Who is… Babylon?

Coming sometime in 2018 is THE SECOND BOOK OF BABYLON, a novel that stars the cosmic spirit of retribution – Babylon! Eagle-eyed readers have noticed several references to Babylon on my timeline that’s often published on this blog… but who is he? The following essay will run in THE SECOND BOOK OF BABYLON and gives you an overview of the hero – it will appear at the beginning of the book and leads directly into what the novel is all about.

If any of this sounds somewhat… familiar… then you’ll receive a No-Prize in the mail at some point. Babylon’s real-world origins are quite a tale in and of themselves – someday, I just might tell you about it.

WHO IS BABYLON?

Gideon, born in the 18th century, was the slave to a devil-worshipping plantation owner named Abraham Black, who had his own name added to each of his slaves’ names to show his ownership of them. Gideon Black fell in love with the daughter of the plantation owner – a stunning beauty named Magdalena – and the two carried on a secret affair that came to a terrible conclusion when the she gave birth to Gideon’s son. Abraham was outraged at this and had his daughter tied to a post in the center of the front yard, intending to have her burned at the stake for cavorting with a black man and tainting the family line. Gideon was beaten and tied up in the storm cellar of the plantation house, where his own fate would be decided after the murder of his beloved.

Magdalena had learned much of her father’s teachings, however – with her dying breath, she summoned the Furies of myth to take revenge on her father. The entities slew nearly everyone on the plantation and were about to exact their own awful justice upon Abraham when the occultist made a pact of his own: he summoned Lucifer himself and offered a deal – the souls of both Gideon and the spawn of Gideon’s relationship with Magdalena. Lucifer accepted this offer and empowered Gideon with armor forged in the depths of Hell. Gideon became Babylon, the cosmic spirit of dark vengeance, and successfully banished The Furies.

Learning of his father’s crimes and that the dark lord had taken his son’s soul, Gideon committed suicide. When Lucifer went to claim Gideon’s soul, an archangel appeared and demanded that Gideon be spared. A compromise was reached: Gideon’s soul would be bonded to the infernal armor and could be summoned by his descendants in future years. Thus, he would serve both Heaven and Hell, claimed by neither.

Through the years, many of Gideon’s family line served their time as Babylon, offering up retribution for the spilling of innocent blood. In the late 1930s, a man named Daniel Higgins became Babylon after he and his sister Stella stumbled upon a mob hit taking place in the Sovereign City Cemetery. The killers feared that the couple might be able to identify them and the mob boss ordered them killed. While fleeing, Stella was shot in the head, entering a coma and eventually dying. Daniel stumbled upon a strange suit of armor – when he touched it, the metal seemed to flow over his skin and transformed him into Babylon.

Babylon’s personality was quite different from the quiet and unassuming Daniel but over the years, their personas began to blend. The Babylon entity lacked memories of his true origins for years and it was not until the latter part of the 20th century that he finally uncovered his history as Gideon Black. During this time, Daniel was kept young by the power of the Babylon armor, making him the longest tenured host of Gideon’s spirit. Daniel and Gideon fought the forces of evil through the Second World War and far beyond, crossing paths with Daniel’s Johnny Galahad, a private eye that specialized in the occult, and Jennifer Black, a sorceress that was descended from a line of Atlantean mages.

The role of Babylon was as much a curse as anything else. Serving as the cosmic spirit of vengeance put friends and loved ones in constant peril and Daniel was forced to watch as many of them were killed by his enemies – even those that escaped a violent end grew old and passed away, while he himself stayed young. Daniel eventually began traveling the world, afraid of settling down in one place for too long since his foes would inevitably find him. Amongst his most persistent enemies were Lucifer; Damien, the devil’s son; the vampire known as Bloodshot and the serial-murderer Straw Man.

Eventually, Babylon journeyed into Hell itself to unlock the truth about his past. He succeeded, revealing that the spirit within the armor was Gideon Black and that both Johnny Galahad and Jennifer Black were descendants of his. At the climax of the adventure, Daniel was killed at long lost and Gideon Black became ruler of Hell alongside Johnny Galahad’s deceased wife Roxanne, who had been revived as a demonic entity known as Delilah.

Shortly thereafter, a confused Babylon reappeared on Earth, running amok. He was seemingly restored to normalcy after Daniel reappeared and the two merged again. How Daniel was still alive was left unanswered at that time…