One Two Review: Sherriff of Babylon

One Two Review is a series that reviews the first two installments as one whole.

Everyone knows that Comic Books are the medium that do super heroes the best. It’s so prevalent I often wonder why we haven’t started calling them Super Hero books instead. But other types of stories that are published in the comic book medium. Some are extremely impressive. Like The Sherriff of Babylon written by Tom King and published by Vertigo.

It is set in Baghdad, but clearly feels like a western. I’m pretty confident that was the intent because it has the word “Sherriff” in the title. It also blurs the line between detective and crime fiction.

In any case, the premise is that one of the trainees from the new Iraqi police was murdered and his body was left in the Green Zone. And since it is a trainee the American trainer (Chris) needs to handle the body… and really the murder investigation since Baghdad is lawless at this point.

And the the rest of the explores that lawlessness. In gritty and suspenseful detail. Most of the time the reader witnesses this violence away from the main character, so readers know way more than the main character does. This is a common device in writing and Tom King leverages it masterfully at the end of the second issue. We know the person assisting the main character is a deeply disturbed individual. So when he says to the main character, to stay outside while he enters a sketchy apartment, we know nothing good is going to happen in that apartment.

Not surprisingly the main character comes charging in with his gun drawn. But there’s a little bait and switch. The other guy is saying things that are out of place. So out of place that I went back a page to see if I missed something about a cat. Then I just assumed that something caused the guy to come completely unhinged. This goes on for several panels and then at the end it all makes sense (holy moly do something about the freaking cat!)

The end of the second issue has had me thinking for the last several days. The story is so well written that I am fully engaged in it, but can’t make any my normal wild speculations because it feels like anything can happen and everything is at stake.

The one speculation I’ll make is that I don’t see happy ending to this story.

The Sherriff of Babylon would make a great movie, if a movie studio was willing to send a production crew and A list actors to Baghdad for months of filming. The cinematic feel is owed to the impressive work of artist Mitch Gerads. For now the only medium this story will be available for you to enjoy is as a Super Hero Comic Book.

Will I Read it To My Children?

I try to answer this question at the end of each review. The short answer is No. But I will probably recommend it to them when they’re older.


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