Review – Sweet Tooth #4 (Vertigo, 2009)

A stirring, dramatic fourth installment of this most excellent of comic books. Jepperd and Gus take a detour into a little pocket of Hell, and although there is salvation for some, and punishment for others, it is the ending that absolutely floors you. In 5 panels, Lemire manages to pull back the curtain to reveal something very dark and very sinister and puts the potential direction of this story on its head. It’s a question of taking these characters at face value, or trying to understand their motives. For Gus, we have to believe that he is an innocent young boy, seeking protection. For Jepperd, you want to believe that his intentions for protecting Gus and getting him to the Preserve are honest and true. By the end of this issue things may not be as they seem, and what the future holds in store for Gus is anything but clear. As Jepperd points out in a tense stand-off, in a sleazy location far away from safety,

“We’re all dead anyway…now or a week from now…don’t make no difference to me”

and with that Lemire lets us look into the mindset of Jepperd. Is he a realist, a nihilist, suicidal or homicidal. Or something more mercenary or more sinister? Or is he just capable in a hostile situation? Lemire will reveal the answers to this in time. In the meanwhile, we will no doubt see more effortless quality in further installments of ‘Sweet Tooth’. A highlight of 2009, this is a major work in progress, and a delight to read.

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