Review – Babyteeth #6 (AfterShock Comics)

Publisher: Aftershock Comics
Writer: Donny Cates
Artwork: Garry Brown, Mark Englert (colours), Taylor Esposito (lettering)
Release Date: 15th November 2017

The second arc of AfterShock Comics’ Babyteeth kicks off this week as teenage mum Sadie Ritter journeys with her possibly-the-antichrist newborn son to Palestine.  Waiting for her there, if her new acquaintance Dancy (the warlock) is to be believed, is a sanctuary from The Silhouette, a shadowy organisation hell-bent on killing her offspring before he can destroy the world.  Teenage mother problems, amirite?

Writer Donny Cates deserves all the credit in the world for managing to extract such an enjoyable series from his million dollar elevator pitch, and the more we dig into this intriguing world of assassins, sinister prophecies and demonic raccoons (yup), the more engaging it all becomes.  This is still very much a transitional issue though, as our cast of characters – including the always scene-stealing auntie Heather and Sadie’s father “the Captain” – relocate while taking stock of the shocking events of the first arc.

Cates’ dialogue is filled with the impressive blend of humour and emotion that has typified his writing career to this point, and once again Sadie and her dryly comic inner monologue serves as the de facto narrator for the story as it slowly unfolds.  The format of the series – framed as Sadie recording a video message for her son Clark, recounting the early moments of his life –  really helps to keep the reader’s interest piqued, with Sadie frequently ‘getting ahead of herself’ and giving away hints of events that haven’t transpired yet.

That said, Cates does throw in a major-league curveball near the end of the issue, proving that while Sadie is definitely foreshadowing a lot of things, she’s still not giving away everything.  This shocking revelation promises to change the entire course of the series in a single page, and throws up a plethora of unanswered questions that we’ll hopefully get to dig into a little deeper as this second arc unfolds.

Garry Brown’s artwork is exactly what you’d come to expect from the Scottish artist by now, so if you’re already a fan of his confident, thick-lined and heavily inked style, you’re definitely in for a treat.  Detail is once again sacrificed at the altar of expression here, resulting in a striking aesthetic that still manages to inject an impressive amount of emotion into what is an undeniably stripped-down style.

Mark Englert’s colours also really help to sell certain aspects of the story, particularly the Twilight Zone-inspired scene on the plane which sees baby Clark getting more than a little agitated.  Never a good thing when we’re potentially talking about the antichrist himself, folks.  Englert also does a great job in the closing pages, a purple-bathed sequence featuring the return of aging hitman “the Coyote”.

Six issues in and Babyteeth is losing none of its early momentum, and this tale of teenage motherhood, demons, assassins and shadowy conspiracies only promises to get better and better in this thrilling second arc.  Cates and Brown are both firing on all cylinders here, and while this issue does admittedly feel like a brief pause for breath before the real action of the second chapter starts, it’s still packed with both memorable and shocking moments.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 4/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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