After Watchmen, nobody was really expecting Alan Moore to revisit the superhero genre but in Top 10, Moore returns to this familiar territory. Of course, as anyone familiar with his comic writing will have guessed, this isn’t a straightforward superhero yarn. Top 10 is more of a Hill Street Blues in tights and exoskeletons, where everyone in the story has some kind of superpower – the heroes, the villains and the innocent bystanders.
We’re introduced to the characters of Precinct 10 through the arrival of rookie Robyn Slinger, also known as Toybox, because her superpower involves controlling a box full of intelligent robot toys. She’s soon accepted into Top 10, as the precinct’s inhabitants like to call it, and it’s while the team are out on the beat that we get an understanding of how completely Moore and Ha have fleshed out their world.
The epic future cityscapes are awesome but it’s the fantastic characters and their dialogue that make the book. They range from an intelligent talking doberman with a bipedal exoskeleton, to a taxi driver who drives blindfolded, trusting his Zen philosophy to get him to his destination (with varying degrees of success). The collaboration between Moore and Ha has produced some extremely memorable characters, which we won’t spoil for you by detailing here. Todd Klein’s lettering skill also adds to the mix, with certain characters getting suitable typefaces or effects.
The plot is driven by both character and situation, giving the book a superb sense of balance. After heavyweight works like From Hell, it’s easy to forget Moore can be equally at home with lighter material. This is escapist fantasy as only Moore can treat us to and treat it is.