The first volume of Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth, Out of the Deep Woods, introduces us to a fascinating post-apocalyptic world where an incurable contagion rages, and where children are now born with distinctively animal features for which reason they are hunted out for bounty. Gus, born sharing some of the features of a deer, has lived alone all his life with his father in the deep woods, hiding out from whatever tatter of humanity is left in the world. When his father dies, Gus, at nine years of age, has to fend for himself, that is until he is attacked by hunters and falls in with the mysterious and violent Jepperd. Superficially the tale of two unlikely companions travelling across an unforgiving landscape, Out of the Deep Woods is really about much more than that. Lemire guides the reader in the exploration of a captivating yet brutal setting and the affects of it on a young, innocent boy.

Lemire’s art is beautiful, at times border-line poetic, and deftly depicts the horror-torn America after the passage of “The Affliction.” The action kicks of very fast and is never relents. In fact, things move a bit too fast, leaving us very little time to get comfortably settled with Gus, Jepperd and the vast setting. It’s obvious that Lemire cannot be spending the first couple of issues in a new series dwelling on these details, yet it’s a shame that we cannot be better informed before we get going on a journey that looks promising indeed. Despite this, Lemire is does a fine job of making the reader connect with Gus as we are just as confused and at times awed by the new world we are discovering. In short, Out of the Deep Woods is exactly what it’s meant to be: the opening episodes of a longer-lasting series brought together into a single volume which, though not exactly satisfying on its own, should make you long for the next volume. One can only hope, and expect, that all things will be fleshed-out as the series progresses.

Summarizing Info:
My Rating: 4 out of 5
Reading Age: 15 and up

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