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Sweet Tooth Vol. 1: Out of the Woods

Sweet Tooth, Vol. 1: Out of the Deep Woods - Jeff Lemire A likable enough series with an interesting folksy spin on the end-of-the-world genre so in vogue these days. Sweet Tooth is the story of Gus, the first human-animal hybrid born mysteriously as a plague sweeps the planet laying waste to the human population. Lemire's writing is crisp and without pretense, which already places it much higher on the post-apocalyptic totem pole than most works, but plot-wise there aren't too many new and interesting twists on the genre and I have to admit, I was a little disappointed - especially coming off [b:The Underwater Welder|13602241|The Underwater Welder|Jeff Lemire|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1339596670s/13602241.jpg|19195376], which was mind-bendingly good.

Instead of something deep and resonant we get the rather staight-laced Campbellian hero's journey. Gus is raised in the deep woods at the outbreak of the plague by his human father, who eventually succumbs, forcing Gus out into the wider world. He's quickly caught up by dangerous militia who are trying to find a cure to the disease (known as "The Sick" 8|) by experimenting on the new breed of hybrids that are mysteriously being born to human parents. He's rescued by ex-hockey player turned bad ass Tommy Jeppard who becomes a surrogate father and guiding force in Gus's life as they attempt to unravel the mysteries of the plague and Gus's origins.

The series never really dips below three stars and there are occasions when Lemire plays genius with the imagery and structure blending fever dreams, religious prophecy and straight-edge science to a weave a pretty impressive tapestry. The characters have some depth, but just barely and not enough for the series to stand up with the some of the more brilliant post apocalyptic character studies like Matheson's [b:I Am Legend|14064|I Am Legend|Richard Matheson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348790367s/14064.jpg|19273256]. The second volume is by far the best, focusing on developing Jeppard's backstory and simultaneously giving substance to the world the characters inhabit. There are moments in that one volume that tug on the emotional heart strings fairly efficiently. The fourth volume's interlude into the origins of the disease is also interesting and layered well into the story. Some might think the take-home message becomes a bit cliche by the end and Lemire loses his grasp on subtlety by the last volume, but all-in-all a fun read that didn't annoy me the way most attempts at the genre usually do.