Here's my take on some of the Internet's most prominent webcomic review blogs. The following are listed in alphabetical order.
Blog: Tangents Reviews
Reviewer: Robert A. Howard
Average Word Count: 413
I found this blog to be somewhat misleading, as while it has the word "reviews" in its title, and clearly promotes having webcomic reviews, none of its posts gave me the impression of resembling anything close to an actual review. Instead, what Howard does is provide brief commentary about a specific aspect of a webcomic he feels like writing about, effectively "going off on a tangent." These commentaries are fresh and interesting, and Howard has a comfortable and confident writing style that I find appealing, but I'd prefer it if the blog was presented in a more honest and straightforward way. This narrow approach does have some merits, though, in that it provides an in-depth analysis of a particular part of the comic that a review, approaching the comic in a more general manner, would probably only touch on briefly. However, because the subjects are so acute, the commentaries seem targeted at fans of the comics being discussed, rather than to a general webcomic-reading audience. Because of its esoteric nature, Tangents Reviews isn't as enjoyable to read or informative as other review sites, even though its writing's of a relatively high quality.
Blog: The Webcomic Overlook
Reviewer: "El Santo"
Average Word Count: 629 (short)/1338 (long)
This is the No. 1 webcomic reviewer by far. Witty writing, a knack for comics, and a solid variety of scoring make this a particularly fun and engaging blog to read, and the "Ridiculously Long Webcomic Reviews" are significantly more elaborate and insightful than what other blogs offer. The blog also features "Small, Bite-Sized Reviews," which are often longer than the other sites' normal reviews. And while other review blogs tend to give every webcomic an "A" rating or equivalent, The Webcomic Overlook's average rating for this period is 3.3 stars out of five, which includes a couple one-star reviews. I'd like it if the reviews had a greater focus on the webcomics' artwork, as that aspect gets brushed aside to an extent in favor of the excellent writing analysis, but The Webcomic Overlook definitely sets the standard that other review blogs should look up to.
Note that the 1338-word average for the "Ridiculously Long Webcomic Reviews" excludes the massive, 3373-word review of The Least I Could Do that El Santo wrote to celebrate his 200th long review.
Reviewer: Caitlin Hart
Average Word Count: 648
Hart's reviews are reasonably detailed, but, unfortunately, almost all of this detail's put into summarizing the webcomic's concept and plot, which results in a series of tedious and uninspired posts. One notable example of this disconnect between summary and analysis is Hart's review of The Super Fogeys, in which she begins the last paragraph with "We’ll start the critique with [...]" -- that line comes after she's already written 70 percent of the review. Hart's anemic criticism seriously undermines the worth of her blog. She's able to clearly demonstrate that she read the webcomic she's reviewing, but who cares about that if the reader doesn't get anything out of it? I think a reviewer should try to approach a webcomic from the perspective of an expert, and that means presenting a keen and insightful understanding of the comic's strengths and weaknesses. And while not every reviewer will consider themselves to be an expert in writing or illustration, I think everyone's capable of demonstrating an intimate familiarity with the webcomic they're reviewing. So, while they might not be an expert of comics in general, they can be an expert of the particular webcomic they're reviewing, and provide the perspective of someone who's carefully read and considered that webcomic. In Hart's case, merely giving a plot summary isn't expert-level commentary; rather, it's something that even the most casual reader would observe. She also gives the webcomics she reviews an average rating of "A-," which suggests to me she's reluctant to discuss webcomics' more negative aspects.
The blog also has a review written by Sergio Ragno (misspelled as "Sergio Rango"), a.k.a. Comic Genesis' SergeXIII. This review's much better than any of Hart's, as it's primarily focused on analysis. However, at only 383 words, the review's very short, and it suffers because Ragno doesn't elaborate as much as he could've.
Blog: Webcomic Reviews Every Monday!
Average Word Count: 1053
This anonymous reviewer might be the most highly skilled writer featured in this article, but I can't stand his or her reviews because they're all so over-the-top in praise for the webcomics being reviewed. Employing flowery prose and punchy lines, this reviewer seems more concerned with flexing his or her literary muscle than discussing anything of substance, and the endless depictions of jaw-dropping awe at every aspect of every webcomic being reviewed quickly gets redundant. It's almost as if this reviewer's central motivation is trying to one-up their previous efforts in extravagance. It's unclear whether the overly positive nature of the reviews is due to the selection of webcomics, or whether it's related to the reviewer's inability (or unwillingness) to discern faults, but either way, the drastic lack of variety is this blog's major downfall. If there was even one review here that evaluated a webcomic as being merely "good," I would have a higher opinion of this blog, but, unfortunately, that isn't the case.
The blog also has a strange habit of including an elaborate "Warnings" section, which catalogs the violent, sexual, drug-related, or potentially offensive material in the comics being reviewed. I don't inherently object to this method of cautioning sensitive readers, but I'd prefer if it was presented in a way that was more relevant to the rest of the review. These "mature" subjects could also potentially be the most interesting part of the webcomic being reviewed, so I think the reviewer may be missing opportunities by treating these elements as "unwholesome" topics that readers could be averted by.
Blog: Your Webcomics!
Average Word Count: 378
Jack has a keen and intuitive perception of comics, which allows him to provide some insightful analysis of the art and writing in the comics he reviews. On top of that, he's also a pretty good writer. This blog has some decent potential, but, unfortunately, it's perpetually hampered by the extremely brief nature of the reviews, which prevents them from providing any substantial amount of commentary. Jack identifies highlights and deficiencies in the comics he reviews, as well as indicating their notable stylistic aspects, but without taking the time to elaborate on these subjects, I don't consider reading these underdeveloped reviews to be particular worthwhile. Jack also has a meek and almost reluctant tone when bringing up comics' faults, and I'd prefer to see him take a bolder approach. As a result of his overly amiable attitude, it's unclear if the comics he reviews are great based on their own merits, or if it's because Jack's uncomfortable with being negative about their work. I think this gray area compromises Jack's credibility as a reviewer.
Overall: I'm pretty disappointed in the current state of webcomic review blogs, as out of the five I listed here, Tangents Reviews and The Webcomic Overlook are the only ones I have high regards for, and The Webcomic Overlook's the only one I'd continue to visit. I'm also somewhat surprised that there's such a limited selection of webcomic reviewers, considering that the number of actual webcomics around seem to number in the thousands. The Bad Webcomics Wiki has gained some clout, but I consider it to be more of a bad joke than a legitimate effort, which is why I didn't bother making an entry for it here. Ideally, I'd like to see an increase in the number of competent reviewers, as quality reviews legitimately recognize artistic accomplishments, encourage the perception of webcomics as a serious endeavor, provide creators with useful feedback, and help instruct novice creators.