Sleeper: Season 2 #5 Review


Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: N/A

Written by: Ed Brubaker
Art by: Sean Phillips
Colored by: Carrie Strachan
Lettered by: Ken Lopez
Editor: Scott Dunbier
Publisher: Wildstorm > DC Comics

Sleeper is in its second “season” of excellence. Seasons are an odd term to be bandied about in the comic industry, but it really is a fitting term for books bearing the Sleeper name. Sleeper has one of the more intricately plotted storylines of deceit, and double-crosses that you’ll find on the racks today. Even with the somewhat convoluted storyline each individual “episode” is built with a logical beginning, middle, and end—just like most television series. You can pick up most any issue of Sleeper and enjoy that mont’s story and some of the subplots. To get the real core goodness you’ll have to stick around, and hopefully even pick up the back issues. The key, though, is that the story is approachable to new readers at all times.

Sleeper centers on Holden Carver a government agent placed in the organization of a villain named Tao. Carver was put in place by Lynch (of Gen 13 fame), but he never had the full backing of his government. Due to wild events he’s become a double-agent in Tao’s service, but he just may be tripling up. The first series began with Holden way down s— creek without a paddle. Essentially, each month, Holden’s life has gone from bad to off-the-charts rotten. Carve’s inner-struggle to do what’s best, through all of this mayhem is what makes this series great. Ed Brubake’s been riding Carver further into oblivion, but this month he takes a break to focus the story on a different thread.

This is the seventeenth comic to bear the Sleeper name (you’ll notice I’m leaving out the Coup D’Etat issue that was Sleeper in title only), and some of the gaps are being filled in. This month we get answers about who Tao is and what Lync’s reasons for dogging the “man” are. Holden Carver only makes a two-panel appearance, but what an appearance it is. I’m not going to give away the goings on, but this is the best issue of Season 2 series by far. The revelations within this issue put much of the earlier events into context. The new “season” appears ready to move forward significantly in the coming months.

Sean Phillips makes Sleeper tick. This title has its moments where the weird takes over, but, for the most part, Sleeper is a rather realistic look at a world with super-powered individuals. There’s plenty of action in Sleeper, but there’s also a lot of intrigue, and “talking heads.” Sean Phillips excels at all of these aspects. I can’t imagine where Sleeper would be without Mr. Phillip’s dedication.

Ed Brubaker is one of my favorite writers. His work on the Batman titles got me interested, but Sleeper and Gotham Central are becoming the stuff of legends. Brubake’s ability at characterization, intricate plotlines, and setting a tone of overall excellence are mind-boggling. There’s a reason the Internet’s been buzzing for more than a year about Sleeper. This issue just further proves the point!