Review – Babyteeth #12 (AfterShock Comics)

Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Writer: Donny Cates
Artwork: Garry Brown
Colours: Mark Englert
Lettering: Taylor Esposito
Release Date: 15th August 2018

The third arc of Donny Cates and Garry Brown’s BABYTEETH is now in full swing, and as our Earthbound characters solemnly celebrate Clark’s first birthday in his absence, Sadie has had just about enough of being told she’s not ready.

It’s really impressive how each arc of this series has managed to feel different from the last while still maintaining the same core of characters and overarching narrative.  Tensions are clearly fraying, and Cates does a typically stellar job with the dialogue here, with the profanity-laced verbal sparring between Sadie and Olivia providing highlight after highlight.

As you can see from the preview below, it’s also revealed that the only way for Simon to open a portal to the “Red Realm” is for him to become scared, and in his mother’s own words, Simon isn’t afraid of anything anymore.  This leads to a remarkably poignant and genuinely moving exchange between Simon and Sadie, another hidden hallmark of Cates’ ostensibly action-packed and in-your-face style of writing.

Co-creator Garry Brown once again does an impressive job on the visual side of the book with his broad, heavily inked style.  Detail is sacrificed in favour of expression and emotion, and he captures the latter in spades here, particularly during the aforementioned scene with Simon.  Brown’s striking visual style may perhaps be a little too raw for certain tastes, but works beautifully to here nail all the storyline and character beats here with a real sense of flair.

Mark Englert’s colours are every bit as important as Brown’s emphatic inks, and really help to sell the emotion of the story, particularly in the latter stages of the issue where the orange and red hues bleed together to deliver what is a fairly oppressive, menacing aesthetic.

It’s also worth mentioning that, for my money, Donny Cates is the absolute best in the business today at cliff-hangers and shocking splash page reveals.  Seriously, the dude just flat-out knows how to deliver a good sting, and the two words he ends this particular issue with managed to raise some genuine real-world goosebumps from this cynical, jaded thirtysomething reviewer.

Over the last twelve issues, BABYTEETH has gradually evolved from an intriguing high-concept elevator pitch (single mother gives birth to the antichrist) to a fascinating and multi-layered story packed with intriguing characters and an enjoyable blend of humour and gravitas.  If you haven’t picked this one up yet, then I’d wholeheartedly suggest grabbing the first two trades and joining us in the “Red Realm” as soon as possible.  Seriously folks, this is one of the best books on the shelves right now.

Rating: 4.5/5.


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