Or – “Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About The Sentry…”

DA1.jpg

…but were too afraid he’d throw you into the sun to ask.

Dark Avengers #13

DA2.jpgCOVER BY: Mike Deodato
WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
PENCILS: Mike Deodato

Previously, on Dark Avengers: Robert Reynolds.  A study in contrasts.  Sometimes a heroic, perfectly lucid figure, other times a gibbering nutbar, coweirng in fear of his own dark side.  His entire history was wiped from the timeline due to a bizarre series of events, and even his return was strangely handled. In short, everything about the man is an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, dipped in tempura and fried up with a side of bacon. He’s as crazy as a soup sandwich, and he has the power of one million exploding suns. The events of the last couple of issues of Dark Avengers have led Bob Reynolds to realize that his true power is greater than even HE realized, as he took down the man who took down the Beyonder in moments, and has apparently instinctively resurrected himself no fewer than three times in memory. How can you deal with a situation that’s millions of times worse than you thought it was when your initial thought was that it was a catastrophe?

We open with a flashback to a time identified as “1600 BCE” as a bearded prophet explains the word of the Lord, and that God has told him to mark the doors with the blood of the lamb. I suddenly recognize the words of Exodus, and I am officially uncomfortable with this story as of page one. As the prophet explains that the firstborn sons of the Egyptians will all die, the familiar power signature of The Void appears over the city. Are… are they actually doing this? Cut to several months ago, moments after Norman Osborn calls out for cheeseburgers, having convinced the Sentry that they’re just a couple of guys. What we DIDN’T see was Norman handing over an ampule of the serum that created his Sentry powers in the first place. Sentry greedily drinks the potion, and suddenly is filled to the bursting with power. “Mister Osborn,” he says in the familiar white on black word balloons of The Void, “I owe you one.” Norman responds happily, “That makes you my secret weapon.” Well, that question is answered, at least. Cut forward to moments after Lindy blew The Sentry’s face off several months ago, as she looks at the shattered skull of her very-clearly-dead husband, and explains to CLOC (Sentry’s robotic sidekick) the truth of The Sentry’s origins…

Robert Reynolds was not a clean-cut youth working for a professor, as the official story goes. He was a drug addict searching for a fix, and the fix he found was super-powers. Lindy tells CLOC the story about how her husband tried desperately to pretend to be a hero, to pretend that he was Captain America, but deep down, he was nothing but an addict chasing the dragon the whole time. As she wishes she’d killed him years ago, Sentry once again rises, and the voice of the Void tells her, “[That] makes me feel like I’ve put more into this marriage than you were ever going to.” He prepares to kill her, but Bob reasserts himself and the two personalities fight for control of the body of the most powerful creature alive. In a moment that I find screamingly funny for those who believe that the Sentry’s only trick is throwing things into the sun, he flees Earth, and tries to save the world from his own evil side… by THROWING HIMSELF INTO THE SUN. The Void explains that the Sentry is more than just a superhero. With three little words, The Void makes the subtextual textual, and makes me very unhappy in so do. “You are God.” The Sentry returns to Earth, and New York is shadowed (as in the prologue) by the power signature of the Void…

Okay, I have to say this: I can’t happily process the revelation that The Sentry is literally in possession of the power of the actual capital-gee-oh-dee. I wouldn’t categorize myself as highly religious, and I love comics with far stupider revelations in them, but for some reason this sticks in my craw hard. Someone once said that there’s a fine line between high concept and dumb joke, and this issue really makes me think about the truth of that statement as regards this issue’s (you should excuse the expression) revelations. There have been a lot of layered meta-textual bits in the Sentry’s history (after all, the character made his debut as an in-joke to sell a miniseries of Stan Lee’s “lost” character from early Marvel) and given that his power levels have been officially turned to eleven, I suppose it could be considered high concept that Bob is empowered by the almighty… And then that little voice in my head asks about being struck by lightning. There’s some nice art this issue, and a lot of revelatory material that helps to fill in some annoying gaps in recent issues of this book, which should be a great relief and IS kind of a nice read… And then we have ACTUAL BIBLICAL VERSE being transcribed into an issue of the frickin’ Avengers. A couple of decades ago, there was a minor controversy about the character of Sise-Neg, a sorcerer from the future who fought Doctor Strange, went back in time and became all-powerful, triggered the Big Bang, and essentially became God. As weird as that story is, at least Sise-Neg wasn’t a tight-wearing caped lunatic. Usually, when I do a review, I weigh the pros and cons of an issue, and give it a star rating that assesses my overall enjoyment of the comic book in question. I can’t do that this time. I don’t know if I’m being hypocritical, I don’t know if I’m being overly politically correct, I don’t know if I’m being rational or not. I liked portions of this book, and the art was some of the nicest that Deodato has done on this title. Norman Osborn’s character is at it’s creepy best here, and The Sentry mystery is finally starting to lurch towards a conclusion, but I can’t make any sort of objective assessment about Dark Avengers #13. I guess it’s a moment where, as Rod Serling would put it, I’m just submitting for your approval: Is it acceptable for a superhero (especially a superhero who is a drug addict, who suffers from mental illness, whose own alternate personality attempted to murder his own spouse) to be overtly powered by the Judeo-Christian God?

