Top 10: Book 2

Top 10: Book 2The sequel to Top 10 proves that Alan Moore can bring the heavyweight intellect of Watchmen and From Hell to much lighter material with equally refreshing results.

Top 10 has often been described as Hill Street Blues with superheroes. The basic drill is to imagine an Earth populated entirely by men and women in tights. From alien slug prostitutes to robot teenage gangs, these ordinary people – portrayed humanely by Moore – have extraordinary abilities and are going to need a very special brand of policing to keep them in check. Enter the policemen, women and talking dogs of Precinct Ten: a bunch of unlikely superhero cops, given jurisdiction by a police force spanning a series of alternate Earths, and headquartered in Grand Central.

Top 10: Book 2Against this colourful backdrop the cops of Precinct 10 must take sole responsibility for a city full of idiots with the power to extinguish suns. Toy Box, Sergeant Kemlo and the others re-affirm their bonds with each other through soul-searching, gallows humour and the allocation of speeding tickets, but it’s soon clear that they have to face their greatest threat yet – an attack from inside the heart of precinct headquarters.

Like Hill Street Blues, Top 10 mixes sassy lightweight humour with serious issues in a soap opera storyline. Super-artists Gene Ha and Zander Cannon handle battles, poignant moments of human frailty and slapstick comedy as deftly as if they each had a third hand. Nor do they have any problems keeping up with Moore in the portrayal of the richly layered futuristic cityscapes (for which the original Top 10 has become well-known), stunning costumes or grumpy alternate-earth New Yorkers.

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