The demon Adro has come to Earth! Do the Sangeryes have enough firepower and people to stand a chance of defeating her? Find out in Bitter Root #10 from Image Comics!
BITTER ROOT #10
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: September 2, 2020
Previously in Bitter Root: It is a race in time to catch up with the demon Adro! Hopeville, Georgia is overrun with Jinoo, and the Sangerye group that went South has become separated from both Berg and Johnnie-Ray. Dr. Sylvester and the lynched boy’s parents flee from Adro. The despairing father gives his life to buy more time for his wife, but they, too, are herded toward Hopeville. Meanwhile, the fight in New York in is the hands of Enoch and Blink. Blink decides to look for allies. Enoch tries to dissuade her – he has tried this already – but Blink is of a younger generation, and she knows other young women in town who are monster fighters as much as she is.
DR. SYLVESTER’S EPIPHANY
Bitter Root #10 takes us back briefly to the aftermath of the bombing of Tulsa in 1921. Dr. Sylvester cares for Miss Knightsdale (who can become a monster), finding out that she was a nurse. He has learned about the Sangeryes, that they have family in Harlem and may be able to help Miss Knightsdale, but first he wants to learn about things here.
Back in Harlem, things are getting stranger. The Sangeryes know how to cure Jinoo, but they have not found any way to cure the Inzondo. These are two different kinds of transformed monsters, but they have one thing in common – they’re all writing the same strange markings. Blink’s Chinese friend, Wiley, and her grandfather see the symbols are Chinese and translate them as being an invitation to Guandi, the god of destruction. It makes no sense to Enoch why Black people in Harlem would be writing in Chinese, but Blink makes the fascinating connection that they’re all people fighting the same evil; maybe they have more in common than they realize.
In Georgia, Adro is preparing to begin her rule over the world. She offers Dr. Sylvester, who is an Inzondo (I believe) the opportunity to join her. He refuses, and the battle is on. Cullen is prepared to wade in; Johnnie-Ray thinks they need to get out. Ford is injured but doesn’t want to leave without Cullen. Cullen and Johnnie-Ray have a brief, heated discussion, and it seems that the white boy has learned something through his experiences – right up until the time that Adro runs him through.
Berg, Ford, and Nora pull back. Dr. Sylvester urges Cullen to go as well. He, however, feels that since he was drawn to Barzakh, defeating Adro has been his mission. Adro accuses him of merely being selfish and taunts him with her desire to consume and taste his soul. Adro prepares for her children to be drawn into the world when an armored person shows up along with a variety of creatures resembling Enoch’s pets. He and Dr. Sylvester continue to fight Adro until Sylvester drags her through the portal into Barzakh. But this doesn’t rid the world of Jinoo or Inzondo.
A TRULY CLIMACTIC BATTLE
The art of Bitter Root #10 is powerful and raw. Adro shows up at the end of the first fight in Hopeville, and again we see the irony of that name. In the section of town she is in, the houses are barely shanties and are coming apart at the seams, much as if they had been hit by a hurricane or some other natural disaster. The dead and injured lie strewn all about. There is pain and misery everywhere, and these are what Adro thrives on. Adro herself is more demonic than Miss Knightsdale has ever appeared before. She still has the glossy blue-green feathers as though she were related to crows, but she is covered as well in the ghostly faces of the suffering souls she has consumed.
I also really like the costuming concepts. Those family members who have lived in Barzakh have arms and armor that look scavenged. Blink, Enoch, and Ford have armor and devices that are like the transition from Steampunk to Dieselpunk – a cool, retrofuturist style with a nod to WWI. And the person who comes through at the end to help battle Adro (I have my suspicions) has a really amazing look. He wears a metal mask and armor, but he also has mechanical wings. His long-handled axe looks modern but hearkens back to an ancient past. He has prosthetic legs which resemble bird feet.
BOTTOM LINE: IS THERE ANY CAUSE FOR HOPE?
Bitter Root #10 closes the story arc with time enough for a breath, but with the promise that more is yet to come. These characters are emotionally rich, which makes it wonderful to read about them, and their stories grapple with weighty topics with great sureness.
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Bitter Root #10
The summer of Adro was a really bad summer – and perhaps it was just the beginning.