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Comicbook: Top 10

A Police Procedural Comic Book with a twist, written by Alan Moore, drawn by Zander Cannon and Gene Ha, and published by Americas Best Comics. Top 10 follows the lives of the officers of precinct 10, Top Ten, as they patrol the streets of Neopolis. The twist is that every single man, woman, and child in Neopolis is a costumed "Science Hero" complete with Code Name. Despite the fantastic setting, the Police Procedural premise is played completely straight. Transportation accidents, a Serial Killer targeting prostitutes, and a pervert groping woman are all things they deal with. The twist is that instead of car accidents there are teleportation accidents, the Serial Killer is a grotesque space alien shapeshifting ex-porn star and the prostitutes include Immune Girl whose power is that she can't get AIDS or S.T.O.R.M.S. (a mutagenic form of VD), while the pervert groping women is a shapeshifter who just shifts into the form of a chair.

There was a twelve issue series published in 1999-2000, plus a Spin-Off involving the character Smax published in 2003, and a prequel published in 2005, all written by Alan Moore. Also in 2005, another five-issue series set five years later was published - written by Paul Di Filippo and drawn by Jerry Ordway- which pretty much nobody liked, as well as "Season Two," another five-issue series written by Zander Cannon with Gene Ha returning on art in 2008, which most people did. While 2005's Beyond the Furthest Precinct was an Anvilicious Take That towards the Bush administration, Season Two was much more faithful to the original series and avoided the pitfalls of Beyond... by completely ignoring it.

Not to be confused with Top Ten List.

This series provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The Libra Killer had atom-slicing monomolecular strands coming out of her body.
  • The Ace: Joe Pi seems to have the perfect answer for everything, which causes a lot of friction with his fellow officers. After all, he's programmed that way...
  • Affectionate Parody of both Superheroes and Police Procedurals.
  • All Myths Are True
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: By the bushel.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: In the case of Gograh, more like the five hundred foot whatever. And falling-down drunk to boot. He doesn't drink beer from cans, he drinks it from beer-filled truck tankers.
    • One of King Peacock's foes in the arena is a giant, living statue/temple support beam, complete with part of a column stuck to her head.
  • Badass Longcoat: Smax again.
  • Bad Ass: Officer Smax.
    • Wolfspider. The S.W.A.T. team's only member.
  • Bad Santa: A powerful, delusional telekinetic dressed up as Santa Claus, stole some reindeer from a zoo, and fought off officers Smax, Slinger, Wornow, and Li until being finally subdued by Lovelace.
  • Bathroom Stall Graffiti: In the storyline involving a murder at the Godz bar, the murder suspect hides in the restroom, where there's an entire wall covered in thematically-appropriate graffiti.
  • Blind Driving: The blindfolded taxi driver that steers by fate. He and his passengers always arrive where they need to be, but other people in the way...not so much.
  • Brother-Sister Incest / Twincest: The core of Smax's embarrassment about his home dimension. Not that it stops him from participating in it (and lying about it to his co-workers)...
    • An incestuous relationship was also forced on the superhuman twins Sturm and Drang by Nazi scientists - Drang doesn't like it but knows her brother is too slow to understand, so she's been seeing Herr Panzer on the side.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Glushko's alcoholism is overlooked due to the "special talents" he brings to the table.
  • Captain Ersatz and Expy: Listing the sheer number of these in Top 10 might cause the wiki to crash... Funnily enough, none of the main characters are obvious Ersatzen besides Jetman, who is based on WWII boy aviators Airboy and Hop Harrigan.
    • The Libra killer's name and M.O. are based on the Scorpio killer from Dirty Harry, in turn based on the Real Life Zodiac. Professor Gunter Gromolko is based on Dr. Thaddeus Sivana from Shazam, down to a unique Evil Laugh.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Not limited to any one celebrity. Because superheroes are real in this world, superhero comics never took off. Look carefully and you can see billboards advertising "Businessman (You'll Believe a Man Can't Fly!)"
  • Chilly Reception: Joe Pi initially gets a cold response from some of the other cops, mostly because he's taking the place of a popular colleague who was killed in the line of duty. He quickly proves himself both on the streets and with his new partner's family.
  • Church Militant: The Maid, who is essentially a modern, superpowered Joan of Arc.
  • Cloning Blues: Girl One's "sisters."
  • Code Names: Absolutely everyone. Their drivers' licences even have a space for one's A.E. (alter ego). Consequently, nobody really has a Secret Identity.
