When Alan Moore first unveiled his “America’s Best Comics” line, one thing he talked about was the idea that other writers would be able to take over most of the books down the line. Generally speaking, that hasn’t been a rousing success (only Rick Veitch was really able to follow-up with any similarity over on “Greyshirt”), but Zander Cannon, Kevin Cannon, and Gene Ha seem determined to prove that it’s possible. It probably helps that Zander Cannon drew the “Smax” mini-series as well as providing layouts for “Top 10” that Ha drew, in addition to Ha tackling all of “Top 10: The Forty-Niners.” So if nothing else, they’re certainly familiar with the comic.
And if anything, “familiar” is a great way to discuss their take on this new five-issue mini-series. The Cannons have really captured the tone of Moore’s scripts for “Top 10,” but it’s more than just that. It genuinely feels like this is “Top 10” #13, here, falling into those recognizable patterns that we grew to know and love with the original series. There’s police work and a massive crime to be solved, and while it’s not something that can be unraveled instantly, our heroes are slowly discovering clues. There’s a bit of comedy, too; it’s hard not to laugh at the idea of a dealer who instead of selling drugs is marketing magical words to transform into a super-powered being. There’s even a bit of a personal mystery, as new officer Slipstream Phoenix joins the police force under the instructions of the new Commissioner, and his fellow officers begin to wonder if they’re now harboring a spy in their ranks.
What I like the most about “Top 10” under the pen of the Cannons, though, is that they don’t just nail the trappings of the comic but also its emotional core. One of the reasons why “Top 10” succeeded before (and does so again) is that Moore really got into the heads of so many different characters. They all had their own personalities, speech patterns, and quirks. Each character felt fully realized, and that’s exactly what we’re getting here as well, from Irma’s feelings of loss over her late partner Girl One, to Peregrine’s confusion and fear over her husband’s secret of dressing up as another hero. That’s half of the attraction for “Top 10” and it’s great to see that the Cannons haven’t lost that.
Ha’s art in “Top 10: Season Two” has taken a slightly different tactic than before. While Ha is credited for both pencils and inks, the majority of the pages look like Alex Sinclair colored directly off of Ha’s pencils. A lot of his fine detail seems missing, although strangely enough it’s most prominently still existing in the backgrounds. Still, Ha’s figures look beautiful; while the broad strokes of the characters might lack the fine qualities of before, they all still contain that strong sense of realism that Ha is so good at. Ha has always been an artist that really understands the human form, both in terms of how to construct a body and also how to make it move across the page. What ends up being difficult for most artists looks continually easy when Ha tackles a page.
My biggest complaint about “Top 10: Season Two” is simple and to the point: only five issues? I really wish we were getting much more than this, based on the first issue alone, but hopefully this will prove to be enough of a success that we’ll get more follow-ups from the Cannons and Ha quickly. Based on how strong this first issue is, I like to think that all the creators involved are having a good time. A tremendous success.