What was fascinating about Bitter Root #1 was its ability to begin a story and weave together the stylistic feel of a Steampunk Harlem Renaissance with the issues of the present day. Bitter Root #2 continues that trend, picking up where we left off with Cullen and Berg battling a powerful, new Jinoo and protecting some civilians while a mysterious stranger mows down a KKK regiment who all turned to Jinoo themselves.
“We typically don’t know what we have until it’s lost” is a lesson that many of us heard growing up, and it’s one that Jack Boniface has to contend with in this issue of Shadowman. For years, he’s wanted to be rid of the Ioa, and in Issue #10, he is finally free from his curse, but everything always has a consequence of some sort.
One of the biggest plot points of Bitter Root is that people have to deal with monsters, and not just the ones with sharp teeth that eat little girls (although that definitely is part of the story). It’s about how people fight back against the monsters we see every day, hiding in the dark, lurking behind the scenes, and how we protect our own humanity.
When we last left Seven to Eternity, the Mud King and Adam were captives of the Mud King’s estranged pirate son, the Mosak were hot on Adam’s trail, and the Piper had arrived at Skod to free his father in an exposition-heavy issue. This time, we’re treated to a payoff to that slow-building momentum, making room for what comes next with a surprising ending.
Wytches: Bad Egg is a great jumping-on point for newcomers to this wonderfully haunting series by Scott Snyder. If you haven’t read the previous issues, that’s okay, because we’re given what’s essentially a crash course into the lore of Wytches.
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips are changing the landscape of the comic book industry. Their two names are essentially a stamp of quality when it comes to graphic novels and storytelling. Their new story, My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies, is about two people, Ellie and Skip, who find love in a rehab center and decide to run away together. Ellie is self-aware enough to realize that she’s a bad influence, but as their romance grows, mysteries begin to unravel. The question, however, is if the mysteries are worth it in the end.
Shanghai Red has always been a revenge story from the start. Red, after having killed her captors, takes the ship she was forced to work on, and in meeting up with her sister, hunts down the people that took away an entire year from her. Her alternate persona, Jack, protects her and does the killing of all of the men responsible.
The idea of identity is one of the more prominent themes that seems to be recurring throughout Shanghai Red, and it’s one that I didn’t expect to be so invested in.
One of the great things about Rat Queens is its world building. I don’ know if you’ve noticed, but world building can be some of the most excruciatingly bland things to read, with too many adjective and metaphors trying to compare certain aspects of the world to ours.