cover image TOP 10: Book Two

TOP 10: Book Two

Alan Moore, . . DC Comics/America's Best Comics, $14.95 (144pp) ISBN 978-1-56389-966-9

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. (July)