And moreover, why do I feel bad about being bothered by it?

[rating]

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

Previous post

Image Comics for April 2010

Next post

Review: Power Girl #8

46 Comments

  1. Alan
    January 22, 2010 at 12:56 am — Reply

    Why would God need a spaceship? Or, for that matter, a cape?

  2. turks
    January 22, 2010 at 3:07 am — Reply

    didnt he say he was galatus? when bob asked the void who he was and he considers himself god. but none the less this was a very dark issue which was a little weird at times with the biblical stuff

  3. January 22, 2010 at 3:40 am — Reply

    are they really REALLY saying that he’s God or are they saying that he THINKS he’s God??? I don’t know how much stock we can put in that idea considering he’s fighting Asgardians alongside the Greek god of war….or maybe that’s more proof to the contrary…? if he’s God, he’s not very good at it.

  4. Baron of chaos
    January 22, 2010 at 5:48 am — Reply

    This is…confusing even more. Also Sentry won’t be the first to compare himself the big G. Thanos with gauntlet of infinite did the same. And so the Beyonder. What worry me is tha tthis is the begin of the last chapter of Sentry’s as comic book character.

    • Brother129
      January 22, 2010 at 4:02 pm — Reply

      I also remember Bendis screwing up the origin of The Beyonder in the Illuminati mini series…

    • January 23, 2010 at 6:20 pm — Reply

      What worry me is tha tthis is the begin of the last chapter of Sentry’s as comic book character.

      Maybe not as a character, but certainly it feels like the end of the Sentry as a HERO.

  5. James
    January 22, 2010 at 6:00 am — Reply

    I guess a question would be if you consider other appearances of “god” characters bothersome. You have the Spectre, Eclipso, Zauriel and the other angels in JLA, also one of the most troublesome images in comics. (In my opinion.) God from the Preacher series by Garth Ennis. Here is God depicted as an ego driven cowardly heel, who tries to stop a man from having him own up to the mess he made of creation. I know the reference is more obvious here, but try to keep the suspension of disbelief going. I feel that I’m a pretty solid faith Christian, and I love the Preacher series. It gave me points to think about, and helped form my faith more in the process. I think if kept in the context of Marvel creating a obscenely overpowered character, and trying to clean up after him, it sounds like a good (If mildly disquieting.) read.

    • January 23, 2010 at 6:24 pm — Reply

      I guess a question would be if you consider other appearances of “god” characters bothersome. You have the Spectre, Eclipso, Zauriel and the other angels in JLA, also one of the most troublesome images in comics. (In my opinion.) God from the Preacher series by Garth Ennis. Here is God depicted as an ego driven cowardly heel, who tries to stop a man from having him own up to the mess he made of creation. I know the reference is more obvious here, but try to keep the suspension of disbelief going. I feel that I’m a pretty solid faith Christian, and I love the Preacher series. It gave me points to think about, and helped form my faith more in the process. I think if kept in the context of Marvel creating a obscenely overpowered character, and trying to clean up after him, it sounds like a good (If mildly disquieting.) read.

      Hmm… I hadn’t really thought about the Spectre et al, but none of them are generally defined AS God. Powered by God, empowered by God, driven by God, commanded by God, but not ACTUALLY THEMSELVES God. . Preacher’s “God” is flat out a shot at Christianity and Christian thinking, and as such has to be treated as an inherent biased portrayal, sort of like Bugs Bunny’s cartoons that explicitly reference World War II.

