Cullen Bunn might have sharpened his teeth with the likes of Marvel and DC Comics, but it's clear that Boom Studios is letting him stretch his legs when it comes to his take on horror; Basilisk #1 has the makings of another classic horror comic. Having previously created The Empty Man at Boom, a horror story which became an egregiously overlooked horror movie, Basilisk is an entirely different animal. Though the bones established here in the introductory issue work well enough, there are definitely moments in Basilisk #1 that brighter than others.
The first few pages of Basilisk are perhaps its most engaging, with artist Jonas Scharf introducing the "Chimera," the main antagonists of the series that each have their own unique powers capable of cutting a swath through middle America, as they descend upon a small town with disastrous effects. The colors and gradient feel of these opening pages showing off the supernatural beings descending on the unexpected townsfolk does a fantastic job of setting the mood, giving readers a hint as to the destruction that is about to be unleashed.
The rest of the issue focuses on the series' heroine, Hannah, as she attempts to discover the location of the Chimera following an unknown atrocity which leaves her traveling the world to find and slay these creepy figures. This issue is a story wherein the opening and the ending are both top-notch, though the middle does tend to spin its wheels some. Comics are always a tricky medium for the horror genre and, more generally, painting the internal motivations of main characters, and Basilisk does stumble a bit in characterizing Hannah to the point where readers can relate to her and her very strange plight. Most likely, this will be explained in later issues though I believe the story structure here could have moved some pieces in order to examine Hannah's character more here when she's introduced to readers.
There are plenty of enticing mysteries that Bunn is able to establish in these pages. It's not only the Chimera and Hannah's plight. There's also, thanks to the action-packed entrance of "The Faithful" and Regan's abilities, a Chimera member that joins Hannah for her bloody revenge-driven ordeal. Regan's powers also allow Scharf to show off his skills with a dazzling page displaying the horrific beauty the Chimera can accomplish when dishing out destruction.
Basilisk #1 has many enticing elements from both Bunn and Scharf, though this initial issue could have used a bit more work on its overall structure to help it meet Boom's high standards for debuts. Still, Basilisk is a solid entry for readers looking to see Bunn dive into the horror genre once more and may still become another great horror story in this publisher's ever-expanding library.
Published by Boom! Studios
On June 2, 2021
Written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Jonas Scharf
Colors by Alex Guimaraes
Letters by Ed Dukeshire
Cover by Jonas Scharf