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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.

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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.

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Not to be confused with the Woody Allen film.


Sleeper provides examples of:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Supervillains often get groupies who are “young girls who need to be close to bad for a few hours at a time.”
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Mostly made up of Corrupt Corporate Executives. In TAO’s Backstory, he tracks them down and, disappointed with their venality, completely screws them over by becoming a Treacherous Advisor.
  • Art Shift: When characters tell each other their origin stories, the artwork becomes a bit simpler with much less background detail to emphasise it's simply a story being told; all you see is all you need to know.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The Tird Street Arms and the Alter Ego, with such trappings as Hero-faced dartboards, masked strippers and portraits of “Old-School” villains like Dr. Mind, The Undertaker and Hugo Lark on the walls.
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  • Bad Powers, Bad People: Several characters but Miss Misery is especially notable. The only way to get her to use her powers for good is to trick her into thinking she's doing something truly reprehensible.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Holden rescues Grifter at the end of Point Blank.
  • Bittersweet Ending: TAO is now back in his laboratory prison without a tongue to speak under Lynch's surveillance and his terrorist organization is disbanded, but Veronica and Miss Misery have been killed and Holden is now in a self aware permanent coma while mentally living in an illusory tropical world where he can spend eternity with his projected versions of Veronica and Miss Misery until brain death. It becomes a Downer Ending when you realize TAO will eventually be back and none of the issues that have gone on so far have been resolved.
  • Black and Gray Morality: Borders on Evil vs. Evil:
    Veronica: He's a terrorist, Holden. He's destabilized governments across the globe. He's killed innocent people, and God knows what he's done that we don't know about.
    Carver: What kind of black ops do you think I did for I.O.? Destabilizing governments, killing innocent people and lots of stuff you really don't want to know about.
    Veronica: That's not the same. With I.O. there's a greater purpose...
    Carver: Is there? Or is it just covert imperialism? Dead children are still dead children at the end of the day, Veronica... they don't care about the reasons behind it.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Holden was mainly teetering on it, but fully crossed this after Veronica killed Miss Misery and he killed Veronica by his own killer response reflexes.
  • Flying Car:
    Holden: I hate flying cars. I really do. They're so super-spy.
  • From Bad to Worse: For Carver when Lynch, the only one who knew he was really an undercover agent, was shot and put in a coma.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: TAO's organisation goes on a hunt for the undercover operative in their midst. Naturally, Holden is right in the middle of it.
  • How We Got Here: Point Blank opens with Grifter about to be shot.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Turned on its head. The mission to get Tao is so important, Holden will do anything and everything to keep his cover, including mass murder. A lot of his character arc revolves around him reconciling how he deals with eating so many kittens and can still be considered a "good guy."
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: One of the few comedic moments in the series. "That's right, horse breathers! I shit your branch!" It is of course followed by violence, death threats and murder.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Grifter walking in on Kenesha A.K.A. Savant having sex with a supervillain in a parking garage. He assumes the villain is raping her and is disappointed to find out that his “heroic rescue” was a mistake.
  • Oh, Crap!: Grifter wakes up groggily after a skirmish and finds himself face-to-face with Tao.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Genocide Jones reveals his origin story, he becomes very somber, a stark contrast to his usual Boisterous Bruiser personality. Also applies within the context of the story. Origin stories are meant to be told in the third-person, but as Jones's story goes on, he switches to the first-person.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Alternative Title(s): Point Blank

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