Current Reviews


Syn #1

Posted: Tuesday, September 30, 2003
By: Cody Dolan


Writer: Keith Giffen
Artist: Greg Titus (p), Julian Washburn (i)

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

According to Keith Giffen, the future does not look good for humanity. Actually, that’s putting it mildly; there is no future for humanity in Syn because machines have taken over Earth while complete human beings are extinct. I say “complete human beings” because some machines have taken to living like humans and injecting themselves with organic cells. It’s the title character’s job hunt down those machines and wipe them out, and this duty is complicated by the fact that Syn (short for “Form Optional Synthetic-240/Independent Search and Destroy Unit”; I’m thinking it was a good idea to shorten that) herself has become the thing she’s programmed to kill. It’s an interesting, if derivative, premise, but the whole exercise left me feeling a bit hollow.

Introductory issues are supposed to be clear, easy to follow books that set up the rest of the story in such a way that the audience wants to read the rest, and I don’t feel that was accomplished in Syn #1. I was confused way too much of the time, and although a great deal of that can be attributed to the art the cryptic and dialogue and caption boxes. There are some interesting moments where Syn discusses human emotions and traits with her desktop computer, Nina, but I found the idea behind that scene almost laughable (though at least Nina was programmed with the personality of Syn’s Spanish speaking mother like over in Marvel’s The Crew. That is the height of absurdity). Finally, my appreciation of the conversation was tempered by the blatant and shameless “Matrix” rip-off on the last page.

It looks like Greg Titus went to a different art school than most artists. Rather than start his figures with a humanoid foundation, his bipedal characters resemble triangles. Allow me to explain: Syn has a tiny head with a skinny torso but once you get past her waist she gets wider and wider. Her feet are easily 5 times the size of here head and, besides being terribly inconsistent, just doesn’t look normal. Aside from that problem, I found Titus’ art to be incredibly confusing far too often. There were times I was staring at the page for a good 3 or four minutes before understanding the action, and more than once I had to turn the damn thing upside down to get that understanding. Titus has an out of the ordinary artistic style, but it’s not one that appeals to me.

Like I said, there’s good here, it’s just buried too deep amongst the confusion to do much good. Hopefully the next issue will be a little clearer, because I think this has the potential to be a good series.

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