Hello true believers and Golden Guardians of Good!
WHAT THIS IS
This Frequently Asked Questions series is all about Robert Reynolds also known as The Sentry and sometimes even as the Void. It exists to clear up some of the confusion regarding the Sentry. It is dedicated to the following people:
- Robert "Sentry / Void" Reynolds himself,
- his creator and overall amazing writer Paul Jenkins,
- Brian Michael Bendis, the writer who decided to bring the Sentry into the Marvel continuity,
- Rick Remender, who decided to bring the character back,
- all the writers who ever wrote on the Sentry,
- and ultimately all of the Sentry fans out there!
WHAT THIS IS NOT
Well, unfortunately for me this is NOT something that will ever become reality.
And for you ... this is NOT a thread, that is there to clarify events we've seen in Sentry comics, but instead it's something to discuss the possibilities of the character.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Sentry's origin?
Are Void and Sentry separate entities?
Does Sentry have molecule manipulation?
Just how powerful is Sentry?
Did Thor defeat the Void?
Is Void the Angel of Death? [PROFANITY WARNING]
Is Sentry a Superman ripoff?
How can Sentry become a better character?
WHAT THIS SPECIFIC PART IS ALL ABOUT
And that's not the only part. This is not only about finding out how the Sentry could become a better character overall, but also to find out how he could fit into the Marvel universe better, as well retcon few questionable things from the past to please upset fans.
To please upset fans? That's quite a harsh thing to say, isn't? Especially if we consider that it was me who said that the vision of a writer about a character should not be questioned, since it is his vision, which he turned into art and we're not here to trash-talk the art of other people.
If we have a problem with it, we should make it better and not complain about the work of the others.
And this is now me saying what probably would have been better for the Sentry. These are just my opinions and not me disrespecting the work of Paul Jenkins, Brian Michael Bendis, all the other writers, who wrote on the Sentry and Rick Remender, who will be writing on the Sentry in the future.
MY TAKE ON THE CHARACTER
There is a reason why I'm investing time to write this FAQ series. It is time consuming, but once I'm done people will have something to read, if they're interested in the Sentry and if this FAQ series makes them understand him easier I'll be happy for them and more so for the Sentry.
And now let's dive right into it, shall we...
We all know how hard it is to please people. I'm not talking about pleasing only one person. That is fairly simple most of the time, if you put at least a little bit of effort into it.
But pleasing a large group of people? That is a very complicated thing to do, because there will always be nay-sayers and some of these nay-sayers will say Nay a thousand times to thee.
When it comes to the Sentry there are a lot of nay-sayers and to be honest I don't blame them at all. The Sentry is a very complicated character to grasp. Either you do it, or you don't (And all of this is supposed to help you to do it).
I've been brainstorming about that character for years and even after his death there were comics I've read for a tenth time and found out something I didn't realize before. That is one of the reasons I personally like that character.
And that is also what makes me understand that someone, who maybe read something about the Sentry only once may be confused and in the end of the day also upset
But why upset? Well, at first know this ... When it comes to the Sentry and the readers there doesn't seem to be a gray area: You either have the people who hate him, or you have people who love him. There are only few people, who are in between and by that I don't have the people in mind, who don't even care about the character.
Some of the usual complaints about the Sentry is the inconsistency of his power-level. There are also the people, who complain about his constant depression (which they call whining) and then you also have the people, who call him a walking plot-device.
You have to understand that it's very complicated to have such a character like the Sentry on Marvel Earth, especially in a superhero team, where he basically easily overshadows everyone else on the team. He is simply that versatile and powerful. Every threat could be solved by him in a matter of moments, while the rest of the Avengers would have to come up with plans, strategies and so on.
To keep such a character back, so that the other characters can shine, something needed to be done and unfortunately the writers - and once again, I'm not here to bash their vision and their ideas, but in my eyes - they didn't do themselves a favour:
What the writers did to the Sentry was to make him more unstable, in order to get rid of him, when he was needed. With that they automatically made many comic book readers angry and no one was happy.
