Brubaker's Magnum Opus.
Brubaker is a writer known for many fantastic works, namely Books of Doom, Captain America, Catwoman, Gotham Central, and Iron Fist.That's a pretty impressive list of titles there and none of them even come close to touching Sleeper. On the other hand doing all of the covers for Sleeper and the interiors, Sean Phillips. Who to my knowledge is known for working with Brubaker and doing cover work, mind you they're very good covers and work with Brubaker. The thing is you just don't get Sleeper in this omnibus though, you also get Point Blank, which while
Smarter than your average bear, I mean better than your average comic isn't anything really special, especially when compared to Sleeper.
So the first thing you'd notice when seeing this book is the outside, therefore I will start talking about this book by telling you what's on the cover. Now,Ii don't actually like dust jackets so as soon as I got the plastic wrap off of my copy of the book I slid it off and ripped it in half. A really dumb move in hindsight since the actual cover is pretty much blank. It's really embossed with the logo of the book in black as is the writing on the spine which means, you can't see it at all. It works for the logo on the front of the book but I would of liked to see the title of the book on the spine.
Before going into the story/art I should mention that unlike some omnibuses this book opens up rather easily and is really easy to read. It's also not too heavy which is a real problem Cough cough Sandman Omnibus Cough. I won't lie and say I know what the differences in binding mean but I have read the omnibus a total of 3 times already and it seems like it'll stand up to the test of time.
So, how about the actual story now? Well, no, we shall first talk about Point Blank. Which while it does help set up Sleeper isn't actually necessary, I know because when I first read Sleeper I didn't know Point Blank existed. Since this is the omnibus though it should include everything. The story is fairly simple and introduces the characters and moves along at a fantastic pace. The art by Colin Wilson while no where near as good as Phillips is still quite good. Brubaker isn't firing on all cylinders here but this is still worth the read.
And now the part you've all been waiting for... SLEEPER! Which just so happens to have an excellent example of what a proper first issue should be like, it hints at past of the characters but starts the story right where we need it to. But what is the story here? Meet Holden Carver, he's an agent for I.O. undercover in TAO's secret organization. The tricky thing is his handler, the only man that can prove that he's not actually working for TAO is in a coma. Oh, and Holden also can literally not feel pain, what he would feel gets passed on to those who touch him, and yes Brubaker uses this to perfection in this noiresque epic. I'm actually going to shy away from too many spoilers here and will just kind of tell you why this book is absolutely must read. In the first season, we get tossed into a gritty world perfectly adapted and creatively designed by Phillips and soundly described by Brubaker. You get shown the hierarchy of TAO's organization and how it works and Holden starts moving up in it. He goes on interesting missions and meets and forms an interesting relationship with Miss Misery. Whose powers mean the more evil she is the better she looks, and yes it's described better in the book then I just did. Twists and turns and blind sides and back stabs all happen and the book goes in the only way it could for a guy like Holden, to hell. Except there is more, The second season puts Miss Misery's with Holden relationship under a microscope while setting up a very complex series of back stabbing that admittedly confused the hell out of me and made perfect sense. You get to meet more characters that while not being beacons of justice and hope are still very entertaining.
But what makes this book special? Is it Brubaker's knack for writing amazing noir/gritty stories? Phillips breath taking art? Unique powers, interesting characters, and well done motivations? While all of those helped make this book special, what really put it over the top was what I took away from it, and while I may not necessarily agree with it, it is worth discussing. What I took away was simply that everything is kind of messed up, and the book goes and showcases this multiple times, and it's the way that it showcases that idea that makes it worth discussing.
After Sleeper you get a couple of extras and an afterword by Brubaker.
This book is a must read.