Friday, June 10, 2005

The Comic Review


This week, the second season of Sleeper wrapped up, ending an awesome comic run by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. There were plenty of twists and turns along the way, including a few at the very end. The good guys get theirs, the bad guys get theirs, but what that is may not exactly be what you expect.

Brubaker has weaved a fantastic story of intrigue and espionage. Every issue features twists and betrayals. All the way up until the end, you never know exactly what will happen, or who is on whose side. Brubaker is wonderful at layering his stories, making each event play into the larger plan of each participant. Some get the advantage, but then the others always come back to press their own advantage. This back and forth action, with the global cat and mouse game, stretches the tension to the absolute limit, and beyond.

But Brubaker really excels at his characterizations. His characters are so complex and full of life, you hate to see one die. And when it gets to the end of the series, you know plenty of them will die. But it is also nice to see those who do not die. Holden does not want to see his friends killed, and so he tries to find ways to get around each of them biting the dust. It does not always work, but it is nice to see a character be conflicted by his actions. Wanting to atone for his evils while committing more evils. These are real, three dimensional characters.

One would be stupid not to mention Sean Phillips. His art brings a fantastic moody atmosphere to the world this takes place in. Dark blacks and faces worn with age define his world. His people are haunted, with their wisdom and age in their eyes. He is one of the top talents working in comics today.

Now, one odd thing in the last issue is the washout effect I noticed. Everything is a light shade of gray, ruining the stunning blacks and losing some of Phillips art. Whether this was a stylistic choice, or just something in the printing, I found it to be lacking. The story though, wraps everything up perfectly, giving enough twists to keep you excited while leaving the possibility open for more stories in the future. This is a must read series.

Sleeper starts with Point Blank, followed by the three Sleeper trades out now, and concluding with the last six issues of Season 2.


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