  • Compelling Voice: Lovelace.
  • Contrived Clumsiness: Joe Pi does this occasionally.
    Joe Pi: With typical machine clumsiness, I seem to have disabled my inbuilt audio taping system. This mean that if, for instance, a fellow officer should suggest something illegal, I won't have a record of it.
  • Crisis Crossover: Parodied in a sideplot in which a character has an Ultra-Mouse infestation in his mother's apartment, so the Ex-Verminator releases Atom Cats to deal with them, but with so many super powered creatures in such a confined space, it turned into a "Whole Secret Crisis-War Crossover Thing" which eventually rewrote the time line so the Ultra-Mouse infestation never happened. The Ex-Verminator remembers it, and gets very upset about not getting paid for the job. This apparently happens to him a lot.
  • Crying Wolf: Shock-headed Pete takes pity on prostitute Immune Girl, and that same night she's murdered. A disgusted Phantom Jack assumes on his past behavior that Pete was just out for a freebie.
  • Culture Justifies Anything: The first defense that M'Rrgla Qualz' lawyer tries amounts basically to this.
  • Different World, Different Movies: The existence of superheroes led to superhero comics not being popular, so most of the comics known from our world don't exist. Instead Slice of Life comics are very popular.
  • Disability Superpower: Bob "Blindshot" Booker doesn't drive his cab, "the universe does." His "zen senses" let him take you where you need to be. Subverted slightly; He does cause his share of traffic accidents, but everything he does seems to ultimately help people. Also Synaesthesia's altered senses give her intuition bordering on the psychic at times— although interpreting said intuition can be a challenge.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Peregrine catches her husband experimenting with "crossover dressing", or dressing up as a different science hero than yourself...
  • Don't Answer That: The series includes an anthromorphized shark lawyer who uses this trope as his entire strategy, essentially.
  • Easter Egg: Tons of superhero-related graffiti in the backgrounds.
  • Everyone Is a Super: Kind of the point...
  • Expy: A number of the characters are Expies of the original regular characters in Hill Street Blues:
    • Captain Traynor is Captain Furillo
    • Sgt. Kemlo Caesar is Sgt. Esterhaus
    • King Peacock is Neal Washington
    • Duane Bodine is Mick Belker
    • Bill Bailey is Howard Hunter
    • Irma Geddon and Girl One are Andy Renko and Bobby Hill
    • Ernesto Gograh is Jesus Martinez
  • Fanservice: Pretty much the only reason for Girl One's costume (or lack thereof). Justified in that that's just what her creators, a couple of horny Fanboys with too much time and money on their hands, designed her for. Probably including the compulsive nudism.
    • Jackie too. * Drool*
    • Given that Girl Fifty-Four shares the same compulsive nudism...
  • Fantastic Racism: Mainly against robots (who prefer to be called Ferro-Americans, and don't like being called "clickers"). Precognitives have very stringent restrictions on where they can work, so Ron spends most of his appearances job-hunting. There doesn't seem to be a very high public opinion of vampires, either.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampires: Averted; Vamps are the equivalent of The Mafia, complete with the traditional Old Country accent.
  • Fun T-Shirt: Sgt Caesar's dress sense goes in for dog-inflected versions of fashionable or humorous t-shirts, such as the one with the slogan What part of "ARF" don't you understand?.
  • Genre Shift: The main series is a humorous but still pretty straightforward hybrid of a Police Procedural and a superhero comic. The Smax miniseries that follows it, however, is pretty much a parody of generic fantasy literature.
  • Godiva Hair: Jennifer from Beyond the Farthest Precinct. Goes well with the 6' tall mermaid look.
  • Happily Married: Irma Geddon and her psychic husband Ron. Peregrine and her hubby, too. Also Captain Jetman and Wulf.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: With very grim realism in the story of Jeff's conception
  • Hypocritical Humor: Shock-Headed Peter is strongly bigoted against robots and is eventually kicked off the force for an unsolicited assault on Joe Pi; he starts dating the android Girl Two shortly thereafter.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl / Shameless Fanservice Girl: Subverted with Girl One, who is naked at all times with the excuse that her shifting skin pigments mean she doesn't technically have to wear clothes — but she subverts the trope by being quite aware of the nudity taboo, but engineered by her creators to have an aversion to wearing clothing. When she finds out Hyperdog doesn't see color and can see through her "clothes", she decks him for not warning her.
