"Babyteeth #9" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by AfterShock Comics
Written by Donny Cates
Illustrated by Garry Brown
Colored by Mark Englert
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on March 21st, 2018
A whole lot of shit hits the fan in Babyteeth #8. Sadie's mother, Christine, has drugged her and stolen her baby, Clark (who happens to be the Antichrist). She's part of a bizarre cult that's looking to prepare the child for his rightful place in the world. They're located deep within a bunker in Maine, which is now under attack by an assassin with a personal grudge. Meanwhile, Sadie's father and sister, Heather, are fighting off the charred Dancy to track her down. Not that long ago, Sadie was just a nerdy high school student.
Throughout all this chaos, Sadie's father is a rock. He wants to protect his children and nothing is going to stop him from doing that. As explosive blasts rock the underground facility, he calmly talks to Sadie and explains what's going on. Writer Donny Cates nails this family dynamic so well. This father is like Coach Taylor in Friday Night Lights. He's that good of a parent. This dynamic extends to Heather, who is a definite favorite in Babyteeth. Where Sadie is quiet and reserved, Heather is an exposed nerve, lashing out at anyone that does her wrong.
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Artist Garry Brown and colorist Mark Englert deliver an exciting and fast-paced issue. The panels bounce between the mayhem going on inside the compound and the purposeful destruction on the outside. The colors contrast nicely, with the interior looking red and bright while the exterior is cool and dark. They flash back and forth on the same page, making for excellent pacing. Coupled with the loud “WHAAAM-WHAAAM” noise of alarms blaring and you've got some rather tense scenes.
Christine's perfectly crafted plans are starting to crumble around her. She's spent a lifetime working towards a goal of bringing the Antichrist into this world and just when she's about to see the fruit of her labors, it could all fall apart. This could make a normal person desperate. Christine keeps her cool under so much pressure and works to quickly adapt her plans to these new obstacles. That means even more bloodshed.
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While Christine is calm and collected, Dancy is full of rage. He was just roasted by a weird little raccoon demon and he's not too happy about that. I doubt he's ever been in such a vulnerable position before, given his strength and abilities. Now he's walking around like a crispy version of what he once was. His once long and voluminous hair is now nothing more than a few wisps. His skin looks like charcoal. His face is distorted into a near permanent scowl. This has made him even more dangerous.
Family is what elevates Babyteeth, making it such a tense and exciting comic every month. This shouldn't come as a surprise, as it's a definite strength of writer Donny Cates (see also Redneck and God Country). This character-driven drama is amplified by the over-the-top and relentless action these people find themselves in. I am continually amazed at the level of quality this comic displays. This is a top-tier book that everyone should be reading, horror fan or not. It's just so friggin' good.