Top 10: The Annotations

Issue 3: Internal Affairs (May contain spoilers)

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For the uninitiated, these are annotations to the Alan Moore, Gene Ha and Zander Cannon comic book Top 10, published by America's Best Comics. It's an imaginative look at a city populated entirely by superheroes and the difficulties that the (equally superpowered) police have in maintaining order. Each issue is full of references to comic books and popular culture and this series of annotations hopes to capture them all.

Given the level of detail that Alan Moore, Gene Ha and Zander Cannon put into this comic, these annotations will probably be continually updated. If you spot anything I've missed, let me know! You'll get credit.

This page may not display properly in Opera, as some of the annotations come unstuck from the page titles. It work okay in IE though. If anyone knows a way around this please tell me.

The Cover

  • Nothing much to say about this one, I'm afraid.
  • Page One

    Panel One
  • This is Doctor Sally-Jo "Micro-Maid" Jessell, Top 10's forensic pathologist. She has the Atom-like power to shrink herself using her robotic suit. As we will learn next issue, she also has the power to shrink other things. She's stood in one of the arteries of Immuno-Girl, the prostitute murdered last issue.
  • "The main pump" is the heart. But what other pumps could there be?
  • Panel Three

  • The "funny consistency" is a result of the method used to sever the head; we'll find out what that was in issue four.
  • Page Two

    Panel One
  • "Internal Affairs" - the name for the section of the police force that reports on misconduct by fellow officers. Pete will be given a stern talking-to later in this issue for his own misconduct, but the title seems to apply more to Sally-Jo's gruesome job.
  • Page Three

    Panel Two
  • A "Headhunter" is these days usually used to refer to talent scouts, usually working for corporations and football clubs. Obviously Neopolis' own Headhunter is a bit more traditional in that he likes taking peoples' heads.
  • An Almanac is a book containing information about moon cycles, day lengths, etc. that used to be used by farmers to help them plan their year. Again, Neopolis' version is a bit more sinister.
  • Panel Three

  • If Jackie's only reservation about Sally-Jo is that she's got a creepy job, can we assume that Sally-Jo's a lesbian (or bisexual) too?
  • Note how Peregrine glosses over Jackie's sexuality. This is probably because she's uncomfortable with it, being a born again Christian.
  • Panel Four

  • The guy to the left is wearing the M-Vest worn by Rac Shade in Steve Ditko's original version of Shade the Changing Man.
  • Page Four

    Panel One
  • I love Monsoon's reaction to all of this.
  • Page Five

    Panel Two
  • We'll find out more about The Rumor in issue five. He makes an appearance in issue 10 and plays an important role in the spin-off Beyond the Farthest Precinct.
  • Page Six

    Panel One
  • Odd panel layout - what appears to be the white gutter on the left-hand side is actually a door (note Corbeau's hand at the bottom).
  • Panel Two

  • Corbeau is, as mentioned previously, a member of the Yezidi faith of devil-worshippers. The "sanjak" is a copper peacock, a symbol of the prideful devil. Presumably the ceremony involves worshipping the idol somehow. It sounds a little bit like the devil-worshipping equivalent of a Barmitzvah. We'll see Corbeau's wife and kids in issue eight.
  • Page Seven

    Panel Seven
  • We've already met Larry "Frenzy" Fichmann in issue one. Goebbels and Metavac appear in the Top 10 short story "Deadfellas" from the "America's Best Comics Special". Goebbels has the power to hypnotise and is named after Hitler's propagandist Joseph Goebbels.
  • Page Eight

    Panel One
  • The Vigilante car is a spin on the Batmobile. Fjord would be a variation on Ford. There was a video game based around driving called Vigilante 8, but I doubt Moore's played it.
  • "The Junior League of America Pre..." Presents? President? No idea, but the Junior League of America is a baseball league. The Justice League of America is DC Comics' biggest superhero team.
  • The store sells power rings - the same items that give The Green Lanterns their powers.
  • Graffiti, centre (Orange): "Foxbat", either a reference to the plane or else a bat with the powers of a fox. Or is it? Jet-Poop has come up with a more convincing explanation. He writes: "'Foxbat' is a character in the Champions pen-and-paper RPG. He's a bit of a joke -- part Batman, part superdork..."
  • Page Nine

    Panel Four
  • Spaceman is referring to Nikita Khrushchev, who became one of the most powerful leaders of the Soviet Union after the Second World War. He once said "Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you!" to a group of Western ambassadors. The old charmer. Thanks to Jet-Poop for the correction.
  • Panel Nine

  • And so his secret origin is revealed! Sort of! Presumably it has something to do with cosmic rays in space; obviously Tanya and Alexei were changed by the same thing.
  • It looks a little bit like Tanya's finger is "inside" the picture frame, but I assume that's just an inking error.
  • Page Ten

