Review: The Sheriff of Babylon #10

I have never read any of this series, but this is what I know going into issue 10 of Sheriff of Babylon: Tom King, the writer, is a former CIA agent. He wanted to write a story that reflects some of what has been going on overseas since 9/11. The CIA told him he could not write a story that in any way reflected any real situation that had happened, so this is a completely fictional story. We open in “Red Zone” Iraq, in the middle of a conversation between three individuals discussing an article they read in The Washington Post. It alluded to the idea that the Iraqis were cowards because instead of signing up to die like all the American troops, they will send in children with bombs to get the job done, which leads one of these individuals to say that he wants to be great like George Washington, which is why he is the one with the bomb.

SHRFBAB_Cv10We move to “Green Zone” Iraq, to a few men discussing the possibility of something being “on,” like an event. They discuss calling someone, then agree that it is “so on.” Probably would have more insight if I had read the last issue, but that's okay. We'll wing it.

Back to the Red Zone, where Nassir (the one with the bomb) has come with a mission. We now see that more individuals have shown up (with guns), but the conversation is still focused between the original three, Nassir, a woman, and a man. The man tries to dissuade Nassir from detonating the bomb. There is an exchange of words that leads to Nassir giving the man a slap to the jaw. Back to the Green Zone.

Two of the three men are talking about a mission that had taken place in regards to a man, Abu Rahim. He's slippery, the one man tells the other, and that during one of his missions he had gotten so close that he “had it in his mouth.” I'm not gonna spend too much time thinking about that. To the Red Zone!

Now some serious slapping is occurring. The man stands back up, puts his broken cigarette back in his mouth and faces Nassir, who slaps him again. He retrieves his cigarette and stands yet again, receiving another slap. The woman pleads for them to stop.

Back in the Green Zone, we get a flashback of the mission; a local who worked with the local police had come to one of these men saying that some guy named Abu Rahim (the slippery guy) had asked him if he wanted to suicide bomb the other police trainees. That was their “in” to finding Rahim.

Meanwhile, in the Red Zone, the slapped man is being awoken by the woman while Nassir is being confronted by a guy with an AK-47. While Nassir is distracted, the man tells the woman, now revealed to be his wife although she calls him “brother” only a few panels later, that they need to call for help before Nassir blows up.

This flips back and forth another four or five times. Here's my take on the whole thing: I've heard rave reviews discussing this book. This is clearly the slow burn of the century, which is fine, but don't expect to pick up issue 10 and get any kind of recap as to what has happened in the first 9 issues before now, which for me is a negative as a simple recap page could lead me into liking this book. Without it, however, I'm faced with the reality of going back and getting all the previous issues to know what's going on.

The art was very fitting for this story. It had a very serious and realistic tone. People look real; the colors are what I would expect everything to look like. Two things I really enjoyed about the art are the way the artist portrayed movement, and the last panel that looked like the view through night-vision goggles. The movements of the characters were made with one simple white line going from the start to the end of the movement but worked so well because you knew exactly what the movement was. Very effective.

Ultimately this book was a struggle as there was no recap page, which lead me to be confused during the entire book. The art was enjoyable and fitting, and the story seems like it could be great, but I'll wait for the trades to find out.

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The Sheriff of Babylon #10 Writer: Tom King Artist: Mitch Gerads Publisher: Vertigo Comics Price: $3.99 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital