Review – Sheriff of Babylon
Sheriff of Babylon
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mitch Gerads
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
I read comics to escape the realism of the world and the myriad of problems in it. A story in space, or in a made-up metropolitan with characters of amazing ability is far more interesting to me than much of what goes in in real life. So normally, I’d totally pass on something like Sheriff Of Babylon.
Sheriff Of Babylon is a book, set in 2003 Baghdad, about a man named Chris Henry, who is in charge of setting up the Iraqi police force. Chris has a trainee who ends up killed and he is left to team up with one of the last remaining cops in the area. There’s a little more I won’t go into details on but as far as first issues go, this one was fantastic.
The thing I enjoyed the most about this was the look of the first issue. Mitch Gerads, who’s previous work was Marvel’s Punisher and The Activity for Image Comics, is a great artist. I really enjoy his style. It’s a bit more realistic, less exaggeration of a person’s physique. Very clean. Enjoyed the layout of this a lot. Some of the pages are set-up in a good way, whether it’s from script or artist choice, it’s good.
Speaking of the art, there’s two pages, separate in the story, that mirror one another and without going into too much about what is transpiring, you see how much goes into the art, the look and feel of everything. It’s a great example of how the art tells the story.
I liked the story, too. I’m a bit burned out by even hearing about Iraq or anything to do with the middle east. A wartime crime drama was not exactly what I was looking forward to reading but this was an excellent read. There’s a few more players than just Chris Henry, so it’s got a good cast. But it’s odd to me, I don’t like even hearing about things like this and found this issue very engaging. I credit the strong writing. It helps when Tom King, who wrote this, also has experience with CIA operations. It brings a sense of realism that most books can’t match. Within these pages, the violence feels so real.
This book sports a great cover. Chalk that up to the fantastic work of John Paul Leon, whom I am a bit of a fan of. A good cover helps sell the story; it is the first thing the reader sees and from there, you must decide if you are willing to continue. All-around, from cover to end, it’s great.
I was a bit saddened to know that this is only an 8-issue mini-series. I do tend to avoid those, too. I love big, vast, ongoing sagas. Still, that’s not a valid knock on this work. However, if trade-waiting, it’ll be a bigger and better trade.
All in all, Sheriff Of Babylon is the right amount of real world for someone like me. And, it’s good to see Vertigo still churning out great adult material. There’s a strong history there and while this won’t be the next Sandman in scope, it could turn out to be every bit as enjoyable.