I guess I would have to say that I was pretty disappointed with the rollout of DC Universe Infinite. I’d like to make it clear that I’m not disappointed with the DC Universe Infinite service as a whole; I’m never going to cry about 25,000 comics (we’re certainly spoiled in that regard), the comic reader works well enough, and I love the community (it’s honestly the best part of the service). And the removal of the movies and TV shows didn’t bother me too much: the announcement was made far enough in advance that I had plenty of time to watch what I wanted to watch, and most of that stuff has now been added to HBO Max anyway (with the one major exception I can think of being Superman: The Animated Series, which will hopefully be coming soon). No, what disappointed me about the rollout were a) the new Android app, and b) the new comic additions:
The new Android app
All that really needed to be done to the app to prepare it for the transition to DCUI was to remove the movie/TV and community sections, give it a fresh coat of paint, and change the name. Instead, what we got was a buggy mess that was somehow much worse than the version that immediately preceded it. I wasn’t expecting any major upgrades to the app, but I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be made worse. It gave the distinct impression that the app was rushed out to meet the January 21st deadline without it fully being tested, which is never a great impression to give. Among many other bugs, problems and annoyances, the most egregious one is that the user-created comic issue lists somehow ended up in reverse order from how they were created. Meaning that, assuming you’ve added the issues to your lists in chronological order, they are now backwards, putting the final issues of a series/storyline at the top of the list, and the first issues at the bottom, with no way to re-sort them. We now either have to re-create all of our lists in backwards order, or else scroll all the way to the bottom of them to read through them. It’s now been a month and this error has yet to be corrected. Applejack has assured us in Office Hours that the first major update to the app is coming soon, though, and I certainly hope that a correction to this problem will be among the updates. But this and the other problems with the app left a bad taste in my mouth, and gave me a bad first impression of DC Universe Infinite right out of the gate, bad feelings that I did not have about DC Universe Classic.
The new comic additions
While I am certainly grateful to DC for adding all of the comics that they did, what we actually ended up getting was nowhere near what was promised in the pre-launch marketing. There was a lot of hype about Vertigo, Black Label and graphic novels coming to the service, but when the Every Title Launching on DC Universe Infinite on January 21st, 2021 thread dropped, the reality sadly didn’t live up to the hype. Some of the biggest and most important Vertigo series were missing, like The Sandman, Y: The Last Man, and (inexplicably since we used to have it on here) Grant Morrison’s Animal Man; “graphic novels” pretty much only extended to the “Earth One” series, and even then, only to the first books in those series; and, most disappointingly (for me), only a handful of the Black Label titles: among others, no “White Knight” beyond the first series, no “Last Knight on Earth”, no “Joker: Killer Smile”, and it looks like we’re not going to be getting “Three Jokers”, either (I believe the first issue would/should have arrived here in March, and it’s not there on the “coming soon” list). Plus, DC is still keeping essential classics like “Batman: Gotham by Gaslight”, “Batman: The Killing Joke” and “Watchmen” off of the service. There was lot of noise made about how DC is getting really committed to DC Universe Infinite, placing a lot of focus on it, and how important it is to their future plans. As far as I’m concerned, as long as these essential classic titles are being withheld from the service, and as long as so much of Black Label is missing, DC can’t possibly claim to truly be committed to DCUI 100%. There’s obviously still some reservations about the service somewhere there. The little exclusive digital-first series that we get are nice, but let’s be honest, they’re no replacement for the heavy hitters that I just mentioned. And yes, I’ve heard all of the arguments about supporting comic shops and book sales, etc., etc., but that just doesn’t hold up to scrutiny for me, especially when you can get all of those titles that I just mentioned for free (yes, free) through your local library on hoopla. I shouldn’t have to go off to some other service to get all of my comics (particularly one with a vastly inferior comic reader). DCUI should be the one-stop shop for everything DC. And I’d much rather pay DC my cold, hard-earned cash for it to be exactly that.
(There was also the case that LeonardoMyst mentioned of the missing Catwoman (1993) #24 issue a couple weeks ago, but I attribute that more to a mistake made somewhere along the line, rather than an intentional withholding. Hopefully that mistake will be corrected soon.)
So, yes, ultimately I was disappointed in the rollout of DC Universe Infinite. But I remain ever hopeful: hopeful that the problems with the Android app will be corrected, hopeful that the missing titles will someday be added, and, overall, hopeful that the service will continue to be improved. Hope is what the DC Universe is all about after all, isn’t it?