  6. astrodinosaurus
    January 22, 2010 at 7:51 am — Reply

    Didn’t Bobs wife suggest IT and then have -The Void- laugh at her. I just think they are suggesting that the void is an ancient evil..Ya know trying to make his power seem more convincing and creepy…and less Supermanhihihuha. And yeah what was that with the Galactus bit? Anyway I like the idea of -The Void- being a Demon, Angel and/or an Eldritch…Making him the Abrahamian God?…well only if they pull it of with some good writing. If Morrison was writing this I would be all “squeee”. But as of now ..we will see.

  7. Carl
    January 22, 2010 at 8:22 am — Reply

    Other than it being Marvel, how is this all that different from the revelations that came about the Spectre in the 80’s and 90’s. Originally, the character was just Jim Corrigan’s ghost. Then, after straying from the initial concept, including periods where they are separate entities, they came up with the whole Wrath of God. In fact, didn’t they even use the Exodus story for the Spectre (or was that Eclipso), as well?

    Admittedly, such things seem to fit DC better than Marvel.

  8. FJ
    January 22, 2010 at 9:28 am — Reply

    The Galactus line was probably a rif on

    “…now I am become Death [Shiva], the destroyer of worlds…”,
    a quote taken from physicist Robert Oppenheimer on the first atomic bomb test.

    “Galactus” seems to work better as a reference than “Death” in the Marvel Universe.

  9. January 22, 2010 at 9:31 am — Reply

    Wow, my Theology degree and my comics hobby collide! Here’s a take I haven’t seen yet: If monotheistic (one God) Christians or Jews are offended by god portrayals in comics, one major issue we would have might not only be the Sentry as God, but the existence of all the other gods in the Marvel Universe! One of monotheism’s big issues would be that Thor, Odin, and Ares are all “real” characters, fighting alongside (possibly) the Judeo-Christian God. Personally, I’ve enjoyed the characters of Ares and Thor, but I don’t put them anywhere near the same level as the Judeo-Christian God. One I believe really exists, the others I believe only existed in the ancient versions of comic books.

    I think Bendis is drumming up hype for where the Sentry may be going, and what better way to start some controversy than religion? And I think this is his way of putting another diety on Osborne’s team, since this is a war against gods. I’ve been a fan of the Sentry since he came along, but I’m pretty tired of him and the origin reinvents. The constant retelling reminds me of the convoluted backstories of the Sentry’s DC counterpart – ol’ Supes himself. There better be a good payoff when this is all said and done. I really wonder if the Sentry is being set up as the new cosmic, powerful Marvel villain. We’ll see. Oh, and I LOVED the artwork!

  10. Brother129
    January 22, 2010 at 9:35 am — Reply

    You’re not alone in being bothered. First, let’s consider the actual plot and pacing of this overall Sentry storyline. For those of who have been following (hell, I even bought the Sentry limited series) it’s no revelation that 1) Robert Reynolds is batshit crazy, 2) has an “other” called the Void and 3) and that he got his powers because he was looking for drugs. So a lot of this issue felt like a re-hash for me. Actually, revealing the Sentry as having the power of God, whatever the hell that means (pun intended) undermines what we already learned about the Sentry.

    How does a serum give someone the power of exploding suns and/or the powers of God? Even with comic-book science, his origin STILL hasn’t been defined nor his actual power set. It not only makes me uncomfortable but comes off as lazy writing that this guy can do WHATEVER he wants. I’m supposed to believe this whack job is more powerful than Superman, or Thor, or Hulk with no frame of reference and an origin that is getting further

    Finally, going the whole biblical route is a slippery slope. I think it’s the job of the writer to make it seem plausible and believable. Making the audience feel discomfort is fine so long as it’s a GOOD story. I’m afraid we don’t have that here. And it makes me really look forward to the day when they hurl this CHARACTER into the sun and be done with it. Am I crazy? Last I checked, I don’t even think there are people who are clamoring for more Sentry. Dr. Druid has probably gotten more support…

    • Armaan
      January 22, 2010 at 11:16 pm — Reply

      I think one of the cool things about the Sentry that Marvel is keeping him for is that he disturbs people. He’s scary. His power is something you’d rather not think about(and his serum is an exponential version of Captain America’s… um, so a million exploding suns, what if that was given sentience? Just imagining that kinda power is… I mean, not very possible. I mean, Superman gets all his power from ONE, SINGLE, UNEXPLODING sun. The hulk, one gamma bomb powers him for pretty much the rest of his life all the way to Future Imperfect?
      Marvel U’s ideas of energy… there is certainly never going to be an energy crisis in THAT universe. Anyway, great power with sentience. It makes sense he pretty much has no limits).
      Just reading the spoiler of this issue has created a lot of discomfort. The Sentry to me is now officially the darkest character in the Marvel U, simply because his immense power is so unstable.

