7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
One of the best Marvel comics,
This review is from: The Sentry TPB (Marvel Knights) (Paperback)
I first encountered the Sentry not in this, his debut limited series, but popping up throughout the Marvel universe. Intrigued by him, I picked this up, wanting to find out more about his origins, his powers, and his arch-nemesis, the Void. I'd also heard fascinating things about how, when the series was first released, much had been done to present the Sentry as a kind of 'missing' character from the Marvel universe, fitting him into the existing continuity and not just introducing him as a new character. After the fact this doesn't have the impact it might have done at the time, obviously, but it does influence the feel of the series in some important ways. It's a little difficult to talk about without spoiling the fantastic storyline, but essentially The Sentry is the story of Robert Reynolds, a former hero who slowly begins to realise that something has happened to make everyone, including himself, forget who he really is. Sensing the return of his nemesis, he goes about reconnecting with some of the biggest Marvel characters, and as his story goes on, there are 'flashbacks' of sorts to his past; each of these flashbacks is in a very different art style with fake comic book covers that suggest a much earlier era of comics. It gets pretty meta, but the juxtaposition between the earlier, lighter art and dialogue with the growing sense of impending doom in the 'present' storyline is actually brilliantly sinister.
I wish I could give this book four and a half stars, because it isn't quite perfect. It collects The Sentry #1-5, which set up the meat of the story, followed by a series of 'one-shots' that fill in some of the Sentry's background with various Marvel heroes. Each story feeds a little into the overall arc, and each is pretty good, but there's a real sense that the series slows down a whole lot whilst exploring this side of the Sentry. In the final one-shot, the story picks up again and reaches its conclusion, which even if you know it already or are able to see it coming, is pretty satisfying. Another plus is that even if you're not a huge comics fan, it doesn't rely on knowing the ins and outs of the entire Marvel universe. It's great if you know who some of the superhero guest stars are, but they work pretty well as mere archetypes too. It's a shame a little more isn't done to explore the true threat of the Void, and that the pacing suffers during the one-shots, but The Sentry is still one of the best, most unique graphic novels I've ever read.