Retro Review: THE SENTRY!

Marvel Knights' "The Sentry" by: Paul Jenkins

Who is THE SENTRY you ask?

That’s the mystery that plagues Bob Reynolds… and the rest of the Marvel Universe!

The Watchtower (The Sentry)

The character of ‘the Sentry’ himself first debuted in this story (specifically “Sentry” #1 initially released in 2000), but the story implies that the Sentry was actually an old school Golden Age Marvel character predating even the Fantastic Four. In fact there was an entire viral campaign for the series in which an entire fake ‘real world’ story was created for this ‘lost character’ from the vault of Stan Lee’s rejected character concepts!

It’s worth noting that The Sentry has since appeared in a number of Marvel crossover events as well as a follow up series, but it all started with this self contained story.

“The Sentry” is a graphic novel collecting the entire Marvel Knights mini-series along with all the tie-ins and finale. All together these issues create a cohesive self-contained story created by the brilliant Paul Jenkins and fused with the spectacular art of Jae Lee.

Lee and Jenkins make the perfect creative duo, their styles cleverly complement one another as the story unfolds seamlessly. But that’s not all – the story also contains ‘cross-over’ chapters with: Spider-man, the FF, X-Men, and the Hulk! – each with their own unique styles from a legion of artists. (Phil Winslade, Mark Texeira, Rick Leonardi, Bill Sienkiewicz, Tom Palmer, and Terry Austin)

The Sentry and the Avengers

Part of the charm of this century-spanning tale is that it flashes back to panels and covers of issues that never existed, but it’s so convincing in the way that the art and writing styles of these comics (within the comic) reflect the times in which they take place. These creators have built an entire fake series for a made-up character, thoroughly weaved into the timeline of Marvel’s history with an impressive amount of detail.

The Sentry - Golden Age

It begins with Bob waking up late at night with a dark premonition, he’s haunted by something he can’t remember. Stumbling through the darkness in a cold sweat, dream-like memories slowly flood back. Memories of an earlier time. A time of eternal light waging a never-ending battle against an all consuming darkness… The Age of the Sentry!

Sentry opening“It was the storm. It wasn’t just your imagination. It was real — you know it. That was a sound you’ve not heard since… how long as it been? Months? Years, maybe — could it have been that long? Everything seems so distant, as if you’re coming awake from a perpetual dream. Whats happened to you, Bob? Where have you been? You try to remember how you got here — into this house, even — but it’s as though you’re looking at your memories through someone else’s eyes. Only… you know you heard the laughter — it’s a sound you promised yourself you’d never forget. No doubt about it: THE VOID has returned!”

The Sentry!It turns out not only was Bob a full-fledged Super Hero, he may have been the most powerful one to ever live. He’s like Marvel’s Superman, with powers that could seemingly rival the Phoenix Force, but what’s more is there’s a terrible secret to his powers. You see, he gains his powers from a serum, but each time he becomes the Sentry he has to up the dosage, to the point where he becomes addicted to it, addicted to the power, and something deep within him is awakened, a malevolent force of darkness fighting it’s way to take control.

The Sentry’s arch nemesis.

The Void!

THE VOID

The Void has returned and thus The Sentry must come out of retirement.

The problem is, no one believes in him any more. The entire world at large forgot he ever existed.┬áNone of his allies even remember him! Which leads Bob to consider, is he crazy, or is there more than meets the eye? The Sentry must piece together the puzzle of his past with the help of Peter Parker, Reed Richards, Professor Xavier, Doctor Strange, and even The Incredible Hulk himself who seems to remember The Sentry as his long lost pal ‘Golden Man’ (not Banner, just Hulk).

It all eventually culminates in one hell of a twist… but you’ll have to read it to find out for yourselves True Believers!

Curious about an older comic or graphic novel? Feel free to send me a request for a Retro Review! Up Next: KINGDOM COME!

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