Well... On the on hand you had the people, who were annoyed by the fact that in one instance Sentry flew into the Sun and out, without getting harmed and in the next moment he got overloaded by Human Torch's fire output and flew away crying - and on the other hand you had Sentry fans, who were angry, because of the amount of WIS (which is writing introduced stupidity and often causes stuff like this) ...
It is understandable why they did it. The writers did it, because they knew that the Sentry would otherwise be able to defeat Human Torch and everyone else on the battlefield in a matter of seconds and the entire fight wouldn't be spectacular at all. So instead of that... the Sentry had a mental breakdown every time and flew away, while the fight went on.
You see that? In the first scan he is in the Sun, in the second scan he gets set on fire and flys away. As far as I know that instance is NEVER explained and we're left wondering: "Damn, what's that dudes problem?"
And we're now talking about a guy, who once contained an escaping Cosmic Cube!
PIS (plot introduced stupidity) and WIS (writing introduced stupidity) both held the Sentry back.
Then there was also the entire story with the Void later on. Most of the readers didn't really understand what was happening with the Sentry and therefore they had even more reasons to dislike the Sentry.
But how can that be fixed? How can the Sentry be improved as a character overall? How can he be as powerful as he is, without interfering all too much in fights, which often include characters less powerful characters than him? How can the Void be held back in order to show Sentry's real power, when it's needed and not having to come up with special plot development to showcase the Void and defeat a specific opponent?
I have few suggestions to the Sentry overall:
1) Robert Reynolds has to be the Sentry and not the Void:
In other FAQs we have established that Robert Reynolds became the Void, when he drank the enhanced version of the super-soldier-serum. He gained limitless powers, but because of his mental illness it corrupted him... Something needs to happen in order for Robert to be the one in control again.
Paul Jenkins had the right idea. His Sentry was a troubled character, but he was still powerful and confident, while other writers changed the Sentry drastically.
Robert Reynolds needs to only turn into the Sentry and not have any control over the Void. Not even passivly.
2) The Void needs to stay, but the Void also needs a retcon:
As you've seen it in my prior point, the Void needs to stay around. Sentry is the character that he is, because of the Void, but as for now..? There might be a little bit too much Void.
But how can we retcon the Void? It's easy...
... well not that easy, because this right now doesn't matter at all, because the Sentry is returning and rumors are saying that the Void won't be that important in Rick Remenders story, because Sentry will have to deal with the Death seed in his head, but let's still just assume that the Sentry was still dead ...
... then it would be easy. And now keep in mind that what follows next is just a fanfic. From what I've seen most of the fanfics are bad, so the chances are high that my fanfic is bad as well, but then again - you will at least have a good laugh, so keep on going!
Everything the writer would have to establish is to show the Sentry, while he is dead. Sentry should be in a place, where planets around him are exploding and reforming constantly, just like in the "The Age Of The Sentry" mini.That would basically be the place he goes to, when he dies. A different reality from which he can always come back, if someone manages to kill him.
Sentry would have his eyes open and stare into the eyes of the creature before him. He would stare into the eyes of the Void and the eyes of the Void would stare at him back. For years after his death during the Siege of Asgard, before he finally decides to break his silence and ask the Void...
Void: "You know why."
Sentry: "No. I never did."
Void: "Of course you did. It's because I'm the face of your soul!"
Sentry: "You said that once before. What does that mean?"
Void: "It means that we are one, Robert. When you become the Sentry, then you must also become the Void."
Sentry: "Why are you calling me Robert?
Sentry: "Answer me!"
Void: "After all these years you still don't get it. After all these years of being dead and starring at me, you still don't get it."
Sentry: "I don't, so explain it to me. Why did you do all these things? You've destroyed the homes of innocents. You've KILLED innocents."
Void: "Everything I ever did was, because you were weak, Robert."
Sentry: "STOP CALLING ME, ROBERT!"
Void: "As I can see you still prefer to blame the boogeyman of your failures?"
Void: "All you ever did was to blame me for everything. You even went one step further and blamed me for all the things you've done?"
Sentry: "What are you talking about, Void?"
Void: "WAKE UP, ROBERT! I DIDN'T KILL ALL THOSE PEOPLE! IT IS YOU, WHO FAILED TO SAVE THEM!"
