I’ve never read an issue of Sweet Tooth. As much of a fan of Jeff Lemire as I am, I never went back and read the series, no matter how many good things I’ve heard. So, with its latest volume set to debut, I thought I’d dive in to Sweet Tooth: The Return #1. And, after the first issue, I’m intrigued…
Sweet Tooth: The Return isn’t a follow up it seems. From the solicits it’s described as a “bold re-imagining” of the mythology. It takes the elements of the original series and remixes them into something familiar but new. As I haven’t read the original, I can’t really comment on that. The comic and the world is new to me. So, I’ll leave others to go in that direction.
Writer and artist Jeff Lemire delivers a world of mystery. It’s a story of indoctrination with a theme and message that can be debated for some time. Where Lemire is going with it all, I’m not quite sure yet but there’s a clear focus on a cult-like world. That focus had me wondering if Lemire was giving us a series with commentary on our modern world, taking his classic concept with updating it with today’s sociopolitical world. Where the environment might have been a topic before, demagogic leaders is the theme of this one.
The debut issue introduces us to a mysterious world as its main character explores and discovers it, so do we. It’s a location where we feel captive and denied knowledge. An interesting debut that toys and plays with how much information is provided to the reader and when. Just when you think you’re about to break free, for instance, you don’t. Instead, the issue and its world remains somewhat claustrophobic and confined.
Lemire is joined by José Villarubia on the art. Lemire’s style is enhanced with Villarubia’s watercolor-like addition. The art is beautiful, as expected. There’s also a weird beauty of this world. It’s an almost sterile environment, perfect in design with nothing out of place. That leaves the small details to focus on. Dirty, crusty finger nails deliver a sense of malevolence. What seems like mechanical nurses adds a bit of unease. It’s a mystery of a debut that forces you to look for clues among the visuals.
Sweet Tooth: The Return #1 is an interesting debut. While it doesn’t have me wanting to see what has come before, I want to see where the series goes. The story of attempting to escape your current reality is something that’s very relevant to today and the religious aspect to it makes it all the more intriguing. As someone new to the world of Sweet Tooth, I’m excited to see where it all goes and watch Lemire work his usual magic.
Story: Jeff Lemire Art: Jeff Lemire
Color: José Villarubia Letterer: Steve Wands
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review