      Say what you want. If you can make your readers uncomfortable, that is good writing. Sometimes following the story is more important than following the money. They created the Sentry, million exploding suns dude. They could either retcon him, or write his story out, see where it goes. And it’s gone here.
      Um.
      Do I ramble too much for a guy who’s not even SEEN a dark avenger comic book?

      • January 23, 2010 at 6:32 pm — Reply

        If you can make your readers uncomfortable, that is good writing.

        That’s not a bad point at all, here… Does my level of discomfort indicate that this is MORE successful as a story than other books that just roll off the end of the pier?

        • Armaan
          January 23, 2010 at 8:45 pm — Reply

          Um, I think so. Especially for the purposes of Dark Reign, and the ending of. The villains in charge of a world of superheroes. No matter how cool you can make it our to be, out of respect for heroism, there HAS to be something wrong with that. The Sentry joined the dark avengers. Nobody’s out to help him, just use him. If the sentry was written years ago and was part of the classic Avengers, I figure the entire team would pull through to help him out. But as a Dark Avenger, a crazy man, completely manipulatible(um) can only go down a road that’s dark. Uncomfortable. Just plain wrong.

          I really don’t like to think of this as bad writing. There’s no way to enjoy a story if you think that you can blame the writers. There’s no belief.

      • January 25, 2010 at 8:06 am — Reply

        I have read Dark Avengers 13, but I didn’t get it until I read your comment. Your keywords – sun and unstable. Now I realize what the Sentry really is: he’s an allegorical character who parallels the global warming issues of our universe. Think about it, here’s the power (potential) of a million exploding suns, but he’s unstable due to the machinations of man (Osborn and drugs = trash and waste). Now he’s going dark and will soon burn out, leaving the Marvel U. Earth as a lifeless, frozen rock. I don’t know if this is the message Jenkins originally planned for his character, but it seems like this could be the direction Bendis is going. Excuse me while I go recycle my water bottles!

        • Armaan
          January 27, 2010 at 3:41 am — Reply

          Um. I don’t – I can’t really see something like the Sentry as representing global warming. I mean no offence, but that idea just seems really far fetched. If there is a message about global warming, it’s that the human race is a selfish species without much foresight. If there is a message to be learnt from the sentry, it’s that you can’t just use incredible power like it’s a toy, especially if you hardly understand it, or it’ll blow up in your face. If it IS symbolic of anything(which I highly doubt) it would be a warning for nuclear energy research of something else that’s scientific and explosive.

  11. Aubreii
    January 22, 2010 at 10:49 am — Reply

    I think that it’s important to realise that it’s still just a story (much like the bible, did I go there yes I did). I think important to note that this hasn’t set a precedent. There are lots of characters with divine origins, it seems we only get arsey about it when its the Judea-christo god.

    • January 23, 2010 at 6:26 pm — Reply

      I think that it’s important to realise that it’s still just a story

      That doesn’t cut any ice with me. Stories are as important as experiences for processing reality, and understanding how a story makes me feel helps me to understand the world around me, metaphysically speaking.

  12. MaximusRift
    January 22, 2010 at 11:26 am — Reply

    We like to think ourselves as intellectuals, but we still tend to believe what we can’t prove.

    Why does it bother you? Because the part of you that was raised Cristian (I’m assuming) is at odds with the part of of you that argues logic and liberty of expression. One side of you is angry that they associate the center of your faith with a junkie and the other side argues that it’s a piece of fiction and that your religion doesn’t deserve any special treatment. Not to mention the zealots that pop out any time you even mention a fraction of what they believe in an unfavorable light.

