Digital Mini Reviews | Sweet Tooth

Hi there!

I still don’t know how writer Jeff Lemire does it. It feels like the dude is parallelly writing 10 different series with 5 different publishers at the same time. While his stories aren’t always mind-boggling, they do sometimes turn out to be quite fantastic.

One of his most-beloved series is the six-volume (40-issues long) limited series published by Vertigo from September 2009 to January 2013 called Sweet Tooth. I first mentioned having started this series back in August 2020 and finally got around to finishing it up this year.

What is it about? The story introduces readers to Gus, a child of a rare breed that crosses human and animal genes. Growing up isolated from the world, a world that has known an unknown pandemic for the last decade, his father one day dies and leaves him to fend for himself until a strange drifter by the name of Jepperd promises him to help him out, opening the gate for him to the outside world for the first time in his life.


This feature published at an undetermined frequency (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, who knows) will present a couple of mini reviews on anything that isn’t a physical book that I own (ebooks, comic books, TV series or movies).

Click on the covers to be redirected to their Goodreads page.
Anything presented in this feature doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t get a full-review treatment in the future. That will entirely depend on how much I loved it, how interested you are in hearing more on it, and how much I have to still say about it! 🀣

Sweet Tooth (Vol. 1): Out of the Deep Woods by Jeff Lemire.

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Publisher: Vertigo.
Pages: 128.
Format: Digital Comics.
Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†.

You can tell that writer Jeff Lemire takes certain themes to heart in almost all of his comic book series after you’ve read a couple of them. In this one, he once again explores the intimate relationship between an older male authority with an innocent and naΓ―ve child in the form of a father-son bond with this heart-wrenching post-apocalyptic tale where trust, justice, and betrayal are at the heart of the narrative.

The artwork requires some getting used to, but by the time you reach the cliffhanger ending, you just don’t have much of a choice but to let your curiosity be piqued by the direction writer Jeff Lemire takes for this story.

Sweet Tooth (Vol. 2): In Captivity by Jeff Lemire.

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Publisher: Vertigo.
Pages: 144.
Format: Digital Comics.
Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†.

This second volume is an emotionally-heavy story-arc presenting Jeppard’s heartbreaking origin story while drawing brilliant parallels to Gus’ impediment to freedom. The attempt to further explore the world in which evolves this story makes this a fantastic story-arc that offers readers the chance to familiarize and connect to these characters, leading them to another cliffhanger ending that makes this a series that is simply unputdownable.

Sweet Tooth (Vol. 3): Animal Armies by Jeff Lemire.

9921208
Publisher: Vertigo.
Pages: 143.
Format: Digital Comics.
Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†.

This third volume is incredibly captivating as you watch Jepperd and Gus’ reality collide together once again as their weaknesses drive them to build upon a father-son bond that will assure them the much-needed emotional and physical survival. I won’t lie that the plot twist around the end almost made me choke. Never did I see that coming but it does set things up beautifully for an eventual confrontation that is bound to crush hearts.

Sweet Tooth (Vol. 4): Endangered Species by Jeff Lemire.

12213010
Publisher: Vertigo.
Pages: 176.
Format: Digital Comics.
Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†.

In this fourth volume, writer Jeff Lemire cleverly continues to build up the grand finale by forcing Gus and Jepperd into a harsh father-son adventure. It is mostly through these life-or-death events that they are able to look beyond themselves to understand why love triumphs over hate in this cruel world. This story also introduces us to the mysterious Walter Fish character who shows everyone a safe haven that just seems too good to be true.

Sweet Tooth (Vol. 5): Unnatural Habitats by Jeff Lemire.

13532247
Publisher: Vertigo.
Pages: 158.
Format: Digital Comics.
Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†.

This fifth volume had an unconventional structure by splitting it into two different parts. The first one gives us the much-needed origin story that everyone has been looking forward to regarding this post-apocalyptic world and the odd mixed-genes hybrids that have been coming out of nowhere. Was it satisfying? Not so much. The structure of the story made it harder to connect with the characters and to truly absorb the impending tragedy. The second half of the volume gets right back into the action with big reveals and new relationships, preparing everyone for the final journey to Alaska, the source of this mystery.

