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Comic Book / Sleeper

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A comic book series by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, set in the WildStorm universe, combining Noir and superheroes. Originally introduced as 12-issue mini-series (March, 2003-March, 2004). It spawned the one-shot "Coup D'Etat: Sleeper" (April, 2004) and the sequel "Sleeper: Season 2". The later was another 12-issue series (August, 2004-July, 2005). Sleeper was preceded by a 5 issue miniseries called Point Blank that effectively acts as a prelude, so tropes present in Point Blank are discussed here.


Holden Carver used to be a black ops operative for the American government agency known as International Operations. When his late father was revealed to have been a traitor, Carver stole a retrieved alien artifact and went rogue, eventually joining a syndicate of super-powered criminals run by supervillain Tao (formerly of the WildCATs).

Except that's not true. Carver unintentionally became bonded with the artifact while on a mission; he was recruited to infiltrate the syndicate by his mentor John Lynch. The preceding is just a cover story.

That is until a failed assassination attempt sent Lynch into a coma, and the cover story became, for all intent and purposes, reality. Carver then has to find his own way out while doing more and more questionable things to maintain his cover.

Has a character sheet.


Not to be confused with the Woody Allen film.

Sleeper provides examples of:

  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Lynch’s decoding facility is based around a kid with a giant brain hooked up to incredibly painful machines. When Holden sees this, he shoots him and tells Lynch that he is a monster for doing this. Lynch claims that the man in the machine was a 30 year old mutant who just looked like a child, but he may have been lying and that doesn’t make it much better.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: A couple, here and there, although for the most part, people's heads asplode.
  • Psycho for Hire: Almost a requirement to work for TAO.
  • The Unfettered: Lots of characters like to think they are. An ongoing theme of the series is how this is largely an illusion.
  • Un-person: A reporter who stumbled onto a meeting of these shadow power players thought he got away with it when he's let go... only to return to find no one at his newspaper claimed to have known him, his apartment was occupied by someone else, his family suddenly vanishing and he ended up dying of a drug overdose on the streets.
  • Unrealistic Black Hole: A suitcase black-hole bomb.
  • Your Head Asplode: Many characters meet their fate this way, notably Miss Misery and Peter Grimm.

Alternative Title(s): Point Blank