Regan cannot escape from Vanessa’s madness, or her memories and Hannah allows Barrett to get her closer to Vanessa. Are the three of them heading for a deadly showdown? Find out in Basilisk #11 from BOOM! Studios.
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Jonas Scharf
Colorist: Alex Guimarães
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Editor: Ramiro Portnoy
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: September 7, 2022
Previously in Basilisk: Vanessa has returned to the compound where she grew up. These the disciples of the Chimera. Hannah is in the hospital. Regan is outside and Barrett approaches her. He and his disciples want her to see their sacrifices to the Chimera. The disciples go into the hospital and start killing people. Hannah awakens and has a few quiet moments to write in her journal before she hears the screams. She sees Barrett outside. She orders the nurse in her room to stay hidden and leaves, fighting disciples along the way. When she finds other disciples dead in the lobby, she realizes that Regan must be there, and warns her to stay away. Barrett approaches Hannah and offers to take her to Vanessa.
HEADING FOR A CONFRONTATION
Basilisk #11 opens with Vanessa remembering when she was younger. She and four other young people from the compound were sent into a cave. They believe they are there to set the Chimera free. The Chimera cannot sense the world, and they are there to be its eyes, its ears, etc. In the present, Vanessa makes her way into the same cave alone. She sees the skeletons on the floor – how many skeletons of how many versions of her younger self or her siblings? She wonders whether Regan can hear her and continues telling her about it.
Barrett and Hannah stop at a diner. Hannah knows that Barrett plans to kill her, sacrifice her. She knows this is the beginning of the end. She must eat, but she knows that someone must die for all of this to end. She wonders about Barrett. Does he have a motivation beyond madness? Does he think the Chimera is a kind of god? Or does he think that his hand in bringing the Chimera to life will also allow him to control it and to become a god by proxy?
Vanessa reaches the central cavern. In her memory she realizes that one of them is destined to become the Chimera. Regan does not want to be the one. Vanessa tells her that she cannot become the Chimera either. She cannot become whole while Regan is still out there. In the cavern there are several strange rock formations. One is the Chimera. Around it are five others, five who served as its senses. They did not survive their journey to Earth, and Vanessa knows she and her other siblings were created to take their place.
Back in the past, the five young people approached the central stone and were overcome by the senses they took on for the Chimera. When they emerged from the save, some thought they were stricken and wanted to kill them. Others thought they were closer than any previous attempts and that they should let them live. Linked to Vanessa’s thoughts, Regan also remembers. She feels they were broken by the experience. Vanessa feels they were reborn.
And this is setting up for a final conflict. Vanessa wants to bring the Chimera back to life, to become the Chimera. Regan wants the cycle of pain and killing to stop. But Hannah is a new variable in the mix, not to mention Barrett and his disciples.
MEMORY AND MADNESS
One of the things I like about the art of Basilisk #11 is the contrast between past and present. Increasingly, the past has become relevant as we learn that the Five are not just individuals; they are people who have been cloned time and time again. Are we seeing the direct past of the most recent Five, or are there deeper memories being uncovered? The past has a more muted color palette as well as softer lines giving it a dream-like quality and a less distinct focus.
The present has stronger inking and darker shadows. The letter takes on more significance here. Vanessa and Regan, although miles apart, have a connection that lets them communicate. Those thought bubbles are different from regular speech bubbles. When we return to Hannah, her thoughts about Barrett are presented as entries in her journal. The lettering is red, as though written in blood. The letters are more agitated. As time has passed, Hannah has changed. She has lost her family and she is on the brink of losing herself. There is almost nothing left of her except her focus.
BOTTOM LINE: AN INEXORABLE CONFLICT
Basilisk #11 is haunting and deep. On one level, the Chimera is a literal being that could be brought back into existence. On another level, there is some deep commentary on belief and fanaticism which resonates with us today.
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As Vanessa recovers her memories of the Five, Regan remembers more how she wants to leave her past behind.