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mygif

Now, I don’t read comics often, and Marvel I’ve read the least, but I have a good TvTropes based understand of the Pop-Culture cloud. And I still had to go look this guy up, and was left kind of confused? He’s just some out-of-nowhere Canon Sue added for some.. purpose… ’cause?

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Sentry struck me as a concept that might have worked, at best, as something in DEADPOOL…in other words, a tongue-in-cheek poke at Marvel history by a Superman pastiche that’s better at everything than any Marvel hero. But as a legitimate element in the MU proper, it failed utterly for me.

I’m glad they killed him off when they did; I had a nagging fear that some genius at Marvel would eventually stumble upon the idea of reprinting classic stories, except that Sentry would be retconned into them. Imagine the horror of new Kirbyesque and Ditkoesque art pasted into those tales.

This isn’t to say that I don’t like the basic idea of the Sentry concept. In fact, it was used very well in a *single episode* of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (“Superstar”)…a nebbish uses magic to become the hippest, coolest, most admired hero in the world. And then the magic ends and everybody forgets about him.

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“There’s no history between the Hulk and the Sentry? Howabout we just have everyone talk about how they’re the bestest friends ever! The Sentry’s never really achieved any kind of heroic triumphs? Howabout we have everyone remind each other about how he saved the world over and over and over again! The more they talk about how great he is, the more it reminds us that we haven’t seen any actual evidence of that supposed greatness, and the more hollow and useless he seems.”

So basically, The Sentry = Poochie.

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Matthew said on May 21st, 2010 at 4:58 pm

I loved the Sentry. I thought he was a fascinating character done really well – in his original mini.

I really disliked the attempt to shoehorn him into normal continuity because I knew that this mess we had now would be pretty much what would happen and the backlash would not be kind to the character.

But hey, give me more out of continuity Tales of the Sentry and I’ll be happy.

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I agree with Matthew – and all of the “he’s Reed Richards’ best friend / the Hulk’s #1 pal” stuff worked really well in that context, because the ending of the thing was that everyone had to forget him again. It’s emotionally powerful -because- we have no history with him, and so what’s moving about it is that these characters we do care about are the ones who are actually affected, and because we spent 6-8 issues (or however many) learning about this one very specific aspect of the guy. The original mini-series is really well done.

Incorporating that into the Marvel Universe wasn’t a Mary Sue thing, I don’t think. It just didn’t work, for all the reasons you mention. A character whose whole concept is “he’s so powerful, the only way to contain him is to forget that he ever existed, and the only reason he’s a hero is because he’s willing to do that” doesn’t really fly as a member of the Avengers for 5 years. I was stoked about it initially – when I saw the first ‘New Avengers’ promo art, I thought the idea of incorporating him into the book was exciting. But it was never done effectively at all, because he’s not a real character – he only works as a comment on superhero universes, not as a member of one.

–d

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motteditor said on May 21st, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Well said. Same, IMO, holds true for Jessica Jones. I have no problem with her being Luke Cage’s wife because their relationship was shown. I do have a problem with her being every Avengers’ bestest friend ever because she never actually appeared in a single issue of Avengers until this past week.

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Actually, the guy Doom worries about is Squirrel Girl’s brother. No, she doesn’t have a brother… but Doom lies awake at night, wondering “How can I be certain?!” :-^)

Okay, here’s a scenario for resolving the Sentry intrusion into continuity. We know he had powers which could influence other minds. What if he only got his powers a few years ago, and his deranged mind invented a past history as a guy everyone knew. He then projected this fictional past psychically into the minds of everyone within range. Now that he’s dead (pleasepleaseplease stay dead) those false memories will gradually fade, with people wondering why they went to the maniac’s funeral.

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mygif

Ah, Stickmaker! You beat me to it. I was going to go with the same idea.

I wonder if it would be possible to find ways to retcon out all the retcons in the Marvel and/or DC universe?

