Why is the Sentry so powerful?

Posted by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

@rondoudou said:

but i am sorta confused WHY is sentry so powerful? why does he transform into the void, the angel of death?

{source}

Good question! The Sentry is a wonderful character with a lot of potential although he has been mishandled in the past by writers who didn't know what to do with him. The worst stories with the Sentry were the ones where he was incidental to the storyline, during his time as a regular member of the Avengers. This meant his great power was either ignored or writers had to come up with reasons for him to not get involved. By his very nature, the Sentry should be central to whatever storyline he's involved in. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Who is the Sentry?

The best way to describe the Sentry is this: he's a stand-in for bad Fan-Fiction authors. Robert Reynolds' one real power is the ability to rewrite history/reality to be more to his liking (i.e., the power of retcon) and his most fervent wish is to be the strongest, most powerful, most beloved superhero in the Marvel universe. He wants to be the golden child, friends to all the big characters, beloved by the common people, the best of the best even to the point of overshadowing the struggles and accomplishments of the ones he adores. So he remakes himself as the Sentry, rewriting history to do it.

When he's introduced, the world suddenly "remembers" him from key points in their lives. Reed Richards remembers that he was the best of friends with Reynolds and that Robert was even the best man at his wedding. Angel recalls that at a time of doubt in his early days as an X-Men, it was the Sentry that taught him a valuable life lesson about being a hero, making him the man he is today. The struggling Spider-Man can't believe that he had forgotten being instructed in heroics by the Sentry, and that the greatest accomplishment of his professional career was taking a photo of the him, winning Parker fame, accolades, and fortune. And the tragic figure of the Hulk recalls the "golden man" who was able to erase his tragic isolation, and bring him into the light as a hero for the world, but only when around the Sentry.

These seem like good things on the surface, but they're not. Reynolds has inserted himself into the most private moments of Richards' life. He's hijacked Angel's heroic narrative for himself. He's removed the heroic burdens from Spider-Man and the Hulk, diluting their characters (even going so far as to make the Hulk little more than his pet). This is the destructive nature of bad retcons in favor of an author avatar. Sentry is every bit Robert Reynolds' Mary Sue (or Gary Stu).

To make this explicit, we have the Void.

Who is the Void?

The Void is the opposite of the Sentry. He is the embodiment of the negative consequences of the Sentry's meddling in continuity. For every good that the Sentry does, the Void does an ill to make up for it. He brutally maims the Sentry's kid sidekick, Scout. He terrorizes Reynolds' wife, Lindy. He reaches into the heart of the Hulk and scars him worse than the Sentry ever "helped" him. He does these things because the Sentry needs him to, because heroes are defined by their villains. Reynolds wants the Sentry to be the greatest hero of all time, so he needs the most terrifying villain of all time opposing him.

It's important to note that while the Void is the opposite of the Sentry, he is NOT the opposite of Robert Reynolds. The Sentry/Void dynamic is a false dichotomy. By choosing to be the Sentry, he's also choosing the Void, but even if he did find a way to ONLY be the Sentry, as he attempted to do when Emma Frost "revealed" to him how the Void was just his imagination and he joined the Avengers as a regular member, the Sentry itself is still a villainous figure. It is only by rejecting his own power—by excising the Sentry and the Void from history and living his difficult and mundane life as an alcoholic agoraphobic, as he did in his original series—that Robert Reynolds can be heroic.

The dual nature of the Sentry/Void can be used to symbolize many things—the good and evil natures of humanity, mental illness (e.g., manic depression/bipolar disorder), substance dependency—but in the end, the manic extremes it represents must be rejected. For example, the highs and lows an addict feels when in the throes of substance abuse can only be resolved by cutting out both. In this sense, the Sentry should ONLY be used in a villainous capacity, even without the Void.

(Although the standalone THE AGE OF THE SENTRY mini-series used him to great comedic effect in taking the piss out of golden age Superman stories.)

What is the origin of his powers?

It's impossible to know. Because Robert Reynolds' powers allow him to rewrite history, this allows him to rewrite his own history as well. Whenever he reflects on his own origins, the details seem to change. Most versions involve some sort of super-powered serum that allow him to pull energy from seconds in the future, giving him "the power of a million exploding suns", but this is all for his own benefit. The flight, speed, strength, durability, and telepathy the Sentry gives himself aren't his "real" powers anyway. They're just what Robert Reynolds chose to give to his ideal avatar.

As I understand it, I don't see a reason to look past his introduction for his origins. In the original Sentry arc, we are shown an event where a scared, lonely man suddenly has a spark of power, and he uses this to become the Sentry. There's no reason to believe that the serum he drinks in the beginning of the story even existed before he "remembered" it in the first pages. Maybe Reynolds always had the power to rewrite history, maybe he gained it just then and chose to create the serum that would unlock everything else, but we've seen his power grow exponentially since.

Where is he now?

Currently he's considered deceased, but this is rather dubious (even more so than usual in comics). In his original arc, he resolved things heroically by rejecting the power, his last act being to erase all knowledge of his meddling with history and basically give up his dream. Since he was brought into broader continuity with the Avengers, his presence hasn't been as tidy. He alternated between being ignored, being "too crazy to fight", and performing ever-increasing feats of strength, such as ripping people in half (e.g., Carnage, Ares) and standing toe-to-toe with figures like the Hulk. He also learned the nature of his powers from an encounter with the Molecule Man, another reality-changer. It was around that time that Sentry got really crazy, seeming to merge with the Void (since they are the same character) and gaining the ability to rewrite history even after his death, instantly coming back to life whenever he's killed.

Imagine the surprise of readers, then, when he was killed during the events of SIEGE when Thor dropped a heavy object (helicarrier) on him and that was it. There was no giving up of power. Nobody's memories of the Sentry/Void were erased. In fact, the Sentry was celebrated as a fallen hero at his funeral, with characters (e.g., Thing) professing their love and affection for him, including past romantic entanglements (e.g., Rogue), when we had no evidence of this leading up to it. I think it's clear that the Sentry isn't dead so much as he wrote in a heroic "death" for himself and will return. With Marvel Now! ramping up, it seems we'll get to see his return, apparently as one of a new group of Apocalypse's four horsemen, composed of dead characters such as Daken, Grim Reaper, and Banshee.

Personally, I think the Sentry/Void has great potential as a character. I understand why many fans don't like him, of course; he has the power to totally rewrite your favorite character's continuity and that becomes the new status quo. That's terrifying. Hulk fans especially have a chip on their shoulder about the Sentry, which is why they were thrown a cathartic beat-down of the Sentry by the Hulk during the WORLD WAR HULK storyline. But I like him. I think with the right approach, he's a great addition to the Marvel universe.

In fact, I think he'd make a fantastic villain for an Avengers film. He's one part tragic hero (Reynolds), one part dark messiah (Sentry), and one part cackling super-evil (Void). That's a great combination, and the nature of his powers would allow them to go back into scenes from previous Marvel movies and reshoot them to include the Sentry changing things—saving Stark from Obediah Stane for example, or being the one to save the Hulk from General Ross and make him a super happy hero instead of Banner doing it on his own. It would be a fun way to show the strength of the Marvel film-verse's shared continuity by messing with it a little bit.

So there you go, for better, worse, or extra-worse, such is the Sentry.

#1 Edited by Tendrin (62 posts) - - Show Bio

Quite like your take on the Sentry, even if it wouldn't be mine. But that's beauty of these characters -- the best ones have so many different takes on them that they stand the test of time and are able to be continually redefined beyond the age they're invented in.

I must also say I don't agree that the Sentry can -only- be a villain, even without the Void.

This isn't really how I'd like to see the Sentry portrayed, but it's a perfectly valid take given the comics, I think, we've seen him in.. (I'd personally point to John Forbes Nash's portrayal in 'A Beautiful Mind' as a good signpost in some ways, and I'd prefer the reality to be that he was actually there, not merely rewriting history to suit his fantasies) but it's definitely well thought out and a solid angle. I think most continuity snafus with regards to the Sentry could be resolved by having him fall out and vanish after the arrival of the early Marvel Superheroes early on. There was a time when the golden guardian of good strode like a colossus over the Marvel Universe, and all the heroes looked up to him, but they soon found that there was no great hero, and that the Sentry was no role model. Now, whatever good and evil he did are lost to the mists of memory, lost in the repeated mind wipes every time his fight for control of his addictions falters even a little. And so on. I'd even imply, personally, that the Sentry was the cause of some silver age weirdness, and that his 'vanishing' is part of what leads the 616 MU to take on it's more serious charcteristics. This all works together when you place Bob as an alcoholic, agoraphobic fourt year old who last flew the skies as the Sentry like fifteen years ago.

