Sleeping Dogs is and isn’t a superhero story. If anything it’s more of a revenge story. We meet Malcom as he comes home from playing “superhero” to find out that his son is dead. Malcom is more of an everyman type of hero, fixing things for people, making sure others eat their food and stay clean. He’s an interesting hero because there’s nothing that heroic about him. He knows who killed his son. Everyone knows who did it, but they’re all afraid of him. He’s like the Kingpin, but without people in tights to beat the shit out of him. Malcom decides he’s going to do something about it. He’s going to get vengeance for his son one way or another. He’s going to storm the building of the man who killed his son.
In that regard, the story becomes a bit like The Raid or Dredd, which was good. It wasn’t the entirety of the focus, but it was nice bit to add action and break up the drama. Malcom, is an interesting character. He’s caring, he dresses up in full costume, he makes public appearances, but then he’s not afraid to kill some bad guys. It’s this weird amalgamation of perfect hero and the anti-hero. Because he’s still a good man. He doesn’t revel in murder. He doesn’t feel that it “needs to happen”, but it is a side effect of his mission to get to the man that killed his son. It is and isn’t the decent of a hero into the anti-hero.
The story is enjoyable. It doesn’t exactly end the way you’d think it would which was a nice curveball. It stays within the parameters of the story so that it’s still believable. The writing stays on task setting the story up, pacing it properly so that when the ending arrives it’s rewarding and satisfying. Malcom is again, an interesting character. He’s kind of the only one and while it’s his story we still spend some time with the villain and he’s just a paint by numbers villain. You really don’t have enough character to truly hate him.
The art is a strange fit. Like I said, this story seems to battle between perfect hero and anti-hero, but the art is more in line with a gritty real world story. it doesn’t particularly match the genre of the story, but in a strange way it really works. It makes this story about a man without any powers, all the more real. It’s gritty. The line work is thick. Everyone has a lot of extra details on their faces making them rugged looking. It’s a story that feels like it’s set in our world. While the art might be more at home with another story, it manages to be an incredible fit for this story.
Sleeping Dogs is a one-shot and it’s more than worth checking out. It’s worth owning. I don’t go for a lot of indie superhero books or in this case superhero inspired stories, but when one this good comes along its worth noting.
Sleeping Dogs Writer: Fraser Campbell Artist: Lautaro Capristo Colorist: David B. Cooper Letterer: Colin Bell Publisher: Cabal Comics Price: £4.00 Format: One-Shot; Print/Digital