Story by: Mohsen Ashraf, Written by: Patrick Meaney & Mohsen Ashraf, Art by: Jeff Edwards, Colours by: John Kalisz.
Syphon #3 begins, continues, and concludes with the epic showdown between Sylas and Antonio. But this is so much more than a simple fight. This isn't a simple battle of fist vs fist, or even a complex magical battle. This is something far more interesting; A battle between two ideologies that are so opposed, they can never coexist.
And while Antonio seems confident in his victory before the fight has even begun, our boy Sylas has strengths and depths that even a warrior of Antonio's experience would do well to be wary of.
But will Sylas's new powers be enough? Antonio has killed many Syphons before Sylas, and he doesn't feel like stopping now. Can Sylas finally break the cycle, and save us all... or will he fall, and doom us forevermore?
Well, here we are, folks. Syphon #3 is out, and brings this amazing but far too short journey to its close. And in such grand fashion as to all but ensure this story will live in my brain for a LONG time to come.
Syphon continues to surprise and delight me. This whole issue is basically one long showdown between Sylas and Antonio, but while there is a physical component to their clash, the real fight is one that's far deeper.
The basic difference is a continuation of the ideals brought forth in issue 2. Antonio believes that Syphons are much stronger when they take not just the pain, fear, and suffering from humanity, but also drain them of their love and joy. Meanwhile, Sylas (rightfully) thinks that's a huge dick move, and wants to continue to make the world a better place.
Honestly, this final showdown, and the arguments made therein, remind me a lot of what Star Wars should be. Antonio thinks that if he drains all the happiness and light from Sylas, he'll be left so broken that he'll be unable to fight back and victory will be assured...
But things aren't that simple. As we saw at the end of issue 1, Sylas can turn all the dark emotions into a fairly powerful weapon, when he chooses to.
And this to me, was the core theme at work here: Can using negative emotions, things like fear and anger, for positive ends, be a good thing?
The Jedi would tell you no. The Sith wouldn't say anything, they'd be too busy slicing you in half and stealing all your stuff.
However, the answer given in Syphon is a far more workable solution. Emotion, ANY emotion, be it love and happiness or anger and fear, when used for a positive end, is a good thing. Learning to embrace and control your emotions, even the ones that people feel should typically be suppressed, can do great things. Far greater things than can be achieved by simply suppressing everything and hoping it goes away.
It's funny: in many series, if you just saw this battle, you'd think that Sylas was the villain and Antonio was the hero. Even the colour palettes are used reflect this:
Sylas' powers are shown using dark reds and blacks, his aura practically burns with malevolence.
Meanwhile, Antonio's powers are all light blues and whites. His energy more cloudlike, borderline Seraphic.
And going deeper than that, Sylas talks about embracing anger and pain, while Sylas talks about bringing joy to the world and living in pleasure.
Syphon takes all the usual tropes that plague this sort of 'heroic showdown' and flips them on their heads. And personally, I find this far more intriguing than the usual "We won with the power of friendship" heroic nonsense, or even the now quite standard grimdark "I'm a hero, but that doesn't mean I won't flip out and murder you, because I'm edgy and cool!" antihero tropes.
The idea of using negative emotions to fight evil isn't exactly a new concept, but often when it IS utilised, it's in a very dour "I must pay this price, so others don't have to" type plot. I've not seen many series that show a hero utilising their negative emotions in a positive light, and it's one I'd really like to explore more.
And, I mentioned it briefly earlier, but I need to really draw everyone's attention to it:
The art in this book is FANTASTIC. Last time around, I compared the story in this book to the likes of Watchmen, well this time around I'm going to namedrop another much loved classic:
The art in this book, particularly in this final volume, really reminds me of the art in the later volumes of Neil Gaiman's landmark "Sandman Library". As the showdown between Sylas and Antonio reaches its peak, we're treated to page after page of amazing, swirling, mind-bending art that is as beautiful to look at as the story is fascinating.
Overall, Syphon issue 3 is an EPIC conclusion to one of the most surprising books I've read in years. The creative team here managed to do more in three issues than I ever could have expected, and created a world I will remember for a long time to come.
I know this is the final issue of the series, but honestly I feel like we've only begun to explore the world of Sylas and the lore of the Syphons. I strongly urge you all to pick this book up, tell your friends about it, talk about it to anyone that will listen. Because I have a feeling that Ashraf and Meaney have far more to do with this story, and I want to see how far they can take it!
If you want to have your face melted, pick up Syphon #3 on the 22nd of September from your Local Comic Book store, or online.
Taheg Gloder is a Freelance Copywriter from England. Obsessed with comics and Manga since his teens, he now splits his time between writing comic reviews and retrospectives for POP, and doing reactions on his YouTube Channel, The Dragon & The Hound. He lives alone, because he’s a hermit.