Sleeper (comics)

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Sleeper, Volume 1 #1
Publication information
PublisherWildstorm (imprint of DC Comics
FormatTwo limited series, one-shot
GenreCrime, spy, superhero, neo-noir
Publication dateMarch 2003 - March 2004
April 2004
June 2004 - May 2005
No. of issuesSleeper #1-12
Coup D'Etat: Sleeper
Sleeper: Season Two #1-12
Main character(s)Holden Carver
John Lynch
Miss Misery
Creative team
Written byEd Brubaker
Penciller(s)Sean Phillips (main series)
Jim Lee (Coup D'Etat: Sleeper)
Colorist(s)Tony Avina
Randy Mayor
Alex Sinclair
Carrie Strachan
James Sinclair
Collected editions
Out in the ColdISBN 1-4012-0115-6
All False MovesISBN 1401202888
A Crooked LineISBN 1401206182
The Long Way HomeISBN 1401206271
Sleeper: Season OneISBN 1401223605
Sleeper Season TwoISBN 1401224938

Sleeper was a comic book series written by Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips, published by DC Comics under their Wildstorm imprint. The series consisted of two twelve-issue limited series and the events of the first "season" served as a catalyst for the Coup D'Etat line-wide crossover.

Sleeper was set in the Wildstorm Universe and concerned the travails of Holden Carver, a covert operative who has been placed undercover in a villainous organisation led by TAO, a WildC.A.T.s villain from Alan Moore's run. It was a spin-off of Point Blank, a mini-series about Grifter from Wildcats and John Lynch from Gen¹³ that was also written by Ed Brubaker.


Holden Carver, also known as The Conductor (although he prefers going by his real name), is placed undercover in Tao's criminal organization by John Lynch, the director of International Operations after being fused with an alien artifact that makes him impervious to pain, gives him a powerful healing factor, and allows him to store pain he receives and pass it on to others through skin contact. Holden hates these abilities and constantly wishes to be rid of them. Lynch falls into a coma after being shot by Grifter, leaving Holden with no link to the outside world.

He quickly rises through the ranks of Tao's syndicate and becomes one of his lieutenants, called "Prodigals". He falls in love with another Prodigal named Miss Misery and befriends Genocide Jones, a super-strong, bullet-proof member of Tao's organization. The series also focuses on Holden's internal struggle over whether or not there is a difference between his actions while serving Tao and his actions while serving Lynch.

Tao learns of Holden's true allegiance, and Holden is forced to live on the run. With the help of Peter Grimm, his most trusted Prodigal, Tao captures Holden and tells him that he is a survivor, past petty concepts like "good" and "evil." Beginning to believe Tao and seeing no other options, Holden rejoins Tao's organization, this time as a true criminal. As Season One ends, John Lynch miraculously awakes from his coma.

Coup D'Etat comes to pass and the members of Tao's organization are forced into hiding so The Authority cannot discover them. Holden is now a full-fledged villain and a trusted Prodigal. While on a mission with his own band of Torpedoes (lower-level members of Tao's organization) called the Hounds, consisting of the eager-to-please Pit Bull (introduced in Season One) and the werewolf Blackwolf, Holden is contacted by an agent of John Lynch. Lynch wants Holden to leave Tao and defect back to I.O. He later presents Holden with a member of the alien race who built the artifact that gave Holden his abilities and promises that if he agrees to come back he'll rid him of his powers.

Holden then begins to play both sides against the middle, hoping he will be able to free himself of his obligations to Tao and Lynch and run away with Miss Misery. As this goes on, he tries to reform, despite knowing that he will never again be the man he thought he was before falling in with Tao.

At the end of Season Two, Holden Carver is left in a vegetative state. Lynch uses his gen factor powers to make the vegetative Holden believe that he is finally retired and living with Miss Misery and his ex-fiancee, Veronica St. James, on a tropical island. Holden ripped out Tao's tongue as a last effort to 'disarm' the main villain of the series before being handed over to Lynch. It is here that the story ends.

Collected editions[edit]

Sleeper has been collected in a series of four trade paperbacks:


Tom Cruise and Sam Raimi were in the process of creating a movie adaptation of Sleeper with Warner Bros., in which Cruise may have starred[1] and Brad Inglesby is writing the screenplay, but this rumor went cold. In November 2013, the magazine Variety reported that Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Todd will produce the film and Shawn Ryan and David Wiener to pen the film.[2]


  1. ^ Kit, Borys (August 19, 2008). "Tom Cruise wakes up 'Sleeper'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  2. ^ McNary, Dave (21 November 2013). "Ben Affleck, Matt Damon Producing DC Entertainment's 'Sleeper' for Warner Bros. (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 21 November 2013.