Sweet Tooth #40
The beautiful modern classic prints its final issue
Jeff Lemire, the brilliant Canadian comic book author/artist, is putting his beautiful, dark tale of death, life and redemption to rest. Sweet Tooth has ended after 40 issues.
I imagine that if you’ve been to a comic store in the past 4 years you have seen the familiar image of Gus eating a bar of chocolate, and probably thought to yourself, “man that book looks really sweet, I should probably read it,” and if you did, you know you did the right thing. And if you didn’t, well trade paper back’s are an amazing invention. You need to stop reading this review and go buy “Out of the Woods,” and don’t stop reading til you get to 40.
The main theme behind Sweet Tooth is trust. Gus is a hybrid who doesn’t quite understand the world, protected by his “father” in the solace of a hidden cabin in the woods. Gus trusts only one person, and it’s the only person he’s ever met. He embarks on a journey with the Big Man, and Gus finally learns what betrayal feels like. It’s a sad, tragic tale that I definitely can’t sum up in one short blog post, so if you’re new to Sweet Tooth, I highly recommend reading the entire saga. Like, now.
In #40, we see some of the long term repercussions of issue #39. The hybrids have started a civilization, but mankind’s not dead yet (unfortunately). Gus, Buddy, Bobby and their new families have started to rebuild society, in a fashion very similar to the ewok village in Return of the Jedi. They have to make the choice whether to kill the remaining threat of humanity in one final battle or to let them die alone and in fear. Buddy persuades the hybrids to take a final stand and destroy humanity, and the battle is evenly matched. Only when Gus and Bobby appear with a troop of soldiers on horseback do they have the animal-power to win the fight. They take mercy on the remaining humans, allowing them to live out the remainder of their plague-ridden days in their encampment.
Time passes and Gus’s children have their own adventure, seeing what the rest of the country was like, and observing how things might have been done in the old days, before the plague. They return with new recruits for the camp, and soon have families of their own. All is right in the world for Gus when finally, after all he had done for the betterment of hybrid and humankind alike, a big and familiar friend visits Gus in his dreams and asks for his trust one more time, as they make their final adventure into the afterlife together.
Jeff Lemire will write Green Arrow starting in February, as well as a new title from Vertigo called Trillium, which he will write and illustrate. It will be a love story, and will be a definite tear-jerker I’m sure.