"Babyteeth #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by AfterShock Comics
Written by Donny Cates
Illustrated by Garry Brown
Colored by Mark Englert
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on June 7th, 2017
Sadie Ritter is sixteen and she just gave birth to the Antichrist. Whatever normal teenage drama you're used to is thrown out the window with Babyteeth, the new series from writer Donny Cates, artist Garry Brown, and colorist Mark Englert. We don't have various factions of Christianity and Satanic cults fighting over Sadier and her child (at least not yet). Instead, we enter into a personal story about this girl and the day her baby is born, with a glimpse at the terror to come.
We're dropped right into Sadie's world moments before she goes into labor. It's easy to immediately fall in love with her. If you're reading a comic book, there's a good chance you fall into the nerdy category. Don't think about it too much. It's cool now. In any case, Sadie is just like us. She's plugged into pop culture and sees everything through that prism. Since we quickly identify with her, it makes the following events all the more harrowing.
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Much of this is communicated through Brown's design of Sadie. She looks so innocent and naïve, blissfully reading comics under a tree in a wool hat and oversized winter coat. She should probably have a few more freckles to really seal the deal. You would never know that she's about to give birth to the Antichrist. This same look is carried into the future scenes where Sadie is recounting this ordeal from. She's wearing the same outfit and sitting in a similar position, albeit in very different circumstances.
Childbirth is already a scary process, especially for first timers. Sadie hasn't even told her parents she's pregnant. The only other person that knows is her sister Heather, who will fight to the death for her. Sadie's labor is exponentially more terrifying due to what's growing in her belly. Her contractions are shown visually as each one creates an earthquake, increasing in intensity as the baby gets closer to arriving. The panel turns red and the images seem to vibrate a little. It's a nice effect and really pushes the severity of the situation. It also underlines the unnatural quality of this whole experience.
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If Sadie is a wide-eyed ball of innocence, Heather is a rough-edged rock of badassery. She is fiercely loyal to her sister and she's not going to tolerate anyone messing with her. Heather is the kind of tough woman that won't put up with anyone's shit, however there's a softness for Sadie. Most of the shots of her have this look of cold determination that loosens only when Sadie is in danger. That's when real concern comes through. Brown says so much in those facial expressions.
Babyteeth is off to a helluva start. Cates writes characters that feel like actual people you've known all your life, then puts them into horrifying situations that would make any normal person break down. Coupled with Brown's artwork and Englert's colors, this is set to be an incredible series. If this is how the world ends, it's just beginning.