    Panel Five
  • Graffiti, car front right wheel guard (Red): "Secret Salami"; Jet-Poop suggest that this is a combination of The Secret Society of Supervillains and another claim that the cops are "pigs".
  • Graffiti, car front left wheel guard (Red): "Cock Headed Peter"; this one's pretty funny. For reasons of decency, we don't see the front half of the writing until the next page.
  • Page Eleven

    Panel One
  • "Fortress of Pizza" - a reference to Superman's Fortress of Solitude.
  • Rollex is a knock-off version of Rolex, a famous watch manufacturer; it's the kind of name you'd find on bootleg watches. Superman gave his pal Jimmy Olsen a signal watch that would allow the him to request help when he got kidnapped by aliens or turned into a monkey (again).
  • In superhero terms sidekicks are characters that team up with more established and repsected heroes, usually because they are younger or less powerful than their mentors. They often have equivalent powers, such as Supergirl/Superman or Aqualad/Aquaman. The most famous sidekick of all is, of course, Robin. The band Sidekix is composed of such people, although the only one of these who appears to be based on a genuine character is Bluejay, whose appearance is copied wholesale from Robin himself (the guy with the crossbow looks a little like Hawkeye, a fully grown hero from Marvel). Bluejay becomes an important character later in the series. A version of this poster with slightly different colours will appear in issue five.
  • "Multi-Medea" - a pun on multimedia and the witch from Greek Mythology.
  • Graffiti, car (Red): "Same Spam Time Same Spam Channel"; almost every episode of the 1960s Batman series would end "Find out next week - same bat-time, same bat-channel!" Spam is short for "spiced ham" and is probably another pig = cop reference.
  • The crossing light has "Stop/Fly" instead of "Stop/Walk".
  • Who's the guy smoking in the poster above? He seems familiar.
  • Panel Two

  • The wingtips poster is a reference to the hairstyle of much-loved X-Man Wolverine.
  • Panel Three

  • "Bozemoi" is a Russian exclamation meaning "oh my god".
  • Page Twelve

    Panel Seven
  • Borzois are Russian dogs who take their name from the word "Borzii", or "swift". They were favourites of Queen Victoria.
  • Page Fourteen

    Panel Seven
  • From left to right: What's that thing lying on the table next to Duane's arm?
  • The hammer looks like Mjollnir, the hammer owned by Thor, both in Norse mythology and in the comic of the same name.
  • The helmet belongs to the endearingly goofy 'Mazing Man.
  • The lantern is identical in shape (if not colour) to the one used by the Green Lantern to charge his magic ring.
  • That looks like the head of Mr Freeze.
  • The arrow and quiver could belong to DC's Green Arrow, Marvel's Hawkeye or any of the other archer characters in comic books.
  • In the bottom left is a Batarang, one of Batman's stupidly named boomerangs.
  • Just above it is a winged sandal. The Golden Age Flash had a helmet with wings. Perhaps it's a reference to him? More likely it's a reference to the original speedster Hermes of Greek mythology, who had winged sandals and hat, and was the source of inspiration for the Flash's costume.
  • Panel Two

  • Saurians probably take their name from "dinosaur"; the saur bit meaning "lizard".
  • Gojira is the original title of the Godzilla movies. One of the early sequels to Gojira was Gojira vs the Smog Monster, in which the lizard ended up protecting humanity instead of trying to destroy it.
  • The guy in the hat near Robyn is Rorschach from Moore's comic book classic Watchmen. In that series, Rorschach spends some time behind bars. The guy to his left is an altered version of Niteowl, another character (or characters - there were two) from Watchmen.
  • Page Fifteen

    Panel Two
  • The "End of story" thing is heavy handed foreshadowing for what actually happens at the end of this issue.
  • The guy with the eyeball has a costume and hairstyle similar to OMAC, the One Man Army Corps. The eyeball itself is probably a reference to Brother Eye, the satellite that gives OMAC his powers.
  • Page Nineteen

    Panel Two
  • My Blue Heaven is the name of a 1920s song about marital bliss. It's also the title of a movie about a guy who gets moved into witness relocation. Bearing in mind Peregrine's comment on page 17 that Jerusalem Heights is "a classy address for an insurance salesman," I have to wonder if Moore's original plan was to reveal that Soames was in witness protection. Moore gave one of his Swamp Thing issues the title "My Blue Heaven".
  • Page Twenty-one

    Panel Three
  • Linda "Janus" Burnett is Top 10's dispatcher, able to work long hours as her faces work different shifts. We'll learn in issue 9 that she's from Precinct One, a dimension where the Roman Empire never fell. She takes her name from the Roman god Janus, who similarly had two faces. The Roman Janus, however, was male.
  • Page Twenty-four

    Panel Three
  • Granny Goodewrench is inspired by DC's Granny Goodness.
  • All-Star Beer makes another appearance.

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    Sources: - The American Bolsheviks II - Borzoi Dogs