Review: Sweet Tooth: The Return #6
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Jeff Lemire
Colors: José Villarrubia
Letters: Steve Wands
Reviewed by: Seth Singleton
Sweet Tooth: The Return closes out Jeff Lemire’s six-part apocalyptic series with a thoughtful and patient final chapter. Gus, Penny, and Earl are joined by allies in a final stand against Father. Meanwhile, Father’s secret plan to send Gus into the world as an apocalyptic Typhoid Mary meets some unexpected resistance.
Positives — Gus
To begin with, Gus is a character who humbles this reviewer. The young man nicknamed Sweet Tooth is a clone. The Father who cloned Gus has lied to his creation since birth. Subsequently, every facet of Gus’ life is manipulated by Father.
Understandably, some people would be warped by Father’s malfeasance. Father’s hybrid creations are a reflection of the twisted way his mind works. It’s enough to warp those around him. The damage is evident in at least one character highlighted in an earlier issue. But Gus is different.
Gus inherently wants to do the right thing. He sees the best in strangers. He cares about the children twisted by Father’s hands. Faced with the chance to escape to freedom with only Earl the elephant hybrid by his side, Gus hesitates. It’s a steel door that opens like a vault.
The noblest person must face temptation. Gus is tempted to sprint for freedom after a lifetime in captivity. Instead, Gus listens to Penny and returns to the city to bring everyone to the surface with him.
Positives — Friends of Gus
Mel is the spark that ignites the people to rise against Father. The horrors she has uncovered are unspeakable and unforgettable. The tragedy of her brother Earl and the chance to defend him spur Mel to rally the people and stand against their captors.
The Beatles said all you need is love. Turns out it is true. Father believes that a virus he has infected Gus with will change the world above by wiping out all hybrids. The removal of those Father considers unclean is the first step. Then Father can reclaim the world he believes was stolen from him. But two crucial factors arise to thwart him. The first are the people who have cared for and loved Gus since his birth. Their love for a lost little boy is a power that Father cannot overcome.
This series ends too early.
Lemire took the original story of Sweet Tooth and told an impossible sequel. Or maybe it just looks impossible to the untrained eye. The beauty of watching a master accomplish the impossible is the awareness that they are doing something rare. It’s a feat that only the brightest, the best, and the most talented dare to attempt. In the end, the sense of wonder is complete and a masterpiece is revealed.
Lemire’s writing and the support of his collaborators sustain the continuity of Sweet Tooth. José Villarrubia’s colors capture the muted colors of an underworld of reflected light and Steve Wands’ letters bring the voices of every character’s personality to life.