The Sheriff of Babylon Review

By Pete McNeely for TheComicBookDen.ca

I have had my eye on The Sheriff of Babylon for a while, and thanks to Penguin Random House Canada, I’ve been given the chance to final read this great story. The Sheriff of Babylon collect Sheriff of Babylon #1-12 from DC-Vertigo. Check out my full review.

Cover of DC-Vertigo's The Sheriff of Babylon by Tom King and Mitch GeradsThe Sheriff of Babylon

 

Collects Sheriff of Babylon #1-12
Published by DC-Vertigo
Written by Tom King
Art by Mitch Gerads
Lettering by Nick J. Napolitano (#1-2), Travis Lanham (#3-12)
Covers by John Paul Leon

Page from DC-Vertigo's The Sheriff of Babylon

The Sheriff of Babylon takes place in Iraq 2003, after the fall of Saddam. The story follows the main character Chris, a former police officer turned contractor, as he tries to solve a murder. Chris is tasked with training the new Iraqi police force, when one morning one of his trainees is found dead. Chris’ investigation leads him to meeting Sofia, a American-Iraqi who is part of the Iraqi government council tasked with rebuilding Iraq, and Nassir, a former police officer for Saddam. Together these three individuals team up to find out who the murder is and discover a much greater plot at play.

“Mitch Gerads (The Activity, The Punisher) perfectly illustrates the book. He is a master of drawing when it comes to military and war comics”

The story has you constantly guessing at the motives of each character. Chris just seems to be trying to play investigator and is just trying to solve a murder. Sofia is trying to use her ties to the USA to aid in both the solving of the murder and to gain information from the US government to help aid the Iraqi government council. And Nassir who is attempting to find redemption for the deaths of his family and reconciliation with his own personal wrongdoings. These three use their personal ties to learn of a terrorist by the name of Abu Rahim. Quickly this terrorist becomes the prime suspect to the murder.

Page from DC-Vertigo's The Sheriff of BabylonAs the story continues you learn that no matter the motive of these three characters, it may not serve any purpose. Nearing the end of the story you learn of the CIA involvement with both the person murdered and the terrorist. It becomes obvious that it was all a set up to catch and kill the terrorist, Abu Rahim. The CIA set up the trainee all to draw out their target, solving the murder but not without life lost and time wasted.

“Tom King (Batman: Rebirth, Vision) writes a beautiful story, creating suspense among all the chaos and death.”

The story ends with a feeling of seeing nothing accomplished by Chris, Sofia, or Nassir, yet I enjoyed every second of reading this book. It feels like it should be made into a movie. The story plays perfectly into the crime thriller genre. Tom King (Batman: Rebirth, Vision) writes a beautiful story, creating suspense amongst all the chaos and death. Mitch Gerads (The Activity, The Punisher) perfectly illustrates the book. He is a master of drawing when it comes to military and war comics. The art feels very rugged and worn, with a main colour palette of tan, brown and green. The deep colour of red used when blood is shown, which is often, blends perfectly with the main colours. I feel that the blend of the deep red colour fits perfectly into the story as it shows how death blends into the daily life of the war in Iraq. The one scene of colour takes place when describing a religious story and is very obvious that the story is of beauty. A description that does not fit the rest of the book. It takes place near the middle point of the book and adds a brief, but needed, break from the chaos of the story.

Together Tom King and Mitch Gerads have created an excellent book. It is filled with action and suspense and leaves you with a feeling uncertainty. I highly recommend picking this book up. The Deluxe Edition offers the complete story, prefaced with Tom King talking about his time working at the CIA and finished off the character sketches and all 12 comic covers.

Our copy of The Sheroff of Babylon was provided by Penguin Random House Canada, you can get your copy here.