That said, it's about damn time that someone else got that the Bob is the real heart of the character, and the Sentry and Void are caricatures based off Bob's narcissism and secret fantasies given life. They also represent his denial. The Sentry is Bob's perfected, narcissistic version of himself who never had any problems, and accomplished everything he ever wanted to. This way, Bob never had to. The Void is the gaping, all consuming maw of addiction born out of every skeleton in his closet. The Void is the lie which will eventually consume everything in its path.

I'm glad there are other people out there who recognize the potential in the character (power, substance abuse, addiction, and the way the mentally ill are forgotten/overlooked are all powerful Sentry themes) is still there, and can still be utilized, with careful sheparding. He desperately needs a writer who's willing to take on the serious task of carefully fixing him and bringing him back to the table as the thoughtful take on the subjects that are inextricably tied to his character. On the downside, he epitomizes the way comic book writers tend to write about -comic books- these days. There's nothing wrong with that, but it makes the Sentry very hard to write, at times, out of the very gimmicky stuff he's appeared in over the years. (It's no surprise, to me, that the original mini and Age of the Sentry are the only two -really- good works that starred the Sentry. Marvel could never quite establish a direction or consistant characterization for him until they decided he was just gonna go full on Void and they pulled the trigger on that, disappointing and borderline-offensive as it was.) Personally, I think the best way to resolve all of it is to declare that the Sentry we saw over the years was -always- just the part of him that was the Void.

Give me the poweful and emotional end of Sentry's original mini over the lameness of his generic mentally-ill suicide by cop in Siege any day.

The Sentry can still provoke a lot of conversations and I think the internet comic book forum hate on for him is ridiculous, but I think he can bring a lot to the table.

I'd like to see him back and written to be the guy you go to when you don't have any other choice because he's -that- potentially unstable. Asking him to be the Sentry again is like asking a recovering crack addict to smoke a pipe for the sake of a big bust.

Schizophrenia -always- seems to take the best and brightest, robbing them of their potential, squandering their years, and turning their talents into weaknesses.

So too the Sentry.

#2 Edited by Chibio (920 posts) - - Show Bio

You know, as someone who really likes complex characters with twisted minds like Deadpool, Sentry, Moon Knight and Green Goblin (few of my favorites from Marvel comics), I really have to say that you took it way too far with this 'post'. Can't agree on anything you've written down.

#3 Edited by Tendrin (62 posts) - - Show Bio

Edited my post 'coz I missed something in it I wanted to respond to. :)

#4 Posted by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

@tendrin: Hey thanks for reading! You've got a quite a lot in that reply too!

I think most continuity snafus with regards to the Sentry could be resolved by having him fall out and vanish after the arrival of the early Marvel Superheroes early on. There was a time when the golden guardian of good strode like a colossus over the Marvel Universe, and all the heroes looked up to him, but they soon found that there was no great hero, and that the Sentry was no role model. Now, whatever good and evil he did are lost to the mists of memory, lost in the repeated mind wipes every time his fight for control of his addictions falters even a little. And so on. I'd even imply, personally, that the Sentry was the cause of some silver age weirdness, and that his 'vanishing' is part of what leads the 616 MU to take on it's more serious charcteristics. This all works together when you place Bob as an alcoholic, agoraphobic fourt year old who last flew the skies as the Sentry like fifteen years ago.

I think that'd be a good way to explain him. Unfortunately it doesn't really take into account the revelations from his time fully in-continuity with the Avengers (which, admittedly, was something of a train-wreck). Age of The Sentry also plays with the history-bending aspect of the character, but seeing as how that's a story-within-a-story told by Reed Richards that's not as important. However, if you're looking at just the original arc, which I think was when he was handled best, then it's supported. You'd still have some upset Hulk fans, but besides that I don't see a problem with it.

I'd like to see him back and written to be the guy you go to when you don't have any other choice because he's -that- potentially unstable. Asking him to be the Sentry again is like asking a recovering crack addict to smoke a pipe for the sake of a big bust.

That's another interesting take on him. He's a choice other heroes have. They can ask him for help, but they have to know that there will be a price to pay once the Void comes, and that Sentry won't be able to help them. He could fill sort of a man-on-the-mountain kind of role in the Marvel universe. That's a really interesting take.

Thanks for the reply!

@chibio said:

You know, as someone who really likes complex characters with twisted minds like Deadpool, Sentry, Moon Knight and Green Goblin (few of my favorites from Marvel comics), I really have to say that you took it way too far with this 'post'. Can't agree on anything you've written down.

Thanks for reading, but why the scare quotes around the word 'post'? Anyway, what specifically don't you agree with? What's your take on the character?

#5 Edited by Tendrin (62 posts) - - Show Bio

I think the fact that it was a massive train-wreck in and of itself says something for the massive mess that was made of this character. And the whole initial Paul Jenkins arc was just an unnecessary and silly extension of the Sentry hoax origin and more, and trying to redefine the Void just as a mental virus implanted by Mastermind was ignored nearly as soon as it was introduced. It's too bad, too, because that would've made the character far more sustainable, even if it wouldn't have been my personal choice of direction for him again.

Really, he's ripe for retconning anyways since the character -is- a retcon. Simplify and bring him back to his core and exploit that potential. It's there just waiting to be used when the right writer comes along -- but who knows when that'll happen, if ever?

I just sigh when I get these people going 'lol sentry sux' and whining about the retcon. IT makes me just want to say 'Imagine a Sentry story written by Grant Morrison'.

#7 Posted by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

Wanted to answer the deleted post but I can't tell if it was deleted on accident or intentionally since new CV has been a bit wonky for me. I'll answer it with name redacted and the poster can chime in if they want to follow-up.

To me it was more of a rant, than a post. I've read through everything, but I didn't see you properly explaining the character, but giving your biased take on him. Like what's up with this: "The best way to describe the Sentry is this: he's a stand-in for bad Fan-Fiction authors." This is really insulting to every single writer, who ever came up with a story. Jenkins, Bendis, Parker, Pak, Loeb, Slott.. love them or hate them, but they are creating universes on a daily basis so that other people can read it. You don't like a story or a character they come up with? Ignore it, but don't misinform others about the stories and the characters.

Thanks for the reply! I'm not sure that you understood exactly what I meant by that. I'll try to clarify. I was NOT saying:

  • the stories were bad,
  • the authors write poorly,
  • fan fiction in general is bad, or
  • the Robert Reynolds/Sentry/Void character is a bad character.

I was not saying any of those things. In fact, I had high praise for Reynolds/Sentry/Void as a character. What I was trying to say with that was to specifically compare the Sentry persona to a "bad fan fic avatar" (i.e., Mary Sue) for Robert Reynolds to highlight the "power of retcon" reality warping powers of the character (which are not apparent from the original series alone) and the destructive nature of the Sentry considering those powers, not just in terms of the Void.

My biggest problem with your entire post is the origin of Sentry's powers. It was stated and shown that his powers are based on matter manipulation. People who don't like the character like to say that he got more and more powers after weird retcons, but there was never a retcon, where Sentry gained matter manipulation. He had that from the very first beginning. The events you could see in Dark Avengers were just a plot twist, which stated that his powers are based on matter manipulation. Period.

Your take on the Sentry is that he rewrites the history / warps the reality, but that character is not THAT powerful. I've read an amazing theory once. It was about Beyonder and Molecule Man and how Beyonder was always slightly more powerful than Molecule Man, simply because he was able to change the reality, to create things out of nothing, while Molecule Man had to work what he had, basically the molecules around him. You can call it BS that Sentry defeated the Molecule Man, but Molecule Man was vastly depowered at that point, more so than many readers actually know. But he was still powerful enough to demonstrate how much of a powerhouse the Sentry actually was.

