Sweet Tooth #4: post-apocalyptic comic is a tour-de-force of dread

I just got around to reading Endangered Species, the fourth volume of Jeff Lemire's outstanding, post-bio-apocalyptic graphic novel Sweet Tooth (here's reviews of the previous volumes). Damn, this is good stuff.

In Sweet Tooth, a plague has swept the planet. Babies are born as human-animal hybrid "monsters." Adults die off in huge numbers, killed by what is assumed to be the same disease. "Sweet Tooth" is a young boy with deer antlers who is raised in a shack in the woods with his father, a mad (?) holy-man who is consumed with visions. When Sweet Tooth's dad succumbs to the plague, Sweet Tooth ventures into the world and meets Jepperd, a violent rover who seems to take him into his care, but whose motives we readers know to be suspect.

Four volumes in, and Lemire has proved that he can toy with our emotions with the best of them. The characters are flawed and likable, the mystery deep and compelling, the action fast and rough. Most of all, though, is Lemire's incredible ability to instill and sustain a sense of dread in the reader, a delicious horror-movie feeling that something bad is coming, something lost in the shadows and unknowable but dreadful. I've powered through each of these four volumes in less than an hour, unable to put them down. As DMZ draws to a close, it's great to know that there's another graphic novel series in the chute that's so utterly compelling.

If you haven't been keeping up with Sweet Tooth, there's no better time to start — here's volume one.

Sweet Tooth Vol. 4: Endangered Species