It seems hard to believe, but the penultimate issue of this series is here. A man has a bomb strapped to his chest, and another just revealed a whopper of a bomb via words, so where can we go from here? Is it good?
Sheriff of Babylon #11 (Vertigo)
So what’s it about? The Vertigo summary reads:
Sofia’s meeting with the man who attacked her has taken a dangerous turn, and what was supposed to be a simple covert action has transformed into a full-blown firefight. If the battle is successful, it will put Nassir in the clear, but it could also tear the friendship between Sofia and Chris apart.
Why does this book matter?
Storytelling is a finicky thing, especially when you add imagery. This series has always been a master class in telling the story by mixing subtle movements, black panels with the simple word “Pow” written over them, and other ways of conveying movement and the acting of the characters. There’s nothing out there as tense as Sheriff of Babylon and I dare you to read it and not ponder if it’s better than most films when it comes to character moments.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Sure, change the subject.
This is a continuation of the last issue, which is turning out to be two long scenes. Chris continues to speak to a compatriot who’s not a very good man, and Sofia is in very deep water with a man very much willing to blow himself up. Or so he says. Tom King writes another powerful issue, this time tipping the power in another direction and showing us words are just as powerful as bombs. Chris’ story nearly boils over too, and it’s clear Mitch Gerads deserves all the awards when it comes to facial expressions and body language. This comic is so damn close to being a live action show it’s not even funny; every panel and every layout decision seems perfect which in turn makes for a comic with perfect timing and rhythm.
The biggest boon of this issue is a reveal in who the bad guys really are. A key line is captioned that reads, “That’s what it’s all about. The whole war. We go out, and the wolves go in.” It’s disturbingly said with a grin and a laissez-faire attitude that makes it all the more sickening. Honest, but sickening still. King is getting at the core of human brutality and he’s doing so without the need for gore and killing either.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Since this issue is a continuation of two scenes now running very long it’s impossible to read this and feel its impact if you haven’t read the previous installment. It’s safe to assume you’re a fool if you are just picking this up now though.
Chris makes a bold move in this issue – I won’t say what to avoid spoilers – and I’m not sure the actions and emotions shown before he does this lead logically to what he does. True, much of the emotion and thought processes are below the surface in this series, but it comes as a shock to see what he does here. Basically put, he’s smarter than this, and it seems out of character for the actions to go as they do.
He’s a terrible person.
Is It Good?
Sheriff of Babylon is without a doubt going to go down as one of the best series to give anyone who’s reluctant to read comic books. It’s incredibly good at showing human emotion, speech and thinking due to its fantastic timing and rhythm. Sheriff of Babylon shouldn’t be missed.