Another series-ending collection. I'm not sure anyone here has been reading it--at least past the first few issues--but I thought I'd see if anyone wants to discuss it. The first three issues remind me of many of the things I've liked about the series. Two of them feature recurring format experiments. "The Continuing Adventures of the Big Man and the Boy" is a landscape format story (sideways) with a mix of illustrated narrative and conventional comics. "The Singh Tapes" uses a split-screen technique, with Dr. Singh's journal running across the bottom of the page, while a flashback of the historical events he refers to is depicted above. "The Ballad of Johnny and Abbot" is largely devoted to the childhood of the two brothers in flashback, illustrated by guest artist Nate Powell.
Despite all of the back story in these issues, the main narrative in the present also pushes forward at a good clip.
The title arc "Wild Game" is in four parts. It's the long-expected final confrontation between Jepperd and Abbot: fittingly enough, it takes place in the Alaskan laboratory that may have been the source of the hybrids and the plague. There's a protracted gun fight that precedes it, and it should be mentioned that there's a huge body count (that's without even counting the earlier attack on The Dam). This whole collection is a bit like reading The Walking Dead: any character could die at any time. While life has certainly been rough and violent throughout the series--it is a dystopia, after all--this feels like an escalation.
Another thing about the title arc: it seemed to read much faster than the average issues. It was action-packed, and paced like it.
The final issue of the series ("Home Sweet Home") is double-sized, and serves as an epilogue. The cover (which is also the cover of the collection) telegraphs the ending: Sweet Tooth lives to old age. The story tells the history of the hybrid society that Sweet Tooth founded, ultimately spanning generations. It's mostly a story of peace, although there is a final confrontation with the dwindling human population. After all of the violence and conflict that drove the series, life goes on.
I read the first issue when it came out and I liked it it well enough. I do plan on getting to trades "soon".
It ran 40 issues, collected in six trades, so it's not a huge commitment. It's certainly not for everyone, mainly due to Lemire's cartooning style. Despite his recent work on mainstream DC he's still very much an indie cartoonist. If you read the first volume you'll get a good sense of the flow of the story, although he did some interesting format experiments later.
I continued buying Sweet Tooth long past the point where my dislike of the art made me dislike the book, because my wife was enjoying it. So it should come as no surprise that I didn't care for Wild Game.
In addition to my dislike of the art, I was also disappointed in the story. The "coda" story Mark referred to was the worst part. It read to me like Lemire had plotted out the next 40 issues, and was told to wrap it up in one, so it read like a plot summary more than a story. To me, anyway.
But I was no more fond of the part before that. When I got to the end, and the mysteries of the plague and the hybrids were revealed, I thought, "That's it? That's all it was?" I felt a real sense of being cheated.
To my amusement, after my wife read the book, she said, "That's it? That's all it was?" We have clearly been married too long.
Anyway, if my wife -- who doggedly read through all five previous volumes -- was disappointed, I suspected there might be more disappointment out there. But from the above, it sounds like others enjoyed it more than us. Good!
For my part, after forcing myself through about three volumes of Lemire's art after I had grown sick of it, I find I can no longer tolerate it at all. I swear, *I* am a better artist than he is. And that's not because I'm so good!
I take your point about the ending. It was looking less and less likely that a cure would be found, especially after the previous issue depicting the voyage to Alaska that revealed that the hybrids had existed for years. I don't have much tolerance for the mystical turn the story took. Not that it was very deep: they hybrids arose because humanity was unable to live in harmony with nature. So I accepted the conclusion as inevitable, and just appreciated the skill in the telling of it. Although suddenly revealing a scientific cause and a cure would have been a nice twist!
I can't say if the final issue was planned from the beginning. But once the shape of the story was set, I doubt that Lemire ever intended to spend multiple issues depicting the establishment of the hybrid society. I enjoyed the quick look at how it all came out.