Grade 11 Up Holden Carver is a double agent, working both for a government-type named Lynch and a terrorist mastermind named Tao. After coming into contact with an alien artifact, he becomes impervious to pain and can pass along any injury-related pain inflicted upon him to others. In this final installment of this gritty science-fiction noir story, Carver must ultimately choose between the two sides and decide where his loyalties lie. Accompanied by his ruthless, beautiful, sociopath girlfriend, he learns that he is not the only one who harbors secrets. As the action meets its denouement, the characters meet their surprising fates with astonishing plot twists that explore the meaning of what pain really is, on a number of different levels. Sleeper is a raw and harsh story that brilliantly combines a futuristic world of aliens and flying cars with a thrilling world of deceit and espionage. Phillips's shadowy art is superbly congruent with the darkness of Brubaker's writing. Mature audiences and fans of Frank Miller's Sin City (Dark Horse) will revel in this series that holds nothing back. Not for the faint of heart, this volume is best suited for adult collections. Jennifer Feigelman, Goshen Public Library and Historical Society, NY
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Brubaker and Phillips' Sleeper melded spy and superhero genres potently as this collection of its final issues demonstrates. In it, the cat-and-mouse game between former government agent Holden Carver and Tao, the leader of a shadowy worldwide criminal cartel, comes to a head. In the previous story arc, A Crooked Line (2005), Tao discovered Carver's dual role but persuaded him--or did he?--to turn against Lynch, his former boss and Tao's longtime nemesis. Now Carver plays both ends against the middle in a desperate scheme to make a clean break from both sides and take his beautiful, deceitful colleague, Miss Misery, with him. An already twisty narrative grows even knottier as the story accelerates to a satisfying denouement. Brubaker again proves himself a master of intricate plotting and the engine that propels Sleeper's full-throttle impetus, hard-boiled dialogue. Phillips' darkly intelligent art and masterful storytelling--he makes even expository talking-heads sequences gripping--are equally crucial. Sleeper will be missed, but what Brubaker and Phillips do next, together or separately, should be thrilling. Gordon Flagg
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