Berg hasn’t been cured – but he now has a connection with Dr. Sylvester. How did the Doctor end up where he is now? Find out in Bitter Root #1 from Image Comics!

Bitter Root #7BITTER ROOT #7

Writer: David F. Walker and Chuck Brown
Artist: Sanford Greene
Colorist: Sofie Dodgson
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Shelly Bond
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: March 17, 2020

Previously in Bitter Root: Cullen has found his way to Barzakh, the realm between Earth and Hell, as well as his Aunt Nora. Cullen persuades Nora to come back to Earth with him and continue the fight there. Dr. Sylvester meets an old friend – Miss Knightsdale, who was killed, but who now lives again as the demon Adro. Enoch, meanwhile, meets with representatives from other families in town who have their own monster fighters to no avail. The monster part of Berg reasserts itself. And Adro takes Dr. Sylvester to Georgia to the site where a young Black boy was lynched.

BORN OF THE DEEPEST EMOTIONS

Bitter Root #7 opens in Oklahoma in 1919, at the funeral for Dr. Sylvester’s wife Abigail. This is the root of his crisis of faith. His father’s faith was strong; the minister’s faith is as well. But he himself struggles to accept that the death of his young wife is part of God’s plan. Then in 1921, during the Tulsa race massacre, he loses his two young children. This is where Miss Knightsdale, in monstrous form finds him and saves him.

This is not unobserved. Beatrice (a Sangerye) and her friend Iris (a Native American) spot Miss Knightsdale who looks like a Jinoo, but her actions are different, more purposeful. They follow her and capture her, as well as bringing Dr. Sylvester back to a small Native American village. They discover that with the bitter root, Miss Knightsdale reverts to her human form, and she’s Black – and their people never become Jinoo.

Back in Harlem, they thought Berg has been cured. Enoch and Ford snipe at each other until Ma Etta shuts them down. But she can now see a change in Berg. And he in turn recognizes that he can feel what the Miss Knightsdale creature felt – hatred and fear, but even more deeply, loss and grief. And this has tapped into his own personal sense of loss.

Meanwhile, in Georgia, Adro asks the grieving family and friends of the murdered boy to give her their pain and suffering so she can relieve them. And Doctor Sylvester has a horrible realization.

VIBRANT AND INTENSE

Considering that last issue ended with a death, having Bitter Root #7 start with a funeral connects them deeply. It’s a painful beginning – Dr. Sylvester is the personification of grief, and cutting from the funeral to the aftermath of the massacre is stark. Is it any wonder Dr. Sylvester has been tempted by what Miss Knightsdale can offer him?

I love the women in the story so much. They’ve all been strong and remarkable in their own ways, and Bernice and Iris are no exception. I like that they go from action-oriented women who are unafraid to confront and capture Miss Knightsdale, to thoughtful women trying to help her and to figure out what she is.

BOTTOM LINE: A RICHLY EMOTIONAL TALE

Bitter Root #7 builds on an already deep story deftly, connecting the present with the past through similar emotional chords. This is a brilliant book, painful at times, with a sense of strength and determination deep at its core.


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Bitter Roo #7

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Rich Emotional Tale

We learn what set Dr. Sylvester on his path, and he learns where his road is taking him.

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By day, she’s a mild-mannered bureaucrat and Ms. Know-It-All. By night, she’s a dance teacher and RPG player (although admittedly not on the same nights). On the weekends, she may be found judging Magic, playing Guild Wars 2 (badly), or following other creative pursuits. Holy Lack of Copious Free Time, Batman! While she’s always wished she had teleportation as her superpower, she suspects that super-speed would be much more practical because then she’d have time to finish up those steampunk costumes she’s also working on.

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