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.

  • Arvind

    Some people think I take comics much too seriously, and while they aren’t far from the truth, it’s good to know that there are reviewers and readers like you who take the same approach, leaving us all the better for it. I appreciated your writing skills just as much as your analysis, agreeing or disagreeing. Best of luck in your endeavours!

  • Mesektet

    You are the reviewer I come one this site to read. Mostly to validate my own opinions because we have very similar tastes in comics. More so than any other reviewer on the whole internet when I come to think about it. You aren’t easily impressed and are one of the only reviewers critical of Geoff Johns, who I think is massively overrated. I am actually super bummed about this. Do you have to go?

    • Minhquan Nguyen

      Thanks for the compliment; it’s very, very, very gratifying.

      I agree that Geoff Johns is massively overrated nowadays, but he didn’t used to be. I also think he remains popular and respected for good reason. I still like him, but my expectations are lower for him now.

      I don’t have to go, but I feel like it’s time. I have a pretty rigorous work ethic, even when it comes to something as voluntary as this, and trying to maintain that high standard for both this site, my work, and my other activities was starting to feel like too much. I could’ve cut down my output, but I know that I wouldn’t be able to resist picking up new comics and offering my thoughts and then committing to every issue afterward. Even though I’m definitely going to miss, even regret, leaving, ultimately I think it’s for the best.

      Fortunately, the other reviewers here are just as astute and eloquent as me, so by all means, keep reading

  • John David McComas

    You’ll be missed. I’ve been (mostly quietly) reading you and Dean for many years now. With no ill will at all for your other contributors, whom I will continue to read faithfully, I must acknowledge that you (and Dean) have the thinking AND the grammar. I’ve deeply appreciated reading a body of critical work so deliberately thought out, intelligently written and skillfully edited. Bonne chance with the real life stuff.

    • Minhquan Nguyen

      Thank you very much for the compliment. It feels very good to know the work was read and appreciated.

      And you’re absolutely right that there are other reviewers here worth keeping the faith with. I know I will.

  • Ronald Caterisano

    Ill miss your reviews Minqhaun!!!

    • Minhquan Nguyen

      Thanks! Your feedback was always appreciated and valued.

  • Hugomarink

    Best of luck to you! I always enjoyed your reviews here.

    • Minhquan Nguyen

      Thank you! The other reviewers are just as enjoyable, I’m sure.

  • Danny

    We’ll miss you, MQ! Don’t be a stranger around these parts!
    All the best to you

    • Minhquan Nguyen

      I’ll be around. Thanks for the best wishes.