The Sentry by author Paul Jenkins, Illustrations by Jae Lee
The Sentry is a short standalone Marvel comics run that is the first appearance of Bob Reynolds aka The Sentry. But who is the Sentry? Well, until this book he was no one and even in this book most people still think he’s no one. This book does show, however, that it is possible to create an entirely new superhero from scratch instead of just repackaging an existing best selling name. (Take note writers).
Bob knows that he used to be a superhero. He knows that all he needs to do is take his super serum and he’ll become one again. But he also knows that something happened to erase everyone else’s memory of him ever being a superhero. The Avengers don’t know him anymore and no one can back up his claim. Is he just making it all up? Maybe he’s delusional.
Bob’s wife catches him drinking the super serum and takes him for a pathetic drunk. She doesn’t know of his alter ego and leaves him a wreck on the kitchen floor. Bob knows he could lose everything but he also knows that there is a threat big enough to warrant his return. He just has to prove to everyone that he’s not actually delusional.
The Sentry is one of the most original plots I’ve read in a Marvel comic book in quite some time. Superhero comics often tackle the issue of identity but this one takes it from a new perspective. Bob has to have faith in himself when all evidence points to the contrary and everyone is telling him he’s insane.
It also stands as a solid allegory for addiction and substance abuse. No one else can see the evidence that his consumption of this mysterious elixir gives him powers. Just as those who consume alcohol or drugs to make themselves feel more superhuman he could just be fooling himself. Even the reader is left unsure for a large part of the run.
I’ve seen the Sentry appear in some New Avengers comics runs and I was always intrigued by him. He seemed like an ultra powerful hero that was never utilized properly. This first appearance standalone showcases his power but also his instability and adds some much needed backstory to the man in the cape.
The Sentry is one of the most powerful characters in Marvel canon. According to the official Marvel website he has the power of “a million exploding suns.” His power set includes super strength, speed, intelligence, invulnerability, flight, as well as others that have been yet to be revealed. He’s powered by solar energy and has limitless potential as long as he doesn’t self destruct his mental state.
The main problem with this particular run is that it ends way too abruptly. It feels like they thought they had more issues but were then told to wrap it up. I’m sure that a then unknown like Bob was not a huge seller and that this could be exactly what happened. The capitalism side of comic books often disrupts perfectly good story telling.
I’m looking forward to reading more of Bob Reynolds and The Sentry in other runs. Now that I know more about the character I know that he is one of the most complicated and interesting ones that Marvel has to offer. They just need to have a little faith in him and keep giving him story lines.
4/5 voids 🕳🕳🕳🕳
I have since read and reviewed Sentry: Reborn, it’s not as good as this one but still an interesting read for a less popular character.
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For more Marvel origin stories check out Thanos Rising