Comic Book Review: Babyteeth #1
AfterShock Comics has been home to some of very unique comic book series varying in genre. Of all the newer publishers out there, this is one that really does aim to reach lots of different audiences. This week, they launch another new series – “Babyteeth.” Written by one of the hottest writers in comics writer now, Donny Cates, with art by the always great Garry Brown, “Babyteeth” #1 is a strong first issue that entices the reader while giving them plenty to come back to.
“Babyteeth” introduces us to 16 year old Sadie. Sadie has found herself in a tough position as she’s pregnant and still in high school. She’s been able to hide this thanks to some slick layering and the fact that she’s just not noticed a lot in school but on the day of her baby’s birth all that goes out the window. Turns out, Sadie is pregnant with the anti-Christ and his arrival causes earthquakes but for Sadie, this is the day she meets her baby for the first time.
One of my favorite sort of sub genres of horror are the stories that feature evil or demonic kids. Kids are kind of scary on their own (think about it) and when you add something in like the kid literally being the anti-Christ and the scares are elevated. What stands out about the first issue of “Babyteeth” is that Cates is not writing a riff on any previous story. This isn’t “Teen Rosemary’s Baby” but something else completely. The story has a worldwide implication but feels very personal. This is about a girl who’s still so young and has so much growing of her own to do but is now saddled with a child that will be a lot more than she bargained for. There’s a lot of heart here between Sadie and her sister and Sadie and her new baby. “Babyteeth” #1 introduces Sadie so well but still touches on the bigger plot and because of this, it feels like a very complete first issue. It has exactly what you need to become invested in the story while still giving you plenty to want to learn in future issues.
Artist Garry Brown has the task of bring a lot of the aforementioned heart in the script to life. “Babyteeth” #1 isn’t your typical horror comic that aims to shock. Instead, this issue wants you to become invested in these characters. Brown gives Sadie a really distinct look and unlike a lot of teens in comics, she actually looks like a teenager. I love the interactions between her and her visually tough as nails sister Heather. Brown does a great job highlighting their differences and love for each other and all that comes through even if you take away the dialogue. The pages later on that deal with earthquakes and lots of fast movement are done very well. Brown understands how to make his sequences move and feel three dimensional. His inks are heavy but he leaves plenty of space for colorist Mark Englert to do some great things. His use of reds after Sadie’s first contraction feel demonic and very violent. Englert is able to do a lot of different things in this issue from more quiet moments like Sadie sitting along recording a message to the more dream like sequences as she’s delivering her baby.
“Babyteeth” #1 is a strong debut that does a great job at being a true first issue that gives us lots to want to come back to without feeling hollow. The art and coloring is great and I’m excited for more.