I didn’t want to bum anyone out at the time, but Swamp Thing #40, on top of being my two-thousandth review, was also my final one for WCBR. I know—I’m getting choked up, too.
I started out on this site over four years ago with a review of Batman Incorporated #1, and looking at it now, I’m rather amazed at how much of my current style of writing is already there, the good and the bad: the interesting turns of phrase, the overuse of certain terms and phrases (“stakes” and “tension” pops out immediately), the commitment to deep analysis, the occasional overwordiness, and the lists—dear god, the lists.
But my takeaway from all that is at least I delivered in consistency. During my time on WCBR, I’ve witnessed the DC relaunch, the half-assed Marvel NOW revival, Image’s inexorable rise, and so many Events that it’s exhausting even to think of them. I’ve gone through three jobs, traveled to different states and countries, attended and graduated from law school, passed the bar, gained a lot of friends, and lost a few (mostly by distance, not conflict). Through it all, whether it was the night before or the day after a final (or a bar exam), whether it was in the plane en route to Paris or in a hotel in Washington, D.C., whether I was going to or coming from pretty much anything, I wrote the reviews. And while they weren’t all good, at least none of them were too terrible, I think. Anyway, I feel I was more open to criticism and differences in perspectives than most; I sure haven’t read many critics who own up to being mistaken or, heaven forbid, wrong, even as infrequently as I did.
I’ll leave it up to you to decide if you got anything out of it, but I know I did. It forced me to take a more critical, expansive look at twenty or thirty-odd pages of words and pictures than I might otherwise have done. At the same time, all that analysis also taught me what a luxury and delight it is to just turn the brain off and be entertained as hell over heroes and villains fighting the same old fight in infinite, often repetitive variations. What I’ve learned is it’s worth doing both, the deep thinking and the pure enjoyment, even with the same issue. The former gives you understanding as to how others see it; the latter reveals a lot about the kind of person you are.
At the end of the day, after all the reviewing is said and done, you’re going to like what you like, and that’s totally okay. Feel free to love whatever story you want, as long as you don’t go around lecturing others that your favorites are the best and their favorites are just crap. That’s my job. Or rather, it was my job. Or, more accurately, it was my self-imposed responsibility. Now, I get to be the one being lectured to, and haranguing the lecturer with comments in turn. That sounds quite nice, really. I’m looking forward to rejoining the rest of you. See you soon.