(Titan �7.99)

PERHAPS one of the most unconventional recent comics release has also picked up the greatest critical acclaim, with writer-artist Jeff Lemire’s post-apocalyptic tale Sweet Tooth already considered a must-read book for many industry stalwarts.

Set in the near future, 10 years after a mysterious affliction killed billions of people, when the only children born since are a strange hybrid of human and animal, it focuses on Gus, a boy with the features of a deer.

After growing up in a woodland solitude with his father, the death of his remaining parent forces Gus to leave his shelter and make his way in the world. Rescued from vicious hunters intent on bagging themselves a hybrid by the hulking drifer Jeppard, Gus soon learns more about the brutal America in which he has emerged.

But will Jeppard remain true to his word and take him to the fabled safe-haven of The Preserve, or are his motives altogether more selfish? For the chocolate-loving Gus, nicknamed Sweet Tooth, it is the beginning of a dangerous new period in his short life…

Despite some interesting concepts and an instantly likeable protagonist, this initial collection of Sweet Tooth comics doesn’t really offer anything too far removed from other post-apocalyptic dramas, most obviously Cormac McCarthy’s The Road but also comics like Y: The Last Man and The Walking Dead, although the cliffhanger ending promises to move in some more unusual directions.

The artwork is beautiful in its simplicity, and there are more than enough questions to keep the reader entertained for the foreseeable future, but Lemire needs room to develop his ideas further if he’s going to succeed in producing a long-running hit.

Worth keeping an eye on, but yet to become a must-purchase title.