cover image Bitter Root, Vol. 1: Family Business

Bitter Root, Vol. 1: Family Business

David Walker and Chuck Brown. Image, $16.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-5343-1

“Since the dawn of civilization, a Great Evil has plagued humanity” begins the not particularly original opening to this fast-paced horror series. Fortunately, Walker (The Life of Frederick Douglass) and Brown pump life into a familiar good vs. evil formula with a well-crafted, vividly illustrated setting. In 1920s Harlem, the Sangerye family carries on its generations-old work of fighting jinoo, evil spirits that periodically erupt into the mortal world. When humans start turning into jinoo, the Sangeryes’ mission becomes more complicated, as rival demonologists and possessed humans present new obstacles. Historical fiction mixes with supernatural horror, producing a hybrid fantasy world of voodoo spells, mad science, monster Klansmen, and Jazz Age demon hunters wielding steampunk versions of Ghostbusters proton packs. The dynamic, richly colored art, with its expressive characters and imaginative monster designs, elevates the predictable plot. Above all, it’s the background details that sing, from meticulously drawn Harlem streets to cluttered rooms filled with period detail. Comics fans will look forward to future volumes of this energetic dark fantasy that effectively mixes thrills and scares. [em](May) [/em]