I don't think that follows from what we saw in Dark Avengers. We saw him dying and then rewriting the recent past to erase his own death. It didn't read to me as, for example, Doctor Manhattan reforming himself after being dispersed, it read like rewriting reality Proteus or Franklin Richards style. This would mean Sentry has some real Cosmic Cube or Infinity Gauntlet style powers. In The Age of the Sentry the reality/history alteration is expanded even more, but again, that was a story-within-a-story told by Reed Richards, so it's ambiguous if he was throwing that in for Franklin's benefit or if that's Richards' real interpretation of the Sentry's abilities.

Hulk also never defeated the Sentry. What happened during WWH was that they turned Sentry into the bad guy who then had to be stopped and he knew that exactly, so he took the punishment to stop himself. The same happened during Siege, what seems to be confusing you, but just like the other readers you probably didn't pay attention at the small things in the comic like for example where Loki sacrificed the Norn stones to empower everyone on the battlefield and maybe even give them reality warping powers just like Hood had them before thanks to the Norn stones. Everyone on the battlefield was then able to actually hurt the Void and Bob was able to take over, since Void needed some time to recover from that damage. Reality warping > molecule manipulation after all.

"Maybe even"? Siege was a mess and it's tough to tell what's going on. I'll have to re-read it to comment on that, but that didn't really stand out to me at the time and it's only really relevant if you agree with the reality/matter warping distinction, and I don't agree with you on that. Besides, even using your own scale, Sentry was more powerful than the Molecule Man and it's ambiguous by how much more. But as for WWH and Siege, Sentry was defeated and killed respectively, and the context of that was murky at best.

But as I said it before, you have your take on the character, I have my take on the character and other people will have other takes. To each his own.

Indeed, and I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts on the character with me. Feel free to jump back in and follow up on this if your comment was deleted accidentally.

#8 Posted by Tendrin (62 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm saying at least SOME of the stories were bad, at least with regards to the handling of the Sentry. <.<

#9 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (33466 posts) - - Show Bio

I love the Sentry but I disagree with 90% of the OP

#10 Posted by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

I love the Sentry but I disagree with 90% of the OP

Thanks for reading. Which 90%?

#11 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (33466 posts) - - Show Bio

I love the Sentry but I disagree with 90% of the OP

The whole re-write history part

#12 Posted by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

@jonny_anonymous said:

I love the Sentry but I disagree with 90% of the OP

The whole re-write history part

So do you see it more as matter manipulation or are you focused more on the original Sentry series and see the later stuff as questionable?

#13 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (33466 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:

@jonny_anonymous said:

@jonny_anonymous said:

I love the Sentry but I disagree with 90% of the OP

The whole re-write history part

So do you see it more as matter manipulation or are you focused more on the original Sentry series and see the later stuff as questionable?

I see it as Sentry did do all these things it's just the combined power of him, Mr Fantastic and Dr Strange made everybody forget

#14 Posted by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:

@jonny_anonymous said:

@jonny_anonymous said:

I love the Sentry but I disagree with 90% of the OP

The whole re-write history part

So do you see it more as matter manipulation or are you focused more on the original Sentry series and see the later stuff as questionable?

I see it as Sentry did do all these things it's just the combined power of him, Mr Fantastic and Dr Strange made everybody forget

Okay, so while I'm internalizing the retcons in the story as a part of his power-set, you're externalizing them so the explanation from his original series—forgotten hero—holds true. This is similar to @tendrin:'s take if I understand correctly. My question then is the same one I had for him, what about the later explanations for his powers? Specifically, if he's being killed then reforming himself on the spot like nothing happened, what's happening there? That's not a part of his original powerset (including even the mind-wiping, which was a function of Cloc's in the original run).

#15 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (33466 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:

@jonny_anonymous said:

@fodigg said:

@jonny_anonymous said:

@jonny_anonymous said:

I love the Sentry but I disagree with 90% of the OP

The whole re-write history part

So do you see it more as matter manipulation or are you focused more on the original Sentry series and see the later stuff as questionable?

I see it as Sentry did do all these things it's just the combined power of him, Mr Fantastic and Dr Strange made everybody forget

Okay, so while I'm internalizing the retcons in the story as a part of his power-set, you're externalizing them so the explanation from his original series—forgotten hero—holds true. This is similar to @tendrin:'s take if I understand correctly. My question then is the same one I had for him, what about the later explanations for his powers? Specifically, if he's being killed then reforming himself on the spot like nothing happened, what's happening there? That's not a part of his original powerset (including even the mind-wiping, which was a function of Cloc's in the original run).

Matter manipulation has always been part of his power set. In his original run he changes his regular clothes and a bed sheet pinned to his back with clothes pegs in to his actual costume he also turns a rock in to a solid orb of power.

#16 Posted by KnightRise (4785 posts) - - Show Bio

Wow, I've never heard Sentry sound so awesome before

#17 Posted by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:

@jonny_anonymous said:

@fodigg said:

@jonny_anonymous said:

@jonny_anonymous said:

I love the Sentry but I disagree with 90% of the OP

The whole re-write history part

So do you see it more as matter manipulation or are you focused more on the original Sentry series and see the later stuff as questionable?

I see it as Sentry did do all these things it's just the combined power of him, Mr Fantastic and Dr Strange made everybody forget

Okay, so while I'm internalizing the retcons in the story as a part of his power-set, you're externalizing them so the explanation from his original series—forgotten hero—holds true. This is similar to @tendrin:'s take if I understand correctly. My question then is the same one I had for him, what about the later explanations for his powers? Specifically, if he's being killed then reforming himself on the spot like nothing happened, what's happening there? That's not a part of his original powerset (including even the mind-wiping, which was a function of Cloc's in the original run).

Matter manipulation has always been part of his power set. In his original run he changes his regular clothes and a bed sheet pinned to his back with clothes pegs in to his actual costume he also turns a rock in to a solid orb of power.

Did he literally change those things or were there true natures just revealed? Like the kid's poster that he suddenly remembered was on the wall?

#18 Posted by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

Wow, I've never heard Sentry sound so awesome before

Thanks, and thanks for reading! I'm glad you like my take on the character.

#19 Edited by Tendrin (62 posts) - - Show Bio

Sentry -is- awesome. I do prefer that he was 'always there' as I think ultimately more can be done with it if that's the case. :)

As for the rest: I tend to file that under sigh-worthy developments. XD

#20 Edited by novi_homines (1338 posts) - - Show Bio

Sounds like an amazing character! I wonder why he gets so much hate.

#21 Edited by Tendrin (62 posts) - - Show Bio

There's a -lot- of reasons. Much has to do with the Bendis characterization of him (more caricature than character, in my view), the ever-evolving powerset, a general feeling that he was 'rammed down people's throats', a feeling that he was 'displacing' more standard characters (Hulk, Thor) a notion that he hadn't 'paid his dues', (which is abusrd when talk about fictional characters), that he was a 'mary sue', etc. Then there was all the talk about how amazingly powerful he was when he was always the first to get thrown out of a fight (this, I think, is simply the result of Bendis not knowing how to handle heavy-hitter characters.)

There's also the simple fact that he was used to poke fans right in the eye sometimes.

#22 Edited by SC (13119 posts) - - Show Bio

Great blog fodigg I always appreciate reading what you have to say.

I personally prefer Sentry as a hero though, I like the idea of Sentry, a hero with agoraphobia, schizophrenia, and possibly more mental health disorders that may go undiagnosed. I don't actually think Sentry is that powerful either, that would make him unworkable. Originally his creator intended him to be around the level of Blackbolt, and that is actually arguably too powerful, heh heh but if Earth can have Thor, Hulk, Photon, Hyperion, and more running around then Sentry has a place to me. Even low level molecular powers is okay, even having super healing revival powers is okay. Its really more just their discreet application and Sentry's use by Bendis much like how is with many characters is far from discreet.

If I had the chance, I would rather see Sentry as portrayed in Moonknight - that was great writing, Sentry zipping around casually saving multiple people from dying without ever asking for thanks, half the time people probably didn't even realize he saved them, but at the same time he was having a heart to heart with Moonknight. That to me is the best version of Sentry, the unsung hero who is constantly battling against his inner fear, anxiety, pressure, whilst also dealing with what many people with mental health pressures and afflictions deal with, mistrust from friends, sympathy, guilt, compassion, concern. Character is definitely polarizing, I like him though, most especially I would like to see him succeed, and by succeed I mean finding a balance with his mental issues and still be a great hero and a great friend. Not only that but I think the Avengers need Sentry to succeed as a hero and person too, just like they need Wanda too. It speaks of their compassion and their ability to look after each other. Sentry was reluctant about being an Avenger, and Cap and Iron Man spoke to him. Anywho such things can be very subjective - so I aren't actually disagreeing with your creative choices, I think they are great and well explained all my post above is basically my dream scenario for the character and in part the Avengers.

