What if five strangers in lab clothes walked into your town and started complete bedlam, causing people to begin tearing out their own eyes, eating one another, and otherwise losing control of themselves? That’s how things started in the world of Basilisk, and now a reckoning is in order. A woman wants to enact revenge, and while it’s a byproduct to rid the world of these monsters, it’s also deeply personal. Cullen Bunn and Jonas Scharf introduced a compelling series worth exploring with its first issue, and this week, the second chapter continues the miniseries.
This issue opens similarly to the last, with a flashback rendered in harsh tones in a deeply disturbing and gory scene. We basically get to see what happened a few moments after we last left off in the flashback. Some of these superpowered characters, who don’t quite understand their own powers, appear to like what they are capable of. It’s a reminder these figures who are now literally worshipped by regular people enjoy harming others.
Cut to our main character driving on the road with her newly-acquired superpowered god Regan in tow. Regan is going willingly, however, as she’s clearly grown distasteful of how her other superpowered compatriots act and live. This issue dedicates time to these other superpowered figures and their peculiar behaviors as well as what they are gleefully capable of.
The meat of the issue is setting up these various relationships, from tight friendships to disappointed friends. The issue zips along thanks to well-written captions that speak of the end of the world and the nature of the hunt at play here. There’s a heightened intensity thanks to these captions getting inside the protagonist’s head.
Speaking of, Scarf and color artist Alex Guimaraes do well to make the flashbacks eerie and unwelcoming, like some kind of nightmare. Juxtaposed with a brighter and more natural present, there’s a lot of horror in the past. There are also neat effects, like how you can see streaks out the car window to convey how fast the car is going. There’s a scene of complete mayhem that shows off quite a bit of gore and some hauntingly disturbing choices the patrons of a diner make.
As far as pacing, this issue continues to slow things way down like the last, but there isn’t quite enough to satiate the reader. Aside from getting a horrific scene of gore and violence, we learn little beyond what we can guess from short interactions between the superpowered characters. Aside from understanding how evil some of them are, we have little to go on. Nor are we given much in the way of what may come next. It’s a read that feels too obtuse for its own good, but will likely open up as it continues.
Basilisk #2 is a good second issue, but it leaves you wanting more. The flashbacks continue to be a high point in the way they are drawn, and the darkness inside these super-powered characters is enjoyable, but where we go from here feels too unsure.
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