Basilisk #1 Review
Basilisk #1 shows what happens when a woman trying to escape her past collides with a victim of it. The series is written by Cullen Bunn, illustrated by Jonas Scharf, coloured by Alex Guimarães, and lettered by Ed Dukeshire.
The Chimera are five individuals bound by a hivemind who terrorized small towns with their horrifying supernatural sense-based powers and left death and destruction in their wake. Regan, one of the Chimera, escaped and has been in hiding, with her murderous eyes bound, overcome with guilt. But now a victim of the Chimera has forced her way into Regan’s life and is demanding revenge.
Basilisk #1 is published by BOOM! Studios and is available from June 2, 2021.
Basilisk #1 Story
The first issue of Basilisk is a book with beautiful pacing. It’s all about the build, letting the moments play out as we watch the characters from the outside until it finally hits a crescendo of violence. This helps give the story a haunting atmosphere and a good splash of mystery as we aren’t being given answers to the questions it asks so much as watching those answers unfold before us on the page.
The story doesn’t tell us more about our main characters, Regan and Hannah, than it has to. We learn a lot about their motivations and personalities from the way they hold themselves in the more quiet moments, yet only enough that it enhances the things we don’t learn as mysteries are enhanced. They also have conflict, yet handled well enough that it remains believable that they could be on similar paths without sacrificing any tension.
Basilisk #1 Art
The art is gorgeous, filled with beautiful composition and amazing contrast. I am always one to appreciate good contrast in art and the way this issue weaves bright lights and deep shadows is just stunning. All of it just helps to enhance the atmosphere of the story as we are shown a world filled with dark corners and yet dazzling lights. And on top of that, the color only adds extra layers as it gives us the tone of each scene in a way that is incredibly elegant.
Also the moment we first get a look at Regan’s power may be one of the most powerful, beautiful, and eerie things I have seen in any medium. It is just so perfect for this book.
Basilisk #1 Conclusion
For me, this issue was a brilliant mix of mystery, dark supernatural powers, and intriguing characters. It sets up a world where nothing is certain without falling into cheap shock tactics, it earns everything it sets up and it does a lot of world-building in a smooth way that never distracts from the story. It doesn’t sit you down as it explains how things are, it weaves them into the conversations and actions of the characters. It knows exactly how much to give so the reader can follow what’s happening without getting in the way of any of the mysteries.
This was one of those comics I had no idea what to expect going in. The synopsis I read sounded like my kind of thing, but until you read it you can’t know what you’re actually getting. The violence isn’t excessive, the story is allowed moments to just slow down, and the characters have motivations and mystery just begging to be unraveled slowly. It’s only the first issue yet this book feels like the perfect kind of thing for people who want something a bit different, something that doesn’t follow a strict formula. If you’re a typical superhero reader looking for something different then this may just be a perfect bridge.
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