Top 10: Beyond the Farthest Precinct #1 - Wildstorm/DC (2005)

Oh, my god!  We're on the cover of a comic book!

Paul Di Filippo and Jerry Ordway team up to bring Neopolis's finest back into print. I don't normally give number-type ratings but the best way for me to express my opinion of this first issue is to give it an 8 out of 10. "10" in this case would mean that it had the feel and quality-level of the original Top 10 series by Alan Moore and Gene Ha.

I was completely swept away by this comic. The original miniseries is by far my favorite of the America's Best titles and this one (unlike the Smax miniseries) fits perfectly in the Top Ten universe.

For those of you not familiar with the first series: Top 10 takes place in Neopolis, a city which consists entirely of superheroes. Everyone from the homeless guy outside your building to the Mayor has superpowers. The main characters of the comic are members of the city's police force. Hilarity (and every now and then gripping drama) ensues.

Ordway (the artist) nails Gene Ha's original character designs and gives them a more traditional comic-book ink job. Every page is full of little visual nods to other comics much like the first series. It's the kind of art that requires multiple viewings to see all the stuff but it doesn't distract the reader from the story at hand.

Di Filippo (the writer) has come up with a compelling story and he drops us in head first within the first few pages. There's just enough time for us to see what the cops have been up to the past five years before WHAMO! the plot lands on them like a ton of bricks. Not that a ton of bricks would hurt most of these officers.

The only complaint I have about this issue is the dialogue. For the most part it flows well but there are some moments where Di Filippo sacrifices conversational rhythm in order to make a funny reference. Phrases such as, "Scyphoza the monster Coelenterate" don't really roll off the tongue. A few of the other references are either too blatant (Namor, a "Hero or Menace" flyer with Spider-Man's face on it) or too obscure (Neptune Perkins) but there are so many of them that a couple of speedbumps can be excused. Here's a page with annotations for some of the references.

My favorite thing about comics is that sense of "I can't wait to see the next issue" I get from the really good ones. I've got that in spades with this.


Jere said...

I'm a huge fan of di Filipo's fiction and I was excited to hear he was doing comic books. I'm tempted to break my no pamplet rule to pick this up.

Vaklam said...

It's worth a look as a single issue though I'm sure there will be a trade.