorough enough for me, I’m getting… Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, The Amazing Spider-Man, Classic X-Men (I think they just scanned in the new portion, like 12 pages, which kind of makes sense given the rest of it is I guess just reprints), and “regular” Uncanny X-Men. Oh, and Daredevil as of April.
Plus The ‘Nam, which I didn’t know existed, and isn’t bad, and some oddball stuff, like X-Terminators, which was I guess a limited series (or else just canceled after 4 issues) and was pretty bad, and a painted special series Havoc and Wolverine, which wasn’t bad, but I think it only had the first two issues and then quit lol
X-Factor is running by this point in time, and is missing, and maybe New Mutants? There might have been a second Spider-Man title too, I’m not sure.
I’m hoping all the “2099” comics are scanned in, as I never really got to read those.
I’m really disappointed how the service doesn’t track what you’ve read. Actually reading a downloaded issue on my iPad works pretty darned well (though there’s no brightness control like in most reading apps), but everything surrounding that stinks. No way to tell where you are, to have that show up on another device, to sort by publication date online for Windows devices, etc. 🙁
I blew right through that gap in DD. Started reading the next issue in line and was super confused. Thought I missed the time travel part. Now I guess I wait until they get added.
I will say this, having posted my concerns earlier, I received a subscription as a gift, I have been very PLEASED with it so far, picking up various series from the mid 2000s forward. X related titles and avengers, wolverine and the like have all been complete. I have not gone back into the 90’s catalog so I can’t speak much to that, but I’m happy with the service so far.
So is this STILL going on? I’ve been drooling over Marvel Unlimited for years, but haven’t subscribed yet as I have a backlog of physical comics to finish. This sounds incredibly annoying though. I mean it sounds like it’s tough to figure out what you’ve already read-I’d probably rather just start reading from 1990 on and read EVERYTHING, so it’s annoying that other stuff might get filled in after the fact. But to be in the middle of a run and just have issues randomly missing? That’s super annoying…
It’s less common than it used to be, but it can still happen.
The bigger issue for you would probably be starting from 1990 on the library is missing a lot of stuff. They haven’t filled in the 90’s all that well to date. Some of the bigger series are fine (incredible hulk, amazing spider-man), but some are missing good runs (Daredevil).
End of the day, it’s the best value for an insane amount of comics at your fingertips. There are limitations, though.
Thanks! Hmm, maybe I’ll just start from 2000 then. I’ve read some of those awesome gigantic black and white Marvel Essentials books, so am somewhat caught up (at least for the X-Men), and have a bit from the late 80s/early 90s. The 2000s are what I most want to read anyway.
Thanks for the feedback and the awesome articles! 🙂
The problem of missing issues, particularly within story arcs, is the reason I gave up my subscription a few years back. I arrived at this forum this eve by researching if it was still a problem, and it sounds like it is. I can’t help but feel like the gaps are an intentional effort to get readers to seek out/buy back issues. regardless it irks me to the point that I can’t participate.
Yeah, I started rereading Pak’s hulk run and Son of Hulk #9 is missing, as well as two issues of Warbound. I thought it was pretty weird to have 3 out of five issues of a limited series. Do you know if any of the comics you were worried about have been added in the last year or so?
Inhumans #5 was my go to example for a while and that has since been added. It was at least a year but it’s there now.
Looks like this is still an ongoing issue then – just perusing the Deadpool selection and note that #13 from volume 1 is missing, which follows directly from #12. I appreciate it’s not a showstopper but as someone with very mild OCD it could prove very frustrating!
The Marvel staff does look at the comments that people post on the digital issues. If it is one that you want to read digitally, the best thing you can do is comment on that issue to request that it be made available.
Yeah like 30 issues of daredevil are missing
Daredevil is getting a new Netflix series, so there is hope for getting some of those issues added to MU. Recently, 45 issues of Amazing Spider-Man from years past were added in conjunction with the new movie, so they do still add old issues.
Yeah they tend to be very good when there’s a cross media tie-in (movie/tv). The downside there is waiting for distant release dates. The upside is Marvel is developing something for so many great characters now. I’m hoping the Netflix series actually means the input of the real Defenders comics.
