The Sheriff of Babylon closes the chapter just as it started, with a kind of punch in the face realism unmatched in not just the comic book industry but in any medium.
While we're told the stories based on writer Tom King's real life experiences in the CIA and the War in Iraq, it feels too damn real. I remember picking up this book on a whim about a year ago, I was familiar with Mitch Gerads work and was deeply interested in the subject matter.
I wasn't familiar with King at the time, but that changed the moment I set that first issue down. It was a feeling that I had missed for quite some time. That feeling, was the utter amazement at the balance between the writing and the art/colors, the experimental format, the brutal and real honest put me in my place.
I wanted more.
Check out this quote from my review of the first issue, just because I love looking back on the impact this series had on me right from the start:
"Tom King is a rising star. Take note. Mitch Gerads somehow keeps getting better. Buy this series. This is a powerful, cutting story that remains easy to follow thanks to the great combination of an intense plot with the intense art to match."
A year later, King is the writer on freaking Batman coming off of great success not just here, but on Marvel's Vision. More on the future for these two creators later.
So, here we are, issue No. 12 and the finale of the Vertigo Comics series.
The layouts are unique, you can feel the tried and tired character's emotions through Gerads' deep inks and colors as King gives us a deeply -- and I know this word keeps coming up -- real feeling to the subject matter.
I'm not one to spoil the endings to books and that's not going to happen here but let me just tell you that just like the War in Iraq, there is no fairytale or clear-cut ending.
Just remember the word progress and make sure to think about that ending and really let it set in.
As I've done for a year, I can't urge you enough to pick these books up. Go to your local comic book shop and find that first volume trade paperback. These kinds of books, let alone comic books, are rare and should not be taken for granted for lovers of the written word (or goddamn powerful art).
Seriously, I've preached this book up and down for a year. Here is some proof (#humblebrag):
Chris and Sofia are two characters that will stick with me for some time. Their relationship, their lives and their "jobs" make them polar opposites yet a mirror image in some ways. It was done in a way like I hadn't seen before.
I am truly going to miss this series, but am so excited to see what King and Gerads are able to accomplish together thanks to the critical acclaim and success of this series. Make sure to check these two out together on freaking Batman #15. So, hats off to DC Comics for realizing what they have in these two, not just on their own, but as a team.
King and Gerads deserve this, and I couldn't be happier for them ... or for myself. Now, let's get Mitch on the show and Tom King back for his third (!) appearance.
Rating 10/10: Find a book out there that has a better combination of writing, art and colors that matches up as seamlessly as the Sheriff of Babylon does. The Sheriff of Babylon closes the chapter just as it started, with a kind of punch in the face realism unmatched in not just the comic book industry, but in any medium.