Sweet Tooth #40
Written and Illustrated by Jeff Lemire
Review written by Steve Seigh
This is a story about hope. This is a story about man, about beasts, and about God. This is a story about how human beings have had their time on this earth, and how now it’s time to relinquish that control to something far greater. This is a review about the final pages of Jeff Lemire‘s Sweet Tooth. This is a review I’ve been dreading for the better part of a year. This is a book that will be hard to let go of. Because this is when we must say goodbye to Gus and The Big Man. This is Sweet Tooth #40.
Endings. Perhaps the most scrutinized aspect of a story. More often than not, endings are challenged by readers and held against an insurmountable amount of standards simply because of what they represent. Everyone has at least some small idea as to how they would like their favorite stories to end. And it’s my pleasure to tell you, as someone who has loved every page of Sweet Tooth, that Jeff Lemire has crafted an unforgettable finale to perhaps his most epic story to date.
As I was reading Sweet Tooth #40, I literally had to pause just a few pages in so that i could catch my breath. Presented as a hearty double-issue, Sweet Tooth #40 feels more like several volumes of story rather than just a single issue conclusion. Lemire not only gives you the sorrowful conclusion to the group’s initial struggle but also presents us with the lengthy aftermath and rewards of those events. In this respect the book feels much larger than one would expect, and leaves you feeling as if you’ve somehow underpaid for Lemire‘s heart wrenching finale. In the future, when people ask me “What is one of the most satisfying comic book endings I’ve ever come across?” I will, with a heavy heart, point them in the direction of Sweet Tooth.
Sweet Tooth is a story about courage. It’s a story about love, about forgiveness, belief, and survivalism. There are forces at work inside of the pages of Sweet Tooth that are greater than the sum of man’s clouded parts. And Gus, along with The Big Man, and the rest of his hybrid friends are our only salvation. They’ve come to reclaim Mother Earth and rescue her from remaining poisoned by our greed and suicidal nature. Perhaps you think I’m being dramatic? I challenge you to read Sweet Tooth #40 and not question as to whether or not the planet is better off without us. I dare you to read Sweet Tooth #40 and not take a moment afterwards to think about how you treat your loved ones. I bet you can’t do it. I couldn’t.
Sweet Tooth is a story about damnation. It’s a story about harnessing fear, staring down the red eyes of man’s anger, and about giving a different form of life their turn in a place that has long since been spoiled by our ways. Sweet Tooth #40 sets things right. This is a story about revival. This is a story about death and about rebirth. This is a story.
Like anything else written by Jeff Lemire, Sweet Tooth will effect you. It’s narrative and characters will get inside of you unlike many other characters ever have. It’s a story that you will never forget and one that I guarantee you’ll want to share with others. Start from the beginning and take the journey all the way to the end. You will not be disappointed.
* This review was written while listening to the album So Tonight That I Might See by Mazzy Star.
Steve’s Twitter handle is @dead_anchoress