Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Sweet Tooth #1

Jeff Lemire
Sweet Tooth is a new ongoing Vertigo series by Jeff Lemire, probably best known for The Essex County Trilogy and his recent graphic novel release, also through Vertigo, The Nobody. And a bonus for buyers: DC if offering the debut issue for $1. The story follows a young boy named Gus who is actually a "hybrid," of which there are different types. Apparently, Gus' mother was a hybrid as well, if his father (the only person he's ever seen) can be trusted, although some of what his father says sounds sketchy, meant to keep him from venturing out of the forest where they live in seclusion. Or perhaps his father actually believes in the fire and brimstone bible verses he spouts to an extreme degree and he deludes himself into thinking the forest is keeping out hellfire. But either way, something bad has occurred that's made people sick, Gus' father included, and people are aware of these "hybrids" that began surfacing around the same time, as is demonstrated by the final scene of this first issue. Overall, the kind of southern/backwater vibe of the characters and setting is a big turn-off for me, which is a shame because I really enjoyed Jeff Lemire's setting of a small town in The Nobody. He executed it pretty perfectly in that instance. Perhaps he's doing justice to the corner of the world he's writing about in Sweet Tooth as well, but I just don't enjoy the deer-huntin', bible-spoutin', firewood-for-the-log-cabin, candy-is-evil feel of this book at all, which is probably the point, but I don't care to explore this world past this issue. If you don't mind reading such a tale, however, I can vouch for Lemire's art. It's more of a loose, quick illustration without much detail, with clear storytelling and thoughtfully laid out panels. There are some pretty violent scenes, but what do you expect from a Vertigo comic? The violence looks cool at least.

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