I did a 1 month subscription a long while back and was reading the old Thor series and there was a chunk of the story line missing. I think it was where Odin was missing and Olympus was in chaos. The gap was so big that the next available issue available to read started a whole new story line. Needless to say i did not renew MDCU.
Over the last year or so, the most consistent additions have been 1) newer ongoing comics (trying to keep up with their proposed “6 months” after release PR) and 2) back issues associated with characters about to hit the big screen.
So the Iron Man & Thor catalogue were pretty effectively filled in the run up to their films. I’d expect to see the same treatment for Cap, Guardians, and Ant-Man in the coming year(s).
I haven’t analyzed this in detail, but I’d guess the 90’s get the least attention. Maybe they’re still trying to forget the Clone Saga 🙂
Impressively (sadly), Marvel’s running an MDCU promotion on their Inhumans books to hype up Inhumanity, and their first recco is the Inhumans maxi series from Paul Jenkins & Jae Lee (rightly so). And the fifth issue is still missing in MDCU (which I identified here way back when.)
Meanwhile, the Moon Knight and AvX: Consequences missing issues pointed out here have since been added. So they definitely do fill in these gaps, although the limited sample size seems to indicate release date is a major factor.
Dave or anyone in the know,
How often do they add older back issues to the MDCU? I’ve looked at the last couple weeks of additions to the service, and they all have been 2013 comics. There are some great stories from the 1990s and earlier that still could be added, and I was wondering what Marvel’s recent behavior regarding those eras indicates.
This is pretty frustrating. I can understand missing some 1-shot issues, but I was going to start reading the original Incredible Hulk and see they have issue 1-6 then there is nothing until issue 111! There’s no way to ready when you miss a quarter of the comics run.
Incredible Hulk #1-6 was mixed in with Tales to Astonish #27-101. Incredible Hulk #102 is where the re-titling happened. MDCU currently has the vast majority of that first string of issues and has Incredible Hulk #102-110 as well.
Strange Tales, Tales of Suspense, and Journey Into Mystery are other series that contain early stories of characters like Dr. Strange, Nick Fury, Thor, Iron Man, Namor, and Captain America. Captain America #100 is not his actual first appearance in the comics or on the MDCU.
Minor self-correction: Hulk was not in all of those Tales to Astonish issues, but he was in quite a few of them before it became Incredible Hulk.
Has someone else made the experience that you cant load a comic although it should be available? For example Immortal Iron Fist (2006) #13 and #14. These issues just wont load when i select read now (always: “Loading” on the top screen, using android app).
I have seen this occasionally although it’s usually OK if I come back to it later.
I’ve had the same problem with “Strange” #4, which is a bummer because it’s only a four issue mini series. For some reason the issue is just inaccessible on any device I try.
This is very uncommon (it’s the only example that immediately comes to mind), but yeah, I have seen it.
Weirdly, I have no problem with those particular Iron Fist issues. I feel like the lockout is account-based… I would guess other subscribers can probably access Strange #4 whereas I can’t.
Unfortunately, can’t prescribe a solution at this point other than to say I’ve had this problem too.
I’m having issues loading particular… um, issues as well. They are apparently available for immediate reading with Unlimited (Avengers Assemble 11, for one), but won’t go past the loading screen when I load them, regardless of restarting my browser/computer, clearing the cache, changing browsers, or anything. The prior and next still open just fine.
I’m very new to comics and trying to get into them, but seriously, this has stopped me in the middle of trying to get into two different series now and I’m getting annoyed. No reply from Marvel.
On a positive note re this. I’ve noticed that a lot of the gaps in series have been filled in of late. It looks like it’s something they are working on.
A few weeks ago, Unlimited highlighted the Maximum Carnage storyline, this was terrific until reaching the end where the final issue was missing. Likewise Secret Wars II.
To be fair, you’re better off without all the details of Secret Wars II 😉
Great adds to this list – thanks for the comment! Can’t believe Maximum Carnage was a featured story with a missing issue. Not a great look on that one.
