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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Trade Tales! - New Avengers: Sentry

Next up on the list is Marvel’s Golden Boy: The Sentry. It’s been said that he has the “power of 10 million suns” or something like that. His name is Robert Reynolds and he first appeared in The Sentry #1 from 2000. After that mini-series, he was brought back into the universe in New Avengers #1 from 2004.  I kind of talked about him in my look at the first New Avengers arc, “Breakout.” I also mentioned him briefly in the Blue Marvel post. Both characters have one thing in common: they were retconned heroes that were created in the 2000's. While Blue Marvel had something more relatable (bloody racism) with his disappearance, the Sentry’s story is a bit different and maybe convoluted. I’ll get to that today.

“Sentry” was the next storyline for the book. I had the issues but they’ve somehow disappeared from my collection. I don’t know if I got rid of them or just lost them, so I now have the trade of the storyline. The storyline went through New Avengers #7-#10. Brian Michael Bendis wrote the story. Steve McNiven took over the penciling duties for this arc from David Finch. McNiven is possibly best known for his work on the Marvel crossover, Civil War. That’s something I know I have to look at before the new movie comes out.

New Avengers: Sentry
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Steve McNiven
Inks: Mark Morales and John Dell
Colors: Morry Hollowell and Laura Martin
Letters: Richard Starkings and Albert Deschesne

SYNOPSIS:
The story begins with Iron Man going to meet with the Illuminati, a small group of heroes from around the Marvel Universe. There’s Mr. Fantastic, Professor Xavier, Namor, Doctor Strange, and Black Bolt. They talk about the formation of the New Avengers and the Sentry. No one has actually heard of him, but the Sentry did mentioned to Tony that Reed Richards knows him. Reed is befuddled and even more befuddled when he finds has a lot of files on the forgotten hero. Prof. Xavier wonders if his mind has been tampered with.
Guys, I think it could be that slinky suit of hers instead of her pheromones. I see why they gave her a new one now.

Elsewhere, most of the team chase down one of the inmates who escaped from the Raft. The Wrecker from the Wrecking Crew proves to be a challenge for Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, and Wolverine. Luckily, thanks to “Jessica Drew’s” abilities, they were able stop the villain from doing more harm. Sometime later or before (the book is pretty unclear on that), Tony, Captain America, and SHIELD find the Sentry in the Nevada Desert. Sentry tells them that he’s a danger and that he killed his wife. It’s weird because SHIELD has his wife, Lindy, safe and sound and nobody has heard of him. The only thing that even mentions the Sentry is a comic book series written by Paul Jenkins. The Sentry doesn’t believe it, wigs out, and uses his powers to disappear. Iron Man contacts the rest of the team in order to find him.
Man, you'd think this was a big event or something.

Later, the team (along with the X-Men, The Fantastic Four, The Inhumans, and SHIELD) do find the Sentry (or in this case Robert) in a house with a dog. Robert breaks down and tells the conglomerate of heroes that now that he’s used his powers, his arch-nemesis, the Void, is coming. As that happens, The Void comes and attacks everyone. Most of the heroes rig up fields to protect Robert, Emma Frost, and Mr. Fantastic. Mr. Fantastic shows Robert a recording that Robert had made before he lost his memories. In the message, Robert tells them and himself that he may be the Void and that something’s been done to erase him from people’s memories. He also tells himself to do what the teams say. 
Man, it's a double overload of text and pics!

Emma then uses her powers to enter Robert’s mind. They end up seeing all of his memories of him including his origin, his interactions with the Marvel Universe, and his time with his wife. They do find one memory that’s blocked off. Emma accesses it and finds out that a villain had the mutant, Mastermind, mess with Robert’s mind. Basically, the Sentry unknowingly used his abilities to make everyone forget he existed. This also made writer Paul Jenkins write stories about him… Comics everyone! Anyway, Robert doesn’t take the news well, runs away, and somehow gains control of The Void.

 In order to help stop Robert, Emma brings Robert’s wife into his mind. She’s able to use a memory of theirs to calm him down and he stops the Void from doing more damage. He now remembers who Mastermind was working for. Emma tells him that she can remove the tampering from his mind. Steve and Tony also invite Robert into the Avengers. After Sentry regains his memories, they head back to New York. There, they find Sentry’s Watchtower on top of Stark Tower which was hidden from site because of the tampering.

The story ends as the Illuminati then meets again to discuss the whole thing. The Avengers will look over the Sentry and keep him in check. Before their meeting ends, they ask Tony about what rumors with SHIELD. Tony lies and tells them he knows nothing even when they ask about his time in the Savage Land.

OPINION:
While I had some qualms about it, I thought this was a fine story.  It was cool to finally get an explanation on the Sentry. It heavily focuses on him and all of that was fine if a bit confusing at times. I told you he could get convoluted.  That’s probably why I’m not much of a fan of the character. I also liked the other moments with the Avengers. We get a nice exchange between Wolverine and Tony about Wolverine’s status as an Avenger. The fight with the Wrecker was laid out well and funny. I also thought the introduction of Marvel’s Illuminati was handled well.
I thought this was a nice concept Bendis introduced.

The artwork was good for the most part. It’s not McNiven’s best work, but it’s fine. The action flowed nicely and I also liked the quiet moments. I thought all of the moments in Robert’s head were good even though it as a lot of white space. I thought it as funny when we’d see one panel of the battle outside. I didn’t have too many issues with the story. I did get a little confused in the early issues. First, Iron Man’s with the Illuminati. Then, he’s with SHIELD later. Also, Bendis could get a little too “Bendis” with the dialogue especially in Robert’s head. Other than that and a couple of weird decisions with the art, this was fine.

Overall, I liked this one. As I said before, I’m not a big fan of the Sentry. The only thing about him is that he’s mentally unstable and that doesn’t interest me. The character stayed with the Avengers (New, Mighty, and Dark) until his death in the crossover event, Siege. I’ve heard that he is back from the dead and that’s not a shock these days. Maybe ya’ll see something in him that I don’t. Anyway, I have one dark homage left. Unlike Sentry who is good but mentally unstable, the Plutonian is like the Power Glove: just bad. Peace and God Bless.

NEXT TIME: MARK WAID IS EVIL (THEIR WORDS, NOT MINE)!

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