Review - Syndrome

Syndrome presents an interesting question to the reader: have you crossed a moral and ethical line when trying to do something with great benefit to mankind? What if you were trying to solve something as simple as what many people feel is the inherent evil present inside of humans? How many people could die? Would a convicted murderer’s rights be forfeit in the pursuit of this lofty goal?

All of these questions and more are presented in this novel. At points in this graphic novel it is hard to tell who the villains are. There are the obvious candidates, brutal rapists and killers whose crimes and psyches are laid bare for the reader to witness and read about. It is very easy for me to say that I felt no pity for their plights while reading this comic, but it is relatively simple to divorce a simple graphic novel from real life isn’t it?

Enter Dr. Wolfe Chitel, a neuropathologist with an axe to grind after he was unable to stop a former patient from killing. He is determined to discover the secrets of the human brain that don't allow some people to feel the same emotions and inhibitions that prevent average people from being sociopathic homicidal maniacs. He has found a secret partner in the pharmaceutical industry that sees the potential for profit in a cure for these tendencies. While both are out for personal reasons, I think behind it all they believe they are working to provide the world with a service.

The mapping out of a true sociopath and the thoughts and flashbacks certainly left me a little disturbed at times, but in the end the entire novel tied together to really provide a gripping tale. We open our tale with the story of Thomas Kane, dubbed “The Bible Killer” by the press for his tendency to locate his victims in church groups. Kane would later brutally murder them, their loved ones and really anyone else standing in the way of his pleasure in doing so.

Dr. Chitel, Kane and a beautiful young actress named Karen Oats are the main characters in a story where the illusion of a real world is created and Kane’s brain is studied. It is a dark, twisted tale of the lengths people will go to for their personal ambitions, as well as the work people will put up with when the money is good and the economy is down. The book had parts that made me cringe and in the end closed off the loose ends perfectly. The artwork was crisp and brutal and the writing was well done. I just really enjoyed the book, and it has been a while since anything I’ve read has left me thinking about it long after the pages had been closed and put away.

If this were real, would I be able to so easily look the other way? I love it when a graphic novel (or any other media for that matter) can bring these types of thoughts and emotions to the surface. I’m happy to report that Archaia Entertainment with Daniel Quantz, RJ Ryan and Blake Liebel writing, David Marquez illustrating, Bill Farmer coloring and Dave Lanphear on letters have done just that. If what you’ve read interests you pick up this title from Archaia Entertainment when it hits shelves in August. Check out some interiors here.