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mygif

I don’t really mind the retcons, since that was the entire gimmick of the character in the first place. But you’re probably right, the Sentry should have stayed a miniseries (or series of miniseries) and not have been brought into the Marvel U proper.

Although I did like the New Avengers issues that brought him in though (along with Paul Jenkins!).

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DistantFred said on May 21st, 2010 at 6:17 pm

The Age of Sentry miniseries was actually pretty fun. Maybe only in-continuity Sentry needs to stay dead, and out of continuity Sentry can continue to have wacky Silver Age Superman style adventures?

Lamar: You don’t want all retcons to be erased. You really don’t. It would do far more damage than it would good.

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I never felt condescended against, but then, I never take retcons and so on as grievous personal attacks done as a deliberate attempt to personally do me personal injury because Big Two hates me and every other reader on an individual basis.

Not, of course, that I think Big Two are wrong to hate me and every other reader on an individual basis. We earned that enmity.

I think the only reason the Sentry failed is because fans are just too obsessed with continuity. The reason that Marvel and DC aren’t fun places to be is because you just won’t let them be fun. You have to dig up all kinds of unpleasant shit and rub it in everyone’s noses.

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Fun story: New Avengers #1 was one of the first Marvel books I ever picked up, so when the Sentry was introduced, I believed them when everyone said that the guy had a huge history with the Marvel universe. I wasn’t aware of any online comic communities at the time, and it took me months to figure out that New Avengers #1 was his first appearance.

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mygif

“I think the only reason the Sentry failed is because fans are just too obsessed with continuity.”

Not that I especially have a dog in this race, but I’d say that fans obsessed with continuity is a deliberate and direct result of longstanding editorial mandates made by Marvel and DC. In other words, if a lot of fans are obsessed with continuity, it’s because the big two WANT them to be obsessed with continuity, and so any problems they now have with that are of their own making.

Also, the bit about Marvel and DC not being fun because the “fans won’t let them”…I’m sorry, but that just tripped every bullshit detector in a five-block radius of my computer. Comics these days (I’m speaking mostly of Marvel and DC when I say “comics,” here) aren’t fun because the people in charge have a skewed idea of what fun is, combined with a series of questionable business decisions that seem to have their market shrinking on a monthly basis. If the big bad fans are what’s causing this phenomena, and I highly doubt that’s the case, then maybe the problem (again) lies with Marvel and DC, in this case a problem that could be solved by, y’know, growing a metaphorical pair and not making their comics not-fun. Or whatever.

And all of that is completely beside the point that, regardless of who’s to blame for what, the Sentry sounds like an astoundingly lame and hamfisted character. If that’s the definition of “fun” on trial here, then I can’t say I feel like I’m missing much.

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Jason Barnett said on May 21st, 2010 at 7:42 pm

my biggest problem was I could never figure out what was official and what wasn’t after he showed up.

Did all the heroes remember him? Just some? Why? What about the general public? If they did why didn’t the positive affect he had for heroes register. Spidey won a Pulitzer for pictures(don’t know if that’s real) with him around. They co-hosted SNL. Hulk was much less of a danger. Thye’d even thrown a parade for him once.

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Marvel is just following the model proven by politicians (most notably Republican & Tea Party politicians of the last two years, but not limited to them): If you repeat a lie loud enough, often enough, enough people will start to believe it that it becomes the “truth”.

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KnowsNothingAboutPopCulture said on May 21st, 2010 at 8:10 pm

@Andrew
I kinda agree that sometimes the fans are to obsessed with continuity. But i don`t see that as the Sentry`s real problem. He is just too powerful for Marvel Earth. There are hardly any heroes or villians that would be challenge for him.
If they want to use him outside of mini-series, they should just put him in Marvel Cosmics. There would be no need to constantly bring up his past with other heroes(which we don`t know about) and wouldn`t seem to outclass everbody he ever meets.

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CapnSilver said on May 21st, 2010 at 8:18 pm

I really liked the Sentry when he first popped up in his mini. Sure he got silly but there was potential for some good stories there, rather than what ended up happening.