Moderator
#23 Edited by Tendrin (62 posts) - - Show Bio

Bob's agoraphobia and anxiety are part of what made the Sentry such a great character.

#24 Posted by frozenedge (1238 posts) - - Show Bio

I definitely enjoyed Sentry. Sure he was a just happened to show up in just about every characters timeline but that's something I always overlooked. I liked his powerset too because it was simple when used right but it was pushed to the extreme. I'd say he was more of what a mentally unstable Superman would be like and I liked it because he kept switching between being hero and being used by Osborn and think that's when I definitely liked him a little more. Somebody above described how Sentry could be used as kind of a last resort guy you go to because of his mental issues. Though I never understood the whole "power of a million suns" thing. I never remembered him hitting anybody with blast as hot as the sun or anything like that

#25 Edited by Tendrin (62 posts) - - Show Bio

It's just hyperbole and always has been. THE SENTRY! THE MAN WITH THE POWER OF A MILLION EXPLODING SUNS!!!!

#26 Edited by Chibio (920 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:

Wanted to answer the deleted post but I can't tell if it was deleted on accident or intentionally since new CV has been a bit wonky for me. I'll answer it with name redacted and the poster can chime in if they want to follow-up.

I saw that you started a conversation and I thought that would be the way you want to discuss that topic, so I deleted to post, but I don't have a problem with it being shown.

I don't think that follows from what we saw in Dark Avengers. We saw him dying and then rewriting the recent past to erase his own death. It didn't read to me as, for example, Doctor Manhattan reforming himself after being dispersed, it read like rewriting reality Proteus or Franklin Richards style. This would mean Sentry has some real Cosmic Cube or Infinity Gauntlet style powers. In The Age of the Sentry the reality/history alteration is expanded even more, but again, that was a story-within-a-story told by Reed Richards, so it's ambiguous if he was throwing that in for Franklin's benefit or if that's Richards' real interpretation of the Sentry's abilities.

How can you say something like that? There was never a panel in these comics, where someone was talking about altering the reality / history. Everything we saw was how Sentry came back from nowhere. That is more than indicator enough that he simply came back and didn't rewrite the history to never have died in the first place. You talk about Proteus and Franklin Richards, also about the Cosmic Cube and the Infinity Gauntlet, without having anything to back up your theory with; not even the comics, since it was never shown and I on the other side tell you that he came back judging on the entire matter manipulation thingy. Wasn't it in his own comics that his molecules were placed 2 or 3 seconds ahead of the regular timestream? So if he died in one place, he would simply re-materialize himself from his point of existance.

But what I'm trying to say is that we basically having Sentry saying that he has figured it out and that he knows that everything he is able to do is because of the molecules he is able to manipulate. Does he control them perfectly just like Molecule Man was able to do it? No. But does he still have more power? The comics made it look like that. He had more sheer power than Molecule Man. But I do see where you're coming from, since him healing and even resurrecting other people seems to have more to do with reality warping than molecule manipulation, but in the end of the day the Molecule Man would have been able to acomplish the same feats with his powers.

"Maybe even"? Siege was a mess and it's tough to tell what's going on. I'll have to re-read it to comment on that, but that didn't really stand out to me at the time and it's only really relevant if you agree with the reality/matter warping distinction, and I don't agree with you on that. Besides, even using your own scale, Sentry was more powerful than the Molecule Man and it's ambiguous by how much more. But as for WWH and Siege, Sentry was defeated and killed respectively, and the context of that was murky at best.

Well it certainly was written and shown that Sentry and later on the Void were beating up the opponents on the battlefield. Then in Siege #4 there is a scene where Loki is terrified by the Void and says that he never expected that opponent to be all-powerful. He collects all of the Norn stones (which and I repeat: gave the Hood reality warping powers!) and empowers (! again, the narration confirms it) all the heroes on the battlefield, who also get healed during the process. You see Thor swinging Mjolnir, ripping through Void who starts screaming. You see Iron Man and even (!) Captain America doing the exact same damage. There is a bunch of lessern known B-list heroes who attack the Void as well and a giant asks if they're allowed to keep their new powers (!). You see Thor hitting Void with an empowered Godblast I guess. Void is badly hurt, in pain and says: 'Your new powers... This isn't a trick, is it? It's mischief." He then looks to Loki and attacks him, while Thor is trying to intervene, but take notes that he is once again way too slow to do anything, just like in the instance shortly before Sentry destroys Asgard. Thor is simply way too slow to act. Void attacks Loki, who attacks back, yet he is obviously too weak and gets killed by the Void. And not only did Void kill Loki, but the Norn stones are also gone now. I don't know if they disappeared together with Loki, or if the Void destroyed them though.

However, in the next panel you see Ronin saying: "So much for the power upgrade", while Captain America commands them to stand back up. Thor snaps when he sees Loki getting killed and continues attacking the Void who is slowly healing back, yet obviously not fast enough, probably because all of the damage he took and I would like to point out once again, that Captain America was able to cut the Void in half with his power upgrade, which should state how powerful the others probably were and the Void was still taking it like a champion. However, Thor teleports Void away and Iron Man hits Void with the Helicarrier, which was probably like a small nuke at that moment, because of all the vehicles and weapons on it. And tell me, how many characters are nowdays able to take such damage. I've seen Thor and Thanos drop from much less recently, since that seems to be the way writers are writing the characters nowdays and I would also like to hint out that Sentry took probably a lot more damage through out the years (the WW Hulk, Photon, Collective, Molecule Man fights). After that you see Bob Reynolds on the ground, looking around and realizing what he has done once again, while he lost control over his inner demons and he asks to be killed. The Void starts taking over, yet Bob is still somewhat in control and asks for the killing blow, until it's done.

Thor never defeated Void. Bob Reynolds did. That should be a well known fact to comic book readers, who were reading Siege and maybe also checking out some of the interviews, especially with Bendis, the guy who was writing the story and (in his opinion) made it clear how powerful Sentry was and that the Avengers were able to win the battle, because Bob allowed them to. Bendis also said that he simply didn't want to put that text into the story, because it would have been weird. Or something like that, I'm not sure anymore.

You say that you can't remember what happened during Siege, but I just told you everything and highlighted the tiny bits, which gave it all away and stated what was happening during the events of the Siege of Asgard. I've been lurking around this site for a very long time. I rarely ever post, because I think that many comic book readers are ignorant and tend to ignore small details in comic books, even though these small details are crucial. Comics are not supposed to make you see everything right away, but you have to pay attention instead and think about the stuff you're reading. In my opinion Siege was not a mess. In my opinion Siege was a very well executed comic. I saw what Bendis had in mind with the entire story and where the important parts of it were. When I take a look at the stuff other comic book readers are writing (the famous stuff: Helicarrier > Sentry and Thor killed Sentry), it really keeps me from posting more, because there is rarely a point in it.

#27 Edited by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

@tendrin said:

There's a -lot- of reasons. Much has to do with the Bendis characterization of him (more caricature than character, in my view), the ever-evolving powerset, a general feeling that he was 'rammed down people's throats', a feeling that he was 'displacing' more standard characters (Hulk, Thor) a notion that he hadn't 'paid his dues', (which is abusrd when talk about fictional characters), that he was a 'mary sue', etc. Then there was all the talk about how amazingly powerful he was when he was always the first to get thrown out of a fight (this, I think, is simply the result of Bendis not knowing how to handle heavy-hitter characters.)

There's also the simple fact that he was used to poke fans right in the eye sometimes.

Great rundown.

I think it comes down to the fact that he was a new character with insane power, and people don't like that when it's not a villain. I mean, new villains are always more powerful than established heroes, they have to be. But when it's some unknown rubbing shoulders with your pal Spider-Man and Spidey is looking up to him and great emphasis is put on how much stronger this new guy is, that rankles people. Comic book fans are very territorial about their favorite characters. In many ways this is great, in other ways, it can lead to stagnancy.

@sc said:

Great blog fodigg I always appreciate reading what you have to say.

Thanks!

