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
This is also NOT the biased take of a crazy Sentry fanboy on the character. My only goal is to clarify some stuff with as much backed up information as possible.
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
Which he isn't. Trust me on that.
And before we start, let's just agree to stop calling characters ripoffs of other characters. Characters are based on other characters, even if some of them heavily, heavily resemble other characters.
Everything did start with Superman, but at the same time you have to understand that Superman was based on other fictional characters as well. Superman for example reminds me personally a lot of John Carter of Mars. John Carter is a man from the Earth, who one day got ported to the Mars, where he gained "superpowers", because the gravity on Mars was different. He was stronger, faster, more durable, able to jump like there is no tomorrow! And then many years later Superman came along... from another planet. Super strong, fast durable and able to jump above large buildings.
Batman for example is heavily based on the Shadow, who was the star of a radio show. Shadow was a vigilante, who was dressed very dark and carried guns, something Batman used as well during his first appearances.
THE POWER OF THE SUN
And now we have the Sentry, who is supposed to be a Superman ripoff, even though there are drastic differences between these two characters. I've once written down my and other peoples thoughts on that. You can check it out here: Why everyone hates the Sentry
It covers up some of the stuff I will be talking about, but not as detailed as it will happen here in this thread. The point is... Sentry is origin, power-set, personality and morality completely different than Superman, but people keep making the allegations that the Sentry is a Superman ripoff.
Are they right? At least to some extend? Well, to some extend they are right.
Let us cover up what Sentry and Superman have in common, since there certainly are similarities. Obvious similarities:
1) Sentry has a gigantic "S" as his symbol... duh:
Just like Superman, but if you think that's enough to make a character being based on someone, then stop reading right now and leave the internet, sir.
2) Sentry has an empowered dog called the Watchdog:
Superman has a dog as well named Krypto and that dog has super-powers as well.
3) Sentry has his own basement called the Watchtower, from where he usually monitors catastrophes all over the world:
Superman has a basement as well, where he has a lot of Kryptonian stuff and so on. That is of course the famous Fortress of Solitude.
4) Sentry believed that his powers were coming from the sun, since solar radiation empowers him:
Superman is a living solar battery and stores solar radiation, which gives him his powers and everything else he needs to survive.
But you also need to realize that the Sentry does not depend on the solar radiation. He passivly absorbs the solar radiation, because of his power-set. The solar radiation is the energy he is confronted with the most, so he feels it most of the time. He can control various kinds of energy and overall his powers don't depend on the solar radiation, but manipulating the molecules, which he always has access to.
These are the four main connections, between the two of them and the first one is totally unimportant, while the fourth one isn't as straight forward as it seems to be.
Now I'm not saying that these connections are not there. I would even go as far to say that Paul Jenkins did in fact had something like that in mind, when he wrote Sentry's first volume. Everyone in the DC universe admires Superman, and Sentry was considered just like that in the first volume.
Besides all of that Sentry used to have a side-kick (who didn't have much screen time at all) called Scout. You could ... make the argument, that Scout is just like Supergirl who had Superman as her mentor, but ... as I said it. Scout was simply not around all to much (oh and Scout was a young man, not a young girl).
On the left side you can see the Watchtower and on the right side you can see the Watchdog chasing after a tree (thrown by the Hulk) into the space.
Now you might think: "But that is enough for me to believe that Sentry is based on Superman!" ...
... listen, I wouldn't really care if Sentry was based on Superman. I really wouldn't. That is not the point of this thread. This thread is meant to show you why Sentry should not be referred as a character, who is based on Superman. Yes, there are few similarities, but Sentry has far more in common with a different character and that character is Miracleman.
Who is Miracleman you might ask? Well, The Miracleman is a character created by Mick Angelo. The character was based on DC's Captain Marvel (now Shazam due to copyright issues) ... and... Captain Marvel was actually based on Superman... so if Sentry is based on Miracleman, who is based on Captain Marvel, who is based on Superman... does that mean that the Sentry is based on Superman after all? My brain hurts...
