Graphic Novel Review: Sweet Tooth: In Captivity


SOMETIMES a comic is released without much in the way of publicity, only to receive phenomenal critical acclaim, catapulting its creators into the industry’s stratosphere.

Writer-artist Jeff Lemire’s post-apocalyptic tale Sweet Tooth is already considered a must-read book for many comics stalwarts, and has resulted in him landing the plumb job of penning the new ongoing Superboy series for DC.

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 Jepperd, Gus soon learns more about the brutal America in which he has emerged…

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Gus is betrayed by Jepperd and taken to a brutal research centre where animal hybrid children are experimented on, while his former companion finds himself unable to forget the tragedy which set him on his current path of self-destruction, as the ghosts of the past take hold in the present.

Despite some interesting concepts and an instantly likeable protagonist, the first collection of Sweet Tooth comics didn’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.

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However, this second volume starts to expand upon Lemire’s world, developing the characters and fleshing out the background of the disaster which shaped this bleak future, and builds up new levels of tension which will have their pay-off in subsequent books. A major improvement on its predecessor, Sweet Tooth has become required reading in just a matter of issues, and will hopefully just keep getting better.

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