If you loved Bitter Root issues #1-8 guess what, Bitter Root #9 nails it again. In the previous issue, we learned a bunch of cool things, including that Dr. Sylvester isn’t the main antagonist. Instead, it’s an evil entity named Andros that has inhabited the body of his assistant Miss Knightsdale. So far, anyway. Sanford Greene, Chuck Brown, and David F. Walker continue to impress with their emotional, deep-rooted, and adventurous tale.
There’s a lot to take in this issue, so you may want to read it twice — once to absorb the creatively clever dialogue and again to truly appreciate the artwork produced by Greene. On the surface, this issue is purely just about survival. Many of the characters, especially Berg, Johnnie-Ray, Nora, Cullen, and Ford, are in mortal danger.
But at its core, it’s more about strength in numbers. That phrase takes on a lot of different meanings throughout the book. Ma Etta and the police are working together. Enoch and Blink are trying a second effort with the other community families. Ford, Cullen, and Nora are searching for Berg and Johnnie-Ray after getting separated because of the Jinoo. Even the main villain is trying to build an army of Jinoo.
It’s a little bit of a reminder that no one can make it through life alone and that we all need help at some point or another. The action is pretty much ping-ponging back and forth between three different situations that are all occurring at the same time in the story. The Sangeryes’ objectives are all the same: figure out how to stop the Jinoo. The conflict thus far has been well crafted and has done an excellent job of making us care about the Sangeryes.
Greene’s illustrations give light to so many different influences within pop culture it’s difficult to narrow it down to just a few. I’ve always been big on villains so of course, I love the character designs of the Jinoo. There’s a particular page in this issue that stands out as my favorite, involving Sylvester and a couple fleeing from a bunch of Jinoo. The scene reminds me so much of actress Ola Ray, who played Jackson’s girlfriend in “Thriller” when she’s running from the zombies.
Bitter Root #9 delivers on all counts. It’s got good pacing, impeccable dialogue, and action galore. Somehow Greene manages to outdo himself with each issue that follows, and the writing is right where it needs to be. There’s a great column at the end of this issue that gives some insightful backstory to the gear symbol that appears on every issue as well. You’ll want to get your hands on a copy of Bitter Root #9.