Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mitch Gerads
There was a lot to prove this week from the team of Sheriff of Babylon. With Tom King coming off the heels of the red hot Vision debut issue, and Gerads recently completing a strong run on The Punisher, their new Vertigo series was expected to be no less than great. I’m happy to say this one didn’t disappoint.
From this first issue, it looks like Tom King is building a world seated in a very well known conflict, but with every person being more than meets the eye. The conflict or war in Iraq from the early and mid parts of the 2000s is a fairly muddy and often misinterpreted part of history, but who better to create (along with Gerads) than someone who was there in Tom King. While we’ve seen many war comics, we haven’t seen a whole lot that are this specific, and few that are this authentic feeling. Since this just feels so new, and the subject matter is fresh enough that many readers can remember vividly seeing images and videos on the news of this conflict, the whole book seemed really raw. With King really putting us into the world, and the characters, specifically Chris, Sofia, and Nassir, already being very multifaceted and compelling; this book is worth a read for really everyone. This first issue is mostly character intros, but there are so many tidbits to grab onto. As it seems all three of these characters will be meeting in connection to one murder, in a place with no police, there’s a feeling that no one is safe, and allegiances have to be taken with a grain of salt. I know there’s not really much in this about the meat of the story, but it’s almost hard to describe as it’s not something that can be easily related to another comic. If anything, the book is very cinematic, almost like watching a war based thriller or an hour long show on HBO. Regardless, King nailed the first issue yet again.
When I first opened this book, I was immediately struck by the colors. Gerads appears to have an overarching color-tone for each location, as we see colors like tan and teal blue punch home where we are and what story we are following. In addition, the use of a contrary color, i.e. blue panels bordering an orange one, the pages just pop. The book has a washy feel that makes it feel like it can only be a comic, which most of the best comics do. In terms of the line work, it followed that cinematic trend that we saw in the story. The characters have a lot of detail in the faces with lines and shading techniques. The style is almost Maleev like, but a lot more clear and much more animated. This style usually lends itself to stiffness, but Gerads does a great job in making the characters alive here. Also, the world is really well researched. Every piece of furniture or dining ware appears to be very authentic. Gerads appears to be going all out on this series, and, if this quality continues, he’ll e making a mark with this one.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again; you need to be in on the ground floor with this Vertigo line start. The quality is overflowing from the books, and Sheriff of Babylon stamps it’s place as one of the best. I want to binge-watch this comic, I need issue 2
5 Cups of Tea out of 5