Review: Sweet Tooth – The Return #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Jeff Lemire
Colors: Jose Villarrubia
Letters: Steve Wands
Reviewed by: Seth Singleton
Sweet Tooth: The Return #1 is part one of a six-issue Black Label series from DC Comics. International bestseller Jeff Lemire and colorist Jose Villarrubia reunite to reintroduce a story told once before.
Desire often begins with a dream. Inside of us all is a dream. It’s not a dream of who we are but who we want to be and who we can be. Gus is experiencing a dream mixed with memory.
The place is God’s Shadow. The name implies a location that is close to power and hidden from sight because of that power. However, all the power in the world is not enough to stop the determination of a hybrid child.
In the original series, Gus learns of the world beyond the trees when men come to take him away following the death of his father. This time, the hybrid hope of the future strikes out beyond the trees because of a memory. The only certainty is that this change has altered the possibility of what events readers can expect for Gus and Jerrod.
Perhaps the most jarring example of this is on page one. The bold-faced title states 300 Years Later. An obvious question might be, “Three hundred years later from when?” At the end of the original 40-issue run of Sweet Tooth, the main characters were last seen traversing an empty landscape. Does the time indicator suggest 300 years from that moment?
And if it does, what does it mean on page 2 when a figure off-panel holding a torch is looking down on the bones of a hybrid with the skeleton identical to Gus?
Sweet tooth is visually beautiful. The lines are classic Jeff Lemire and they feel loaded with emotion and intention. Villarubia’s colors provide an eerie context for a future that is man-made, reflective of the idyllic qualities that humankind once desired, and tragically limited.
Finally, what matters most to me is that this is a story that ended many years ago. Sweet Tooth the return number one could have been written in a way that only those who read the original series would understand. Instead, Lemire has created a new chapter that invites new readers to join the fun. The result is a beautiful, horrifying, heartfelt, and heartbreaking story about us.
None found within these pages.
Some stories can only be told once. Others can be told again and again and they grow stronger with each retelling. Jeff Lemire has accomplished the best attributes of the two aforementioned possibilities. It turns the familiar into something as Dreamlike as deja vu.
Everything feels familiar, but for all the wrong reasons. The events are correct but they keep happening in the wrong order. Purpose drives them forward like a compulsion sown into the DNA of Gus. By introducing doubt into a story we think we know, a new mystery and adventure are reborn through its retelling.