Sweet Tooth is super weird. More importantly, though, its fantastic; one of those series that makes you realize how important Vertigo, as a publisher, is for mainstream american comics.
Its been described, quite succinctly, as Bambi meets Mad Max. Sweet Tooth is a post-apocalyptic tale of a plague that has killed almost all of humanity. Those still alive know it’s just a matter of time because the plague will kill everyone eventually. Everyone except for the hybrids that is. In the wake of the outbreak children/animal hybrids were born that are immune to the plague. This makes them the scorn of most survivors who hunt them at every turn.
This issue mostly revolves around Jepperd. For the most part Jepperd has been the mysterious gunmen that has promised to take our main protagonist, Gus (a 10-year-old boy with Antlers), to the mystical animal preserve, a safe haven for hybrids. His life immediately after the outbreak is recounted in flashbacks. Lemire has done a wonderful job of sketching his character out in this issue, making him unbelievably flawed but yet incredibly sympathetic. I also want to praise the writing in Jepperd first encounter with Abbot, who it seems will serve as the main antagonist in the story, and how devilishly it alludes to Gus’ first encounter with Jepperd.
Anyone who has ever talked comics with me knows I drop the words decompressed writing pretty indiscriminately. I use it derogatively as a catch-all to refer to comics that are thinly plotted. Comic books can cause up to 4 bucks, I want them to provide more than 5 minutes of entertainment. But then comes along Sweet Tooth to remind me that decompressed writing is properly a literary technique, and at least in Sweet Tooth, a pretty effective one. I think the way this series has relied mostly on visual storytelling works because it is set in an almost uninhabited post-apocalyptic future. What is there really to say in that environment? Although this issue can hardly be called decompressed, the reason the plot developments in this issue are so enjoyable is because they are built on the wealth of character moments that proceeded it.
Final Verdict: B+ (Not an A because the art isn’t as strong as it has previously been)