I personally prefer Sentry as a hero though, I like the idea of Sentry, a hero with agoraphobia, schizophrenia, and possibly more mental health disorders that may go undiagnosed. I don't actually think Sentry is that powerful either, that would make him unworkable. Originally his creator intended him to be around the level of Blackbolt, and that is actually arguably too powerful, heh heh but if Earth can have Thor, Hulk, Photon, Hyperion, and more running around then Sentry has a place to me. Even low level molecular powers is okay, even having super healing revival powers is okay. Its really more just their discreet application and Sentry's use by Bendis much like how is with many characters is far from discreet.

Agreed. And I think it's pretty clear that he was originally intended to be something more like Hyperion than Proteus. Black Bolt is a good comparison, as is Vulcan now that I think about it (especially since Vulcan was another new "old" character with insane power, but again, villains get more leeway). Unfortunately it's hard to get back to that place without more retcons, and the power of retcon is kinda the problem to begin with.

It's interesting to hear that many fans find his portrayal as mentally unstable the key to the character. I like the idea of agoraphobia because it's isolating, but I always saw his alcoholism as more relevant to who he was. I felt like the metaphor of addiction was better suited to the Sentry/Void dynamic. While it certainly can serve for mental instability, I feel like that was emphasized more by Bendis when he was trying to tie the character to Norman Osborn, so I associate that with the "meh" run on the Avengers.

(I'm not saying that it can't be done better, I just don't think we've seen it done very well yet. Come to think of it, I actually wrote another blog where I pitched a mentally unstable version of Hank Pym. You might like it.)

If I had the chance, I would rather see Sentry as portrayed in Moonknight - that was great writing, Sentry zipping around casually saving multiple people from dying without ever asking for thanks, half the time people probably didn't even realize he saved them, but at the same time he was having a heart to heart with Moonknight. That to me is the best version of Sentry, the unsung hero who is constantly battling against his inner fear, anxiety, pressure, whilst also dealing with what many people with mental health pressures and afflictions deal with, mistrust from friends, sympathy, guilt, compassion, concern. Character is definitely polarizing, I like him though, most especially I would like to see him succeed, and by succeed I mean finding a balance with his mental issues and still be a great hero and a great friend. Not only that but I think the Avengers need Sentry to succeed as a hero and person too, just like they need Wanda too. It speaks of their compassion and their ability to look after each other. Sentry was reluctant about being an Avenger, and Cap and Iron Man spoke to him. Anywho such things can be very subjective - so I aren't actually disagreeing with your creative choices, I think they are great and well explained all my post above is basically my dream scenario for the character and in part the Avengers.

Moon Knight is another character that is either incredible or unreadable depending on how good the hook is. I really enjoyed that scene as well, far and away more than any of the discussions between Sentry and Osborn.

I like the idea of linking him up with Wanda. They've arrived at a very similar place in Avengers lore at this point—her powers are unambiguously the power of retcon—and honestly, Wanda might be the solution to his problems. Once they're done with Sentry as one of the Four Horsemen, Wanda snaps her fingers and depowers Sentry to a more manageable level—something more like what we see in flashbacks where Void wasn't a super-hurricane of evil and more like Mr Negative or Kingpin.

Or they could use Wanda's abilities to go even more crazy, like splitting Sentry into three separate entities instead of just two: Sentry, Void, and then Reynolds who would have a similar powerset to Wiccan or Sister Grimm's Staff of One. (At least temporarily, until Reynolds has to take up his heroic burden once again, as Bruce Banner and the Ben Grimm have in the past.)

@frozenedge said:

I definitely enjoyed Sentry. Sure he was a just happened to show up in just about every characters timeline but that's something I always overlooked. I liked his powerset too because it was simple when used right but it was pushed to the extreme. I'd say he was more of what a mentally unstable Superman would be like and I liked it because he kept switching between being hero and being used by Osborn and think that's when I definitely liked him a little more. Somebody above described how Sentry could be used as kind of a last resort guy you go to because of his mental issues.

My problem with pegging him first and foremost as a "crazed superman" is that we've seen that so many times. And I don't think we'll see it done better than in Superman: Red Son. I think we need the variations in his powerset for that—the telepathy, the reality manipulation, etc. I agree that it was pushed to far into the extremes though.

Thanks for reading!

#28 Posted by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

@chibio said:

@fodigg said:

Wanted to answer the deleted post but I can't tell if it was deleted on accident or intentionally since new CV has been a bit wonky for me. I'll answer it with name redacted and the poster can chime in if they want to follow-up.

I saw that you started a conversation and I thought that would be the way you want to discuss that topic, so I deleted to post, but I don't have a problem with it being shown.

Gotcha. Sorry for the confusion. Like I said, the new CV has been giving me trouble, especially with notifications. So I saw a bunch of repeats of the same notification and I couldn't tell if it was a PM or a post or what. This is even worse for blog discussions because you get double notifications for replies on a blog: one for blog comment and one for reply. So I got a bunch of duplicate notifications but only saw a "deleted post" note and couldn't tell what was going on.

I don't think that follows from what we saw in Dark Avengers. We saw him dying and then rewriting the recent past to erase his own death. It didn't read to me as, for example, Doctor Manhattan reforming himself after being dispersed, it read like rewriting reality Proteus or Franklin Richards style. This would mean Sentry has some real Cosmic Cube or Infinity Gauntlet style powers. In The Age of the Sentry the reality/history alteration is expanded even more, but again, that was a story-within-a-story told by Reed Richards, so it's ambiguous if he was throwing that in for Franklin's benefit or if that's Richards' real interpretation of the Sentry's abilities.

How can you say something like that? There was never a panel in these comics, where someone was talking about altering the reality / history. Everything we saw was how Sentry came back from nowhere. That is more than indicator enough that he simply came back and didn't rewrite the history to never have died in the first place. You talk about Proteus and Franklin Richards, also about the Cosmic Cube and the Infinity Gauntlet, without having anything to back up your theory with; not even the comics, since it was never shown and I on the other side tell you that he came back judging on the entire matter manipulation thingy. Wasn't it in his own comics that his molecules were placed 2 or 3 seconds ahead of the regular timestream? So if he died in one place, he would simply re-materialize himself from his point of existance.

But what I'm trying to say is that we basically having Sentry saying that he has figured it out and that he knows that everything he is able to do is because of the molecules he is able to manipulate. Does he control them perfectly just like Molecule Man was able to do it? No. But does he still have more power? The comics made it look like that. He had more sheer power than Molecule Man. But I do see where you're coming from, since him healing and even resurrecting other people seems to have more to do with reality warping than molecule manipulation, but in the end of the day the Molecule Man would have been able to acomplish the same feats with his powers.

Have you read The Age of the Sentry? It's where a lot of these concepts are really made explicit. (Again, the caveat being that it's a story-within-a-story, but it could represent Richards' take on Reynolds' powers and it lines up well with what we see in the text of the other appearances.) I recommend it, not just for this discussion but as an entertaining read. It's my favorite Sentry arc, even more than the original run, which probably informs my take on the character.

Molecule Man was upgraded for that appearance wasn't he? He didn't used to be as powerful, but when we see him with the Sentry, he's pretty god-like. (Which is confusing, because they upped his powers and yet stuck him in a throwback costume.)

"Maybe even"? Siege was a mess and it's tough to tell what's going on. I'll have to re-read it to comment on that, but that didn't really stand out to me at the time and it's only really relevant if you agree with the reality/matter warping distinction, and I don't agree with you on that. Besides, even using your own scale, Sentry was more powerful than the Molecule Man and it's ambiguous by how much more. But as for WWH and Siege, Sentry was defeated and killed respectively, and the context of that was murky at best.

Well it certainly was written and shown that Sentry and later on the Void were beating up the opponents on the battlefield. Then in Siege #4 there is a scene where Loki is terrified by the Void and says that he never expected that opponent to be all-powerful. He collects all of the Norn stones (which and I repeat: gave the Hood reality warping powers!) and empowers (! again, the narration confirms it) all the heroes on the battlefield, who also get healed during the process. You see Thor swinging Mjolnir, ripping through Void who starts screaming. You see Iron Man and even (!) Captain America doing the exact same damage. There is a bunch of lessern known B-list heroes who attack the Void as well and a giant asks if they're allowed to keep their new powers (!). You see Thor hitting Void with an empowered Godblast I guess. Void is badly hurt, in pain and says: 'Your new powers... This isn't a trick, is it? It's mischief." He then looks to Loki and attacks him, while Thor is trying to intervene, but take notes that he is once again way too slow to do anything, just like in the instance shortly before Sentry destroys Asgard. Thor is simply way too slow to act. Void attacks Loki, who attacks back, yet he is obviously too weak and gets killed by the Void. And not only did Void kill Loki, but the Norn stones are also gone now. I don't know if they disappeared together with Loki, or if the Void destroyed them though.