Blame should pointed at the never ending series of crossovers for making this character boring. Age of Sentry was great, but now I’ll never see Mentallo, the man with the tri-level mind in continuity.

Maybe Ultimates can help a brother out

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Re: Andrew:

You’re probably right. If I stopped obsessing about how uninteresting and forced the Sentry was, and how he was basically an editorial fiat crammed down the throats of the readers, I’m sure I’d be able to relax and enjoy the light-hearted fun of him ripping a man in half on-panel. I guess I just lack that child-like innocence of spirit.

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Ryan Beariot said on May 21st, 2010 at 9:43 pm

@ John Seavey – he’s the Brett Favre of the Marvel Universe. He’s ripping people in half like a kid out there! He’s a superhero the right way, just having fun with his wrangler jeans and cape!

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@Andrew: I agree that Nerd Entitlement is a serious problem facing superhero comics and that fun is more important than continuity. Discussions of “canon” are some of the biggest time wasters known to man- hate `em.

But the Sentry was not fun. At all. I even thought he was a neat idea when I first heard about him, and then there was never a single story I’ve read where he was interesting or entertaining. You don’t have be a serious canon-freak to think that a funeral where everybody talks about how awesome this unlikeable and uninteresting character was looks pretty dumb.

And now that you mention Miracleman/Marvelman, John, I hadn’t considered that they probably decided to screw the Poochie because they have the rights to the real character now. I just hope they write him better than Sentry.

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I don’t know how I feel about the retcons, but the character didn’t actually do a whole hell of a lot. In stuff like Secret Invasion he’d get taken out somehow and then all that power was a waste. It was either that, or the other heroes didn’t need to show up because he was so powerful

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Allegretto said on May 21st, 2010 at 11:51 pm

@Andrew:

The thing is, this is not about canon. I may agree or disagree with your assessment of comic book fans and their obsession with continuity, but this specific case has nothing to do with that. Its about good and bad writing.

The Sentry and how he was handled by Marvel was a problem because it was forced and mary-sued. It was disrespectful of the rest of the writers own work and characters. In the simplest terms i can think of, this is the equivalent of having a tv series or movie where for 100+ minutes of the movie/40+ episodes of the tv series our main character is in love, and fights and strives towards a goal with character A and suddenly, in a random episode or the next five minutes of film, a character B, totally new, completely out of nowhere, that you knew nothing about in 100+ minutes of film/40+ episodes comes in and sweeps our main character off his feet and marries him/her, closes the door on that story arc and calls it a day.

Its Bullshit. Because its horrible writing, not because “i’m obsessed with canon”. You can’t pretend any viewer/reader to accept that all the emotional investment of the previous 90% of the character’s life would just be thrown out the window for the sake of this nobody that just showed up in the beloved main character’s life.

Imagine if in the last episode of “Friends” Rachel confessed her love for Ross and agreed to love him forever but he declined because he just met a girl on the street, and realized he loved her more than anything in the world. Then, said girl goes on to meet the rest of the cast and become best friends with everyone because she’s so awesome and sweet and pretty.

That’s bad writing, not the fans of the show being hung up on continuity.

You’ve seen a character struggle for a long time in order to accomplish certain goals. To pretend any viewer will accept a cheap cop out like the one i described from that perceived commitment (like the Sentry is a perfect example of) is retarded.

The Sentry and his Mary Sue-ing remminds me of the earliest incarnations of Hal Jordan and Barry Allen, by the way. Whowouldathunk right? right? WRONG.

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Allegretto said on May 22nd, 2010 at 12:12 am

OMG! i meant to say the *latest* incarnations of Hal Jordan and Barry Allen.

Im so sorry o original Barry. Im also sorry original Hal, but not as much i think.

