I have just updated all the reviews for the last year to include a self-consistent set of 14 review portals, community sites, and bloggers who usually review the main JLA title or Generation Lost. This allows us to track the average ratings for each series over the year and to find the best and worst issues. The results are in.
Best/Worst Reviewed Titles of 2010
Best single issue: Generation Lost #8
This is very close. There are three issues of Generation Lost with almost identical scores. Generation Lost #5 and Generation Lost #14 score 83%, but it’s Generation Lost #8 that peaked highest at 84%. The interesting thing about this is that it’s not a particularly significant issue – it’s the end of the Checkmate break-in – but, it’s one that everybody uniformly agreed was quite good.
Worst single issue: Cry For Justice #7
There is no contest to this one. It may seem that Cry For Justice was over a year ago, but it wasn’t until March 2010 that the final issue appeared. Cry For Justice #7 featured the murder of Roy Harper’s daughter and Green Arrow’s murder of Prometheus. It was the end to a series that promised greatness and delivered cliché after cliché.
Best Justice League series of 2010: Generation Lost
For all its faults Cry For Justice‘s individual issues (baring #7) weren’t rated too differently than the Robinson/Bagley run on Justice League of America. For most of 2010 the main Justice League title was getting average reviews of 60% or so (three-stars), but it was pipped by Generation Lost which routinely pulled in average reviews that were 10-20% (half to one star) higher.
All of the above is based on the average rating for each issue of each title. You can find them under the review for each issue, but together they look something like this.
The main Justice League title may not be mentioned much in the above best/worst, but in terms of average reviews its been quite stable (after a few wobbles). Focus on the blue line above. The first three dots are JLA #35-37 which were the fill-in between Dwayne McDuffie and James Robinson. (I’ve included data back to the start of Cry For Justice for comparison).
JLA #38, Robinson’s first issue, is actually the lowest rated of his run so far. We had the fan-fare of a new creative team coming on, but they were really just treading water until after Blackest Night had finished. I think that low score has a lot to do with disappointment at what their first issue could have been. The following peak and dip are the two Blackest Night issues. It’s not until JLA #41 – the peak around January – that it appears to really get going, but that momentum is rapidly lost to another slump as the newly assembled JLA team (Mon-El, Guardian, et al) evaporates.
Once we’re past all of that we’re into the “The Dark Things” crossover with its two lead-in issues and post-script. Over that span there is a gentle downward drop in average ratings, but compared to the noise that preceded it it’s quite gentle. The pattern appears to be that the reviews peak with the first issue of a Robinson/Bagley JLA arc – the same even happens with Cry For Justice. Also note that those first issue peaks are getting higher – the title is getting better with each successive arc. It’ll be interesting to see is this holds up through 2011.