"Sweet Tooth" is to me a good proponent of giving a series a few issues to sort itself out. While I thought the first issue of the series felt a little slow, but this is a series that has quickly picked up steam and interest over the course of its first five issues that form its initial trade paperback (set for release in May 2010). With "Sweet Tooth" #6, Lemire continues to cash in on the promise that those first few issues had, delivering what I think is its strongest issue to date.
We at least temporarily say goodbye to the "traveling across a decimated United States" setup, as we get to finally see just what "The Preserve" that Gus was delivered to has in store for him, as well as discovering through a series of flashbacks what drove Jeppard's actions throughout the series to date. Jeppard's payday at the end of the previous issue seemed a little too easy - all that for what you'd assume was a bag of supplies - but the contents of the duffel bag turn out to be something much more valuable. What I found myself appreciating is that not only did it confound my initial expectations, but it didn't resort to a fake-out or twist that felt false. It's a slow, logical series of events and I'm pleased with how Lemire not only gives us the reveal but also lets us learn about Jeppard's past and lets us see how the early days of the plague played out.
As for Gus, he almost takes a back seat in his own series this month, but there's still a lot of gold in his story. Finally meeting some other of the hybrids is an eye-opening experience; their situation and education makes sense, and it makes me wonder how much as readers we're going to learn about these other hybrids before disaster strikes. "Sweet Tooth" is a series that more and more is shaping up to be a tragedy, but hopefully we'll get sparks of happiness and victory from time to time.
Lemire's art is as strong as I remembered. I like that there are little, subtle touches storytelling choices made throughout the comic. For instance, all the flashback panels are given a slightly crooked, ragged border; it never draws attention to itself or is particularly overt, but it's a nice visual shorthand in case the reader can't figure it out just through context. His slightly (deliberately) shaky art style is matched well with Jose Villarrubia's colors. The page towards the end of the comic with the past and present views of Jeppard's home looks perfect, with the bright blue sky and green fields in the first, the stormy night and blue/brown ground in the second.
"Sweet Tooth" is a comic that's growing on me more with each issue. I'm hoping we get more "what's going on" and less "traveling the country trying to survive" each month, but for now I'm content to sit back and see what Lemire serves up for us next as readers.