When we did our last round-up, the state of reading comics on the iPad was basically "good, not great." A few shortcomings keep Comic Viewer from achieving that greatness, but goodies like in-app comic downloading make it a worthy contender.
Comic Viewer is basically what you've come to expect from an iPad comic reader, with a few dings and a few surprises. First, the good stuff: upon opening the app, you're greeted with a iBooks-style library of all your comics' covers. Since comics are about, you know, the joys of looking at stuff—and since comic reading often goes hand in hand with obsessive comic collecting—this is a great way to browse your collection and admire what a fine job you've done amassing it.
The other big win here is in-app comic downloading over 3G and WiFi. In addition to loading in comics via iTunes sharing, you can surf the web in the app and directly import any CBZ or ZIP archive you come across. If you're already into the world of online comics, you probably have a list of go-to destinations, so this is a nice way to load new titles without dealing with the general iTunes hassle.
There are a few nice aesthetic touches, too, like comic-style typography for the "Library" and "Settings" buttons, and the presence of simulated staples between pages (though they're between every page, not just the "middle" of whatever you're reading, which is kinda weird.)
There are some fundamental flaws, however, that keep this from being the definitive iPad comic app. For one thing, it doesn't support PDFs, and moving to the next page requires you to tap—there's no option to swipe. Even though I'm sure I'll be sick of swiping after I do it a couple thousand more times, I'm still in the Honeymoon period with this whole tablet thing and I demand the right to swipe.
Still, at $5, Comic Viewer is the cheapest of the three readers we've covered thus far, and for people who could care less about PDFs and swiping and all that, it's got some unique functionality that future apps will have to include to be considered the true killer iPad comic app. [iTunes]