However, in the next panel you see Ronin saying: "So much for the power upgrade", while Captain America commands them to stand back up. Thor snaps when he sees Loki getting killed and continues attacking the Void who is slowly healing back, yet obviously not fast enough, probably because all of the damage he took and I would like to point out once again, that Captain America was able to cut the Void in half with his power upgrade, which should state how powerful the others probably were and the Void was still taking it like a champion. However, Thor teleports Void away and Iron Man hits Void with the Helicarrier, which was probably like a small nuke at that moment, because of all the vehicles and weapons on it. And tell me, how many characters are nowdays able to take such damage. I've seen Thor and Thanos drop from much less recently, since that seems to be the way writers are writing the characters nowdays and I would also like to hint out that Sentry took probably a lot more damage through out the years (the WW Hulk, Photon, Collective, Molecule Man fights). After that you see Bob Reynolds on the ground, looking around and realizing what he has done once again, while he lost control over his inner demons and he asks to be killed. The Void starts taking over, yet Bob is still somewhat in control and asks for the killing blow, until it's done.

Thor never defeated Void. Bob Reynolds did. That should be a well known fact to comic book readers, who were reading Siege and maybe also checking out some of the interviews, especially with Bendis, the guy who was writing the story and (in his opinion) made it clear how powerful Sentry was and that the Avengers were able to win the battle, because Bob allowed them to. Bendis also said that he simply didn't want to put that text into the story, because it would have been weird. Or something like that, I'm not sure anymore.

You say that you can't remember what happened during Siege, but I just told you everything and highlighted the tiny bits, which gave it all away and stated what was happening during the events of the Siege of Asgard. I've been lurking around this site for a very long time. I rarely ever post, because I think that many comic book readers are ignorant and tend to ignore small details in comic books, even though these small details are crucial. Comics are not supposed to make you see everything right away, but you have to pay attention instead and think about the stuff you're reading. In my opinion Siege was not a mess. In my opinion Siege was a very well executed comic. I saw what Bendis had in mind with the entire story and where the important parts of it were. When I take a look at the stuff other comic book readers are writing (the famous stuff: Helicarrier > Sentry and Thor killed Sentry), it really keeps me from posting more, because there is rarely a point in it.

Thank you for the rundown, it was helpful to have a refresher. It sounds like even from your own description, however, that the Norn stones weren't the issue. They were working, then Loki and the stones were banished and they said pretty much "oh well, so much for that" and yet they're still able to beat him down.

As for Reynolds asking for the killing blow, the context for that was he was beaten into submission first. He didn't spontaneously wrest control back. How does that not constitute a defeat? It does explain why they bothered with the heroic funeral, but that's still a stretch to me. Reynolds isn't the Hulk. He doesn't have to be in "human form" to be killed, he's been killed even as the Sentry; he just has to choose not resurrect himself. So that whole scene was odd.

I still think Siege was a mess, but that's been par for the course for Marvel event books lately and I admit I could be biased by the slip-shod way they handle tie-ins, which often just confuse things. I've never read it as one cohesive trade paperback—the only decent way to read these things in my opinion. I'll give it another try next time I'm in a shop.

#29 Edited by Tendrin (62 posts) - - Show Bio

One of the reasons that the Sentry remains such a good character Is that the guy can be dead for three or four years and *still* generate lots of discussion and emotion.

And yes, alcoholism was important to the character. -Addiction- was important to the character. Anxiety was important because it made him the all powerful hero who -couldn't leave his house- without needing to be so powerful as to practically be a God amongst mere mortals and to have near total control over his environment.

#30 Edited by Chibio (920 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg said:


Have you read The Age of the Sentry? It's where a lot of these concepts are really made explicit. (Again, the caveat being that it's a story-within-a-story, but it could represent Richards' take on Reynolds' powers and it lines up well with what we see in the text of the other appearances.) I recommend it, not just for this discussion but as an entertaining read. It's my favorite Sentry arc, even more than the original run, which probably informs my take on the character.

I've read that one and I disagree with your opinion. You sad that it could represent Richards take on Reynolds powers, while judging by the small details (as I wrote before) these comics have shown actually a lot more. You were stating that Reed was only reading comics to his son and you're damn right about that, but that is the key: the crazier and even more logical theory would be that the Age of the Sentry actually represents Sentry's adventures in the past.

But these were just comics, you say? Think about it. Didn't Sentry implement his memories into the mind of a comic book writer (Paul Jenkins) during the New Avengers comics, when Mastermind tried to make him forget everything? Sentry did it subconsciously, because he didn't want to be forgoten and Iron Man said that by doing it like that he was hoping that someone would find and help him and the Avengers did find him. And now all of a sudden we have Reed having some Sentry comics, reading them and theorizing about Sentry's powers based on the comics. If it wasn't for the confusing part with the Void in the Age of the Sentry I would even go as far to say that one could consider that book as canon for Sentry.

But at the same time it would negate your 're-write the history' theories, since he would have had these adventures and he would have been the first 'superhero' in the Marvel universe. Obviously actually the second, because Captain America was the first one with superpowers, thanks to the first serum, but he was more of a super soldier, and you get my point anyway. (And yes I know that the Human Torch was actually Marvels first superhero and not Captain America)

Molecule Man was upgraded for that appearance wasn't he? He didn't used to be as powerful, but when we see him with the Sentry, he's pretty god-like. (Which is confusing, because they upped his powers and yet stuck him in a throwback costume.)

Molecule Man started off as the second most powerful being in the Marvel universe, directly after the Beyonder. I think they didn't have introduced The One Above All at that point. Later on he got retconned, but so did the Beyonder and they lost a lot of their power, yet they were both still more powerful than - for example Galactus (if the big guy was not replete of course). And now it starts getting tricky. After that Molecule Man never really did get a power downgrade. There was one where he lost his powers and before losing them he put a small fracture of his powers inside his wife and took them back later on, when he was powerless, so he gained his powers back. But one could argue that he only had that small fracture of them and that he therefore was not at his (post retcon) peak. Yet we both know that Bendis wouldn't have cared about that at all, so the character was written the way he was written. Not only did he do some fancy things, but he also destroyed the Sentry twice and brought him back twice during the Avengers. During their last encounter, when Sentry was enraged Molecule Man ripped him apart, but Sentry came back immediately after and overpowered the Molecule Man. And it's really hard to judge their power levels on that point. People like to use the WW Hulk instance as Sentry's best showing and saying that his "power of a million exploding suns sucks", but Sentry actually had better showings than that. Just check out some of his feat threads. In one instance he was fighting against the Collective and stalemating that opponent for a while. And the Collective defeated Binary, who is a planet buster after all. During a different instance Sentry took on Photon, who is more powerful than Thor, hands down ... and they were both destroying planets in the process. And then there are also his fights against the Void which were actually his most impressive ones so far and are actually his greatest feats, since we're talking about an entity who was breaking Savage Hulk apart like he was nothing and easily overpowering Thor as well, yet the Sentry defeated him multiple times by sheer strenght and power (and not some inner battle like some people like to believe and continue to misinform others).

To me Sentry is similar to Deadpool. You have a lot of people who underestimate him, because of few bad showings, but the showings where the character shines and shows that he is a powerhouse, they ignore the instances for some weird reason. I always used to tell people that Deadpool defeated Captain America multiple times (multiple times!), yet no one cares. When it comes to the Sentry you either have people who say that he is weak and nothing without the Void and then you have to people who acknowledge that he is absurdely powerful.

Thank you for the rundown, it was helpful to have a refresher. It sounds like even from your own description, however, that the Norn stones weren't the issue. They were working, then Loki and the stones were banished and they said pretty much "oh well, so much for that" and yet they're still able to beat him down.

