Into The Void: Sentry Character Spotlight

Into The Void: Sentry Character Spotlight

Into The Void: Sentry Character Spotlight

Robert "Bob" Reynolds has been one of my favorite Marvel characters ever since I first found out about him.

It was ~13 years ago when one of my best friends, Mike, described The Sentry as "Superman with pretty severe mental health problems" while he introduced me to the character. Intrigued, I went on a journey and read a few of the books featuring The Sentry that had recently come out: World War Hulk, and Dark Avengers.

If you're not familiar with The Sentry, allow me to introduce you to Marvel's favorite punching bag. One of the most beautifully tragic, complex, and powerful characters in all of Marvel Comics.

While his origin has been revised a few times, the general story goes that a young Bob Reynolds in the late ~1950s was addicted to Meth. While looking to score a high, he breaks into a lab. He finds and consumes a serum labeled "Do Not Touch: Project Sentry" which is later revealed to be a project by Department K/Weapon X in an effort to make something 1000 times (or 100,000 times, as it's been rewritten) more powerful than the original Super Soldier formula. What Robert would consume would come to be known as The Golden Sentry Serum.

Robert becomes insanely powerful extremely quickly, harnessing "the power of 1 million exploding suns" within him, whatever that means. This godlike character seems to have no actual limitation to his power, making him potentially the ultimate Deus Ex Machina. He has Superhuman strength, speed, flight, anti-aging, light powers, darkness powers, sidekicks... Basically, you name it and he's got it. The catch with this character is that he has crippling mental health problems that can manifest themself as a literal physical darkness and sometimes alter-ego with murderous intent known only as The Void. The Sentry, despite all of his power, cannot stop the demons in his own mind from taking control of him.

The Sentry and The Void are so powerful that Robert Reynolds (and all of humanity) has been made to forget he is a superhero on more than one occasion. The theory and hope was that The Void would just kind of disappear if The Sentry forgot who he was, more or less.

Throughout the history of The Sentry, although he's often referred to as a metaphorical Ace-In-The-Hole, he's never really had a fair shake in the comics. The height of his popularity and relevance is arguably in/around 2007-2010, in which his power along with The Void's was on full display. He is a relatively new character, who has only been around since the year 2000. 

A few of his feats during this time (SPOILERS):
- Fought Worldbreaker Hulk to a stalemate.
- Murdered Ares by ripping him in half seemingly effortlessly.
- Flew Carnage into space and ripped him in half.
- Was "killed" by Molecule Man, re-assembled himself, and killed Molecule Man.
- Fought Thor and won, nearly decimating the combined forces of Asgard and The Avengers in the process.

Events afterward would cement The Sentry as one of Marvel's most powerful characters that could only be defeated when he wants to be. Having said that, the Sentry has been killed off at least 2-3 times in the comics and is generally only brought back for a quick cameo appearance or as a lazy device to make a villain seem like a real threat (The Worf Effect). Recently The Sentry was killed during the events of King in Black, where Knull dispatches him nearly instantly as the event starts and appears to absorb The Void. Since then, he has made a brief cameo appearance as a ghost during The King in Black: Return of The Valkyries and more recently as a zombified version in Strange volume 3.

Where the films are concerned, there has been a lot of recent speculation that Steven Yuen will play The Sentry after rumors swirled over the role he had been cast for in The Thunderbolts movie due out late 2024. It's possible as well that we could see Steven Yuen play Hyperion, another "Superman-esque" character, but time will tell! 

If you would like to check out some of my favorite storylines that include The Sentry, I would recommend:
- World War Hulk
- New Avengers
- Dark Avengers
- Siege

Will we ever see The Sentry back in the main comic continuity again? I, for one, subscribe to the belief that no comic book character is ever truly dead forever. Least of all, nigh-omnipotent beings who have died and come back multiple times already.

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