One of the reasons this series has been so well received is because it gets to the core of being human. That and the story is impeccably paced. We delve into issue #9 and answer the question: is it good?
Sheriff of Babylon #9 (Vertigo)
So what’s it about? According to Vertigo’s official summary:
If Sofia wants to take down Abu Rahim, she’s going to have to make a big play, forming an uneasy alliance with one of his rivals and putting up Nassir as bait to lure the warlord into her trap. What could possibly go wrong?
Why does this book matter?
Want to learn how to do great real world storytelling? Sheriff of Babylon is your class, now start taking notes!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The events in this issue dial everything up to 11 forcing our characters to act and react in ways that are very uncomfortable for them. If you care at all about them you’ll definitely feel something in Sheriff of Babylon #9. From the very start there’s an uneasy turn of events as a smiling operations manager greets the characters as if they haven’t been through hell; we know what these characters have seen and been through, but more than once they encounter characters who have no idea and act as if everything is peachy. In effect writer Tom King is showing the wear and tear on our protagonists via unknowing supporting characters.
DC should be very happy they have Mitch Gerads on an exclusive deal, because there’s nobody better at capturing the minute moments of people being people. By using the same background over multiple panels, or a character standing still while another moves, you get the sense of how time is passing in each scene and how characters are thinking. Chris must hold back some intense rage at one point and through simple movement and his eyes we see so much character work happening. The surroundings are also well rendered and incredibly realistic. The grime around Chris ages the room, or the opulence of the furniture in another suggests more protection than is actually there.
Anyone else getting a Brian Dennehy vibe from this guy?
Through the intensity of the characters we see the true faces of the “good guys”: Characters who smile when they catch the “bad guy” but their actions required the death of innocents. King reveals who the true villains are and not surprisingly they’re from two different worlds but after the same thing.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This issue – and the series as a whole – does a great job showing how a moment in time can feel bigger than the time it takes for it to happen. That said, things move along slowly in this series and issue, so if you’re expecting a fast pace or tons of action look elsewhere! While this issue is incredibly good at pace, it does read as if it’s drawing things out a little too slowly.
Love scenes like this.
Is It Good?
An explosive issue with all its dynamite and entertainment stored within characters ready to blow.