Graphic Novel/Comics Review


Top 10: Beyond the Farthest Precinct

(2006) Paul Di Filippo and Jerry Ordway, Titan Books, 9.99, trdpbk, 128pp, ISBN 1-845-76298-3

 

This title was originally created by Alan Moore and Gene Ha, with additional art by Zander Cannon, and so far there has been two trade paperback collections, a spin-off for the character Smax, and a further trade paperback, Top 10: The Forty-Niners, all penned by Moore. And Alan is, by any reckoning, a tough act to follow. So, it's my pleasure to let you know that Paul Di Filippo has done a wonderful job, and Jerry Ordway's art is superb (but, then, he always was). This was originally published as a five-issue series. For those late in at the back, Top 10 is about the police force of the city of Neopolis in a continuum where practically everybody has superpowers, or might even be a god! Naturally enough you could make comparisons to Hill Street Blues (or NYPD Blue for more modern readers) and not without some justification - which is to say it is more akin to an American cop show than it is to a British one, like The Bill. Anyway, during the precinct's annual picnic it is discovered that Neopolis' robot residents have started taking a new drug, Darkshots, which opens to their perceptions the substrate of the multi-verse. At the same time all Neopolis residents have started seeing a screaming, skull-faced spectre in the sky which is terrifying to everyone. As if our hardworking cops didn't have enough on their plate Jetman, aka Captain Traynor, their precinct commander has been unceremoniously replaced by the Mayor with Major Sean Cindercott, a furnace-driven cyborg and veteran of the Burma Freedom Campaign. And there's a new nuisance group on the rampage, the Derridadaists, a not-too-obvious homage to Harlan Ellison's hero from "Repent Harlequin, said the Tick-Tock Man". Girl Number One has, after several attempts, been resurrected as Girl Fifty-Four and Smax and his sister/lover need to find a new apartment...

Even though I like Paul Di Filippo I approached this with some trepidation - not many people can jump into Alan Moore's shoes and make them fit, but I was charmed from the opening pages to the end of the book. Perhaps unfairly I was less worried about Jerry Ordway, but he is, like Curt Swan and others, a comic book artist's artist and his long and distinguished track record speaks for itself. Needless to say, he wouldn't, and didn't, let the side down. So Top 10 fans, have no fear. This is a fine addition to their tales and highly recommended.

Tony Chester


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