    • astrodinosaurus
      January 22, 2010 at 5:33 pm — Reply

      I have to disagree with that being a Muslim…Not the double-think logical/religious thing, any “sensible” mind does that. The real problem with having Yahve/Allah/God in a comicbook is that it is overpowered..Odin, Zeus etc etc are not creator gods..they are not ultimate deities in their mythologies. The monotheistic one is though. So bringing it into the mix will not work in comicbooks…It is to big a cop-out enabler and will surely lead to ret-con after ret-con and even just existing suddenly creates a bunch of plot-holes. If they introduced any other CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE figures I would be annoyed to.

    • January 23, 2010 at 6:28 pm — Reply

      Why does it bother you? Because the part of you that was raised Cristian (I’m assuming) is at odds with the part of of you that argues logic and liberty of expression. One side of you is angry that they associate the center of your faith with a junkie and the other side argues that it’s a piece of fiction and that your religion doesn’t deserve any special treatment. Not to mention the zealots that pop out any time you even mention a fraction of what they believe in an unfavorable light.

      Not precisely. I don’t generally go in depth into my own religious leanings, but I’ll tell you this: Barring funerals and weddings, I have spent maybe 2 dozen days in churches/synogogues in my entire life. But there’s a grain of truth to what you’re saying: I don’t have a problem with Thor in a comic book, because there isn’t a worldwide movement devoted to the worship of Thor.

  13. davek
    January 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm — Reply

    On an unrelated note, bravo for the phrase “Crazy as a soup sandwich with the power of a million exploding suns.”

    • January 23, 2010 at 6:29 pm — Reply

      On an unrelated note, bravo for the phrase “Crazy as a soup sandwich with the power of a million exploding suns.”

      I can’t take credit for that one… It is a bastardization of a Harlan Ellison short story title… (In the interests of complete disclosure.)

  14. Eddie Sheridan
    January 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm — Reply

    “How does a serum give someone the power of exploding suns and/or the powers of God?”

    I was wondering this myself. In fact, I wouldn’t be totally surprised to find that Norman’s “serum” is a placebo and that the Sentry is powered by something else entirely. There’s obviously something attached to him that’s beyond just a biological change.

    And, to continue the Christianity debate here, I think part of what makes this so uncomfortable to people of the Christian faith is that the Void (up to this point, at least) has been represented as being entirely evil. Now, the God of Christianity is the ultimate representation of good, even in stories like the one referenced here in Exodus, so to equate the villainous Void with an “all-good” God is understandably (to me, anyway) difficult for anyone with a shred of belief in Christianity at all. Plus, Bendis is either telling you God and the Void are related or (even worse) that God didn’t actually cause the deaths of those children in Exodus. It just seems, in my opinion, to be a needless avenue for Bendis to go down.

  15. January 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm — Reply

    Could the Sentry STILL be an inside joke? Remembering his real-world origins as a Stan Lee-assisted spoof, is it possible that the Sentry is a poke at the all-powerful heroes of comics? Maybe he’s every writer’s Secret Weapon! Got your characters in a suspense-building situation, with no possible way out? Just give the Sentry a new power. Explain its origin in the next issue. Maybe the Sentry was never meant to be in continuity. Wasn’t one of his first powers the ability to keep his molecules one step ahead of the current time stream? That sounds like a pseudo-scientific way of using him as a future out for whatever fix you’re in. He’s always a step ahead. And really, his schizophrenia would explain everything in this issue from the delusions of grandeur to the statements of equality with the Big G of Marvel and the Big G of Judeo-Christian faith! There it is – the Sentry explained and cleared up…until next issue!

  16. January 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm — Reply

    Could go one way or the other. Could be a Spectre story (which I never was particularly interested in getting into…because of this issue), or it could be, if you’ll forgive the pun, a deus ex machina.

    I think the problem with bringing God into ANY story is that there is a huge danger of that. He’s a very easy escape hatch because you can say, “Well, it’s God,” and it explains it away.

    I also think (and I could be very wrong) that one of the reasons this bugs you is because, as comic book fans, we are VERY careful of this kind of thing. After all, you can substitute the concept of “God” for “magical hammer” or “power of Zeus/Ares/Odin/Loki/Satan/Krishna/etc.” or “[brand new color] kryptonite reaction” or “vibrating molecules” or “insert any other comic book cliche here”. One of the things that we demand, as more discerning adults with experience in story and plot structure, is that our comic books not rely on these easy outs that take us out of the story.