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Mary Warner said on May 22nd, 2010 at 12:53 am

The only Sentry stories I’ve read are in New and Mighty Avengers. I never heard of him before that. I thought the early story in New Avengers where nobody can remember who he is is fairly interesting, but that was the only time he was interesting in any way.
I have no idea who Miracleman is (I’ve seen him mentioned on websites like this, but that’s it) so I have no idea whether the Sentry is a blatant imitation or not.
But anyway, all of your criticisms here sum up my feelings pretty well. I don’t understand this obsession modern comic-book writers have with rewriting the past all the time. It rarely adds anything to the current stories, and it ruins a lot of the old stories. Why do they keep doing it? Is it an ego thing?
And of course, like many people, I feel the Sentry was simply too powerfull for the Marvel Universe. Maybe DC can function with Superman around, but it just doesn’t work for Marvel. Even the Hulk and Thor can be an odd fit at times.
Sometimes I get the impression that some editors at Marvel would rather be working for DC, and they keep trying to change things to a more DC kind of style. In the past, this has sometimes seemed to be the case for DC as well. (Maybe it still is. I haven’t read any DC lately.)

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Mary Warner said on May 22nd, 2010 at 12:55 am

Oh, and a happy May 24 weekend to all you Canadians! According to my calendar, May 24 falls on the 24th of May this year. I’m told this is an unusual occurance.

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Chris B said on May 22nd, 2010 at 1:45 am

Thor chucked him into the sun, right? He’ll be back.

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I wonder if MGK would be willing to re-text a few pages of the Sentry’s funeral with some of the comments from this thread.

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Patrick C. said on May 22nd, 2010 at 3:20 am

I really don’t think the Sentry failed because he was too big of a retcon. I think he failed because he was boring.

Sorry. He was. The Sentry was dull. The character had no personality, no real motivation or angle aside from his inconsistent portrayal of being unhinged. And his mental illness never rang true or resonant or accurate to real life — the Sentry’s crazy varied from issue to issue and sometimes panel to panel.

And he was so inconsistent that the reader could never get a bead on him, and thus couldn’t invest in him. What were his powers, exactly? How the fuck did the Void work anyway?

I mean, he just wasn’t a character. At all. He was a mishmash of concepts that didn’t work well on any level. I don’t think people will miss him much.

Calling him the Poochie of the Marvel Universe is spot on.

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mygif

Wait, Dr. Doom is afraid of the Sentry? I am glad I skipped that story.

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I disagree in two ways. One, I really liked the Sentry. I thought he was a fun concept with a lot of promise.

Two, his problem wasn’t that they said he was everybody’s friend and expected you to swallow it. His problem was that they said he was everybody’s friend in the Jenkin’s miniseries and in the funeral comic, but virtually nowhere in-between. Nobody acted like they were ever friends with him or even tried to be friends with him. Every one of his appearances I can remember was somebody ordering him around. No, wait, right before that was Iron Man saying that they’ll be there for him so he doesn’t become another Scarlet Witch. They really put forth the effort on that one.

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Tales to Enrage said on May 22nd, 2010 at 8:44 am

Another thing wrong with the Sentry (as if he needed more problems!) was the fact that he was trying to fill a niche the Marvel Universe didn’t need filled, and didn’t even have.

We understand that he’s meant as your Superman/Marvelman analogue. But you know why a Superman analogue wasn’t in Marvel before? Because no one really wanted a character who was such an obvious pale imitation. Heck, part of the appeal of Marvel back in the 60s was the fact that they didn’t have Superman, or any other heroes who were just boring, white bread guys that had steady relationships, no personal issues, and wrapped everything up by the last page. Whether or not you think Marvel’s “edginess” was real or mostly marketing, they offered something different, and at least a little closer to reality.

So yeah-we didn’t want a man with a cape who can lift God and has a magic treehouse.

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Count me as another from the ‘I’ll miss the Sentry, but he really only worked in his original limited series’ crowd. The whole thing worked there, including no one remembering him. (And oh, the art.) Anyways.

