Major characters appearing in Brubaker and Phillips' Sleeper:
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An International Operations agent who gained superpowers and was coerced into going deep undercover in a supervillain organization. Has the ability to store up pain and release it through physical contact.
- Touched by Vorlons: Getting an alien artifact fused to his nervous system is what gave him his powers.
- Bar Brawl: At one point, he charges up his powers by walking into a bar in Egypt, shouting a particularly offensive string of gibberish and letting the patrons beat on him for a while.
- Becoming the Mask
- Blue with Shock: How his powers are represented.
- Catapult Nightmare
- Combat Sadomasochist: Required to “charge up” his powers. Mentions that before missions he will sometimes just sit in a room and shoot his hand with a staple gun over and over for this purpose.
- Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: His “villain name” is The Conductor. It’s used maybe four times in the entire series.
- Deep Cover Agent
- Deliberate Injury Gambit
- Double Agent
- Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Although by that point, he was more of a Wild Card
- Feels No Pain: Or any other physical sensation.
- First-Person Smartass: Carver is the narrator of the series.
- Heal Thyself: “You’ve got a communications console. Call an ambulance.”
- Heroes Want Redheads: Even morally ambiguous Anti-Hero examples.
- I Can Change My Beloved: He desperately tries to change or convince his psycho crush, Miss Misery, to be a more moral and restrained person under the guise of saving her despite the fact she consistently yells she doesn't want to be saved.
- I Did What I Had to Do
- I Know You Know I Know:Holden: “Second Guessing men like Lynch and TAO is enough to drive you fucking insane.”
- In Love with Your Carnage: For Miss Misery.
- Like Father, Like Son: Holden’s father also worked for IO.
- My God, What Have I Done?: When he accidentally shoots Veronica.
- Not So Different: Being a black ops agent and a supervillain.
- Just Following Orders: How he tries to justify all the people he killed while working for Lynch.
- Power Creep, Power Seep: Requires almost an hour to recover from limb injuries at one point, then later shoots himself in the head and gets up in seconds.
- Power Incontinence: He transmits his stored pain to whoever he touches with bare skin.
- Required Secondary Powers / Good Thing You Can Heal: If he didn’t have a Healing Factor, all that damage he takes would kill him quickly whether he felt it or not.
- Reverse Mole
- They Would Cut You Up: What would happen if Carver got captured by the government while undercover.
- Total Party Kill / Death by Origin Story: Accidentally killed his entire unit when he first fused with the alien artifact.
- Unwitting Pawn: Aware of it and not happy about it.
- Upgrade Artifact: The source of Carver’s powers and most of his problems.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: Actually feels worse about watching some criminals die than civilian targets because he knew them.
- Yank the Dog's Chain
A test-tube grown super-intelligent man who once joined and then fought the Wild C.A.T.S. After faking his own death, he resurfaced leading a covert organization of super criminals while simultaneously advising the Ancient Conspiracy that run the world’s economy. His motives are completely unknown.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys
- Armor-Piercing Question
- Artificial Human
- Awesomeness by Analysis
- Battle Discretion Shot/Informed Ability: Has enough fighting skill to mutilate an entire squad of Black Razors with his bare hands off-panel in seconds.
- Maybe he talked them into killing each other?
- Break Them by Talking: Tao's specialty.
- Catch Phrase: "Let us reason together ..."
- The Chessmaster
- Compelling Voice
- Flaw Exploitation
- For the Evulz: TAO’s motive.
- Fun with Acronyms: TAO stands for Tactically Augmented Organism.
- Insult Backfire: Calling TAO a “son of a bitch” or a “motherfucker” will elicit an amused reminder that he didn’t have a mother.
- Logical Weakness: How do you disarm a villain with a Compelling Voice? Rip out his fucking tongue.
- Man Behind the Man: To the Ancient Conspiracy, no less.
- Manipulative Bastard
- Man of Wealth and Taste: Traded in his purple tunic for a brown suit.
- Memory Gambit: on Cole Cash
- Mind Rape
- More Than Mind Control: Uses logic on his smarter targets and emotional trauma on his simpler ones.
- Nietzsche Wannabe
- Oedipus Complex: His reason for specifically targeting John Lynch.
- Psychopathic Man Child: He's been summed up by Holden as a sick little kid who grew up to fast due to being aged up too quickly and his overall sadistically child-like behavior only corroborates the statement.
- Psychotic Smirk: Occasionally blossoms into full-on Slasher Smile.
