Some people like their horror subtle: the creak of a floorboard, the howl of something in the distance, or a breath on the back of one’s neck. There’s also the kind of horror that doesn’t mind not just making readers nervous but leaving them nauseous. These works are often painted with the most vibrant, yet stomach-churning colors: blood red, intestine pink, and empty eye socket black. Some of Jonas Scharf’s artwork in Basilisk, Vol. 3 definitely fits into the latter category. Throughout the book, Scharf demonstrates how he has no qualms coloring with a gory palette. However, Cullen Bunn’s story helps keep the more insane elements grounded in a simply brutal revenge tale.
In volume 3, Hannah’s vengeance against the Chimera is nearly complete, but the battle has clearly cost her and those unfortunate enough to be around her when the Chimera or their faithful are near. Hannah and Regan, a Chimera whose gaze is lethal, are nearing the end of their individual journeys: Regan will soon find out about her missing memories and the Chimera’s true nature while Hannah will finally kill those who took everything from her. However, as members of the Chimera have died, their powers are split up among the survivors. This means that one person could end up with all five abilities to unleash upon the world
If volume 1 was about introducing readers to the terrifying Chimera, five people with terrifying powers related to the five senses, and volume 2 was about flipping readers’ expectations and setting up the conclusion, then volume 3 is the epic final battle that could potentially decide the fate of the world. Bunn’s final chapter reveals what the Chimera truly are, but it also keeps a tight focus on normal human Hannah and her quest to kill those who killed her family. The flashbacks Bunn peppers throughout this volume not only reveals why she attacks these beings with godlike powers, but Hannah’s tragic tale propels this story to its epic conclusion while its resolution might break readers’ hearts.
Scharf once again shows no hesitancy to display the visceral and sometimes explosive deaths throughout this book, but he also shows skills that have nothing to do with depicting what might be on a slaughterhouse’s floor. The book liberally switches between past and present and Scarf changes up his art style to clearly show where (or when) the story is taking place. This is a skill that goes beyond just drawing bodies in various states of death.
Now that the series has concluded, librarians might be tempted to get all three books in order to have the complete story, or they could wait to see if the publisher produces an omnibus or similar collection. Some factors that might influence this decision for librarians is if they have fans of gory horror among their patrons as well as patrons whose tastes oscillate between superheroes and horror.
Basilisk, vol. 3
By Cullen Bunn
Art by Jonas Scharf
BOOM! Studios, 2023
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+), Older Teen (16-18)