Comics [$0.99 - iTunes link] serves as both an iPhone formatted comic book store and reader. (Think iTunes but for comics). comiXology was kind enough to give us a preview of the app, which will be officially announced tomorrow at the San Diego Comic Con, home of all things good and geeky in the 'verse.
First, Comics costs $0.99 because it uses in-app purchases to allow you to buy paid content (more comics). Apple says "free apps stay free", so anything using in-app purchase has to be a paid app. Hence, the minimal price. On to the app.
There are multiple ways to find comics, featured, free, top 25, and browse/search. Lots of information and a few preview images are provided for each, along with a link to buy print versions, which opens a WebView to Amazon.com with an option to move it into Safari.
A good amount of free comics available -- I went immediately for Robert Kirkman's excellent Invincible. You need to set up an account before you can download comics, but it's fairly quick (it does ask your birthdate, presumably for age-based ratings reasons). Once you've set up your account, you can download away. It took me 25 seconds over Rogers 3G to get a comic. Not bad.
A tutorial walks you through the "guided" mode of comics reading, and then away you go. It took me a second to get used to the animated way in which Comics takes you through panels, but it works well. You can turn to landscape when wanted, or disable rotation if it bothers you.
Of course, there's no Marvel (think Wolverine, Hulk, Iron Man) or DC (Batman, Superman) titles to be found, and for that I blame the same kind of slow thinking that long plagued music and still plagues other media to some extent.
It does give the independents a little room to shine, however.
Note: The developers are currently reporting problems with in-app purchases and the iTunes servers behind them, but say they're working with Apple to resolve them. In the mean time, the free comics are all working just fine.
If you're a comics fan, and you give Comics a try, let us know how you like it!
Tons of screen caps after the break!