    • January 22, 2010 at 2:55 pm — Reply

      Yes, one of my biggest problems with this issue, and the Sentry entirely (lately), has been his usage as an easy out at the hands of Bendis. It seems like it’s a way to create new situations that the reader knows (thinks) no one can get out of,only to reveal “but wait…there’s more! – the Sentry can get out of this, too, we just didn’t tell you before.” Makes me wish we had the old Marvel trading cards so we could reference power sets and limitations as we read these stories :)

      • February 8, 2010 at 9:53 pm — Reply

        Yeah, but even those didn’t help much. A friend of mine used to say that Thor’s primary power was to spin his hammer and advance the plot.

        Course, you could say the same thing about Dr. Strange, Batman, Superman, the Flash, Magneto, Captain America, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, Silver Surfer, The Spectre, Aunt May…

  17. CedricP
    January 22, 2010 at 2:41 pm — Reply

    I don’t mind the bible references they don’t unsettle me, but this is just lame story development. The revelation is not exciting or entertaining. This is just boring. Reed Richard theory that the sentry was the Void thinking he was the Sentry fighting off the Void was more interesting. It was interesting to think that maybe the Void after tasting being the good guy kind of wanted to keep being it. Like evil taste good and like taste but just don’t really know how to be good guy.

    The junkie drinking a non identified test tube is just lazy writhing. Ok I don’t mind that he was a junkie and that the serum is a drug metaphor/equivalent. But come on, write something better than just breaking into a lab and drinking the first non identified vial you find like if it was some glass of milk.

    But at least, yeah it covered some story gasp of the serie.

  18. Brent
    January 22, 2010 at 3:30 pm — Reply

    When they introduced the Sentry/Void, it reminded me of a 80’s Avengers or West Coast Avengers story when Mephisto revealed to his son, Daimon Hellstrom/Son of Satan that he (Mephisto) was more than the “Evil” of the MU; he also was an opposite side that showed Daimon mercy and spared his life. The artwork inferred that Mephisto and the Judaeo-Christian diety were two sides of the same being.

    Of course since that time Mephisto has been rewritten to be a lesser being and not the ultimate personification of Evil in the Marvel U. I need to dig through my crates and re-read that issue. Like the discussion here, that cheesy 80’s comic prompted a healthy examination of my own beliefs and of the unquestioned traditions around me. And like many of you, I actually gained a greater appreciation for some aspects of my religion because I was moved to think and to challenge presumptions.

    Not a bad experience for a teenager. That’s the very definition of “good writing”.

  19. January 22, 2010 at 8:27 pm — Reply

    I don’t think they are saying he is God. He said he was Galactus too. I think he’s just nuts. To me, the much more likely scenario is that the Void is an ancient evil. The problem for me with this issue is that they just rewrote the Sentry’s entire character, origin and all, in 22 pages.

  20. Armaan
    January 22, 2010 at 10:59 pm — Reply

    We have to remember that this is the Void talking here… Also, since I don’t get comics in india and rely on ALL my comic storylines from wikipedia, majotspoilers and the freebies at marvel digital, the sentry starting out as a drug addict has actually been out open knowledge for a long long time. Before secret invasion, even, i think. Anywho.
    There was ridiculous amounts of power in the Ultimate universe. The ultimate nulifier, the Power Gauntlet, that Starheart thing, the various cosmic cubes, Wanda Maximoff, heck, Wanda Maximoff on Kick, the Beyonder, the Pheonix, the list just goes on and on. It has(ooh, and Molecule Man) got to be near impossible to establish that “Ohh, hey, this guy here is REALLY powerful. Like, more than all the other guys. We really mean it this time.”
    And, of course, this being the Marvel U, with great power comes great darkness(which reminds me, spidey was Captain Universe too, right?). The Sentry has ALWYAS been holding back. I mean, the power of a million exploding suns? They just throw that expression in there, when ONE exploding sun could pretty much wipe out earth and everything on it. A million?
    I don’t think Marvel expects us to believe that the Sentry is God, at least I hope not(hey, has anyone read that comic where the fantastic four went up to heaven to save Ben Grimm?), I think it’s just the Void telling a very uncertain and mentally unstable Robert that he should unleash his powers. Because that’s what bad guys do, unleash their powers.
    In fact, considering that Bob is pretty much a mental mess and has ALWAYS seemed that way to me – the power of a million exploding suns. Who can handle that? Nothing human, so the Void handles it.
    Now, since it’s the Marvel U, the Void could actually be another evil identity hovering throughout the universe that attached itself to THE POWER OF A MILLION EXPLODING SUNS, or Bob created his own split persona. Either way, it seems that the Void is carrying the weight of Bob’s powers, but has no control as long as Bob is holding back.
    I’m thinking the more Bob unleashes his powers, the more the Void gets control. So it’s a good strategy. “Bob? You’re god, so you don’t have to feel guilty about unleashing your powers, it’s what you’re meant to do.. there you go, yes, who needs THAT planet, oh, here comes Galactus, oh, there goes Galactus, BWAHAHAHAHAHA! I’M IN CHARGE NOW!!!”