Had literally the opposite experience here. I was re-reading the old Infinity Gauntlet stories and found that the vast majority of the Silver Surfer 87′-98′ run is missing, except for issues #34-38 which were exactly what I wanted to see. Maybe there is some method to this madness?
Yeah, in that case Marvel does a nice job of providing the issues everyone is looking for (namely the awesome Rebirth of Thanos storyline). In general, I’d say they’re very good at including classic arcs, or anything traditionally discussed as canon. I can understand the methodology there; include the most famous Silver Surfer story from the period, and don’t worry about the rest of the run.
This gets stranger to me when there’s no clear canon (with newer arcs in particular). The absence of comics then seems less methodical and more haphazard, or maybe accidental.
Anyway, those issues of Silver Surfer are fantastic. I might read them again myself now. Thanks for the comment!
I was super excited to finish Avengers Academy, and got all the way through issue 34 (of 39). Too bad issues 35, 36 and 38 are not available. Boo.
I’ve noticed this issue with a number of series too. There’s 3 issues of The Amazing Spider-Man that are missing from the back end of the final run. There’s also missing issues towards the end of The Astonishing X-Men, but only near the end. Is this a technical glitch that will be worked out and these issues will appear on there eventually, does anybody know?
Well Hawkeye #4 has now appeared so at least I can carry on with that series. But judging from the feedback here this is a significant issue for people.
Josh Carter says
This is the bane of my (comic reading) life! It is so frustrating getting halfway through an arc and finding missing issues! The latest one I’ve come across is Manifest Destiny – the X-Men comics finish at #4 and the Eternals comics finish at #6, completely missing the conclusion!
Got to issue #154 of Uncanny X-Men only to find out a chuck of the series is missing starting with that issue. Very annoying and may cancel my subscription.
Yeah, that can be such a bummer. Series from the 70’s-90’s wind up with a lot more gaps. Normally I’d assume they’re better about the well-known arcs and creators, but this is smack in the middle of Claremont, so that theory might be wishful thinking. Unlimited has always been a work in progress, but I’m not sure that’s made very clear to new subscribers.
And now I notice that Hawkeye #4 is missing. I can understand that with the number of comics to be digitized in some of the older series they might try to concentrate on the good stuff and skip the odd issue. But with a new series like this I really don’t get it. Why would you digitize issue #5 before #4? It makes no sense to me.
Yep, this seems to be a little too frequent with newer arcs. Wish I knew what the deal was.
The irony here is Hawkeye #4 is the first part of practically the only multi-issue story during the Fraction & Aja run to date. Don’t read number five first – this probably isn’t helping, but it’s a fantastic two-part story.
Thanks for the heads up. I was thinking of just skipping ahead but I shan’t do that now. It does make you wonder if there is any significance to it being that particular issue that’s missing, although that’s probably reading to much into it.
That’s an interesting conspiracy theory. I think I’d agree it’s unlikely but just to extend the thought… Marvel does have a trade sales division they don’t want Unlimited to cannibalize. Hawkeye has strong trade sales, and temporarily witholding a key issue in the middle of the trade… well it has commercial upside.
Honestly, I think I prefer that answer over a product that just sort of misses things without anyone knowing. Seeing it more and more with new stuff like Wolverine and the X-Men (great series BTW) too.
Miguel Marfori says
I’m optimistic about Unlimited. It may not be that perfect yet but I know Marvel will figure it out and fix it up. Lovin’ it so far!
Also… can they fix the dates in the app? Some of the comics I check out have the date Nov 2, 0002. Uhmm… so the comics were made 2 years at the start of the AD?
Anyway.. they’ll figure it out soon enough
That’s a good catch – the dates are often way off the mark (making the search by publication date feature pretty sketchy). I do like the idea that AD year 2 produced some fine comics though.
I tottaly agree with you. I recently have experienced the same thing. Its very, very annoying. I feel that i dont get the service i pay for. I also understand the “limits” this service havem but to miss some from a series!!?!???!?!? Its uncalled for. Hope they step up and fix this asap!
Agreed. Can be very frustrating. That said, I’m optimistic it’s a bug they’ll work out. Moved on to Milligan & Allred’s X-Force and it’s been nothing but joyous comic bliss so far.