Yeah, the Fourth of July messed up the release date for comics. But don’t worry, here’s a special mini comic review of Babyteeth‘s second issue, as well as a “reprint” of my review of the first issue!
Babyteeth #2 (Aftershock Comics)
The opening issue of Babyteeh sure had a lot of potential. Despite the usual “girl gives birth to the Antichrist” trope, Donny Cates and Garry Brown’s series had an interesting narrative system and compelling lead character to help set up the story. But one thing that was missing was the fleshing out of the world around Sadie. While we got to meet her, her child, and her immediate family, there wasn’t enough of the larger story to really make an impact. Luckily for us, Cates and Brown address that in issue two, and bring in some truly fantastic world building to the Babyteeth story.
Babyteeth #2 picks up a few weeks after Sadie has given birth to Clark. She’s still learning the ropes of feeding her child, and like all new mothers, feels like she’s doing everything wrong. But what she doesn’t know yet is that there’s a dark secret society that hunts down children they believe to be the Antichrist, and they’re now aware that something is up with Clark. This leads us to a pretty entertaining introduction to “Prairie Wolf”, an assassin who has a pretty fantastic introduction that I won’t spoil here.
I mentioned this in my previous review of Babyteeth’s first issue, but Donny Cates really has a gift for characterization. We’ve already been given enough time to fall in love with Sadie, but this issue gives us even more insight to her father and sister, who are both equally great characters in their own unique ways. Cates also has fun teasing upcoming events in the series via Sadie’s story for her son, which adds to the fun of reading the story (I mean, evil devil Raccoons? How could I say no?). But the real shining moment for this issue is the introduction of Prairie Wolf.
Simply put, Prairie Wolf’s introduction is fantastic. It’s the perfect marriage of words and pictures, and now I can see why Garry Brown is on this book with Cates. While Brown’s facial work is a little looser than even the first issue of Babyteeth, the introduction to Prairie Wolf is so fun and fantastic that you can forgive a few weird facial quirks on the characters. Brown and Cates deliver a truly memorable intro for this character that will definitely pop into your head whenever you hear a certain R.E.M. song on the radio.
I was hoping that Babyteeth’s second issue would give us a little more to chew on when it came to the story, and I was happy to see that I was not disappointed. It may be too early to make this claim, but this book reminds me an awful lot of Preacher tone wise, and if Cates and Brown can continue to deliver fresh and exiting moments like the Prairie Wolf introduction, then we’ll have a really fantastic series on our hands.
Babyteeth #1 (Aftershock Comics)
Aftershock Comics has been making quite the name for themselves lately. While they don’t have the volume of titles like Image or Dark Horse, they’ve been acquiring the kind of talent that definitely makes you stop and take notice. Their latest series, Babyteeth, is no exception. Co-created by God Country and Redneck writer Donny Cates, Babyteeth is a surprisingly sweet take on the old “girl gives birth to the Antichrist” story that we’ve seen plenty of times before in horror movies.
Sadie Ritter is a sixteen year old girl who’s about to go into labor. Funny thing is though, with each contraction, the ground shakes underneath her. Instead of her water breaking, she’s bleeding. Once she makes it to the hospital, she blacks out and finds herself in a white, quiet space. She comes to once the baby is born, and even though it has pale skin and jet black eyes, Sadie doesn’t mind, it’s her child, and she loves him. And she’ll do anything to protect him.
It’s this take on the Antichrist story that makes Babyteeth so unique. Instead of being afraid of her child, Sadie loves him unconditionally. Donny Cates’ script makes you feel for Sadie and fully understand the love she has for her son (who she names “Clark” in a funny nod to Superman). Cates’ gift for characterization is on full display here, creating a character that is just as fully realized as the ones in his other books God Country and Redneck. Sadie’s a character that you immediately want to spend more time with as soon as you finish the book.
Garry Brown’s art is a little looser than I prefer, but he’s able to express the right human emotions on the characters to make this book work. Sadie’s love practically beams off her face with Brown’s pencils, and he even makes baby Clark look kind of cute in a demonic baby sort of way. While he could work on his details in his art, so far Brown’s a good companion to Cates’ script.
Babyteeth’s subject matter isn’t going to be for everyone, but it is a pretty cool and refreshing take on a well-worn horror trope. Cates leaves us on a very intriguing cliffhanger, and while I do wish this issue was just a little bit longer, I can’t wait to see what else he’s got up his sleeve. Mark this as another win for the newest hit writer on the block.