Wednesday, 24 July 2013

So I Read Sweet Tooth: Unnatural Habitats

A 250 word (or less) review of Sweet Tooth volume 5
By Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt, Vertigo Comics

Sweet Tooth: Unnatural Habitats continues Jeff Lemire’s post-apocalyptic story about a mysterious plague decimating humanity and the emergence of mysterious animal-hybrid children. Specifically Sweet Tooth focuses on Gus, a teenage human-deer hybrid, and Jeppard, a hard man and consummate survivor, as they try to unravel the mystery behind the plague. Unnatural Habitats is split into two stories. The first, set in 1911, tells the tale of an expedition to Alaska to rescue Jesuit missionaries which uncovers a horrible secret. The second chunk of Unnatural Habitats returns the lens of the story to Gus and Jeppard and their journey to Alaska for answers. This part of the comic feels like the conclusion of the second act: it concludes a bunch of lingering storylines and seems to set the stage for the conclusion of the story. It’s a satisfying read that pays off a lot of what comes before. Something occurred to me while I was working my way through this chapter: the juxtaposition of cartoony, animal-children with all the bleak and monstrous things in Sweet Tooth is CREEPY. I mean, the expressionist artwork of Lemire and Kindt is expressive and uncouth enough to generate a metric ton of atmosphere alone, but render some adorable pig and deer kids and suddenly there is this uncomfortable dramatic tension between the grim reality of post-plague life and the optimism, potential, and innocence of children. It’s an effective storytelling approach. Anyway, Sweet Tooth: Unnatural Habitats is a great chapter in a great comic.

Word count: 248


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