Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Top 10: Beyond the Farthest Precinct

Paul Di Filippo & Jerry Ordway
Top 10: Beyond the Farthest Precinct (2005)
Alan Moore has proven himself a tough act to follow, generally speaking, which is probably why publishers haven't usually bothered. Jamie Delano turned out some decent D.R. & Quinch strips, and both the Rick Veitch and Mark Millar versions of Swamp Thing had their moments; and of course Neil Gaiman turned in some decent issues of Miracleman - which I say as someone who isn't ordinarily a massive fan of the guy; but otherwise it seems to be either characters left well alone for one reason or another, or Before Watchmen which I haven't read but suspect I can probably live without.

Beyond the Farthest Precinct probably serves to illustrate why that which has been bequeathed to us by the bearded one is probably best left well alone, Top 10 being the kitchen sink superhero title he began with Wildstorm. Paul Di Filippo is actually a pretty decent writer, albeit one not traditionally associated with comic books, and whilst he does what would under other circumstances be a great job were this an issue of, for example, X-Factor, it can't help but look hamfisted in comparison to that which has gone before. It pulls a few distinctly Mooresque rabbits from hats with more skill than might be expected, but somehow it feels like an exercise, Stairway to Heaven meticulously plucked by someone who would rather be cranking out More Than a Feeling. Jerry Ordway's artwork is similarly competent and busy but just not quite right, resulting in something that loosely resembles Top 10 as we knew it but feels like a late eighties issue of New Teen Titans. Even the Mooresque cameos from Tintin, Captain Haddock and Buddy Bradley seem clumsy and laboured. It's a shame because there's actually a decent story in here, albeit one sorely in need of a Vicks Sinex the size of Big Ben, and it comes so close to almost getting away with it.

Nice try but no cigar.

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