- Smug Snake
- Super Intelligence
- Treacherous Advisor: Although the Ancient Conspiracy seems to understand that TAO is not the most trustworthy guy.
- Turned Against Their Masters
- Villainous Breakdown: And it is a pleasure to watch.
- Wicked Cultured
- World War III / The End of the World as We Know It: TAO’s Evil Plan.
One of TAO's three trusted Prodigals. Gains physical power from breaking rules and hurting people, and gets sick if she is forced to do "the right thing".
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: All in one night, too.
- Being Good Sucks / Evil Feels Good: To curtly sum it up, being benevolent makes her deathly ill, but being an evil bitch makes her superhuman. Good Kindness literally kills her.
- Binge Montage: In her case, it’s violence instead of drinking. Miss Misery needs to go on crime sprees to get her strength up for actual missions.
- Catch Phrase: “Jesus Fucking Christ Holden!”
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: A literal medical condition.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Has been on both sides of it.
- Curb Stomp
- Destructive Romance: As soon as she starts genuinely caring about Carver, sex stops being wrong and starts making her sick.
- Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: Successfully double-crosses TAO.
- Femme Fatale
- The Farmer and the Viper: “How many times did I tell him I couldn’t be trusted.”
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Needs to smoke in public because it’s illegal.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Carver tries to get her to come back to IO with him and be cured, but she doesn’t want it.
- Ms. Fanservice
- Morality Pet: Holden
- Neck Snap
- Really Gets Around: But secretly wishes her condition didn’t make it necessary.
- Staircase Tumble: Enjoys inflicting this on handicapped old ladies.
- Super Strength: If she has broken enough laws.
- The Vamp: When she needs to be.
- Wild Card
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Used to be the ideal American sweetheart before her condition kicked in.
John "Jack" Lynch
Former head of International Operations. A master manipulator who does whatever it takes to ensure that power stays in his hands. Coerced Holden Carver into going undercover in TAO's organization. Was shot and fell into a coma by someone working for TAO during Point Blank, but emerges at the end of Sleeper volume 1 to bring him back in.
- Brainwashing for the Greater Good
- Captain Ersatz: John Lynch originally started as the Wildstorm U’s answer to Nick Fury
- The Chessmaster
- Convenient Coma: For the first half of the series
- Eye Patch Of Power: Well, glowing cybernetic eye of power anyway.
- The Handler: Lynch to Carver. And Holden ‘’hates’’ him for it.
- Manipulative Bastard
- Mind Control
- Must Make Amends: Why he wants to bring TAO in.
- Not Quite Dead: “Nothing can kill Jack Lynch.”
- The Needs of the Many
- The Only One I Trust: Cole Cash. it backfires.
- Power Creep, Power Seep: Justified, he had his Telepathy augmented while in a coma specifically to go up against TAO.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Lynch threatens this a lot.
- Please Shoot the Messenger: Picks his messengers specifically because they’re expendable.
- The Spymaster
A super strong, bulletproof lieutenant in TAO’s organization. The closest thing Carver has to a friend.
- Black Humor: Referred to as “a living embodiment of black humor.”
- Boisterous Bruiser
- Disproportionate Retribution
- Dumb Muscle: Often treated like this.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Kills Steeleye after seeing him molesting a child.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Beats a guy unconscious for asking why a cartoonist didn’t agree to do merchandising for Marvin and Teddy.
- I Love Nuclear Power: How he got his superpowers.
- Iron Woobie
- Police Are Useless: Part of his origin story
- You Keep Using That Word: Called himself Genocide because he sometimes wants to kill everyone. Carver points out that genocide is the systematic elimination of a specific group.
An excessively gruff associate of John Lynch. The current head of International Operations/Internal Operations. Does not believe that Holden Carver is really an IO informant under deep cover.
- Artificial Limbs: Has a cybernetic leg.Grifter (pointing a gun at Slayton’s crotch): You think those Department PSI geeks who fixed your leg could build you a robotic cock after I blow yours off?Slayton: beat Heh. They probably could.
- Awesome Mc Coolname
- I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: When he captures Carver and Miss Misery and realizes he can’t hurt Holden, he tortures Miss Misery and makes him listen.
- Pragmatic Adaptation / In-Name-Only: Formerly a part Kheran immortal Atlantean 90s superhero with Combat Tentacles. None of this is mentioned in Sleeper.
- Old Superhero: Used to go by “Backlash”.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With John Lynch and Cole Cash.
