Title: The Phoenix Weekly Story Comic
Developer: David Fickling Comics (aka The Phoenix) / Panel Nine Software
Compatibility: iPad // iOS 5.0.1
Size: 176 MB
Description: Let's get this out of the way from the very start - I am not a comics reader. Not opposed to them, mind you -- I take my kids to the comics shop down the street every spring for Free Comic Book Day and do try to share the occasional graphic novel with my kids -- just have long since decided that in terms of my own cultural passions, it's just too far down my list for me to become an expert or anything like a fan.
The Phoenix is a weekly comic app that works through iOS' Newsstand; it's the electronic equivalent of hard-copy version sold in England. I'd heard about it before as being a good all-ages comic, and when I saw that they were offering all of their back issues for $0.99 apiece through the end of January, I thought it was a good time to check it out.
Again, given my sparse comics background, it wouldn't be fair for me to really "review" the comics as I might with kids music, but I'll offer the following observations:
-- there's an excellent mix of comics here: funny and action-adventure, kindergarteners and the early middle-school years, elegant art to "funny pages." There is even a book excerpt or story and games, jokes, and non-fiction.
-- for those serial comics, the "Something Cool!" button at the bottom of the app allows the reader to briefly catch up on the prior action
-- it's firmly independent - no TV-characters-in-training
-- the interface is simple, and simple to use
I really like The Phoenix, and while I doubt I'd be willing to pay the subscription price given our family's general mild interest in comics, if your family is more into comics and graphic novels, you will definitely want to explore this. It's for those families who like magazines like Spider and Cricket but who want more visual pizzazz (and perhaps a little irreverence, too.
Age Range: 5 through 10
Price: Free for base app (includes one issue), individual issues $2.99 (through 1/31/14 just $0.99), subscriptions $8.99/one month, $46.99/six months, $89.99/twelve months