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Re: Mary Warner:

Miracleman/Marvelman was a superhero with flight, invulnerability, and astonishing strength (he’s actually Captain Marvel, renamed for the UK market, but that’s a long, complicated story.) In the 80s, Alan Moore wrote a series where he regains his memories and powers after years of inactivity, enforced by sinister enemies who have erased all knowledge of him. He proceeds to discover that he has a sinister, ruthless alter-ego, Kid Miracleman, who uses the same powers to brutally murder people. Oh, and there’s a shocking secret: The origin of his powers isn’t what he thought it was. That was just a myth for a simpler time.

It’s not completely ripped off in every detail (Kid Miracleman isn’t literally Miracleman’s other personality, for example) but I sure as heck wouldn’t want to defend Jenkins in a plagarism lawsuit.

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Menshevik said on May 22nd, 2010 at 10:47 am

Not to be a continuity freak or anything, but there is an art to inserting characters retroactively. It worked better with Jessica Jones, as far as I can tell (I did not read all the stories), because though it turns out she knows a lot of people from way back, but she had not played a central role in their lives back then. Or you have something like her going to Midtown High with Peter Parker, even having a crush on him, but he never noticed and when they met again a few years ago he barely remembered her at all. (This reminds me – there have been a few stories involving Peter meeting former schoolmates (other than Flash and Liz), yet somehow these are always guys the readers sees for the first time in the story in question).
I think this actually worked better than the Sally Avril story in Untold Spider-Man, where he took a background crowd-filler from Amazing Fantasy #15, had her become a costumed vigilante (inspired by Spider-Man) and then get killed in a poignant and “meaningful” way while Peter was still in high school. The problem was that if her death was so moving and significant, why did Peter never think of it in the old stories?

Another character with a touch of the Sentries is Jay Jonah Jameson (Sr.), JJJ’s new dad and Peter Parker’s new uncle by marriage. Here’s another character who was introduced as ultra-nice and ultra-cool, an all around wonderful guy. The old stories, where JJJ’s old man, was shown to be an abusive father and husband, were reinterpreted that that guy was actually JJJ’s uncle (because there can never be enough fictional characters raised by uncles and aunts) and JJJSr.’s brother. Only problem was that by the retconned story JJJSr. had abandoned his wife and son to the tender mercies of his tyrannical brother (and also was not there for JJJ at any of the turning points of his life, notably when he lost his first wife), yet the stories are now written in a way that JJJ is to be faulted for carrying a grudge against him…

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Lawnmower Boy said on May 22nd, 2010 at 10:56 am

“Oh, and a happy May 24 weekend to all you Canadians! According to my calendar, May 24 falls on the 24th of May this year. I’m told this is an unusual occurance.”

“The Twenty-fourth of May is the Queen’s Birthday/
And if we don’t get a holiday/
We’ll all run away!”
Or time-and-a-half. And Ontarians shoot off firecrackers, instead of on Halloween, like they’re supposed to.

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mygif

I second having the funeral scenes photoshopped with commentary from this thread, so that instead of coming to praise the Sentry, they come to BURY him instead. They’ll point out all the times he was NEVER there for them when they really needed him. (Which would fit in any continunity where he didn’t appear) They’ll argue that he never accomplish much, despite having more powers than God.

In fact, the best incarnation of the Sentry was probably Fletcher Hank’s Stardust. At least there, his forms of punishments were rather original.

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I fondly remember all those times when the hulk was on a rampage and instead of an epic fight to stop him, sentry would just show up and calm him down. And man, that first appearance of Galactus When he was going to eat the freaking earth, but then sentry stopped him? And the time Thanos assembled the soul gems into the infinity gauntlet, and was only stopped by sentry? EPIC! Don’t even get me started on the beyonder story arc. Good times, good times…

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I know almost nothing about the Sentry except that amusing little miniseries “Age of Sentry” that told his goofy Silver Age adventures. But everything I hear about him makes it very, very hard to believe that he wasn’t deliberately intended to be a guy who telepathically (or otherwise) inserted himself into Marvel continuity, and that none of the stuff that’s causing the brouhaha actually happened. If that WASN’T intentional, then yeah, yikes, that’s some cruddy writing right there.

