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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Whatever You Want: Point Blank and Sleeper

Add Image I never expected to like Point Blank and Sleeper. In fact, it didn't seem to be my taste when Rob suggested it. I wrinkled my nose, but, desperate for something to read (and not wanting to piss him off), I picked up Sleeper. One of the reasons I love Ed Brubaker is the fact that during the entire book, I felt like Cole Cash, finding out things as they happen. I'm not a great detective, so I would have had the same problems he did getting anywhere. The book opens up with Cole waiting in a bar with the feeling like he's forgotten something. He knows he's supposed to meet Lynch, but something feels like it's slipped his mind. He decides to leave the bar and go to Lynch's hotel room. Along the way he find Lynch at the scene of a crime, only Lynch is the victim of a shooting. Rushed to the ER, Cole is shocked to hear that Lynch's brain is beginning to fix itself. Cole takes it upon himself to figure out who shot Lynch. While he is following leads, Cole is contacted by Holden Carver, a member of Tao's organization. Holden explains that he was put into Tao's organization as a sleeper agent that only Lynch knows about. With Lynch in a coma, Holden is screwed and wants Cole to help him out. This is when we see how absolutely wicked awesome Ed Brubaker truly is. You know how at the end of Fight Club the movie takes a sudden twist, very cliche in movies, but holy cow does it work in this book.

All right, I was suckered in, just point me to the next book. Sleeper starts about the same time as Point Blank. This one follows Holden Carver as Lynch inserts him into Tao's organization. Now what I forgot to mention is just about everyone in this book is a post human, most are given some sort of chemical known as the Gen-factor. Holden was fused with some alien technology that allows him not to feel pain, but he can store it up and pass it on to other people through skin contact. Just the kind of person you want to shake hands with, right? When Lynch gets shot, Holden's up crap creek without a paddle. So now he has to make do. He starts working up the ranks of Tao's little family of super baddies. He falls in love with Miss Misery, a woman who has to be bad to live (no really). Things are looking good for Holden, despite being a sleeper agent in an enemy organization with no way out. Then poop hits the fan. Tao finds out and Holden is force to run and hide. But there is no hiding from Tao, so Holden rejoins the organization as a true criminal just in time for Lynch to wake up from his coma. Now things are starting to get interesting. I'm ripping through these books like they are going out of style.

I start a conversation with Rob one day with, "I hate Ed Brubaker!" I thought he was going to pop a blood vessel. I give him just enough time to contemplate where he can dump my dead body before letting him know that I only hate that Brubaker is just too damn good at his job. We were out of the next book of Sleeper and I had to wait, impatiently, for one to come in. Finally, I get to go on. While out with his lower ranking team, Holden gets contacted by Lynch, now out of a coma. Defect from Tao and I can rid you of your alien tech, no really, here's one of the aliens to prove it; that's the claim. Can someone say rock and hard place. Hunted down by Tao or hunted down by I. O. for staying, what a choice. Holden opts for choice three, playing both sides against each other.

I'm not going to ruin the end for you. That's not what I do. These books will end up on my ever growing shelf of comics, with Point Blank in its proper place ahead of Sleeper. I agree with Rob (just don't let him know or he'll get a big head) that to get more enjoyment out of Sleeper that you should read Point Blank first, if for nothing else to realize what a bad man Tao is and what a great writer Ed Brubaker truly is. Not to mention that some of the pictures in it look like surveillance photos and that just adds to the depth of the book. This was one of the surprising finds off of my ever growing list of comics to catch up on; I never in a million years expected that a gritty, tough comic would be enjoyable to read.

This is Ed Brubaker, the writer I have a love/hate relationship with.

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