December 15, 2005

Sleeper Vol. 1: Out in the Cold/ Wildstorm Productions

Imagine being a secret agent, forced to go deep undercover into a criminal organisation carrying out acts of terrorism and killings -- the very things you were sworn to protect against. And imagine the only person who could prove you are one of the good guys is now lying in a coma with little hope of being revived.

"Sleeper" is like that, but with the added dimension of a world where there are humans and superhumans (both good and bad) infused with super-powers.

by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips
ISBN 1401201156
NLB Call. No: q741.5973
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The term "sleeper agent" refers to an agent who lies hidden until called into action.

Holden Carver is that sleeper agent. What I enjoyed about this graphic novel is that it really tells the story of his dilemmia. He's faced with a boss (the head of that criminal organisation he's forced to work in) named Tao, whose superpowers is actually in manipulation and strategy. You get the impression that Tao suspects and perhaps even knows Holden is a sleeper but for some reason, he made Holden one of his top henchmen.

Another thing I enjoyed is the many plots and sub-plots, like the elicit romance between Holden and Misery (who has to do evil deeds to stay alive!). Along the way, Holden even has to kill some good guys who were on the verge of discovering his double-agent status. He hates himself even more of course and wonders if he's falling into "the dark side".

It's complex storytelling in comic-art form.

I would rate this graphic novel for adults, and not for children. Parental guidance might be required for teens as there is nudity, depiction of sex and swearing. Mild by today's adult standards but something to watch out for in any case.

Holden has a superhuman power too, but I'll leave you to read it for yourself on what it is, and how he got it...

BTW, Tao was mentioned in "WildC.A.T.s covert-action-teams: Homecoming". I learnt that "Tao" stood for "Tactically Augmented Organism".
ISBN: 156389582X
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