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Apocrypha Entertainment Presents:








 

I’M NOT GOING TO WRITE ABOUT WATCHMEN.

Neither the movie nor the comic, for that matter.

But I will talk about Alan Moore’s work for a moment.

With all the hoopla about the WATCHMEN movie hitting theatres and so many new people discovering the book, you’d think by all accounts that it must be his career-best work. However, it is not. I’d rank it second. Behind what?

TOP 10.

For those who have not read the book, TOP 10 was part of Moore’s “America’s Best Comics” line that shipped through Wildstorm from 1999 to 2001. “Top 10” was the name of a police precinct on a world where every single living being had some sort of superpower. We are introduced to the world itself and its cops through the eyes of a rookie cop, Robin “Toybox” Slinger. Her partner is a blue behemoth named Smax, and other squad mates include a sentient dog that walks upright thanks to some tech (and who wears Hawaiian shirts), a voodoo practitioner, and some other odd and assorted characters. The series ran twelve issues, focused on some individual cases in each one, with some longer arcs playing out beneath the surface, and can be found in two trade paperbacks.

What makes TOP 10 so great? It’s perhaps the most difficult of Moore’s works to find anything wrong with. The cast of characters is astonishing in its breadth of personalities and looks. The interpersonal relationships feel real and fresh, never forced. He breathes new life into the police procedural genre, which frankly had never really been done well in comics. He’s aided and abetted by two of the best artists working in the business, Gene Ha and Zander Cannon, and they turn in work so detailed, so lush, and so vibrant that I’d swear on a stack of comics that it’s a better looking book than WATCHMEN (as phenomenal as Dave Gibbons’ work is on that legendary series).

And you get invested in it. Deeply invested in it. As amazing as WATCHMEN is, its narrator is a sociopath. Dan is weak an ineffective for a good chunk of the series. But TOP 10 has emotional entry points galore, and works to make the grandeur of its milieu as relatable as the world outside your front door.

I am, of course, not saying you shouldn’t buy WATCHMEN. It really is worthy of its legend. What I am saying, though, is that you shouldn’t stop there. If you want to explore Alan Moore’s work and you want to read his best work, then seek out TOP 10. It has a joy about it, even when it reaches its grimmest moments, than none of his other works ever quite achieve. There are few times when I will ever offer an ironclad guarantee that someone will like a book. TOP 10 is one of those times.  

Marc Mason  

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