Of course, and again without reading any of the major Marvel or DC titles, I sometimes get the impression that the writers are setting up certain plot twists, have them guessed by internet fans, and quickly decide to change them to provide a surprise…but those last-minute changes don’t actually fit with what was being set up, and the result is unsatisfying for everyone. I wonder if that’s what’s going to have happened with the Sentry–that they planned (or are still planning?) to have him be revealed as a guy who retconned the past, but they’ll drop that idea now that lots of people on the internet have suggested the same thing.

And good God, they had better not bring Marvelman into the Marvel universe. Jesus. What a clusterfuck that would be. Let Neil Gaiman finish the series he started all those years ago, and continue the series if you must, but in its own continuity.

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Garfield said on May 22nd, 2010 at 5:50 pm

As comparisons go Poochie’s good, Miraceleman is interesting, but he’s really the Marvel answer to DC’s Triumph, which is bad enough. DC at least had him turn sour, which was reasonably compelling. (And Triumph’s disappearing act was owing to time travel, so his presence barely affects any past stories at all.)

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Another vote for “The Sentry worked well in his original miniseries, where he was forced *back* down the memory hole at the end. Despite the contrivance of the idea, it was genuinely tragic. Taking him out of the memory hole and making him an active part of the modern Marvel U lead not only to bad modern stories but retroactively undermined the power of the original story. I did love the Parker/Tobin-scripted Age of the Sentry miniseries, but that existed in the same memory hole bubble as the original mini.

That said, I wrote the first few entries of a DC–> Marvel translation guide back in 2000:

Marvel DC

“What if” “Imaginary Story”
“Multiverse” “Hypertime”
“Earth-616” “Earth-0”
“Sentry” “Triumph”

Re the comment: “We understand that he’s meant as your Superman/Marvelman analogue. But you know why a Superman analogue wasn’t in Marvel before? Because no one really wanted a character who was such an obvious pale imitation.”

Well, actually, the early Silver Age Thor was a really *shameless* Superman knock-off, for the first two or three years. No, seriously, go and read those issues in the first Essential Thor and just translate Thor–>Superman, Jane–>Lois, Loki–>Luthor and marvel at how few other details have to change.

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Another comment: I just read Seige #4. Dear god, was that terrible. That’s the worst kind of fight scene, at length, with utterly wretched dialog to boot. People wonder why superheroes don’t get respect; well, the fact that Marvel thought that this was a story worthy of publication was bad enough, but that it was the endpoint of seven years of buildup is just pathetic.

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Tales to Enrage said on May 22nd, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Kevin, that is actually a really interesting point, and I’d never thought of comparing them in that way before. But I think Thor at least gets by for having a far different origin and a different secret identity dilemma than Superman did. Your point still stands, since “the only Norse God on Earth” fits the “Last Son of Krypton” idea pretty neatly. However, I believe Thor is distinctive enough from Superman in concept, even if his original execution was very close.

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Ryan Beariot said on May 22nd, 2010 at 9:18 pm

I say we start attributing bad things that happened to the Sentry being there, because why not?

The Sentry was the one who killed Amadeus Cho’s parents, the Sentry made Ultimate Blob eat Ultimate Wasp, the Sentry killed 616-Wasp and Captain America, the Sentry was the one who blew up the rocket in Planet Hulk, the Sentry told Steve Bartman to catch that ball, the Sentry crossed universes and told Dr. Light to rape Sue Dibny, the Sentry made the Simpsons less funny in the previous years, the Sentry got Sarah Palin elected to governor…

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I actually liked the first and last Sentry minis. The first was a great self-contained story about a hero who seems suspiciously like DC’s Triumph (though people call him a Superman rip-off because Supes is more recognizable). Unfortunately nearly everything (including the second Jenkins mini) they’ve done with him since was so lack-luster (or just plain bad) that it diluted the original story.

The final mini by Parker and Tobin was just great because of the goofy DC Silver-Age tone of it.