Veronica St. James
An IO agent and former partner of Holden Carver. Convinced that Holden can be brought back to the “good guys”, and is willing to put herself in danger to help him.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: The closest the series has to one. It doesn't end well for her.
- Spies in a Van: Originally her job at IO.
- Friendly Sniper
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Is convinced Holden is still one of the “good guys”.
- Morality Pet: To Holden. She desperately tries to convince him to come back to her in the manner reminiscent of a love struck school girl and tries to show he is not as evil as he thinks he is, but is constantly rebuffed.
- Turn in Your Badge: Is removed from the task force sent to hunt down Carver. She thinks it’s because Lynch doesn’t trust her to bring him in, but it’s really because she was getting too close to finding out he was a Deep Cover Agent
A former soldier who served with Lynch on Team 7. One-time member of the superhero team the Wild C.A.T.S. The central character of Point Blank.
- Awesome Mc Coolname: Cole Cash
- Boom, Headshot: How he finally kills Peter Grimm.
- Civvie Spandex
- Fatal Flaw: His temper and his drinking.
- Fights Like a Normal: Has psychic powers that he never uses.
- The Gunslinger
- Hardboiled Detective: In Point Blank
- Memory Gambit: The result of a run-in with TAO
- '90s Anti-Hero
- Older Than They Look: Didn’t age through most of the late ‘70s, ‘80s and early ‘90s
- Private Eye Monologue: Grifter in Point Blank
- Psychic Block Defense: He’s already fairly resistant to mind control thanks to his Coda training, but Lynch gives him one late in the series.
- Trigger Phrase: “There you are.”
- Underestimating Badassery: “That’s the legendary Grifter? He doesn’t look that tough.” “Yeah, those were a lot of guy’s last words.”
- Unreliable Narrator: Of Point Blank
- Unwitting Pawn: Many times over.
- We Need a Distraction: Usually results in Stuff Blowing Up.
- What Did I Do Last Night?: His drinking makes TAO’s Memory Gambit easier, and once he shoots Lynch, his guilt causes him to drink even more, making investigating the case almost impossible.
Sir Malcolm Jones
A retired IO and MI-6 agent who used to work with John Lynch.''' called to help bring Carver back to IO.
TAO’s ‘Right Hand Man’. Can make you see whatever you fear most on an endless loop until you hopefully die.
- Bald of Evil
- The Dragon
- Hero Killer
- Jerk Ass: Even by super-villain standards.
- Mind Rape
- Properly Paranoid: Does not trust Holden Carver.
- Scary Shiny Glasses
- Slasher Smile
- Super Strength
- Your Worst Nightmare: He can induce this.
A mild-mannered pervert with x-ray vision. TAO seems to enjoy putting him in harm’s way just to torment Holden.
A young recruit who is very eager to prove himself as a super villain.
- Badass Normal
- Blood Sport: Forced to fight for his life against a pit full of dogs when he was a young child.
- Leeroy Jenkins
- New Meat
- Rhetorical Question Blunder: [[spoiler: Carver tells his comrades in TAO’s organization that he’d love to have Veronica’s new husband helpless in front of him...and to Carver's horror, Pit bull kidnaps him and stuffs him in his trunk.
A black werewolf.
One of TAO’s three trusted Prodigals. Has Mind Control powers.
- Brain Bleach: Watching him use his power makes you want to “scrub your eyeballs with steel wool.”
- Mind Rape: Often along with physical rape.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: Genocide Jones kills him fairly early in the series, leading the way for Holden’s promotion to Prodigal.
- People Puppets: Sometimes lets his victims be aware of what they’re doing if he thinks it will be funnier.
Queen of Egypt and one-time ruler of Africa. A major player in the Ancient Conspiracy who contracts TAO’s organization for several favors.
- The High Queen: Although her organization has seen better days.
- Double Entendre: Repeatedly complements TAO on his "useful tongue".
- If I Wanted You Dead...: Practically her catch phrase.
- Killed Offscreen: Lynch grumbles Holden killed her after she gave him the information to prove it was Tao and not her who set him up.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Keeps TAO close because she thinks of him as an amusing Psycho for Hire who poses no real threat.
- The Scapegoat
A mid-level supervillain with cybernetic enhancements.
An alien in Lynch's custody who claims to be able to remove the artifact from Holden's body.
A superhero working for IO who attempts to arrest Carver during the sale of a WMD.