Sweets by Kody Chamberlain (2014)


L: 6/10

M: 2/10

Analysis from that pair of scissors you know that you just had but can’t find them and looked everywhere for:

Not so much a misstep, in my opinion, but more of an over-ambitious attempt, Sweets is a quick burn. Convoluted is a word that comes to mind after finishing the series. I pause to look up the definition of the word because I didn’t come out of this thing hating the story.

An interesting who-done-it is crammed into the five issues of this Image Comic miniseries. I feel as if a couple more issues would have significantly helped out Kody Chamberlain’s story. The characters are interesting, and the Louisiana city streets pave the road for this murder mystery to wreak havoc on anyone who stands in its way.

With my pleasantries well placed, I have to say this comic didn’t really work for me. Much promise was set forth and under-delivered, in my opinion. The protagonist, a grieving father, and a detective on the outs with the department rushes to find a serial killer before mother nature shits another hurricane on the southern state once more. I can picture Mr. Chamberlain right now, storyboarding this series in a dark room, pictures with red string pinned to them in a fury of madness. In the end, nothing short of such relays to the reader. But hey that could just be me, I’d try to get medication for attention deficit disorder if I had better health insurance.

I am forced into giving extra credit when both the art and writing credit falls under the same name. I think it’s fascinating when an idea can pass through a single conduit and paint the picture it’s meant to paint, from contraception through infancy and finally the printer. At times it’s a little messier than the stylings I tend to fall for, but the story absorbs some of the rough edges. The writing and art fall together, if not off by a step, and work themselves into a quick and enjoyable binge read.

Analysis from a Louisiana native with a crawfish craving:

I was initially drawn to this series based on its tie to my Louisiana roots, and the Kickstarter process only added to the appeal. I try to support those who are brave enough to attempt what I will never have the courage to. All of the above only adds to the sadness with which I must admit to my disappointment in Sweets.

When it comes to music, I am a lyric whore. If a song’s lyrics speak to me, then I am easily obsessed regardless of genre. The same logic, or lack thereof, applies to comics and illustrations. The mess and mixture of artistic style in Sweets was the first nail in the coffin of this comic for me. I found the entire visual aspect to be frustrating and hard to follow. While I can appreciate that the artistry changed with the storyline, it failed to reflect the concept appropriately. It only made it seem as if a group of varying artists was each handed a portion of dialogue and instructed to create a scene without any input or sharing of visions from the rest of the team. In short, it was a mess that lacked any cohesion. The only highlight for me was the scene in the New Orleans graveyard that would make any Louisiana resident proud. It is truly a unique visual which celebrates the chaotic yet beautiful way in which we honor our deceased.

The storyline of Sweets did not fare any better than the artwork, in my humble opinion. There were missed opportunities to truly connect and invest in the characters. The reader was handed small glimpses into a past life and emotional connections, but it ended there. When a story offers you breadcrumbs, it often leads to a payout of full disclosure, but not in this story. Here, a reader never absorbs more than the few morsels offered, and by the conclusion is still left starving rather than full and satisfied at the end. If the goal was to leave the reader wanting more, it was missed. Typically I would plead for justification for any parent who has lost a child, but the lack of character development left me feeling indifferent to the outcome. I’ll risk the possible “spoiler alert” by commenting on the bird flu in the surprise ending as a challenge to anyone who can explain to me just what the hell happened there. After reading the ending several times, I’m still left with questions I, frankly, don’t care enough to know the answers to.

I sincerely hope the author takes another stab at the genre. I will gladly offer up a second chance as the bones of the story had great potential, but I need meat. Give me the meat.

kody chamberlain
Kody Chamberlain

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