Sweet Tooth (Vol. 6): Wild Game by Jeff Lemire.

17137619
Publisher: Vertigo.
Pages: 198.
Format: Digital Comics.
Rating: β˜…β˜…β˜†β˜†β˜†.

This series could’ve been so much more if it hadn’t ended on such a rushed note. While some elements of the final act were inevitable, it would’ve been much more appealing if writer Jeff Lemire had something unexpected, original, and clever to offer in regards to the core mystery of this story. With this final volume, the story just dug itself in its own grave and went down a route that didn’t capitalize on its potential mythological lore.

The epilogue chapter was as fine as it could’ve been but clearly flashed through so much potential story-telling material that you can only appreciate it on a superficial level. While it’s fine to get a glimpse of all the major historical events to come in the future and how it all plays out, especially under the theme of war and peace, I felt like it was all done as so in hopes of one day revisiting them in spin-offs.


Have you read any of these?

Share your thoughts on anything and everything with me! 😁

TILL NEXT TIME,

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20 comments

  • I thought back to your comment on my review of Noir Fatale and how the cover would put off a whole segment of readers. I have to admit, based on the covers I wouldn’t be reading these either. It’s not that it’s grotesque, as a sense of helplessness and infantileism?

    That being said, I am sorry to see that it went down near the end of the series. That’s just never fun to experience 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really can’t blame you hahaha The main pull for this series is the overall praise it gets from readers over the past years. It also helps that it was published under DC’s Vertigo imprint, for which I consider myself to be a primary target audience. I think my general tolerance for rougher artwork also allowed me to appreciate the story over time and to get used to the style as I progressed through it too.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Mmmm honestly the art is off putting for me here. Don’t shoot but if I have to read comics I want the art to seduce me LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  • Man, so close to a solid 4 star series, only to drop right off at the end. I hate when that happens. But I’m glad to hear you still got a lot of enjoyment out of most of it. Can’t wait to see what interesting and unusual set of stories you find next. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was quite surprised that the final volumes didn’t maintain the momentum and deliver something much more worthwhile. I’m sure others will still have a blast with the series though. Despite the letdown at the end, it was still a pretty good run in the end. Thanks for reading, as usual, my friend! πŸ˜€

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  • Nice to see you’ve rated it so highly for the most part. I often see people rave about this series, but I’ve avoided it because I wasn’t feeling the cover art. I bought the first volume couple months ago, so I eventually I’ll get to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally understand. You’ll probably need to give it a bit of time to get used to the artwork but the cliffhanger in the first book should be enough to make you want to continue on to volume 2 though hahah Hope you have a good time with this series when you decide to crack open volume 1! πŸ˜€

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  • Ah, such a promising beginning and such a letdown end… Might check it out one day, anyway – just to see what crazy ideas Lemire had in store for this!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Ahh….what a bummer, Lashaan! Started off promising 😦 I wonder though, why the rush? Budget constraints? but honestly though,…the covers…kinda put me off :S Great, honest mini reviews, Lashaan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading, Jee! I might also be in the minority regarding how the series ends. Some might find it completely satisfying. I just think the idea and direction weren’t satisfactory for me and that it could’ve all ended differently, and potentially, better. πŸ˜€

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  • I read the first book in this series, as you know because of the author’s home. It wasn’t for me, but that is not because it was not good, it just isn’t my genre. Nice post Lashaan. I get frustrated when it seems like an author rushes to finish when there is so much more I want to know or read. I understand your feelings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m actually quite glad to hear that you at least gave it a try, Carla! It’s definitely not something that I think could appeal to everyone. It’s such a frustrating feeling, right? I was hoping the finale would surpass the first volumes but it went down a path where there was just no coming from! Thanks for reading, Carla!

      Liked by 1 person

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