Sentry: "Oh god..."
Void: "Hahahaha, yes! And finally you're starting to understand it, aren't you?"
Sentry: "You are... you... you are..."
Void: "Yes Robert, I am the face of your soul. I love you, Robert. I am here to protect you. I am here to do the things you can't do."
For the first time Robert Reynolds would realize what the Void really is. For the first time Robert would realize that what the problem was all along:
When Robert drank the enhanced version of the enhanced super-soldier-serum he became all-powerful, but how can you expect an ordinary man to accept the fact that he gained godlike powers, with which he could save the entire world? "With great power comes great responsibility" they say, but what if your great power is not reduced to wall-crawling, enhanced stats and a spider-sense, and makes you omnipotent instead? Makes you able to change the world fundamentally to the better or the worse depending on what kind of a person you are.
In the long run Robert Reynolds was not the person to accept such responsibility, since he knew that he was not God and that if he did something special for one person, he would have to do the same for everyone else. His responsibility would be overwhelming and he decided to keep a large majority of his abilities for himself. He did it to save his own sanity, even though he knew that it was wrong. He knew that with his power he would have been able to save the world, but it is just so much responsibility.
Flying from one catastrophe to another is what he did from then on. He saved people, but he didn't always arrive in time and people were dying. People he would have been able to save with his power-set, if he only went one step further. Healing them, resurrecting them... Nothing would have been a problem for the Sentry. But what about the people he still wasn't able to save? They would have blamed him. Fathers who lost their sons, mothers who lost their daughters. They would all scream in vain: Where were you, when my child died, Golden One? Save us, save us all please.
What about the people who died, before he even became the Sentry? What about the people, who were jumping from bridges and screaming his name, just because to be saved by God?
It is understandable that such an amount of responsibility can be overwhelming and holds you back. It holds you back, but not your conscience and especially not your subconsciousness.
Every time the Sentry left someone behind dying, he left a little bit of himself there. He was creating a big Void in himself and that Void caught up on him. The Void was his subconsciousness. He was the Void and he was punishing himself by trying to push himself over his own limits in order to start using his real power and helping people. The Void was never there to harm innocent people. The Void was only there to make the Sentry do something, even if it had to kill innocents for that. Void expected the Sentry to still to break his own rules and save them, but he never did. He always had the wrong idea and kept blaming the Void for everything bad in his life, while the Void was his own protective mechanism, which came to life in order to make him break his own rules and start doing what he thought was ultimately right.
But Sentry didn't and as the time past on the Void started doing even more dramatic stuff. The Void started taking the control over, while locking the Sentry back. If the Void was not able to make him save everyone, then the Void was going to kill anyone to keep Robert's sanity.
It was not comfortable for the Sentry having his powers. Hearing every day the death screams of thousands, no... of millions of people. That can drive a man crazy and everyone would try to avoid getting crazy. For Sentry it was subconsicously creating something that would make him do the right thing, but since he still refused to use his full potential, he subconsciously started killing everyone, so that there were no death screams anymore.
When everyone on the planet was gone, he would have had the much needed silence. No death screams, no shouts for a savior. Only silence and a Void.
3) Let the Sentry simply re-appear on Marvel 616. Let him immediately find where CLOC rebuilt the Watchtower and let him start helping out people, but with such a speed that barely anyone realizes what is going on:
The Void wouldn't be there anymore for as long as the Sentry is willing to use his powers to help people out. Robert would still have to deal with his mental illness, but the Void would be the motivation for the Sentry to still step outside and try to help people, even if it's on a smaller scale - because if he didn't, the Void would return.
That means that every now and then the Void would be around and fight against the Sentry, but not to the extend it happend in the past, where they leveled entire cities. Void would not have that much propulsion, if the Sentry was using his powers, so the Void would let him be, if the Sentry only cut loose, even if it was in a fight. All Void would want is to see the Sentry using the godlike power that he has.
To make it clear: The Void would still be Sentry's arch nemesis and would be featured a lot, but the confusion between the two characters would be gone for the most part.
