Advance Review – Bitter Root #1 (Image Comics)

Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: David F. Walker, Chuck Brown
Artwork: Sanford Greene
Release Date: 14th November 2018

If someone gives you blurb about a 1920’s tale of monster hunters and humanity ending supernatural forces, you’d be forgiven for making the not-altogether-uneducated leap that this might have a Lovecraftian edge of Mythos horror. Hands up I’ll admit that I did, and I couldn’t be happier about being wrong!

Opening with energy in Harlem 1924, we’re treated to some hefty visuals from the off, courtesy of Sanford Greene. The splash, filled with an unusual but welcome palette of pinks, purples, and cyan, really brings the vibrant buzz of a jazz or swing club pounding off the page. You can almost hear the roll of the drum and blare of brass before a shift switch to the still of night and an introduction to the family Sangerye.

With a long history of monster hunting, the now dwindling family Sangerye consists of old Ma Etta, the wizened head, cousins Berg and Cullen, and what appears to be our protagonist Blink, a fast talking, hard-hitting, strong lead; all of whom are pretty engaging, albeit Berg’s enigmatic and verbose palaver is a tad superfluous… These folks deal with the things that go bump in the night, battling with demonic monsters by means of brain, brawn, and mystical herbal root lore.

David F. Walker and Chuck Brown’s opening premise is pretty straightforward. We’ve got the Sangerye working away in the shadows unbeknownst to the majority to protect the rest of us, incidences of monster attacks increasing, a potential rival in the form of the strange Doctor, and a switch from Harlem to a Klan meet in Mississippi. Despite all of this, I’m not sure I’m any the wiser as to where this is going but it’s so much fun, I don’t actually mind.

This opening issue strikes up the beat, hits all the right notes, and plonks you right in the middle of the story unfurling around you. Walker and Brown bring to the table a heady mix of action and mystery, sugar-coated with supernatural beasties and potions, all with a fervour that you can’t help but enjoy. What really elevates this though is Greene’s artwork throughout. I’m not overly familiar with their work, but this issue has so many fantastic panels. From the opening splash to character expression, never mind the action and monsters, there’s so much in here that makes this a pleasure.

Sign me up for the next dose.

Rating: 5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster

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