This Character Needs a Comic: Top 10
When most people think of the legacy of Alan Moore, the first thing that pops into their craniums is Watchmen and not much else. What many don’t know is that in 1999, Moore actually founded his own comic book company called America’s Best Comics (ABC) as an imprint of the publisher Wildstorm (before its acquisition by DC Comics). Acting as an outlet for Moore to explore his complex web of unused stories and concepts, ABC published a plethora of titles; one of Moore’s greatest being Top 10: a 12-issue maxi-series that told the tale of Neopolis—a megacity inhabited by superpowered “science heroes” and the titular police force working tirelessly to keep the peace. And here’s why Top 10 needs to get back on the beat!
Who Are Top 10?
Working out of Neopolis’ Precinct 10, Top 10—as the officers are so affectionately called by the citizens they protect—are tasked with ensuring that the heroes, villains, robots, ghosts, and other bizarre inhabitants abide by the tenuous laws of a city many regard as a massive disaster just waiting to happen. There are many heroes among the ranks of Top 10 with notable members including the “techno-cowboy” Dust Devil; Smax, the big blue dragon-slayer from a fantasy dimension; Hyperdog, a super-intelligent doberman in a humanoid robot suit; and Jetman, the team veteran who keeps his gay lifestyle a secret to his peers.
Throughout the series, the officers of Precinct 10 face numerous tribulations that come with donning the badge. From a bar of ancient gods locked in a bloody murder that’s destined to occur by legend, to a drunk and obese parody of Godzilla demanding that Top 10 release his delinquent son, the Neopolis PD has their work cut out for them, with the emotional fallout and frustration of some incidents putting a strain on their vow to remain professional and conduct their operations by the books. But sometimes their toughest challenge comes in the form of helplessly watching their partner die in the name of upholding the law; a common theme throughout Top 10.
The rigors of the job aside, Top 10 always manages to win the day with each of their cumulative experiences manifesting as a new sense of resolve and a reminder that their work makes a world of difference.
Why They Deserve Their Own Series
Moore’s ingenious juxtaposition of super hero comic tropes with those of television series like NYPD Blue, COPS and Law & Order is both Top 10’s major selling point and a sterling example of his encyclopedic understanding of what defines the American comic book. These two elements come together to create an experience that is an absolute delight to read and it leaves one wondering where Moore can possibly go when these tropes collide. To wit, this gives readers what they want out of their comics: substance and variety.
This fusion of what at first glance appears to be incongruous tropes would be nothing without the characters that draw from them like the building blocks of their respective dramas. With so many characters comprising the series’ cast, there’s enough to ensure that readers remain engaged and the series will stay strong, thanks mostly to a veritable wealth of stories that would branch out or dovetail into even more exciting events. There’s that and always the possibility of a spinoff mini-series that would add even more depth to the continuity being established in the title proper.
There has been a spinoff, two sequels, and a prequel written for the Top 10 maxi-series. The graphic novel prequel, Top 10: The Forty-Niners, and the spinoff Smax were the last two stories written with Moore’s input. Top 10: Beyond the Farthest Precinct and Top 10: Season Two weren’t and, as such, not well received by critics citing that they deviated from Moore’s original tone in the preceding installments.
It really isn’t a recommended course of action in the comic book industry, unless the situation warrants such recourse, but if Top 10 were to return to the stands as an ongoing it would be in the best interest of the series to disregard the continuity of Beyond the Farthest Precinct and Season Two and start right from the ending of Smax. Now, if Moore could somehow be convinced to take the reins again everything would be just perfect!
Would you read a Top 10 ongoing comic series?