"Bitter Root #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by David F. Walker and Chuck Brown
Illustrated by Sanford Greene
Colored by Rico Renzi & Sanford Greene
Lettered by Clayton Cowles
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on December 12th, 2018
The Sangerye Family is used to hunting monsters. They’ve been doing it for generations and have it down to a science. Granted, there are two schools of thought regarding how to handle the supernatural Jinoo that they’ve been fighting for years. One side wants to cure them, turning them back into humans. The other side wants to kill them, eliminating the problem altogether. To make matters worse, a new kind of creature has risen and its hunting the Sangeryes in Harlem.
Where the first issue of Bitter Root establishes the characters and this world, this chapter greatly expands upon it, working with multiple narratives at once to push the overall story forward. Writers David F. Walker and Chuck Brown keep a number of plates spinning, each more interesting than the last.
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This issue starts in Southern Mississippi, where Ford Sangerye interrupts a lynching from a bunch of Ku Klux Klan members who turn out to be monsters. This is an awesome sequence and a great way to bring us back into the story. Artist Sanford Greene delivers some amazing work with a dynamic panel layout that only adds to the intensity of the scene. We see the rampaging horde of monsters coming at the lone gunman and his retaliatory action, but not the actual impact. Instead, we see the looks of horror from people nearby and that spells it out completely.
Adding to this are the colors from Greene and Rico Renzi, which give the whole thing an eerie vibe. It’s all shown in greens and purples, which are unnatural colors for this setting and these characters, but yet it works very well in this context. It plays up a classic horror tone, like something you’d be reading by flashlight under the covers as a kid.
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Ford is an absolute badass and I can’t wait to learn more about him and how he got to here. His argument with the sole survivor of the lynch mob is incredibly powerful. It speaks to not just the supernatural elements of the story, but racism as a whole. This idiot kid’s responses mirror this, but in ignorance. His eyes were just opened to the idea of monsters and that black people are actual human beings.
The force that’s pulling strings in the shadows is an interesting one, providing another view on this monstrous threat that’s in direct opposition to both of those coming from the Sangeryes clan. We do see one creature on the move with a massive amount of power. Letterer Claytown Cowles plays up the unnatural quality of this being with some abnormally shaped word balloons and a jagged font. You can imagine its gravelly voice cutting through the darkness.
Bitter Root grows by leaps and bounds with this issue. This is a world that feels lived in, with deeply rooted lore. It has a ton of potential with an infinite amount of story possibilities. This one is already pretty exciting and we’re only just getting started. This is most definitely a comic to watch. Do not miss it.