Sweet Tooth: The Return Continues Jeff Lemire’s Acclaimed Series

While principal photography has recently resumed on Netflix's upcoming television adaptation of Sweet Tooth, the acclaimed comic book series has been revived, with original creator Jeff Lemire back at the helm as writer and artist. With the title's original home Vertigo Comics having since shuttered, Sweet Tooth: The Return has moved to DC Entertainment's mature reader-oriented publishing imprint DC Black Label as a six-issue miniseries. And the new story wastes no time in continuing Lemire's vision with plenty of intrigue and mystery to hook fans of the original series.

Billed as a reimagining and continuation of the original series, The Return opens similarly to the very first issue of the original Sweet Tooth as a young boy born with deer antlers named Gus grows accustomed to a strange, post-apocalyptic world. Announced from the outset as being set three hundred years after the conclusion of the original series, Gus is informed what had happened to the world before him while having visions of familiar faces from the Vertigo series before being driven by them to strike out and create a life for himself as he has already become a target for dark, oppressive figures.

Lemire settles back into the world he created back in 2009 like no time has passed at all. Lemire restages the opening of his past work here but also is well-aware of reader expectations and is able to heighten his previously established themes and narrative beats while subverting those expectations and tropes to great effect. While this opening issue works as a new beginning to the larger story, it may not be the best jumping on point for those that had missed Sweet Tooth the first time around. Familiar elements and faces are revisited and remixed, but this is very much a new story and apparent continuation of the world that Lemire had built and expanded upon and not a clean reboot. A lot of the effectiveness from this opener relies on readers having past knowledge and familiarity with that earlier story and that's only looking to build as the miniseries continue.

Lemire also takes the reins again on most of the art for the miniseries, as the comic book's penciller and inker. Joining him is colorist Jose Villarrubia, who had also worked with Lemire on the previous volume, to complete the visual look of The Return. There's a darker color palette used so far than Villarrubia had previously employed on the original volume, something that makes the overall proceedings just feel a lot more sinister than it had the first time around. Sweet Tooth was never known for pulling its punches and while Lemire and Villarrubia aren't necessarily bringing the blood and fury from the jump, their artwork also hits the ground running and sets the stakes relatively quickly.

Sweet Tooth: The Return pulls from familiar elements to reposition and remix the classic story to weave something new in the world that Jeff Lemire had created over a decade ago. Continuing from the previous volume, Lemire wastes no time in taking the latest iteration of Gus and already setting him on his own journey, with a nefarious faction fresh at his heels and establishing a mysterious with deep ties to the original story. While the miniseries starts off as a new beginning, it really pays off for readers that are already familiar with the previous volume for a welcome return back to Lemire's post-apocalyptic world.

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