Sweet Tooth 5: Unnatural Habitats, in which the chimeric apocalypse gets even more engrossing

I've just finished Unnatural Habitats, the fifth collection of Jeff Lemire's apocalyptic Sweet Tooth comics, and I continue to be absolutely taken by it, on the grimmest of tenterhooks for the next volume.

Sweet Tooth's is set against a mysterious end-of-the-world, a horrific plague that kills most of humanity, and causes pregnant women to give birth to human/animal chimeras. The protagonist, Sweet Tooth, is a deer/boy, raised by his weirdly religious father in the woods, and then thrown into the brutal outside world when his father dies. He is captured by medical experimenters, escapes, and journeys across America with a shifting band of allies who may or may not have Sweet Tooth's best interests at heart.

Volume 5 proves that Lemire knows what he's doing with his storytelling. He whipsaws the pacing with a multi-part flashback to an early twentieth century Arctic expedition that hints at the plague's origin, then jumps back to the present day and a series of interlocking perils that raise the stakes for Sweet Tooth and his companions.

Lemire is a Dickensian master of the cliff hanger. Each monthly episode collected in the Sweet Tooth books leaves you eager for the next one, and each volume leaves you gutted at the thought of having to wait months for a new collection (I could read the singles, but I prefer to get my comics in concentrated, six-at-once doses). The story of Sweet Tooth is a great adventure, great science fiction, and great comics.

Once again, here's the first volume, in case you'd like to grab all five parts at once and consume a deep, deep draught of the story.

Sweet Tooth 5: Unnatural Habitats

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