Review: Heroes Comic Reader
Heroes Comic Reader, by NBC Universal
- Heroes Comics!
- Access to the webisodes and episode videos
- Can download them individually
- Comics not formatted to fit well in iPhone screen
- Must download them indivually
- Can't download videos
Let's give it up for Heroes.
In case you don't know, Heroes is one of the new NBC TV shows that hit the US in 2007 by storm. It was a huge hit, fall back to Earth a little bit, but picked up towards the end of this most recent season.
Heroes is somewhat unique because it was one of the first shows (that I know of) to include webisodes - specific, "made for internet" videos that expanded on the stories and plot line from the TV show. In addition, NBC also put all the TV episodes online to view after their aired.
But Heroes, being about super heroes, also incorporated comic books. They have short comic books written as precursors, in-between story line stories, and containing back information about the characters. Lots of these could be downloaded or even purchased in actual comic book form.
Now they have come to the iPhone. Heroes Comic Reader is basically a gateway to allow you to access all the comics that have been published for the Heroes TV show. And there are over 125 comics in all. With Heroes Comic Reader, you are given a list of the comics - tapping on the title or icon will bring you to a brief description of the comic. Tapping will also allow you to download the comic to read.
Now, this is both good and bad. You aren't being forced to download tons of comics you don't want to read (the good) but at the same time, you can't "batch download" a lot of them at once (bad). You have to tap on each one individually. However, once it is downloaded, it is on your iPhone and you can re-read it was much as you want.
Once the comic is downloaded, you flip your iPhone to landscape mode to read. Now, comics aren't designed to fit in the iPhone screen, and these are no exception. You need to scroll up and down to see the full comic page, left and right to move from one page to the next. You can double tap to zom in for more detail, but I would have liked to see them reformatted to be a better fit for the iPhone.
With the interface, you can access all the comics, just the ones you have downloaded, or the ones you have marked as favorites. This is a nice touch - you don't need to scroll through them all to find a specific one you liked or downloaded already.
One added feature is that you have a button to take you directly to the NBC website to access the TV episodes online and the webisode videos. Of course, you need to see a commercial (ironically for the Blackberry) in order to watch those, and they are streaming, not downloaded to your phone. I would have preferred to see some option to download them. I also have some issues with some episodes (well, one of them) being listed as not compatible with my device. Most of them worked fine, however.
All, in all, for people who are a fan of the show, this is a great way to view and read some content you may have missed the first time around. At $4.99, the price isn't too steep, and it is cheaper than buying the comics outright (although it is more expensive than downloading them yourself). There is something to be said for having a convenient gateway to access this information, rathern than doing it all yourself. Four out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.