“Top 10” and the Bottom Rung


One of the most depressing things I read this past week was on Rich Johnston’s “Lying in the Gutters” column about the recent “Top 10” series:

Were you one of the people buying the “Top Ten Season Two” mini-series who, like me, were surprised that it seemed to just stop rather than finish? A commentary on the randomness of life? That stories rarely end smoothly? That loose plots are endemic of our own life so why not reflect them in fiction?


The series was originally planned and written as an eight issue series with two one shots on top, all written by Zander Cannon, one of the artists from the original “Top Ten” series, with Kevin Cannon. The other artist, Gene Ha, was only available for four issues. Wildstorm seem to have decided that it was only Ha’s name that appealed to the consumer, so they only published his four issues, and the one shot drawn by Da Xiong that accompanied them. Without telling anyone that they would only be getting half a story.

But what a story it was. The first half was the equal of Moore’s run on the title and was certainly the most critically well received of the non-Moore ABC titles.

As someone who was a huge fan of “Top 10” — both Alan Moore’s original series and the new Cannon/Ha series —  this is pretty frustrating news. Bad enough that we got just half the story, with no resolution — but with no explanation about it? With no notification that they were cutting the series from eight issues to just four? I don’t know whether to blame Wildstorm’s origins as one of the first Image studios, with all the “No one cares about the writer, just the artist” idiocy that entailed, or to blame DC’s seeming obsession with cancelling any comic that doesn’t suck. Whoever’s at fault, this is certainly something that can be hit with a big, red “FAIL” stamp.

“Top 10” was always set up much like a police procedural show on TV — a cop show with superpowers — and one of the pleasures of a good cop show, in addition to seeing crimes solved and crooks arrested, is seeing how the characters develop and how their storylines evolve over the course of the season. This latest series of “Top 10” had a ton of great storylines in progress, from Pete Cheney’s ongoing meltdown and Duane Bodine’s misguided attempts to cover for him, to the new Sung Li’s attempts to develop into her own person, to Irma Wornow’s suspension from the force — not to mention the overarching story about the new commissioner’s attempt to force the precinct into his own limited worldview. To throw all that into the dumpster just because someone else does the artwork is pretty spectacularly awful.

More on the subject from Zander Cannon himself.

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