You’re not going to find better dialogue and a better paced thriller than this. The series never ceases to amaze and it’s particularly great because there’s nothing else quite like it. Let’s take a look at issue #10–is it good?
Sheriff of Babylon #10 (Vertigo)
So what’s it about? The official Vertigo summary reads:
Deals with the devil rarely go right, but in Baghdad, the wrong deal could get lots of people killed. Just as Sofia gets close to Abu Rahim, the man who killed Chris’ trainee and blew up her car, Chris starts to suspect Bob, the man who led them to Abu Rahim, isn’t exactly trustworthy himself.
Why does this book matter?
This series has proven Tom King knows what the hell he’s doing. He’s not just writing scripts with dialogue, but understanding how comic books are visual storytelling. Even though the issues involve characters talking, the amount of acting and action on their faces, and the pace of their dialogue all add up to incredibly tension-filled reading.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Rule #1. Don’t say this to a man with a bomb strapped to his chest.
This issue picks up where the last one left off and feels like a continuation of the last more than most single issues. If you were to read #9 and #10 back to back you’d basically get the full scene, though where it broke off in the last issue did certainly leave us anticipating this chapter. And it delivers. The characters continue to be in congress with a vile enemy while a bomb is strapped to his chest. They talk, a power struggle is apparent between all of them, and the best man (or is it woman?) wins.
If you’ve been reading this series you’d know it’s always good for a surprise here or there and this issue is no different. After introducing a douchebag Bob last issue we are given a story that proves he has a heart, but he’s also guilty of a grave mistake. King continues to prove nobody is free and clear of past sins and everyone shows a face that’s not entirely who they are either. If you’re on the fence about this series this is as good as any to see just how well written the characters are. It’s the kind of writing where there’s plenty of character work, but it’s not being shoved down your throat.
Mitch Gerads draws yet another well tempered and highly thrilling issue. When you think about how much of the issue involves characters simply speaking while seated you’ll realize it’s quite a marvel what he can pull off. This issue does offer a flashback which gives the comic the ability to cut away and show us additional horrors of Baghdad. Two pages use a neat worn paper feel as if the exchange between two characters is being shown via photograph. Later as this same sequence continues the story changes to night vision which uses green to convey the inability to see clearly. It’s a clever choice and it only supports the message and meaning of the story being told.
It can’t be perfect can it?
If you’re not drawn in after reading the last issue and this one this isn’t a book for you. It’s clearly thrilling, but admittedly devoid of action which some folks just won’t enjoy.
This is the sort of series that’s going to be best enjoyed collected. This issue in particular loses a bit of its teeth since it’s so obviously a continuation of a longer scene.
I love how the painting is silently judging.
Is It Good?
The plot thickens page after page in Sheriff of Babylon as it reminds us nobody is without sin.