Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sweet Tooth #40

by Jeff Lemire

I feel that there are way too many titles that I love ending these days, and I don't see clear replacements for them in the pipeline.  Scalped ended a few months ago, and while I loved its ending, I miss my monthly visits to the Prairie Rose Reserve more than I thought I would.  Now, I'm quite sure that I'm going to feel the same way about Gus.

Jeff Lemire's Sweet Tooth was always a bit of an odd comic.  Lemire made a name for himself with his amazing Essex County books, and when this monthly series about a hybrid deer-boy in a post-plague world started, it felt like quite a departure.  In no time though, Lemire sucked me into the story with his strong characterizations and his slightly wonky yet beautiful artwork.

As Gus and Jeppard grew into a strange type of family, and protected each other through encounters with angry militia men and the dangers of the road, my attachment to the story and these characters grew as well.  This series always told a solid story, and Lemire regularly experimented with layout and story-telling, to make it a reliably compelling read month after month.

This story borrows a page from other Vertigo endings, like Y the Last Man, by jumping ahead through the rest of Gus's life, and showing us what the character has done since his last fight with Abbot in Alaska.  It's a very satisfying ending, which is poignant, and complete.  I know that this title never lit up the sales charts, but it did lead to Lemire's being a 'big name' writer at DC, with titles like Animal Man, Justice League Dark, Superboy, and soon, Green Arrow, under his belt (although he doesn't draw any of them, which is too bad).

I'm thankful that Vertigo gave him the space to tell this story in such a complete manner, and I urge anyone who's never read this book to go back and give it a shot.  I'll miss Gus, but I am also looking forward to Trillium, which is the name of Lemire's next Vertigo book.

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