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.
We’re introduced to the Sangerye family, a family that has dedicated themselves to hunting down monsters they call the Jinoo. It’s set against the backdrop of the Harlem Renaissance in deep Mississippi and showcases the struggle of the family’s need to adhere to their mission and code of conduct.
As a first issue, Bitter Root does well in setting everything up. Of course, that comes with its own stipulations. Those faulty first issue problems do sneak their head in the comic from time to time, but they’re not big enough to slow down the positives of the story. But, one of the best aspects of setting up that story is that it doesn’t need narration from the characters to set up this universe. The action and dialogue on the page do all of that for you, as well as setting up the personalities of the characters that are sure to win you over. It just goes to show how impressive writer duo David F. Walker and Chuck Brown are.
We can’t forget about the art either. Sanford Greene’s artwork truly captures that feeling of the 1920s Harlem Renaissance juxtaposed with a splash of Steampunk, just enough to whet the palette and get you excited for more wacky inventions. This all wouldn’t work if it weren’t for the impressive colors, leading you to feel, instead of just seeing the world that these characters inhabit.
With its modern themes in a vintage setting coupled with strong writing and characters, Bitter Root #1 combines strong characters, impressive action, and real-world problems that we can all relate to. This debut sets up Bitter Root to be a contender for the best new comic book in the year.
Creative Team: David F. Walker and Chuck Brown (writers), Sanford Greene (illustrator), Rico Renzi (colors), Clayton Cowles (Letters)
Publisher: Image Comics
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