Reviews

Writers: David Walker and Chuck Brown

Artist: Sanford Greene

Colorist: Rico Renzi and Sanford Greene

Letterer: Clayton Cowles

 

“One of the greatest horrors we face is racism”

 

Bitter Root follows the Sangerye family of demon hunters during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Despite it’s heavy topic, the comic does not feel heavy in tone. The story opens up with the central team of Sangerye’s practicing various parts of their craft. We see through their work that have a tenuous relationship with the few members of law enforcement that are aware of their supernatural activities. They have been fighting local Jinoo, humans who have morphed into dangerous creatures when their souls have been corrupted. The Sangerye’s are used to battling simple Jinoo, but something bigger is coming and along with it a major threat to the family. The comic features great pacing and seamless transitions to various parts of the story. We see several other characters who have an interest in the Sangerye’s but who are working to an end that is yet unclear.

 

Sanford Greene’s distinct art style is uniquely suited to this type of story. It is gritty in a way that speaks well to the horror genre but the overall feel is light enough that you can follow the story with a sense of excitement as though you are adventuring along with the characters. His splash pages are particularly magnificent which lend to lingering over the art to it soak in. The main covers of each issue connect to provide one large panel featuring the Sangyere Family.

 

And don’t skip the back matter of each issue. In addition to a character design feature from Sanford, there is a short essay of historical relevance to the story by cultural studies professor John Jennings. Jennings has an impressive list of works to his credit including the art for the Eisner award winning graphic adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Kindred.