Is The DCUniverse Streaming Service Worth It?
I mentioned a few months ago that while I have always heard good things about the DC animated series Young Justice, I never personally got around to watching it. Loved the original comic of the same name. Love the characters involved. But it just never came up on my radar.
So when I needed an excuse to get the DCUniverse streaming service, Young Justice was a big part of why I bit in. There were other reasons–most notably the expansive selection of online comics to read and the fact that I felt at least one of the three members of a comic book podcast should subscribe to the groundbreaking comic book streaming service–but I knew that if nothing else, I’d be happy to finally dig into YJ.
I’ll review Young Justice separately once I have finished it (I just started the third season), but for now… how has the DCUniverse streaming service suited me?
Let’s look at the price first. The entire (nope, but we’ll get to that) DC Universe can be at your fingertips for just $75/year. That’s, frankly, a terrific cost that averages out to just a hair over $6/month. There IS also a per-month rate of, I believe, $7.99/month, and I could see doing the monthly rate maybe once or twice a year if you just care about binge-watching all the new programming every so often. But for me, I’m fine with the annual cost, and I like not feeling rushed into watching things. Honestly, whether you go monthly or annually, both costs are great. Looking at some competitors’ costs, Netflix’s most popular plan is $12.99/month, and WWE Network is $9.99/month, so DCUniverse outpaces each of them. Amazing Prime is $119/year, so DCUniverse beats that, too. Costwise, only Hulu is comparable at its own $7.99/month rate, and I don’t have Hulu, so I have no idea if that is worth it. But people seem to like Hulu, right? Man, I remember Hulu being just a free website. That was the best price for Hulu.
So the comic book selection available on the DCUniverse service is… odd. Let’s put it like that. But there are comics! In addition to programming both original and historic, the service allows you to read comics online! The thing about the comics selection is that while it appears massive at first–and to be fair, it IS massive–a more detailed look will show that a LOT is missing. Obviously, there aren’t all 1000 issues of Action Comics or Detective Comics, for example. There are about 200 issues of Action and its various reboots and another 130 or so of Detective. That’s not bad, but the odds that they have any given issue you may want to read are obviously not in your favor. One book I was really hoping to get into on the service was Geoff Johns run of JSA. Of that, they have… oh! Ha! I was about to joke about how they only had TWO issues of that run, but when I just checked again, they now have 87 (which I believe is the entirety of that title). WHICH BRINGS ME TO MY NEXT POINT! They are adding new comics all the time! So if they don’t have what you want now, check again in a month, and they might! Here’s honestly the worst part of the subscription for me: paralysis of choice. Especially now that JSA is available, there are a TON of books on here that I want to read, so I often open the site, look at all the comics available, think “Oh boy, I sure do want to read a lot of these!”, then stare at my screen a bit before deciding “I’ll pick one later!” and moving on with me life. Listen, Andy makes us read a lot of crap for the show; I don’t have as much time for fun readin’ as I would like.
I WILL say that the actually reading the comics online is somewhat unwieldy, at least on my laptop. Unless anything has changed in regards to it, the mere ability to turn the page is not that great. There is nothing as simple as a “Next/Previous Page” set of buttons, so to move through the book, you can either bring up a page layout and click the page you want (tedious!), or click off to the side of the page. And while that sounds convenient enough, I find it doesn’t work about 20% of the time. Sometimes clicking off to the side just brings up the page menu, and you’re stuck clicking for a while until it figures out what you actually want. UPDATE: I will confess I just clicked through two issues of Red Robin and did not run into this problem, so perhaps they fixed that when they gave me the rest of JSA. I tell you what, DCUniverse: you make it hard to be critical when you keep fixing all your problems.
Another POSSIBLE issue is that there is a section under Comic Books called “Last Chance To Read”, and I don’t like the sound of that. Is stuff going to cycle in-and-out of here? Because that’s lame as hell. Don’t put me on a time crunch, DC Comics! I’ll read your comics when I want to read them! (My main concern here is that Red Robin was under this banner, and I really want to read that because I own the first trade and want to see where it goes)
As far as the TV and Movies options go, as long as you don’t want anything that is incredibly recent live action, DCUniverse has ya covered! Nothing from the DCEU being on here already is a given, but it’s odd to me that the Baleman movies aren’t available on here. The Burton and Schumacher Batfilms are, though. There’s nothing from the Arrowverse, but… Birds of Prey, Lois & Clark, and Constatine (wait, that one was recent!) are waiting for you. There’s some old stuff that, if you are a fogey like Andy, you’ll dig. Some Superman serials. A Superboy series. Stuff like that. Pretty much any animated series you might want is on here, too! In addition to Young Justice, there is Static Shock, Batman Beyond, Super Friends, all the Dini/Timm stuff. I don’t see Teen Titans Go!, but the original Teen Titans is online.
I have watched a few of the animated movies since I got the service; I actually think the very first thing I did was watch Superman: Doomsday and The Death of Superman to see how they compared. TDoS was better, by the way. Unlike with the live action stuff, the movies are available even if recently released, including, heh, Batman Ninja and Reign of the Supermen.
And there’s also exclusive content because OF COURSE THERE IS in this Netflix-inspired world. I have not watched Titans or Doom Patrol yet because I’ve done all my watching of either animated flicks or Young Justice (season 3 of which is a said DCUniverse exclusive), but I am superpumped for the Stargirl show that is coming in a few… months? Probably more; I think they are still casting for it. Doom Patrol looks goofy as shit, and reviews of Titans were all over the map, but I assume everything will even out eventually.
So what’s the final word? Overall, I think it’s a great investment for the cost, with everything and more a streaming service should have. Original content, a great comic selection, and more than enough classic shows and movies to keep you busy. I’m all for it.
(with a possible drop to a B+ if I find out comics do cycle off the service)