Review: ‘Bitter Root #8’ – Here Comes The Devil

by Malissa White

Bitter Root #8 finds the Sangeyre family together apart. While Blink and Uncle Enoch work to treat the Jinoo and Inzondo in a devastated Harlem, the newly returned Nora leads the team to Georgia in pursuit of Dr. Sylvester. Without the support of other monster-hunting families, and with Berg’s condition worsening, the Sangeyres are forced to face grief-hungry demon Adro and Dr. Sylvester on their own. They might find help in an unexpected place, however, as Dr. Sylvester begins to doubt Adro’s ability to truly save them all.

There are few things more satisfying than character driven action in a comic, and Bitter Root #8 delivers that in spades. Opening at Sweet Pickin, Nora and Enoch engage in an epic treatment takedown of Jinoo while the band sings. Sofie Dodgson’s fantastic colors on Sanford Greene’s imaginative panel work really invoke the jazz of the era as a backdrop to the brutalities of hate and racial injustice. We’re brought out of our solemn reverie and back into the painstaking work of the Sangeyre family by Blink, who sits shell shocked at the duty foisted on her by demonic forces.
Writers David F. Walker and Chuck Brown deftly navigate this sort of dualism throughout the issue. In Nora’s need to be with Blink, but duty to stop Adro. In Ford’s desire to “amputate” the Jinoo and Inzondo, but not Berg. Even in the family being united, while being so far apart.

Their exploration of dualism is perhaps most poignantly done through Berg. Here, we see Berg’s declining visage into that of an Inzondo and increasing torment as the team heads to Georgia. Despite that, Berg remains his ever expressive, albeit haunted, self. We are forced to consider, as I suspect Ford will soon, that pain and torment cannot remove from us our humanity.
Once we arrive in Georgia, we’re offered another dose of fantastic art and beautiful color work from Greene and Dodgson. In that full page spread, Dr. Sylvester warns a grieving father whose son was lynched away from the solace offered by Adro. Like Berg, Dr. Sylvester managed to retain his humanity. Though whether the grieving townsfolk can retain their own remains in question.

Again, Bitter Root gives us a flat-out cool action epic complete with well crafted characters, great art, and compelling storyline. Letterer Clayton Cowles sends us off with some truly haunting work in the last line. The borderless bubble gives the sense of the splattering hiss of a demon. The large, scratching font emphasizes a niggling question lurking in the subtext throughout the issue. I find myself chilled by it even now: maybe, for those infected by hate Jinoo and grief tormented Inzondo, there is no cure.
Bitter Root #8 from Image Comics is available at your local comic shop and via Comixology digitally.

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