4) Sentry needs more worthy villains and for that you would have to introduce more. Cranio comes to mind:
That would mean that "The Age Of The Sentry" would have to officially become canon, even if it was to a smaller extend, because of few questionable developments in that book.
Void would be Sentry's Brainiac... An opponent, who really challenges him over and over and over again, while Cranio would be his Lex Luthor, someone who is pulling the strings from behind, throwing everything possible at Sentry and always letting him face something new and interesting - often even introducing new opponents.
But why Cranio, you ask? Well, let me tell you who Cranio was...
Cranio was basically one of Sentry's Silver Age villains. Besides the Void he was THE Sentry villain, who always kept him occupied. He did it with his massive intellect thanks to his three brains and his advanced technology. He created all kinds of various monsters to defeat the Sentry.
But Cranio would need a retcon to fit better into the "darker" 616 universe.
I say that the Sentry is simply too powerful to be taken down by a bunch of robots. No matter how smart you are, you will have a hard time throwing robots at the Sentry, so Cranio should do something else.
Cranio should be retcon'ed as a crazy psychopath, who only thinks that he is smart. He wouldn't even have three brains, but just one regular one in a regular head and he would wear a glass-helmet with three actual human brains in it, which he would rip out of other people, after killing them. He would do it to boost his own intelligence, or at least that's what he would think, because of his crazyness. He would also be everything else, but smart. He would actually be a powerful reality warper, without really realizing that, because of his crazyness. So he would make all of these inventions, which in theory shouldn't even work at all, because they would be good looking chunk and not actual robots, machine and cyborgs, but thanks to his reality warping powers they would work and since they're based on reality warping they would give the Sentry a run for his money.
I like the comparison between the Beyonder and the Molecule Man. The first one is a reality warper and the second one manipulates the molecules, which always made the Beyonder more powerful, since you can warp the reality without having anything around, while the Molecule Man would still need molecules.
And similar stuff would apply for the Sentry. He would have a fighting chance, becase Cranio doesn't realize what he is actually doing, but at the same time that would keep things balanced and would make up for interesting fights.
You could also bring back the General, who used to appear in Sentry's second volume. He was one of Sentry's opponents and had minuature tanks and stuff like that, which were powerful enough to harm the Sentry and so on and the General could be linked to Cranio as well. It would mean, that Cranio gave him the military toys, which he created and they would be powerful enough to harm even the Sentry.
Speaking of General ... let him be one of Sentry's main opponents as well. Let him know about Sentry's potential and being jealous of his power.
Show a scene from the past, where meets a dying dog. A welsh corgi. Sentry would come flying by, see the dog, land in front of him and try to pick him up. The dog would be in pain and scared. The corgi would bite the Sentry and Sentry would bleed, because he depowered himself down, so that the dog wouldn't hurt itself any further by biting into invulnerable hands. The corgi would stop biting and start to lick the hand. Then die.
Sentry would lie his hand on the dog, resurrect, heal and empower the dog, who would then become Sentry's Watchdog. And all of that the General would have seen, who would be pissed that the Sentry gives a dog godlike powers. The General would know that Sentry empowers everyone, who he ever saves for a brief moment, so that the impact, when Sentry comes flying by with super-speed would not kill the people. Just like he did it to Scout once.
Sentry would then immediately depower the people, when they're save. And General would want that power from the Sentry and always seek out for him, to defeat him and to force him to share his powers.
Sentry would have worthy opponents.
Extra piece of information: By making "The Age Of The Sentry" canon, you would have to go with the idea that the Sentry was never the first superhero, but more so someone with the power to make the Universe shift to his needs.
Mr. Fantastic being his best friend ... Spider-Man being the first person to shoot a picture of the Sentry and win a pulitzer prize ... Sentry being the one who help Angel overcome his fear of flying ...
Such moments would have to disappear, but they would have been in the first place only there, because the Universe had to bend to Sentry's will and make everything comfortable to him.
(Crazy power, isn't it?)
4) Let the Sentry actually fly around and help people. That should be the purpose of his existence:
Not only would that be the case, but that's also how you balance the Sentry.
