Panels From Beyond the Grave #3

Here it is, folks...the first guest review written for the site. This edition of Panels From Beyond the Grave comes courtesy of Bob Ignizio, a pal of mine who hails from Ohio. Bob is a freelance writer who has cranked out content for several websites/magazines/newspapers. He offered to contribute comic book reviews to RR Inc., and since this column takes a backseat to movie/music reviews, I figured that a boost in productivity would be a good idea. I will still write comic reviews, but I'm going to leave Bob in charge of this department (under my militant, overbearing supervision).

NOTE: This review does not pertain to a specific issue.


With Sweet Tooth, writer/artist Jeff Lemire has manged to find a fresh take on the post-apocalyptic action genre. Sure, we've seen plenty of other stories where a plague wipes out most of the human population as happens here. The twist is that some survivors find themselves giving birth to animal/human hybrids. Most of these hybrids lean more towards their animal natures, but not all.

The central character of the comic is one such hybrid, a young boy named Gus who has certain attributes of a deer, including antlers. Gus has been raised in a sheltered environment by a father who appears at first to be a standard issue religious nut. When dad eventually falls victim to the plague, the boy meets up with a tough old bastard named Jepperd, who is kind of like Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, only meaner. Gus and Jepperd set off together through the post apocalyptic landscape, encountering various other survivors and hybrids along the way. The distinction between friend and foe isn't always clear, though, and even Jepperd may not have Gus's best interests entirely at heart.

This series has been going on for about 2 years now, and the once-sheltered and naïve Gus is starting to come into his own as a capable character in his own right, while still holding on to his basic decency. Jepperd has undergone significant change as well, making some mistakes early on that he eventually sets right, and dealing with some painful revelations about another mistake he'll never be able to fix.

Lemire's writing is smart and engaging. Aside from the two leads, there's a fairly large supporting cast, and he does a great job of juggling them all. None of the characters get shortchanged, but neither does the story get bogged down in minutiae. Lemire's art is very reminiscent of underground and small press comics as opposed to the hyper-realistic style mainstream comic readers may be used to. It may take a bit of getting used to for some readers, but trust me; even if the art doesn't do it for you, once you start reading the story, you'll be hooked.

No comments:

Post a Comment