Back to the topic! I'll explain you few more things in detail, but take it with a grain of salt. I think that it was like this, but it might not be the case, becase I'm not THAT familiar with Miracleman's creation. But in my mind it went on like this:
Mick Angelo created Miracleman and at that point Miracleman was actually called Marvelman, just like DC's Captain Marvel. Just like Captain Marvel he was using a special word to obtain his powers. For Captain Marvel it was "Shazam" and for Marvelman it was "Kimota" (backwards: Atomik).
There were some creative rights issues and the character got renamed into Miracleman.
Later on the great Alan Moore revived Miracleman and revamped him and this is where the similarities between Alan Moore's Miracleman and Sentry become obvious.
I'll post some scans and describe them as well. On the left side you will see what happened in the Miracleman comics and on the right side it will be the Sentry...
1) Miracleman's story starts off with a man, who is having bad dreams, wakes up and starts remembering something that can't be real.
He is remembering his adventures as the Miracleman with his two sidekicks Young Miracleman and Kid Miracleman. Slowly it starts making more sense and ultimately he transforms into the Miracleman:
Basically the same applies for the Sentry, who woke up, because he heard the Void. He knew that the Void was coming back. Sentry's memories were returning, while he was trying to make sense of them.
He remembered his adventures with his dog, as well with his sidekick Scout...
2) Miracleman is a guy with weight problems and he is not the youngest anymore. He has short blonde hair:
The same applies for the Sentry...
3) When Miracleman says the word "Kimota" he transforms from an ordinary guy to the one and only, improved Miracleman:
Sentry on the other hand started transforming slowly as time passed by, but he does have the ability to totally change his presence.
4) Miracleman has to deal with a dark, shadowy figure right at the beginning. He discovers the truth about one of his prior sidekicks:
For the Sentry it is obviously the Void, who is slowly returning as well and pulling strings from behind...
5) Miracleman's opponent shows his true face and attacks. Their encounter devastates the entire area, killing many innocent people. This grown up Kid Miracleman, who became evil also threatens Miracleman's wife:
When it comes to the Sentry the same happens ... yet for the Sentry it happened in the past, where one of their encounters leveled parts of a city and killed over a million people. For now Void also threatens the life of Sentry's life...
Something else interesting: Both Kid Miracleman and Void have black speech bubbles. Kid Miracleman gets set free, when his young host says the word "Miracleman", while Void is able to take over, when Robert is in a weak mental state...
6) Every fight has it's end and when the fight between Miracleman and Kid Miracleman ends, Kid Miracleman transforms back, realizing what he has done, while his dark side was on the loose destrying everything around. Needless to say that he dies at that point:
Sentry on the other hand became Void and transforms back after receiving a lot of damage. It is Robert now, who realizes what he has done to the place and asks the Avengers to kill him. Needless to say that he dies at that point and decides to stay dead for the sake of the humanity.
Miracleman sacrificed his ex-sidekick, who still was just a young boy. Robert sacrificed himself, so there are slight differences, but you can still see the similarities, especially because in both instances you can immediately understand that something needs to happen to restore piece...
There are even more similarities between the two characters, but they are not as essential as the few I just named, to make you realize which character the Sentry is based on.
It is not Superman. It is Miracleman.
And no, Paul Jenkins did not totally steal everything Alan Moore came up with for the Miracleman. View it as a homage. It is very likely that Paul Jenkins respects and loves what Alan Moore has done for comics. Who wouldn't? Alan Moore has created the Watchmen! He is an amazing, taleneted writer, but to be fair ... he did come up with few comics, which were very hard to swallow and Miracleman was one of them. The brutality in that comic surpasses by far a lot of the stuff you see nowdays. Sentry was a version, which was easier to get into and in my opinion added even more depth to the potential of such a character. Paul Jenkins added a good kind of "crazyness" to his story, while Alan Moore's story was ... well ... crazy. But I love the work of both of these guys, so don't think that I'm judging anyone. I'm not and I never will.
One more thing: I was of course not the only one, who realized that there were similarties. IGN came up with an article regarding that topic. If you're interested in it, you can give it a shot, but I must warn you. I did not read what they had to say on that topic, so there might be some differences between their take on it and mine:
And that's it for the misconception that the Sentry is based on Superman.
I hope that this thread clears up some stuff. If you have any questions, then please go ahead and ask!
If you have a problem with my opinion on all of that, 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!
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 better every day and I hope that you were able to understand everything so far!