There is a perfect, logical explanation for that: Imagine you're in a fight and 10 people beat the crap out of you. Maybe individually they're not stronger than you, but they can harm you and they are 10! So they beat you up, you're lying on the ground and then they go away. And then we have your 10 years old son standing next to you. He is angry at you, because you didn't buy him that Transformer toy that he wanted so bad. Even you could punch him into outer space if you wanted, you're still badly hurt and can't really move or do anything. You're in pain and even his tiny feet are hurting you, while he is kicking your wounds and so on.

Please keep this in mind. There is that one panel during the Siege comics, where Sentry defeated Thor. You see Void slowly coming out of him. This Sentry-Void-creature holds Thor captured and squeezes him. Thor is all bloodied up and is terrified by his opponent. He looks exactly the way Ares looked before he got ripped apart. Then Norman Osborn calls Sentry and commands him to destroy Asgard. Sentry lets go and destroys Asgard, while Thor doesn't even manage to throw Mjolnir to do something against it. He is probably too hurt and too slow anyway. Void was oneshotting everyone one the battlefield, before they got empowered with the Norn stones. If your perception of 'working' is to lay on the ground, to take a beating from voidy tentacles and scream in pain, then yes you're right, they were 'working'.

As for Reynolds asking for the killing blow, the context for that was he was beaten into submission first. He didn't spontaneously wrest control back. How does that not constitute a defeat? It does explain why they bothered with the heroic funeral, but that's still a stretch to me. Reynolds isn't the Hulk. He doesn't have to be in "human form" to be killed, he's been killed even as the Sentry; he just has to choose not resurrect himself. So that whole scene was odd.

That post made me sad. It feels like I wasted time once again discussing a character and trying to explain things, yet it's impossible to convince people, who already have an opinion and believe in that, which is totally fine. I'm probably not different most of the time. But this will still be my last reponse to you and with that I really don't mind to offend it. I had a good read of a different opinion thanks to your posts, so everything is great.

But back to the topic: Yes and no... Bob does not have to be in human form to be killed, you're right about that. But his human form is his true self. His human form is the entity that has all the power. Did you ever see the fight between the Dark Avengers and the X-Men? Namor decides to take on the Sentry and gets beaten the crap out of him. Emma Frost has only one option and she needs needs Xaviers help for that. Together they manage to enter the White Room she once built in Sentry's head and what happens there? She meets Bob! But he is prisoned in darkness. Darkness everywhere he looks. She helps him escape the dark prison and in the next second you see the Void attacking her. On the next panel you see Sentry on the battlefield, looking around and asking: "What have I done?". That is a crucial moment in Sentry comics. During the Dark Avengers Bob was never in control. He lost his battle to the inner demons and during that one instance he regained control and left the battlefield to save his opponents.

During the Siege of Asgard the heroes inflicted so much damage on the Void that it had to recover. It was weak and Bob regained control. He then (then, and not before, because he was not in control) realized what was going on and he knew that it couldn't be like the for the rest of his life. He asked to be killed. That is an heroic act and the the outcome of a loser submitting. He asked to be killed and he got killed, just the way he wanted. And we also once saw Void saying that they can't die. It's not up to them. It's not up to Void, it's not up to Sentry. Bob is the one with the power and Bob is the one who is the reason why he is not returning.

None of the stuff in the comics was odd. What's odd is that he is returning as a horseman of Apocalypse and that to me doesn't make any sense. In my opinion he should be above that and he should also be able to decide if he wants that or not. I'm really curious what's up next for him.

#31 Edited by Tendrin (62 posts) - - Show Bio

I am wondering about this resurrection as well. I mean, for god's sake. His body was -thrown into the sun-. How he was brought back and made into a Horseman of the Apoclapyse. A little part of me hopes that the character will come out the better for this use, but I doubt it. I really, really doubt it.

Hopefully, they'll have a good explanation.

#32 Posted by joshmightbe (24885 posts) - - Show Bio

Sentry= the one character that makes the entire Summers/Grey family seem normal and functional by comparison.

#33 Edited by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

@chibio said:

@fodigg said:

Have you read The Age of the Sentry? It's where a lot of these concepts are really made explicit. (Again, the caveat being that it's a story-within-a-story, but it could represent Richards' take on Reynolds' powers and it lines up well with what we see in the text of the other appearances.) I recommend it, not just for this discussion but as an entertaining read. It's my favorite Sentry arc, even more than the original run, which probably informs my take on the character.

I've read that one and I disagree with your opinion. You sad that it could represent Richards take on Reynolds powers, while judging by the small details (as I wrote before) these comics have shown actually a lot more. You were stating that Reed was only reading comics to his son and you're damn right about that, but that is the key: the crazier and even more logical theory would be that the Age of the Sentry actually represents Sentry's adventures in the past.

But these were just comics, you say? Think about it. Didn't Sentry implement his memories into the mind of a comic book writer (Paul Jenkins) during the New Avengers comics, when Mastermind tried to make him forget everything? Sentry did it subconsciously, because he didn't want to be forgoten and Iron Man said that by doing it like that he was hoping that someone would find and help him and the Avengers did find him. And now all of a sudden we have Reed having some Sentry comics, reading them and theorizing about Sentry's powers based on the comics. If it wasn't for the confusing part with the Void in the Age of the Sentry I would even go as far to say that one could consider that book as canon for Sentry.

But at the same time it would negate your 're-write the history' theories, since he would have had these adventures and he would have been the first 'superhero' in the Marvel universe. Obviously actually the second, because Captain America was the first one with superpowers, thanks to the first serum, but he was more of a super soldier, and you get my point anyway. (And yes I know that the Human Torch was actually Marvels first superhero and not Captain America)

Do you realize those comics-within-a-comic depicted him rewriting history? Hence the image above where the Professor doesn't quite remember the Sentry's origin? Hence Cranio being constantly shifted in appearance and Sentry starts to notice it? And I quote:

Sentry: "You've changed again."

Cranio: "Have I? I can't tell anymore. You see, that's the true dilemma of our reality with you in it. The rules of time and space alter for you."

Not only that, the ending is basically the same setup as Superior Spider-Man. Sentry dies and gives his memories and power to the Void, and the claim is that's how they became one person. How does that jive if it's all "real"?

Yet, what you're saying here is that they're definitive. Look, my pointing out that this was a story-within-a-story was NOT me trying to pull a fast one on you, it was me trying to be intellectually honest and point out where my supporting evidence isn't as sturdy as one might think. But if you want to concede that it's a given, fine, then we can take Cranio's word that he's a history/reality changer as I describe, but we then also have to accept that Robert Reynolds/Sentry is dead and what we have now is some low-level thug who became the Void and then stole Sentry's power. I think that'd be a shame.

Molecule Man was upgraded for that appearance wasn't he? He didn't used to be as powerful, but when we see him with the Sentry, he's pretty god-like. (Which is confusing, because they upped his powers and yet stuck him in a throwback costume.)

Molecule Man started off as the second most powerful being in the Marvel universe, directly after the Beyonder. I think they didn't have introduced The One Above All at that point. Later on he got retconned, but so did the Beyonder and they lost a lot of their power, yet they were both still more powerful than - for example Galactus (if the big guy was not replete of course). And now it starts getting tricky. After that Molecule Man never really did get a power downgrade. There was one where he lost his powers and before losing them he put a small fracture of his powers inside his wife and took them back later on, when he was powerless, so he gained his powers back. But one could argue that he only had that small fracture of them and that he therefore was not at his (post retcon) peak. Yet we both know that Bendis wouldn't have cared about that at all, so the character was written the way he was written. Not only did he do some fancy things, but he also destroyed the Sentry twice and brought him back twice during the Avengers. During their last encounter, when Sentry was enraged Molecule Man ripped him apart, but Sentry came back immediately after and overpowered the Molecule Man. And it's really hard to judge their power levels on that point. People like to use the WW Hulk instance as Sentry's best showing and saying that his "power of a million exploding suns sucks", but Sentry actually had better showings than that. Just check out some of his feat threads. In one instance he was fighting against the Collective and stalemating that opponent for a while. And the Collective defeated Binary, who is a planet buster after all. During a different instance Sentry took on Photon, who is more powerful than Thor, hands down ... and they were both destroying planets in the process. And then there are also his fights against the Void which were actually his most impressive ones so far and are actually his greatest feats, since we're talking about an entity who was breaking Savage Hulk apart like he was nothing and easily overpowering Thor as well, yet the Sentry defeated him multiple times by sheer strenght and power (and not some inner battle like some people like to believe and continue to misinform others).

