A Word About Reviews

Wonder Woman (2011-) 036-000

Rating: 5.5 out of 10

Let’s talk about reviews, specifically comic book reviews here at Needless Essentials.

First and foremost, I try to make certain that all of our reviews are professional and do not cross the line into the personal with attacks on people that have nothing to do with the work that we’re reviewing. Now, I have been guilty of failing this test, but overall, I try to keep in mind that there are real people behind these comics, and it serves no one to go after a small publisher’s bad comic just to write a negative review. I have written negative reviews but usually doing so served a purpose, and usually, they were issues that were receiving a lot of hype, Spider-Woman #1 and Princess Leia #1 come to mind. If you read those reviews, though, you’ll find that I strove to find something good in them. I also have mentioned in reviews that a comic might best be enjoyed by a particular audience, acknowledging that as a fortysomething white male who’s grown up with comics, I might not be the reader it is aimed at.

SavageDragon201tn

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

I also strive to point out when I just simply dislike the style of an artist. There are qualities to good comic art that have nothing to do with the personal method of rendering that an artist uses. Perspective, anatomy, storytelling, and the depiction of environments are all  universal, especially in mainstream comics. When an artist gets more cartoonish and distorts one of those, I try to see if they distort consistently. With writing, it’s a little more difficult, but there has to be a basic story structure, and if a writer is trying to do something experimental, as with art, it has to be consistently done.

Reviews are also not a judgement from on high about the merits of a book. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art, specializing in Sequential Art, so I have a little knowledge about these things, but ultimately these reviews are one person’s opinion. However, even if I did not have my degree and we have reviewers with different credentials, all opinions are valid provided that they do not fall into personal attacks, slander, vendetta, or promotion, whether they are here or on another site.

Edge of Spider-Verse 002-000

Rating: 10 out of 10

Finally, our reviews should remain impartial and not play favorites. I am overly fond of the Legion of Super-Heroes, but I will not give a pass to a bad comic featuring the Legion. There are appearances that are just plain bad, and if you look at my review for Justice League United: World’s End, you’ll see where I simply did not like an issue. In trying to run a comics web site, we are at the mercy of the publishers to provide us news, previews and review copies. However, that does not mean that they get a pass because they sent us a review copy or because we want to get on their mailing list.

Postscript: I want to apologize for those times when typos have slipped through the editing process. I am striving to correct those as I find them. We’re all human, but part of professionalism is learning to get it right before it goes out into the world.