Bitter Root #1

Writers: David F. Walker, Chuck Brown
Artist: Sanford Greene
Publisher: Image Comics

Review by Anelise Farris

Set in 1920s New York, during the heart of the Harlem Renaissance, Bitter Root #1 introduces us to the Sangerye family. The Sangeryes are monster hunters who keep New York (and the world at large) safe from supernatural entities. Like all families, however, the Sangeryes have not been on the best of terms with each other lately for one reason or another. The question becomes: can the Sangeryes come together before the world (quite literally) falls apart?

We’re kind of thrown right into the action, witnessing the family members banter back and forth, as we try to piece together who’s who and what’s what. You definitely sense the tension among everyone, but it’s difficult to find the “roots” of it, so to speak, yet. We also meet other players in this type of business who are interested in the Sangeryes’ abilities. And at the end we cut to Mississippi and meet even more people. So yeah, we have a lot of people. It’s a little busy, or crowded, for my taste, but I found the characters interesting enough, and the environment is compelling.

The art has a very bluesy rock n’ roll vibe from the soft linework and muted colors to the hypnotic energy of each page. And I love, love, love all the purple! The characters are very animated, and the monster designs are impressive. For a comic with so many characters, the artist does a good job of giving everyone unique features.

Verdict: Wait and See.

Bitter Root #1 has a lot of potential; this first issue just feels a bit crowded and unsure of itself. There’s enough here that interests me though to cause me to check out issue #2. Also, even if you don’t read Bitter Root #1, the back essays on horror and racism are well worth your time!

Anelise Farris
I'm a doctor that specializes in folklore and mythology, speculative fiction, and disability studies. Basically, I'm a professional geek. When not researching or teaching, I read; I write; I yoga; I travel; I play with my fur babies; and, I watch way too many (if that's a thing) horror movies.

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