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I thought the Sentry was supposed to be an in joke for fans. The hero no one has ever heard of, not a bad joke. Treating it seriously made it funnier and killing him off was just the punch line.

As a character, his lameness was part of the gag. Sort of like bad camp is indistinguishable from bad corn, except for the tutus.

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Is Dad paying for the game or am I?

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Mary Warner said on May 23rd, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Yeah, Wikipedia says that May 24 is the Queen’s birthday. But my calendar says her birthday is June 7 in New Zealand and June 14 in Australia. It’s a bit confusing because I thought you all had the same queen.

Sorry for the interruption. Back to the Sentry discussion–

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This is totally freaking me out. I remember reading all of these stories but I don’t remember the Sentry at all. And sometimes when I read something about what he did in New Avengers it will like I sort of remember that and I think about it and I go yeah I do remember but then in a few seconds again its gone and I’m like, the Sentry? Who’s that? It’s really weird. Maybe he just is super-boring.

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Bryan, he really is that boring in the mainline Marvel books. No real character hooks beyond “wants to help, but is crazy in the most annoying, angsty way possible.”

When the angsty/crazy bit isn’t being played up, he’s just this guy, massive superpowers, dull as dishwater.

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The difference between Triumph and Sentry, is that 1) Triumph got time stuck/lost/forgotten after his first adventure, as opposed to supposedly having a ton of adventures where 2) everyone loved him….Triumph before and after was rather a jerk. He felt he should be treated as a top tier hero and no one did…while Sentry is treated is treated like we’re supposed to think he is a top tier hero.

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Christian said on May 23rd, 2010 at 8:27 pm

nobody’s mentioned Buffy’s sister? they retconned her in. worked perfectly

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I dunno about “perfectly”; I think the show started to go downhill around then. But since I don’t think it was specifically due to Dawn’s arrival, I’ll grant you that one.

And the key to Dawn’s retcon? It was presented as something inserted into the history, not something that had been there all along and everyone forgot it until now. We were not expected to have more of an emotional connection to Dawn than we did.

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@ Betty Kane

As an in-joke, Sentry’s all right. It might not be the greatest joke ever, but that’s fine. Sure, some people are going to over-react, but that’s just normal fanwanking, and should be ignored.

But Marvel isn’t using it as a joke anymore. They’re actually trying to shoe-horn Sentry into the Marvel universe, and they’ve failed, because: A. Sentry isn’t all that interesting or enjoyable, and B. Marvel’s giving all this important stuff to a boring character- like being Mr. Fantastic’s best friend or taking Rogue’s cherry.

I think if Marvel had used made-up events for Sentry’s funeral- like, say, the time Sentry raced Silver Surfer for charity, or whatever- I’d enjoy it. But Marvel used rather personal and important events to build up goddam Sentry.

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Mary Warner said on May 23rd, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Okay. So I can see how the Sentry is a copy of Marvelmiracleman, but was Marvelmiracleman inspired by Anti-Lad at all? He was in a Legion story I read when I was eight or nine, I think. The Legionaires were looking through old photos and found a picture with Anti-Lad, but nobody had any memory of him. Then the story became a flashback to the time of Anti-Lad’s induction. He was actually from the future (their future) and had travelled back in time to stop something from happening, I don’t remember what. He used advanced technology to give himself the ability to cancell out everyone else’s powers, hence the name Anti-Lad. Then after doing whatever it was he needed to do, he erased everybody’s memory and returned to the future.
I know there’s not much similarity with the Sentry (aside from the memory thing and having whatever power was convenient). But he was the earliest forgotten retcon hero I could think of, so I thought I’d mention him.
I realise I’m not adding much to the discussion since I doubt anyone else even remembers Anti-Lad, but then again, they’re not supposed to, are they?

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Legionfangirl said on May 24th, 2010 at 7:59 am

I don’t think whoever created Sentry even meant for him to be liked. The man looked like Fabio. Do you know who liked Fabio? My Great-Grandma. So unless Marvel was looking to tap the dead lady demographic, I’d say he was a dud from the very beginning.

