Sweet Tooth 2: gripping post-apocalyptic comic continues, minus the whimsy

Sweet Tooth Vol. 2: In Captivity is the second collection of Jeff Lemire's brilliant, grim post-apocalyptic comic serial. The first volume blended whimsy and horror to make a kind of strange and deliciously dissonant package. With this second volume, all the whimsy is gone and all that remains is horror, noir and relentless and merciless, as we go further into the life of Gus and the people around him.

Gus is a boy with deer-like antlers. After his crazy, religious father dies, he is forced to fend for himself in their remote wooded cabin, until he finds himself on the road with a strange, tough, quiet man who promises to take him to a place where children like Gus are looked after. On the road, Gus — and we — learn about the terrible plague that has swept the world, and about all the strange, mutated half-animal children who've been left in its wake. Jepperd, the man who protects and guides Gus, is broody and seemingly invincible, and seems to be on the side of the angels.

In this volume, more of the backstories are revealed, tantalizing hints about the origins of Gus, Jepperd, and the plague itself. And just as with the first book, it ends at a suspenseful moment that made me want to go back to the comic shop for the singles that follow the collection.

Sweet Tooth Vol. 2: In Captivity