7.12.09

Sleeper

...has been re-released in two massive 'season' trades. I read the first one recently. Have loved this series a whole lot for a long time. Just want to note a couple of things.

It's a slow build. You can really see Brubaker and Philips learning their craft as the series progresses. By the second half, everything is very tight. The sense of cliche you get at certain points in the first couple of issues is completely absent.

The series is not decompressed. Every issue works on its own, has a satisfying complete-ness to it. Very good comics, in other words.

Miss Misery's origin -- doing bad things (according to society) makes you strong -- pretty much summarises every supervillain origin ever. Clever idea.

Which is picked up and developed in the standout twelth issue. Tau's origin is a succinct, and very powerful, encapsulation of human evil. It's is what makes Sleeper something more than just good noir/spy/action pulp. And then we get Tau's offer to Carver of a chance 'to be more than a pawn in some morality play'. Irony, because Carver is exactly that. Brubaker (I think) is on record describing superhero stories as morality plays, and this scene brings out the central binary such stories revolve around -- thoughts and actions, belief and self interest, ideas and reality.

Finally, Carver. The character really gains a pathos towards the end, where he is utterly broken down, manipulated beyond endurance, and compelled to fully go over to the dark side. The strength of this character is ultimately why Sleeper works as well as it does. And from what I remember, it gets even better from here.

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