In a second installment of the Eisner Award-winning series, the super-science police officers of Precinct 10 continue their efforts to protect the citizens of Necropolis and chase down the mysterious Libra killer, whose true identity threatens the life of a comrade. Original.
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Continuing his exploration of superhero comics, Moore speculates on what would happen if an expansion in the number of people who are able to develop their desires into super powers led to the creation of Neopolis. His world is populated by superbeings: people (and animals, space aliens, robots, etc.) who have extraordinary abilities and secret identities. Basic human nature leads to an urban society resembling today's, including the need to maintain law and order among the sometimes barely controllable superbeings. Based on that premise, overlapping, intertwined stories create a kind of skewed Hill Street Blues for the cops of Top 10, the police station in Neopolis. Sometimes their cases work out farcically, but sometimes very seriously. After all, Moore asks, if you could do almost anything, what limits would you accept? What kind of responsibility would you take for others? Most comics series are intended to be endless, so nothing changes much from issue to issue. That's not so in this case; Book One is necessary reading before picking up Book Two. The art helps this purpose. Much of today's manga-influenced comics art is designed to convey excitement, using motion at the expense of detail. The artwork here reverts to an older tradition of elaborate pen and ink text illustration (like Joseph Clement Coll's work), slowing readers down just enough to make them alert to the elegant details of the world Moore has created. Anyone interested in comics should be paying attention to Moore and this outstanding example of his recent thinking.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The comic-book series Top 10 has been described as "Hill Street Blues with superheroes." It is set in futuristic Neopolis, where every resident, from the mayor to the garbage man, has super powers. The challenge of maintaining order in such an environment falls to a constabulary that includes desk sergeant Kemlo Caesar, a talking dog in a humanoid exoskeleton; Jack Phantom, who passes through solid objects; the moody, invulnerable giant Officer Smax; and Girl One, with her impervious, bio-engineered skin. Like their normal TV counterparts, these officers deal with everything--traffic accidents to municipal corruption--that occurs within a continuing, soap-operatic storyline. Moore makes them as human as prime-time cop-show characters, only much more imaginative and exciting, and detailed, finely rendered art helps ground the fantastic goings-on. Lightweight compared to Moore's Jack the Ripper reinterpretation, From Hell (2000), or his reinvention of the superhero in Watchmen series, Top 10 finds Moore simply refreshing the superhero concept and proving--witness Sergeant Caesar--that you can teach an old dog new tricks. Gordon Flagg
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