The Sentry has a robotic servant called CLOC and that one always tells him the nearest catastrophe and what is going on there. Sentry then flys over and helps people. He does have super hearing and could try to hear out for catastrophes by himself, but then he would have to decide who deserves to live and how not and that is something a human being should be force to decide, so he lets CLOC do the work, who looks at the survival chances of the people and so on and lets Sentry do the rest.
That is also how you use the Sentry in a team. You don't use PIS / WIS to get rid of him, by making him lose to an opponent he should never lose in the first place ... you simply let CLOC tell him that there are 20.000 people near a vulcano, which is breaking out and the Sentry would be gone from the battlefield. Why shouldn't he leave the battlefield in order to save all of these people? He would leave behind the Avengers, who would fight against opponents they're already able to defeat...
5) Give him ridiculous feats and let him team up with cosmic heroes:
Establish the Sentry as the uber-powerful character, he is supposed to be. You need to do it, if you want to save the character. Some people dislike him, because there was always a lot of hype about him, but he rarely ever managed to live up to that hype. In the eyes of many people he never managed to do so.
Judging by his power-set and power-level he should be more than capable of doing some crazy stuff. Go even so far and show how he stalemated Galactus. Let him easily defeat the Silver Surfer. And make clear that he is more powerful than the Void, who solo'ed everyone he ever came across anyway.
This might sound very biased, but you need to make up for the mistakes you did. If you don't bite, then don't bark.
The part with the cosmic heroes is self-explanatory ... let him team up with the Annihilators sometimes for more over the top feats.
6) Give him breaks:
Sentry may have all the power in the universe, but he is still a human being. He can't fly 24 / 7 across the globe and save mankind. No one can handle that much despair and pain, so he would need breaks every now and then. CLOC would then simply shut down and stop providing him information about more catastrophes.
Sentry could use that time to go to therapy, do something with people he knows, fly to different planets and explore them.
7) Re-introduce Watchdog, Scout and everything else that makes him human and relatable:
Did you ever realize that during the Dark Avengers we didn't see the Watchdog at all? He was never there. Lindy was also only there as a victim, since she was afraid all of the time and then she got killed by Bullseye.
Sentry totally lost his humanity during the Dark Avengers. To a degree it's understandable, because Robert Reynolds was locked away in the deepest corners of Sentry's mind, but it was still a pity and a lot of missed out potential.
Imagine you have a godlike being on the planet, talking to you. Walking among ordinary people. Isn't that a fascinating imagination? It's a man, who could snap with his fingers and destroy a city, if he goes fully out, but that man chooses to help people.
There is a lot of potential in interhuman relationships between Robert Reynolds and everyone he knows.
Lindy is unfortunately dead, but should he meet someone else and fall in love with her?
8) I may be the only one with this one, but ... Explain the backstory between him and Rogue:
I know there is none, but it was still mentioned in "Sentry - Fallen Sun", where Rogue was at Sentry's funeral and sad, because he was dead and he was the only person, who was able to touch her in the past, without being affected by her powers.
That itself doesn't really make much sense, because in the past Super Adaptoid was able to copy his powers by touching him and so was the Absorbing Man, but Rogue still stated that she was able to touch him. It seems that they had an unknown relationship.
Most of you probably think it's stupid, or at least unneccessary, but I would like to see that story. I think that it has a lot of potential, if it is told correctly
And for that it should have to stay unaffected from the "The Age Of The Sentry" retcon., with all of the universe-warping to suit Senrty's needs.
That's it. I don't think that I have much more on my mind right now. If so, I will add few more points, but that above is everything I would like to see from the Sentry and I honestly believe that it would make him fit better into the Marvel Universe and appeal to more people, since a lot of the confusion regarding him would be gone.
If you have a problem with my take on the potential re-imagination of the character, that's perfectly fine! Everyone is entitled to his / her own opinion. If you have a different take on it, feel free to share it with everyone!
I even encourage you to do so, because I know for a fact that there is a lot more potential to the character than even I can imagine.
PS: If you find any grammar mistakes or typos, keep them for yourself! English is not my native language. In fact I "main" two other languages, but my English is getting betterevery day and I hope that you were able to understand everything so far!