Okay, rather than describe the book itself (it’s Alan Moore; it’s a prequel to ‘Top 10’; what more do I need to say?) let me explain why it’s only getting four stars.
I have three main reasons:
(1) A lot of characters are introduced, some of whom are really rather interesting, but given the constraints on space, they get rather cursory treatment and that’s a shame. Worse still, there are three interlinking plot strands all of which are cursorily dealt with and tidied up in very little space. One, in particular, is so quick, both to arise and then be resolved, that one cannot help but wonder what it’s there for.
(2) The book is interesting in that it is quite open in its treatment of gay themes. However, the gay relationship is left underwritten, and no real explanation is given of how the hero and heroine go from being (clearly) totally wrapped up in one another, via a failed sexual encounter to not speaking to one another and then happily going their own separate ways. It could have been more interesting to explore the possibility (something much more complicated that does, after all, often happen in real life) of a gay man who is in love with a woman who doesn’t attract him sexually?
(3) It really isn’t entirely clear what Moore was trying to do here. Okay, he sets up some characters for ‘Top 10’, but the whole ‘Neopolis’ concept is very well established in that series, and it wasn’t obvious to me what this book added. Moreover, the various strands – plots against Neopolis, sexual shenanigans – don’t really glue together very well.
So there you go, it’s Moore, so it’s neat, and the jokes are good, but it’s nothing like Moore at his best.