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I think the Sentry was potentially workable, but lost much in execution. I think it could have been appealing if they’d kept Bob Reynolds and the Sentry as semi-separate characters, as the Void was separate. That way you can have the Sentry as your guiltless wish-fulfillment paragon, the Void as the required balance, and Bob Reynolds as ostensibly the reader avatar (or unreliable narrator). This is what the original fiction set up seemed to be, but the Bendis reinvention (reinvestment?) of the character reduced it to a duality, but the problem was that Bob just isn’t really a driven character.

I agree with the above about how the Sentry’s retroactive fiction should be the results of his psychic powers. Heck, it’s even somewhat done already in the fiction, as Nate Grey was characterized as being a telepath so strong that a video of his illusions would carry the psychic imprint; viewers would see that same illusion as if it were real, ergo there was no way to tell what was really there. (somewhere in the mid to late 30s of the X-Man series).

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Actually, new idea: Bob was an average Joe in the Marvel universe became an omnipotent telepath/telekinetic either through consuming that power formula and/or absorbing some ancient biblical force. The guy was just normal and couldn’t deal with the power, so he framed his powers in the way that was familiar to him: His love of comic books and the real superheros in his universe.* He became a Mary Sue because he literally was importing himself as a Mary Sue into existing continuity. The Void came from his inability to cope, plus his belief that there should be a matching supervillain, plus perhaps some pre-existing entity.

That’s all known staid stuff, although there wasn’t a lot directly touching on the difficulty of the human mind dealing with omnipotence meaning that imagination automatically becomes reality… which is a drug metaphor kids. It’s like being on acid.

Y’know what really happened, kids? Nick Fury noticed! He always does. He then Batman’d himself up a counter-plan: He got some C-list heroes that the Sentry would never waste time thinking about! He embedded the mission in their subconscious so they’d know without knowing! Then he gave them all some ground up Cosmic Cube to snort! Creating… NEXTWAVE!

NextWave went on a weird adventure, wherein they killed the Sentry. It took a while to kick in, as Bob had to rationalize it for himself. His muddled fading omnipotence caused his confusing endings in Dark Avengers and Siege. No further reference to Nextwave occurred, because Bob hated them, so their adventures were disconnected from continuity until Bob’s passing. Team Nextwave realized the crap Fury had pulled just as they started onto the inevitable bad trip and then come down that one gets after a Cosmic Cube dust high, causing the portion of the series as chronicled by Ellis. Nick Fury could handle this, as that dude’s accustomed to riding flying motorcycles while shirtless and coping with Steranko’s backgrounds.

This could all be pretty tightly scripted, especially if you just go ahead and make some Superboy Prime references during the Nextwave team’s confrontation with Bob. Oh, and make sure there’s a reference in there to Philip K Dick’s “Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said”

Bang, you’ve got the Sentry dissed on, Nextwave officially in-continuity in 616, fun drug-use, and nods to all sorts of different fiction. Where’s my check? (or at least a sandwich!)

* There have been recurring hints that Marvel characters have read DC comics. This adds a layer to this characterization.

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The problem with the Sentry is he’s Jonathan in that one BtvS episode except the episode NEVER ENDS.

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Only 57 comments late on that one!

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Jason Barnett said on May 24th, 2010 at 11:25 pm

you know I did just think of something.

In the original mini Sentry and Void seemed to have some sort of temporal abilities. Maybe the Void wasn’t an ancient biblical thing, but a modern thing that reached back to ancienct biblical times.

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I’d say a final nail in the Big Gold S’s extremely dimwitted coffin is that he saw use mainly in the post-Civil War days, working with Norman Osborn or Der Eisenfuher to pacify other heroes or beat up more sympathetic guys like Hulk or Doom. As a result, instead of coming off as a great man who fell from grace, he comes off as a neurotic, overpowered stooge, because, again, he doesn’t do anything good – basically his sole positive achievement was killing Carnage, and that was so early in his career that nobody even mentions it anymore.

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