Review: ‘The Sentry’ #1 Is a Much-Needed New Take on the Golden Guardian of Good

Review The Sentry #1 - Cover
(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)

Straight from the pages of Doctor Strange, the Golden Guardian of Good makes his triumphant return into his own title with The Sentry #1 from the minds of Jeff Lemire—who returns to Marvel after a quick hiatus—and artist Kim Jacinto. When The Sentry #1 kicks off, we see Robert Reynolds trying to live a normal life or as normal of a life a man with the power of a million exploding suns can live, that is. Reynolds is arguably one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel mythos, except he’s unable to use his powers in fear of The Void, a dark being from his subconscious, destroying the world.

Throughout the first issue of the “Sentry World” story arc—which, according to the introductory page, is the first of five chapters—we find Reynolds trying to do everything within his power to be just an average guy. As you might expect for a man who can harness the power of a million exploding suns, it’s tougher than one thinks.

Therein lies one of the primary source of tension. And ultimately, that’s what makes The Sentry #1 such a delightful read. Lemire has taken Reynolds and turned him into a street-level character who is down on his luck. I think that we can probably say that at some point, we’ve all been our own downfall. Quite frankly, it’s human nature for us to build roadblocks into our own lives.

And that’s how The Sentry has suddenly been crafted into a relatable character. No, none of us can channel the power of a sun and blast the moon in half, but we all have our own demons inside that Lemire uses to make sure we understand what Reynolds is going through. He uses that to make sure that we can empathize with a ticking time bomb, a man with the power of a nuclear warhead.

Review The Sentry #1 - Action
(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)

Doctor Strange probably thought he was helping Reynolds by creating The Confluctor: a device that allows Reynolds to temporarily transport his consciousness into a virtual reality where he’s allowed to use his powers. That only compounds the problem. Which makes sense, right? Reynolds is trying his damnedest to suppress his powers in real life so the world as we know can still exist, and the Sorcerer Supreme convinces The Sentry to essentially take his frustrations out with a video game.

In the case of Robert Reynolds, a device such as The Confluctor is probably going to end up doing more harm than good. Honestly, it’s not unlike “San Junipero” from Black Mirror. Why would Reynolds want to stay here when he can be there? At least there he can zoom around New York City ripping shadow demons in half. Here, he’s flipping burgers with his trusty one-armed sidekick Billy while being constantly watched by Misty Knight and the crew at the ACD.

Jacinto’s art and Beredo’s colors go together like peanut butter and jelly. The line art gives Reynolds a brilliant, weathered look – exactly like how one might think someone in Reynolds situation would look. A unique halftone pattern at certain places throughout is a subtle reminder of how grounded this initial issue is.

On the opening page, we see Reynolds trying to meditate himself into this virtual dimension Doctor Strange created. As the art flows from panel to panel, Jacinto’s lineart shows us a man who’s deeply conflicted with himself – a man that’s having troubles performing the meditation that will allow him to go to his Mecca.

Review The Sentry #1 - Shadow Villain
(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)

Later in the issue, we get an intense series of panels when Reynolds returns to his run-down apartment only to find it torn to shreds. Somebody has taken The Confluctor. A close-up panel of his face shows sweat dripping from his brow and just a few panels later, Jacinto’s artwork paints a picture of somebody who’s having a withdrawal. Reynolds is distressed – Stephen Strange created an artificial paradise that turned into a drug. Now it’s gone and with it, seemingly a piece of Reynolds’ sanity.

Like most of the story involving Reynolds we’ve seen in the past, the premise can grow old quickly. This run, however, seems to finally give us a fresh take on the character. When we first see him, he already knows who he is. He knows what he can do, but really, it’s his choice to suppress his powers so that The Void doesn’t come out to play.

Lemire’s ability to write the internal conflicts his protagonists face is second to none and after his iconic run on Moon Knight, a comic with Robert Reynolds was a long time coming. He’s able to craft tales where the readers struggle to separate fact and fiction, yet everything eventually falls into place, and that’s exactly the type of writer a character like Robert Reynolds needs. Lemire and The Sentry are a match made in heaven.

Published by Marvel Comics

On June 27, 2018

Written by Jeff Lemire

Art by Kim Jacinto

Color by Rain Beredo

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