    • He then says he didn't mention it because as a dog he's not attracted to her. Mind you he later marries a human prostitute.
      • In a later panel in the same book he's seen talking to a male colleague where he admits he lied to Girl One, at least about dating a dog.
    • Jennifer from Beyond also counts, as (quite literal) green skinned mermaid, she wears nothing more than Godiva Hair (and, technically, a fishbowl installed on a segway).
    • Later versions of the Girl series have the same genetically enforced nudity compulsion, but better or worse luck hiding it, gaining acceptance, etc. Girl 54 is readily accepted back in the force and retains the same quirks; Girl Two's nudity was quickly picked up on by the public at large — she was harassed by criminals until she quit the force; an unnamed Girl was running around with the villains during one arc, her skin solid black except for a star pattern — hiding nothing.
  • Living Statue: Detective Corbeau fights one in a gladitorial match.
  • In the Future, We Still Have Roombas: Which Robyn uses to fight crime.
  • Jeanne d'Archétype: The Maid.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: M'rgalla Qualtz' telepathic seduction.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Smax is a gruff and caustic asshole at first. But later, he gives Robyn a ride home, starts caring for her dad, and even visits her in the hospital after she's injured by Ultima.
  • Kiss of the Vampire / I Love the Dead: Vampire prostitution. Even the prostitutes themselves are creeped out by the guys who just want them to lay there...
  • Law of Conservation of Normality: Even for a city full of superbeings, life's still got the same old problems.
  • Lover and Beloved: Steve Traynor's and Wulf's relationship began this way, since Traynor was Wulf's sidekick. By the time of Top 10, they've been a Happily Married (in a sense) couple for about 30 years.
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: One storyline involves a Nazi mad scientist creating a time machine to change the outcome of World War II.
  • May-December Romance: Jetman and Wulf.
  • Mister Big: The Vampire mafia is led by Grigori "Little Greg" Irinescu, who has to stand on his desk so people can kiss his ring without getting on all fours.
  • Modern Mayincatec Empire: The crowd at the Transworld Transport Terminus in issue 8 includes a group in Mayincatec outfits - representatives of the same transdimensional invaders seen in an early issue of Tom Strong.
  • Most Common Super Power: Both used and averted; some science-heroines fit the trope, yet (in keeping with the "average Joes with capes" theme of the series) most just look like ordinary women in bright colors and masks.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Girl One. Literally so, as her creators created her with fanservice tropes in mind, and programmed some of them into her genetics. However, she dislikes being viewed this way.
  • The Multiverse
  • Mundane Fantastic
  • My Horse Is a Motorbike: In The Forty-Niners, the Black Rider is a Zorro-inspired hero who "cuts a dashing figure" atop his motorcycle Midnight.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: When not in costume, Peregrine's appearance is based on 90s fitness guru Susan Powter. Lampshaded; at one point she's seen on a stakeout wearing a "Powterpuff Girls t-shirt.
  • Oh, Crap: Plenty.
  • One-Man Army: The Power-Armored Bill "Wolfspider" Bailey is the SWAT team. The entire SWAT team.
  • Outside Inside Slur: A robot derides Joe Pi as being too human by calling him "Spambo" (metal on the outside, meat on the inside).
  • Painted-On Pants: Parodied and Lampshaded with Girl One. She's given several full body profile shots (including one in chapter one where her nipples are clearly visible) and several lingering shots of her backside with the impression suggested that this trope is in play. Then, after it was too late to change it, the comic's authors reveal that she's actually naked with a form of natural, mobile, Body Paint built in.
  • Painting the Medium: In a sequence involving a hole through time, the view through the hole is always of something happening earlier or later in the same book, in the position on the page corresponding to the position of the hole.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Private Iron is on the unfortunate end of this treatment when he's brought into Top Ten as a suspect; the bigoted officer questioning him says that when his neighbor's new-fangled television set doesn't work she hits it and attempts to see if the same principle can be applied to robots.
  • Physical God: They even have their own bar. Peregrine in particular gets rather upset when she finds her Lord and Savior there after he's had a few.
  • Pineal Weirdness: The alien who eats brains for their pineal secretions.
  • Politically Correct History: Oh so very averted in "The Forty-Niners."
  • Psycho Serum: The recreational drugs of Neopolis are all some kind of Psycho Serum:
    • Amazo Pills grant various temporary superpowers.
    • Darkshots are a drug for robots which allows them to become "one with the multiverse".
