Written by: Tom King
Art by: Mitch Gerads
Writer Tom King and artist Mitch Gerads have brought us a new Vertigo series; Sheriff of Baylon. The time is February 2004 and the setting is Baghdad, Iraq. We first meet Christopher Henry, once a Florida cop, now an overwhelmed training officer for the military. We’re then introduced to Sofia, an American educated Iraqi. Sofia is a problem solver with the Iraqi Council who’s not afraid to get her hands dirty. Lastly we meet Nassir, a cop struggling with faith, guilt, and loss. The issue closes with Chris calling Sofia for help because one of his men has been murdered and it’s up to him to find the murder and take care of the problem. Sofia who seems to be pulling a lot of strings, pairs Chris with a man that owes her a favor, Nassir. This is just the basic plot, a lot more went on in this issue and my description won’t do it justice but I don’t want to spoil this one. You have to experience Sheriff of Babylon for yourself.
When it comes to starting a new series I’m pretty picky. I work a minimum wage job and can’t afford to read everything I’d like to. So I have a list of a few select authors and artists that I’ll spend a little extra on just to try their new series. One of the writers I’ve recently added to that list is Tom King. The man has a gift for writing suspenseful and shocking stories that I love. King’s been doing it in the Omega Men and he’s continued doing it here in the Sheriff of Babylon.
The characters are incredible and have a realness to them that I appreciate. Christopher especially is believable as a guy thrust into a crazy situation that only continues to get crazier. King’s real life experience working in the CIA shows through his knowledge of the time, people and governments. Artist Mitch Gerads helps to further this feeling of realism with his incredible use of body language. He captures the movement of characters very well to the point where it feels and reads very fluidly. I loved Gerads’ art in the Punisher series and it’s a perfect fit for this setting and story.
I’m not sure what else I can say after all that but this book is one of my new favorites of the year. It’s well written with art the brings the story to life. As a reader I’m left with a lot of questions and a desire for more. As a reviewer I have trouble writing about comics, tv, movies, or bands that don’t immediately grab me I didn’t have that problem here, I was sold after the first page.