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Syndrome Hardcover – September 7, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

What if science one day discovered that all evil behavior has a biological cause? What if thieves and murderers were "fixable" with a few minor adjustments to their brain chemistry? Author Quantz asks these big questions and more in a daring if too brief graphic novel. Dr. Wolfe is an obsessed neuroscientist seeking to discover the root of evil in the human brain. With the help of a genius movie set designer and a voluptuous actress, he concocts an elaborate false reality to experiment on a convicted serial killer. Think of it as The Truman Show meets Natural Born Killers. The explicit discussion of morality gives the story a Greek tragedy feel, and the intriguing cast makes for a surprisingly character-driven story. But when the author is still introducing these people in the story's second act, the book feels about 50 pages too short. It's a shame, too, since Marquez's artwork is so enjoyable. The illustrations have a visceral and sensual quality that becomes most apparent in the depiction of women and violence, bolstering the weighty themes of self-control, animal instinct, and human nature without being exploitative. The rushed ending doesn't do justice to what is otherwise a beautifully drawn and fearlessly written work of fiction. (Sept.) (c)
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About the Author

Blake Leibel is a director and writer who specializes in creating new worlds. He directs and writes for film and television in cartoon ("Spaceballs: The Animated Series") and live action. He also created and writes the comic book series United Free Worlds. Before founding Fantasy Prone, Blake was a fund manager and the World Champion in the online video game Half-Life.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Archaia; 1st edition (September 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932386998
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932386998
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.5 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,203,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Chief on January 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The cover to this slick-looking graphic novel grabbed me right away. In fact, if the words "Graphic Novel" weren't printed on the cover, I wouldn't have known it was one! The production value on the rest of the book really impressed me -- no surprise, since this is published by Archaia, who have come to be known for putting out some nice-looking graphic novels. I thumbed through it, thought the art looked pretty good for someone I had never heard of, and picked it up.

What a fascinating story. It is a fast read -- I blew through it in less than an hour. I then re-read it and took the time to examine all the nuances in the art and storytelling. Based on a concept by Blake Leibel, writers R. J. Ryan and Daniel Quantz have crafted a compelling story about a guilt-ridden scientist who thinks he can cure evil in humans. He arranges to "kidnap" a serial killer on Death Row, then inserts him in a "Truman Show"-like make-believe town created by an egomaniac Hollywood production designer. Throw in an unwitting, doe-eyed aspiring actress who plays the part of helpless victim, and you have a fascinating story about four different people whose paths converge on a sound stage in the desert. Newcomer artist David Marquez is a find. His tight pencils and grasp of storytelling moves the story along nicely - no surprise that he's drawing another book for Archaia (DAYS MISSING: KESTUS) and is doing an issue for Jonathan Hickman's SECRET WARRIORS series at Marvel. William Farmer's colors serve to enhance the different moods that hang over each character's story.

SYNDROME is an unconventional graphic novel but that's why I liked it. It's great to pick up a book like this and just enjoy it for what it is. It's an entertaining story that moves very quickly, then slams on the brakes, leaving you to wonder what just happened and compelling you to read it again. Kudos to Archaia for taking a chance on this story; I'm certainly glad they did.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard Baker on October 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I love psychological thrillers and this one is fantastic. It really gets and grabs your attention early on. If that crazy cover hasn't gotten your attention already then nothing will. The story is about a psychologist who uses an infamous serial killer for a brand new experiment to find out how to cure murderers by making them feel empathy. His theory is that all these criminals are lacking something in the brain that makes them feel empathy and he swears he can find a cure. This is a fantastic concept and throughout the story he explains it in more detail and I almost couldn't help but nearly believe it.

The funny thing is, the main protagonist is a female actress who gets tricked into partaking in this experiment. The psychologist and a producer from Hollywood have setup a believable world out in the middle of the Nevada desert. He doesn't know any of this is fake and when he starts to attack people he is tranquilized on the spot. She's not a very interesting character because she's not seen much and she' always in character. We don't get to see her much when she's herself, but the villain, Alexei (the producer), and the psychologist are the main characters really. It's just great to see everything come together in the end and see how this sicko's mind works behind the scenes.

There aren't many comics out there that delve into the human psyche and I find these more interesting than super hero comics. Everyone knows what a super hero is and they aren't real. The human mind is very real and this sick crazy stuff is possible in any human. Syndrome reminds us of this and how some people just can't be cured. I can't reveal too much because there's a few twist surprises thrown in, but I didn't put the comic down once, I was very engrossed. The art style is very detailed and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Syndrome is a great comic and any horror fan should pick it up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jack Frost on October 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While an excellent beginning for a tale revolving around a scientist who believes he can cure evil.

But just as it gets going, it's over and doesn't feel as fleshed out as it really could've been.

Decent start, flimsy end.
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2 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Evzenie Reitmayerova on December 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
an ex-psychiatrist tries to find a cure for violent people, especially serial killers. the idea of the book is good, the plot keeps you interested and then... boom! the end without explanation, without warning.
the ending feels like the authors lost interest, maybe they didnt want to continue because they didnt get paid, who knows.
anyway, the ending is rushed, 100 more pages could have saved the book, but this way it is just lame.
complete rip off.
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