Basilisk is a new horror miniseries from BOOM! Studios and the minds of Cullen Bunn and Jonas Scharf. It melds superpowers, mystery, and gory horror together to make an opening issue that’s frightening and intriguing. If five people wandered into your small town wearing hospital scrubs and zapped the life from someone with a touch, what would you do? How would the world react? These are questions we ponder as its creators unravel its mystery.
This first issue is very good at grabbing your interest and dropping you into a narrative that’s shrouded in mystery. The opening pages reveal the five mentioned above in a detached and haunting way as they descend on a small town as confused as the people they encounter. Smash cut to some time later and our protagonist is tracking one of them down. Things come to a head, an interrogation takes place, and all hell breaks loose.
This issue offers just enough to pique the interest and give you an understanding of what is going on. I’d argue it could use a little more, but as far as drawing interest it does its job.
Scharf’s art is nothing short of great and their work has only gotten better here. Just read Avengers: Wastelands to see what I mean. The opening is gorgeously colored and drawn to create an eeriness that sets up the sheer alien thing that are these figures with powers. For the rest of the book, a more conventional modern visual style is used to bring the story back to its realistic roots. But when powers are used to do harm, Scharf’s art does well to capture the oddity of the main powered-up character.
Color artist Alex Guimaraes makes the eerie opening, with odd contrasts of a sepia background and colorful figures. Blue is used more than once to convey supernatural oddities and powers, too. There’s a closeup of one of the super-powered characters in the opening that’s haunting in part because of the choice to color the eyes red and make her skin blue. You know she’s not actually blue, but like in a movie when things slow down, this effect creates a weirdness that you can’t look away from.
Basilisk is an intriguing first issue thanks to its control of mood, atmosphere, and mystery. The story could have used a bit more, but it gets your interest enough, and certainly plays to fans of horror and superheroes.
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