Sleeper Season 2 #9


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Sleeper Season 2 #9


  • Words: Ed Brubaker
  • Art: Sean Phillips
  • Inks: N/A
  • Colors: Carrie Strachan
  • Story Title: D?j? Vu All Over Again D?j? Vu All Over Again
  • Price: $2.95
  • Release Date: Feb 23, 2005

Cole Cash A.K.A. Grifter makes his return to the field for I.O. He’s been manipulated by Tao before, how many will manipulate him this time?

I can imagine, in an alternate universe, comics like Sleeper could be textbooks for creative writing students seeking to write espionage novels, political thrillers and psychological detective novels. Ed Brubaker seems able to weave such a lethal web of lies and manipulations with such textbook precision and verve that it almost seems to be a literary experiment in how manipulative any set of characters can become.

This issue begins with the recruitment of Cole Cash into I.O. as a freelance operative. We find out that, physically, he is in great shape despite his recent wheelchair-bound status. While he is in fine physical shape, how able is he to withstand Tao’s psychological manipulations. This time, Holden knows in advance that Cash is sure to be manipulated and true to form is hoping to get in on the action this time with a little manipulation of his own. Little does Holden know that the alliances he has built are slowly crumbling around him…

I’m glad that Brubaker has brought Cole Cash into the fray as he is a character I have missed since the demise of Wildcats 3.0. The opening scenes are great examples of Brubaker’s handle on conversation and wry humor. The difference between Cash’s lofty attitude to his duty and that of Slayton’s one track mind G-Man makes for some entertaining inward chuckles. As the story progresses, I remind myself why Brubaker’s style here is perfect for monthly comics. While others have said that this book reads better in trade, I find that it is one of the few books that suit a progressive release. Brubaker always makes sure that there are a number of developments in each issue; crafting every 22 pages into a coherent and satisfying chapter. If only other writers had the same abilities!

Sean Phillips artwork is typically brilliant, yet it is this issue that I most noticed the important work of colourist, Carrie Strachan. It is her work that adds the brutal punch to the fight scenes and her muted tones that allow Tao to always seem as if he is disappearing with the shadows. Each scene has a different colour tone that permeates even the black edges of the panel.

Certainly, there are few who will be persuaded to start reading this book from the ninth issue of the second season. Perhaps this recommendation will push those at a tilting point over this title to go and collect the trades – there will be only four in all. Who knows, it might be required reading for that creative writing class in a few years…

- Matthew Clark

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