Story by: Mohsen Ashraf, Written by: Patrick Meaney & Mohsen Ashraf, Art by: Jeff Edwards, Colours by: John Kalisz.
Syphon opens on page one with a young woman, helping out a struggling man in a dark alleyway. It's really rather sweet, and shows that there are still some good people left in this world.
The second page shows the woman being brutally murdered, in an admittedly fairly freakin' epic splash page.
This quite perfectly sets the tone for our introduction to the wonderful world of Syphon.
We are then introduced to Syphon's protagonist, a young man named Sylas, who is a good guy, despite being called Sylas. His work as an EMT means that he gets to meet a wide variety of interesting and wonderful people, on the worst days of their lives.
But Sylas' life is about to change, in a way he couldn't possibly imagine. A run-in with our friend from the first page sees Sylas blessed (or would it be more accurate to say cursed?) with the ability to drain away the pain of others. But, when you siphon all that pain away from people... what do you do with it, after?
Syphon #1 is a VERY strong start to this noir fantasy mini-series. It's so good, in fact, that I'm a little upset it's only running for three issues!
Here's the thing: a #1 doesn't need to blow you away with great twists, and it doesn't need to shock or terrify its readers. A first issue has ONE job: Hook the reader. Make sure that, without fail, they will return for the second book.
Syphon does that, and then some. From its shocking opening page, to its slightly predictable close, Syphon is a deeply intriguing read. Syphon follows young EMT and all around nice guy Sylas, who gains the ability to see the pain of others, and siphon it away (do you see what they did there?). There's only one problem: That pain doesn't vanish; it builds up inside Sylas, turning him into a bit of a dick. Snapping at his girlfriend, growing distant from his work mates, and generally acting like a real tool...
But don't worry. I have a feeling that he's going to find an interesting way to let that pressure off.
What interests me most about Syphon are the small hints of something greater working behind the scenes. We see small flashes of it during the opener, and I can't wait to see how Ashraf and Meaney expand on it. There are vague hints of "No good deed goes unpunished" about this book, and its noir stylings leave me with the distinct impression that we'll be getting a rather layered tale, where finding a balance between helping others and keep yourself stable is key.
Can't wait to see what's coming!
If you're looking for a surprisingly deep noir fantasy thriller, that's a bit more complex than simply "Help the weak, because it's the right thing to do!" then check out Syphon #1 from Image Comics! Available from all good stockists, and online, from July 21st!