I have a very small local comic shop that doesn't carry indie comics, but will order anything you want if you tell them about it. They actually started ordering extra copies of iZombie because I asked for it and they hadn't heard of it, but liked the covers, and thought it'd be fun to stock. So when I saw the preview images for Sweets in the back of another comic, I knew I had to request it. Even though I wasn't entirely sure what sort of story it was going to be, the art was intriguing, and that's half the reason I read a comic at all, so I needed to roll the dice.
When I read the first issue of Sweets, I liked it a lot, but I realized it may be the sort of comic that would be easier for me to read all at once. So I patiently waited until I had all five issues of the mini-series in my possession before I continued reading. Each month I got a Sweets comic in my pull was like knowing I was getting another Christmas present that I had to wait to open.
Sweets is written and illustrated by Louisiana native Kody Chamberlain, who was a part of the 30 Days of Night sequel "Bloodsucker Tales." Sweets is a crime novel with some noir and some drama and some supernatural mystery and a lot of other things thrown in there. It begins with a recipe for Pecan Pralines, in case you missed the title, and continues by telling the story of a diabetic serial killer being pursued by two tired New Orleans homicide detectives, just days before Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. (Thankfully, the hurricane is never used in a "AND THEN ROBERT PATTINSON DIES BECAUSE OF HISTORY!" way.)
Since getting issue #5, I've read the whole story several times. For someone like me that has trouble reading comics, I'm glad I waited to have the whole story. Although, Chamberlain includes visual cues that there's a plot point ahead, or an important left turn coming up.
But even though these are printed right there on the page, they aren't telegraphed. For me, knowing the next scene was between a cop and a homeless guy wasn't necessarily a huge tip-off, but in the end it's the little stuff that always becomes important, as anyone who has watched The Wire will know. (Often on David Simon shows, there are short, 30 second or less scenes that simply "check in" with a character -- because of the diverse and large cast, they try to work everyone in -- and you think "What the hell was that for?", but it's never just a wasted moment.) Sweets has a lot of elements it pulls together, and you may have been left scratching your head about who that one dude was with the bowler hat and how it has anything to do with anything.
Then again, you may not. As I said, I'm pretty comprehension stupid, and I was able to keep up despite the many plot threads. Maybe it's because I love a good cop story, and that sort of thing holds my attention better than superhero novels or Batman traveling through time to be a pilgrim or whatever.
What I do know is that Sweets is a beautiful looking book with a good story to tell, even though it's not your traditional whodunit. You know pretty much from the beginning who the killer is, even though you don't know his name... but you don't know him, really, until the last few pages. It's not Se7en, but it's not Dexter, either.
That's why I'm not entirely sure I understood the ending, but then again I don't know that it was supposed to be the sort of finish that ties everything up with a big bow. Maybe I was supposed to question my original instincts and impressions. I don't want to give too much away, because the fun in this book is exploring the unknown. All I will say is that if you like police procedurals, if you like mysteries, if you liked The X-Files or The Wire, you may really love this comic.
If you pre-order the paperback collection in the month of June, it's 50% off ($7.50.) If you'd rather wait for it to hit stores, it'll be out on August 24th.