Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sweet Tooth #35

by Jeff Lemire

Like many Vertigo series these days, Sweet Tooth is nearing the end of its run, and that means that some of the larger mysteries that we've been exposed to over the last three years need to be explained.  Dr. Singh has finally arrived in Alaska, and is investigating the circumstances of Gus's birth, and his connection to the plague that has wiped out most people in North America, and probably the rest of the world.

From the beginning of this series, Lemire has experimented with and pushed the boundaries of traditional comics storytelling, finding innovative approaches to panel layout or narration.  This issue is no exception to that, as he divides each page into two distinct sections.  The upper two-thirds of the page is devoted to Gus's 'father', and the events that led to his coming to care for Gus in a secluded region of Nebraska.  These scenes are silent.  The bottom third of the page is narrated by Dr. Singh, and shows him visiting Gus's father's home, and then the military base where the father worked, and where Gus was born.  Frequently, the images in each section mirror one another, or show the same scene, but over the bridge of twelve years or so.  It's a particularly effective way to share this story.

This issue also incorporates the events that were shown a few months ago in issues guest-drawn by Matt Kindt (there is a montage of many of his images at one point).  This means that the connection between the events we saw in Alaska at the beginning of the 20th century and the hybrid children in the story's present is confirmed, if not yet explained.

I'm really going to miss this title when it's gone, but I appreciate that Lemire's being given the chance to tell his story at his own pace, and in his own unique way.

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