Sleeper (Marvel Comics)

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Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceCaptain America #101 (May 1968)
Created byStan Lee (Writer)
Jack Kirby (Artist)
In-story information
Team affiliationsSkeleton Crew
Notable aliasesSL-4, the Fourth Sleeper

Sleeper is the name of several fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The Sleepers are depicted as a series of five destructive robots created by the Red Skull.

Fictional character biography[edit]

The Sleeper was the most powerful of five doomsday robots designed in Berlin by Nazi Germany as agents of destruction. After World War II, the Sleeper was entombed within a crypt that was sunk into the sea. The first three robots were activated by agents at a certain time in European villages, consisting of a giant human-like robot with blaster rays, a winged robot, and the 'brain', which resembled the Red Skull and was a powerful bomb. Despite Captain America and the personnel of a nearby US Army base's attempts to stop them, the robots combined and flew towards the North Pole. While in pursuit with the military, Captain America surmises that the first Sleeper would use its blasts to dig into the ice, enabling the robot to travel into the Earth and explode, destroying the world, as the Red Skull had vowed that if he could not conquer the world, he would destroy it. To prevent this, Captain America is able to board the combined vehicle in midair and detonate the bomb early with a flamethrower, destroying the three Sleepers. The crypt containing the fourth Sleeper was retrieved from the sea in modern times, and when the Sleeper reactivated it destroyed a seacoast smelting factory and battled Captain America. The Sleeper was ultimately rendered intangible by a "sonic crystal".[1] Similarly, the Red Skull later activated the fifth Sleeper, only to have it stopped by Captain America and the Falcon as well.[2]

The fourth Sleeper was later restored to tangibility by the Machinesmith and was used as a "Trojan horse" to gain entrance onto Avengers Island in order to liberate the various robots incarcerated there. It was thwarted by Captain America, and badly damaged.[3]

The damage done to the fourth Sleeper was later repaired by the Machinesmith.[4] The Sleeper was animated by the Machinesmith to join the Skeleton Crew in search of the missing Red Skull. It battled Hellfire Club mercenaries, and the Black Queen.[5] Replicas of the five Sleeper robots were then pitted against Captain America and Diamondback.[6]

Powers and abilities[edit]

The fourth Sleeper's robotic materials, design, and construction provide it with superhuman strength, stamina, durability, and reflexes. It possesses a limited artificial intelligence, with a capacity for limited self-motivated activity. The Sleeper is programmed to be moderately proficient at hand-to-hand combat. The Sleeper has repulsor-ray blasters mounted in its eyesockets.

Originally the fourth Sleeper could alter its density from its natural tempered steel form to total intangibility. The circuits that controlled this function have burned out and have not been replaced. The vibration of a certain "sonic crystal" caused the Sleeper's intangibility control to malfunction. The Sleeper originally could also generate "volcanic" thermal energy and project it through its faceplate. This function has also apparently been eradicated.

In other media[edit]


  • The original Sleeper story appeared in the Captain America subseries of The Marvel Super Heroes. It is seen in the installments "The Sleeper Shall Awake", "Where Walks the Sleeper" and "The Final Sleep".
  • A Sleeper robot appeared in the X-Men animated series. In the episode "Old Soldiers", it was defeated by Wolverine and Captain America.
  • Robots of a similar design to Sleepers appeared in the Spider-Man TV series. In the "Six Forgotten Warriors" saga, they were created to protect the Red Skull's "doomsday weapon". They were initially defeated by the Six Warriors, Kingpin and the Insidious Six, but were later reactivated by Electro to attack the United Nations. They were defeated once again by the Six Warriors.
  • The Sleeper appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. This version has a HYDRA stamp instead of a Nazi stamp. They appear in the episode "Winter Soldier". A Sleeper attacks the Hydro-Base in order to spring the Red Skull from the Hydro Base's prison. While Captain America and Nick Fury were looking for the Winter Soldier, they find him fighting a Sleeper. Captain America and Fury bring the mountain down on Sleeper as Captain America tricks it off a cliff. Winter Soldier later told Captain America and Nick that in the event that Red Skull's campaign as Dell Rusk fails, the Sleepers would activate. Five Sleepers in Washington, D.C. have been activated and end up attacking Washington, D.C. upon combining into one Mega-Sleeper with a Nova Cannon in its chest. The Avengers fought the Mega-Sleeper until Captain America and Winter Soldier arrive to target the CPU in its head. Captain America and Winter Soldier find Red Skull in the CPU part of the Mega-Sleeper where Red Skull plans to brainwash them to serve him. Winter Soldier then breaks free as the fight within the Mega-Sleeper damages it. The Avengers managed to cause the Mega-Sleeper to collapse into the clearing.
  • Sleepers knowns as Sleeper-Mechs are introduced in season 5 of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as shock troopers for a lone HYDRA leader, United States Air Force General Hale. Introduced in "All the Comforts of being Home", they are remote-controlled by Hale's cybernetic associate, Anton Ivanov aka The Superior.

Video games[edit]

  • Sleeper appears in the Captain America: Super Soldier video game. The Sleeper was discovered during the Middle Ages by Baron Zemo's ancestor Heller Zemo. Though they couldn't understand what the Sleeper is, Heller Zemo and his men realized it is something important. Castle Zemo was soon built around the Sleeper's resting place. Hundreds of years later, during World War II, the Castle was owned by Baron Heinrich Zemo, who thought that he was destined to awake the Sleeper and use it to help him in his world conquest. However, he unwisely made an alliance with Johann Schmidt, commander of the Nazi research division HYDRA. On Schmidt's orders, the soldiers of HYDRA occupied Castle Zemo, where Schmidt's top scientist Arnim Zola studied the Sleeper. In 1944, the castle was infiltrated by the American Super Soldier named Captain America. After he defeated the guards, he confronted Zola's robot while the Sleeper awoke and destroyed one Allied plane. However, the Sleeper was finally destroyed by Captain America.


  1. ^ Strange Tales #115
  2. ^ Captain America #148
  3. ^ Captain America #354
  4. ^ Captain America #368
  5. ^ Captain America #369
  6. ^ Captain America #370
  7. ^ "The Sleeper Awakens". Avengers: Secret Wars. Season 4. Episode 3. August 27, 2017. Disney XD.