Adrian’s Grip On Reality Is Slipping In Regression #8

by Brendan M. Allen

The prisoner of a cruel and devious cult, Adrian is faced with an impossible decision: allow himself to be subjected to vicious, mind-melting torture or give his captors what they want. Assaulted by horrifying memories of a life that was not his own, Adrian feels his grip on reality slipping. Meanwhile, Molly and Anton discover the ghastly origins of the demon worshipers who have kidnapped Adrian.

Regression #8 is the fallout from all the information Cullen Bunn threw at us in the last chapter. Adrian is at the mercy of the Valgeroti, led by a man called Wilson, who claims to be Temperance reincarnate. Wilson believes Adrian holds some untapped potential that is crucial to the continued existence of the cult.
Finally! Here it is! The twist, the turning point, the apex. We’ve seen the first two stages of Adrian’s integration, the learning and the understanding. In the learning, the Valgeroti drilled their “truths” into Adrian’s head with torture. Then, for the understanding, they stopped abusing him for a while, opening Adrian’s mind to the idea that the community might actually be pretty okay. Now, it’s up to Adrian to either willingly step into the third and final stage, acceptance, or to continue resisting.

I still hold the opinion this is the darkest and most twisted Cullen Bunn joint. Drawing on personal experience as an observer of past life regression gone sideways, Bunn has created an absolutely chilling situation where a man can’t trust anyone or anything, including his own perception and memories.
The art team of Danny Luckert and Marie Enger take the script to a whole different creepy level. The murder, the gore, the bugs… Everything is presented with intricate, unsettling detail. There’s also a nice artistic dissociation between past and present timelines. Luckert does these beautifully elaborate gothic frames around panels that occur in the past, and Enger’s vibrant palette washes out in favor of dull browns and greys.

This book has a spot in my pull list for as long as Bunn and co. continue making them. Regression holds a little something special for readers of supernatural, horror, mystery, and crime procedurals.

Regression #8, published by Image Comics, released on the 21st of March 2018. Written by Cullen Bunn, art by Danny Luckert, colors/letters by Marie Enger.

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