BITTER ROOT #1 BY DAVID F. WALKER, CHUCK BROWN, SANFORD GREENE, and RICO RENZI
Plot
Characterization
Art
Summary
A family of monster hunters must stop monsters called Jinoo from taking over the world in this jaw-dropping stunning new series.
100 %
Welcome to the jazz age of monster hunters.
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Every family has its problems, but none hold a candlestick to the Sangerye family. For generations, the Sangerye’s have protected the world from monsters. But in BITTER ROOT #1, the years of effort have taken a heavy toll on the family. As a result, the Sangerye family’s members are dwindling. Will the remaining family members be enough to stop the forces of evil? Or will the forces of darkness prevail?

BITTER ROOT #1

BITTER ROOT #1 is set in 1920’s Harlem, New York. The story centers around an African American family, the Sangerye, who run a barber and medicinal potion shop. But the Sangerye do a little bit more than just sell medicine and do hair. They’re monster hunters who protect Earth from the Jinoo. They use a serum created by Ma Etta, the matriarch of the Sangerye family. But at the bitter root of it all, this story isn’t just about monsters. It’s about racism, hatred, and how the two can grow to enormous heights if we let it.

BITTER ROOT #1-MA ETTA FIXING SERUM
Image Courtesy of Image Comics

BITTER ROOT #1 isn’t just a good book, it’s a great one. Writers Chuck Brown and David F. Walker have delivered an incredible story that revolves around racism and monsters. Basically, the hate you give can turn you into a horned demon called the Jinoo. The Jinoo represent hate but rather than kill the monsters, the Sangeyre family has found a cure for them. The term bitterroot refers to a small herb that has the ability to regenerate from dry and seemingly dead roots. Ma Etta’s serum utilizes roots to restore people to how they were before hate consumed them. Ultimately, the story implies that hate is a disease that can be cured.

I really love how Brown and Walker utilized the power of comics to talk about racism, which is still something that continues to plague our existence in this country today. The monsters represent the hate in America and the Sangerye family show us how to handle a problem without resorting to violence.

The Sangerye Family

This issue introduces us to some of the characters of the Sangerye family. First, there’s Cullen who, despite being the smallest family member, has a lot of heart. At the beginning of the issue, we see him trying to take down a large Jinoo without anyone’s help. Unfortunately, he’s not as skilled as his cousins, Berg and Blink. As the story progresses, we’ll watch him evolve into the monster hunter that’ll make his family proud.

Then there’s Berg, who’s the biggest member. He’s a highly intelligent and very confident monster hunter. When we meet him, he’s training his cousin Cullen. I guarantee you’ll find yourself googling some of the dialogue that comes out of Berg’s mouth.

And last but not least, there’s Blink, who I feel is the star of the issue. She’s a fighter. A very strong-willed woman who fights for what she wants and believes. Blink loves her family and wants them to think progressively. She wants to hunt monsters more than anything. However, her grandma forbids her from hunting because of their dwindling family line.

BITTER ROOT #1-BLINK JUMPING INTO ACTION
Image Courtesy of Image Comics

Visual Art of the Harlem Renaissance

Sanford Green’s pencil work is jaw-droppingly brilliant. For example, the opening splash page in the Sweet Pickin jazz club makes you want to get up off your feet and dance to some swing music. Every page is crafted so well, you’ll just want to frame the pages and hang them on your wall. Whether it’s the family chasing Jinoo or the cops patrolling the park, every panel is done with such finesse and is energizing to look at. There’s so much detail that helps drive the story along. Rico Renzi does an excellent job providing some vibrant colors that really bring Sanford Green work to life. The smooth color patterns he chose really gives the book a jazzy tone throughout with the use of the blue, pink, and purple colors.

BITTER ROOT#1-DANCING AT THE SWEET PICKIN
Image Courtesy of Image Comics

Lasting Impressions

BITTER ROOT #1 is off to a strong start. It combines a good blend of great characters, an interesting storyline, and stunning visuals. Langston Hughes, Marcus Garvey, and W.E.B. Du Bois would be very proud of this book. Also, it’ll be interesting to see what’s in store for the Sangeyre’s as the story continues to unfold. I would definitely recommend adding this book to your pull list.

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