To me Sentry is similar to Deadpool. You have a lot of people who underestimate him, because of few bad showings, but the showings where the character shines and shows that he is a powerhouse, they ignore the instances for some weird reason. I always used to tell people that Deadpool defeated Captain America multiple times (multiple times!), yet no one cares. When it comes to the Sentry you either have people who say that he is weak and nothing without the Void and then you have to people who acknowledge that he is absurdely powerful.

Right, so Sentry is more powerful then.

Thank you for the rundown, it was helpful to have a refresher. It sounds like even from your own description, however, that the Norn stones weren't the issue. They were working, then Loki and the stones were banished and they said pretty much "oh well, so much for that" and yet they're still able to beat him down.

There is a perfect, logical explanation for that: Imagine you're in a fight and 10 people beat the crap out of you. Maybe individually they're not stronger than you, but they can harm you and they are 10! So they beat you up, you're lying on the ground and then they go away. And then we have your 10 years old son standing next to you. He is angry at you, because you didn't buy him that Transformer toy that he wanted so bad. Even you could punch him into outer space if you wanted, you're still badly hurt and can't really move or do anything. You're in pain and even his tiny feet are hurting you, while he is kicking your wounds and so on.

Please keep this in mind. There is that one panel during the Siege comics, where Sentry defeated Thor. You see Void slowly coming out of him. This Sentry-Void-creature holds Thor captured and squeezes him. Thor is all bloodied up and is terrified by his opponent. He looks exactly the way Ares looked before he got ripped apart. Then Norman Osborn calls Sentry and commands him to destroy Asgard. Sentry lets go and destroys Asgard, while Thor doesn't even manage to throw Mjolnir to do something against it. He is probably too hurt and too slow anyway. Void was oneshotting everyone one the battlefield, before they got empowered with the Norn stones. If your perception of 'working' is to lay on the ground, to take a beating from voidy tentacles and scream in pain, then yes you're right, they were 'working'.

As for Reynolds asking for the killing blow, the context for that was he was beaten into submission first. He didn't spontaneously wrest control back. How does that not constitute a defeat? It does explain why they bothered with the heroic funeral, but that's still a stretch to me. Reynolds isn't the Hulk. He doesn't have to be in "human form" to be killed, he's been killed even as the Sentry; he just has to choose not resurrect himself. So that whole scene was odd.

That post made me sad. It feels like I wasted time once again discussing a character and trying to explain things, yet it's impossible to convince people, who already have an opinion and believe in that, which is totally fine. I'm probably not different most of the time. But this will still be my last reponse to you and with that I really don't mind to offend it. I had a good read of a different opinion thanks to your posts, so everything is great.

I'm not sure this rhetoric is helpful. Can't we just share our views of the character? Must I recant my supposed blasphemy for you to not be "wasting your time"? We disagree, that's okay. But in discussing where and how we disagree, we can all gain new perspectives on the nature of the character. I'm not trying to "win" anything here or "prove" my interpretation. I'm just putting it out there and looking for feedback, which you've been very generous in giving at length. Just because I push back on certain points where we disagree doesn't mean I'm not grateful for the discussion. I'm enjoying it.

But back to the topic: Yes and no... Bob does not have to be in human form to be killed, you're right about that. But his human form is his true self. His human form is the entity that has all the power. Did you ever see the fight between the Dark Avengers and the X-Men? Namor decides to take on the Sentry and gets beaten the crap out of him. Emma Frost has only one option and she needs needs Xaviers help for that. Together they manage to enter the White Room she once built in Sentry's head and what happens there? She meets Bob! But he is prisoned in darkness. Darkness everywhere he looks. She helps him escape the dark prison and in the next second you see the Void attacking her. On the next panel you see Sentry on the battlefield, looking around and asking: "What have I done?". That is a crucial moment in Sentry comics. During the Dark Avengers Bob was never in control. He lost his battle to the inner demons and during that one instance he regained control and left the battlefield to save his opponents.

During the Siege of Asgard the heroes inflicted so much damage on the Void that it had to recover. It was weak and Bob regained control. He then (then, and not before, because he was not in control) realized what was going on and he knew that it couldn't be like the for the rest of his life. He asked to be killed. That is an heroic act and the the outcome of a loser submitting. He asked to be killed and he got killed, just the way he wanted. And we also once saw Void saying that they can't die. It's not up to them. It's not up to Void, it's not up to Sentry. Bob is the one with the power and Bob is the one who is the reason why he is not returning.

None of the stuff in the comics was odd. What's odd is that he is returning as a horseman of Apocalypse and that to me doesn't make any sense. In my opinion he should be above that and he should also be able to decide if he wants that or not. I'm really curious what's up next for him.

Once again, you're supporting my case: Bob didn't do it on his own, he was broken out of his mental jail by Emma Frost. Look, we can go back and forth about this all day. Was it a defeat or was Bob enlisted in helping them or what? This is starting to remind me of the "Did or didn't Batman defeat superman with the Kryptonite ring or was Supes holding back etc" arguments. You are treating noble sacrifice and defeated Sentry as mutually exclusive possibilities when that need not be the case. It can be a bit of both.

I get the sense that you're still in "repel the hater" mode here. I understand, Sentry gets a lot of hate, but I'm a Sentry fan. I'm not trying to tear down the character at all here. I'm not setting out to say "Sentry got stomped, what a lame character." Even if he was unambiguously defeated—kind of like how he was one-shot knocked out by the animated Chrysler Building—I can still support the character. We can recognize that he's been mishandled (e.g., aforementioned Chryster Building scene). We can recognize that he has at times been defeated (e.g., Siege), even if we insist he had a part in that success himself. We don't need him to be ironclad untouchable. In fact, that would be incredibly boring. Why reject the notion outright that anyone else had anything to do with his fall in Siege? Why is that so important?

Edit: I'm especially confused why you're coming after me over the idea that he was defeated in Siege because if you read through my OP, I'm basically saying he wasn't. I'm saying that he chose a heroic death to write in for himself.

#34 Posted by Torch_7 (8 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg: wow wow wow, wait a sex-i mean-secon! Sentry, changing everything that happened on the Marvel films to glorify himself?! EFFING NO! You just said it plain simple! Robert Reynolds wanted fame, glory and recognition from world and he did so by brutally inserting his "hero" in the lives of other heroes! (real heroes) And there's the chance that he's not even dead! I don't see any potential on Sentry at all.

#35 Edited by fodigg (6146 posts) - - Show Bio

@torch_7 said:

@fodigg: wow wow wow, wait a sex-i mean-secon! Sentry, changing everything that happened on the Marvel films to glorify himself?! EFFING NO! You just said it plain simple! Robert Reynolds wanted fame, glory and recognition from world and he did so by brutally inserting his "hero" in the lives of other heroes! (real heroes) And there's the chance that he's not even dead! I don't see any potential on Sentry at all.

Well obviously it'd be portrayed as a negative and reverted by the end of the film. You don't think that'd be interesting? I think that'd sell the average person on the shared universe--really show off its potential to them.

#36 Edited by Cooldes (4104 posts) - - Show Bio

great take on The Sentry, i especially think your take on his ability to rewrite history is very unique, i've never heard someone have that specific idea of his powers

i still don't quite understand why he gets so much hate and i think Rob's heroism and strive to become something great while still trying to discover the full extent of his powers has great potential.

#37 Edited by Lion_Heart22 (446 posts) - - Show Bio

HO-LY FRIJOLES
I didn't exactly understand if Sentry being a fanboy committing self-insertion is the OP's theory or if it's canon but I think it's brilliant. It's like Inception for the cape genre. It totally explains how he was shoved down our throats as the best every guy who ever lived. I can totally see a story arc where the Marvel Universe becomes aware of this fact about Sentry and ultimately fights him in his true "reality alterer persona" to save their universe from being changed randomly on the whim of an ill-matured man. This would be a great meta-argument against the creators who have no respect for characters and their established history.

Perhaps at the end of the story a version of Sentry could survive, one that would exist entirely in the Marvel U's reality, not a reality changer but just a character. Someone who can begin anew with a clean slate and earn the right to become the hero Sentry originally strived to be.

#38 Posted by w0nd (3422 posts) - - Show Bio

I like that take. I mean honestly he did weasel his way into other heroes lives making it seem like he was this golden boy scout, when in reality he was a drug addict apparently who wanted a quick hit of something.

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