    • Goose Juice (mongoose blood) grants temporary Superspeed. The name is a Shout-Out to the Whizzer, a Golden Age speedster with a decidedly silly origin story.
    • Hyperdrene causes hallucinations of imps and pixies so vivid they can be seen by others and can survive for awhile even after the user is dead.
  • Punny Name: There is an anthropomorphic shark lawyer called Fischmann. Many of the alter egos are this too, since they are super heroes and villains. Sometimes crosses with Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Reluctant Fanservice Girl: Girl One. It's revealed in chapter 2 that she's actually been naked the whole time, which she hides with her color-shifting skin. She even defends this (in private, to her female partner) by saying she's more comfortable in the nude rather than wearing clothes. Then it's revealed that her compulsive nudity was an engineered compulsion her creators forced on her, leaving her stuck using her skin trick to hide this fact, and when she realizes her male boss was color blind, she freaked out, revealing she was not really ok with people knowing about it.
  • Robot Hair: Sung "Girl One" Li. She can control its color and project patterns on her hair (and on her body).
  • Rocket Ride: Sky Witch
  • Scenery Porn: Gene Ha's work is astonishingly lush and detailed.
  • Shapeshifting Squick: M'rgalla Qualtz/Vigilante from Venus, a seeming Green-Skinned Space Babe porn star and former prostitute whose true form would give an Eldritch Abomination nightmares.
    • Worth pointing out that Shockheaded Peter recognises Qualtz' tentacle monster form from a porn movie.
      • Also worth noting that she can make people (males at least) see what she wants, so she may not actually be a shapeshifter and Shockheaded Peter may be seeing the Green-Skinned Space Babe form.
  • Shout-Out: Far too many to mention here. Top Ten has shout outs, cameo appearances, and other references to comics classic and modern, television, and many other media at a seeming minimum rate of one per panel, often far far more. There's even cameo appearances of word balloons from The Sandman and Preacher. The most intricate, and certainly funniest, is the Crisis Crossover featuring cat and mouse versions of many Marvel and DC characters re-enacting the first appearance of Galactapuss in Fantastic Four #50.
    • Bill "Wolfspider" Bailey is either named for the comedian or the cabaret tune.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Dispatcher Janus has two faces who see each other as sisters and argue constantly.
  • Space Romans: Precinct One, where The Roman Empire never ended.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Yezidi traditionalist King Peacock has his wife walk three steps behind him. Neither he nor she see anything wrong with it.
  • Strawman Political: In Top Ten: Beyond the Farthest Precinct, Mayor Famaile and Commander Cindercott are unsubtle embodiments of the most Anvilicious aspects of the Bush Administration and its cronies.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: In The Forty-Niners. Well, what do you expect when you rewind the setting back to the 1940s?
  • Survivor Guilt: Smax left his home, and went as far away as Precinct 10, because he couldn't save a little girl from a dragon. Her handprint was permanently burned onto his chest, which didn't exactly help matters.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: After her death Girl One is replaced by Girl Fifty-Four, who is identical. She even gets called Girl One on occasion, and takes it in stride.
  • Symbol Swearing: This is one of the few times where this trope works better than actually cursing. The otherwise calm and peaceful Jetman telling Smax to "Break her %$#@ing neck, son" after Ultima kills Girl One.
  • Virgin Power: Briefly mentioned in The Forty-Niners as something female superheroes and Atlantean women lie about to brush off guys' attention.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Smax rarely wears a shirt over his ludicrously broad, muscular chest. Justified in that he shoots force beams from his chest.
  • Welcome Episode: The story starts with Robyn "Toybox" Slinger's first day at the 10th Precinct.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Private Iron, a robot G.I. who shares a train box with a young Jetlad in The Forty-Niners, can apparently only say the same few sentences over and over.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Super?: Dealt with in the prequel book "The Forty-Niners", having won World War II, the government relocates all supers to Neopolis. Top Ten officers seem non-plussed by this trope, none of the super powered cops nor their non-powered colleagues feel that they're at all incapable of dealing with their duty (though Duane does relish the chance to get a rocket powered flying saddle.)
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: In the Precinct One world, black people are called Nubians, or "Nubies", and are second-class citizens, as King Peacock finds out. After Commisioner Ultima gets him thrown into a series of Gladiator battles, he is often introduced with this description.
    • Hilariously, the description used to introduce his robotic opponent is "a credit to his manufacturers".
  • Your Vampires Suck

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Gotham CentralPolice ProceduralDick Tracy

alternative title(s): Top Ten
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