    Hm.
    You know. With his limitless powers, the Sentry should be either killed or made to serve as Galactus’ eternal buddy so that the Sentry can feed the big planet muncher until Bob’s batteries run out.

    Oh, hey. Remember that teaser? With a DaVinci Galactus and a few Infinity gems scattered?
    What if the Sentry is a part of that?

    • January 25, 2010 at 8:13 am — Reply

      At this point, I really like the idea of feeding the Sentry/Void to Galactus!

  21. Brother129
    January 23, 2010 at 6:22 am — Reply

    This is why I love this site! What an awesome theological discussion. Obviously, there has been a lot of literature that suggests our superheroes are modern day versions of gods and other deities that people have given worship to over time. So it obviously interesting to reconcile our own individual religious beliefs with a portrayal of what God is or what God-like means in the comic-book medium. I know we all don’t agree with one another but it makes for a very interesting debate.

    But I have to say that the real issue in this particular comic is lazy/convoluted writing. I’ve read all of the comments on this post, and several of you do a better job of convincing me of the plausibility of this story than the actual writer did himself. I don’t mind making connections on my own, but the evidence has to be there…

    I just saw the Book of Eli. This film is a great example of a story with religious theme that doesn’t give us all of the answers but gives us enough PLOT and substance for us to reasonably draw our own conclusions and reflections.

    (And I will scream if someone tells me that faith is the belief in things unseen…LOL)

  22. Steven R. Stahl
    January 23, 2010 at 12:38 pm — Reply

    The religious references in DARK AVENGERS #13 might have been intended to offend people. The Void’s reference to Galactus was intended to be humorous and to confuse people who interpret dialogue too literally. Overall, the religious material is meant, I think, to impress readers as to the extent of the Sentry’s power.

    Structurally, as Brother129 pointed out, it’s “lazy/convoluted writing.” Jenkins’s Sentry was a schizophrenic who happened to take a drug that gave him tremendous power. The schizophrenia resulted in a God-Satan analogue, the Sentry vs. the Void, who could be written to completion, with one side eventually winning. The concept can be used for genre stories, such as a schizophrenic billionaire torn between using his money for good or evil purposes.

    Bendis is apparently trying to change the schizophrenia-based God-Satan concept into a Jekyll and Hyde concept by retconning the Sentry’s history, particularly by claiming that additional doses of the serum would affect Reynolds, and that he was the only one who could use it. That material wasn’t in Jenkins’s original stories.

    Structurally, that cannot work. A writer takes a concept, uses it as the basis for a story, and that’s it. He doesn’t change the concept partway through. If a story starts out as a disaster thriller, it doesn’t become a romantic comedy at the halfway point.

    The other big problem is the Sentry’s power, which is practically a copy of his Scarlet Witch’s. Why give two crazy characters the same power, unless the only idea he has is to have them do, or threaten to do, crazy things with the power? He’s not writing characters, he’s writing the power.

    SRS

    • ~wyntermute~
      January 23, 2010 at 4:33 pm — Reply

      For accuracy’s sake, I felt it necessary to point out that we’ve been told on-panel that Bob mimics The Molecule Man (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molecule_Man
      ), not Witchy Wanda. It’s a small difference, but one that also has the effect (unintentional, perhaps?) in aligning Bob with the “dark side”, since that’s who he’s being compared to.

      • Steven R. Stahl
        January 24, 2010 at 8:43 am — Reply

        FWIW, Bendis had the Molecule Man do what Wanda did in “Avengers Disassembled.” He was talking to constructs, who talked back; he was also altering reality, by doing things to people (turning one into water, for example) that had nothing to do with manipulating molecules. A=B=C. Historically, I think, at least in AVENGERS, the Man could manipulate molecules, but crudely. He could take things apart, but have trouble putting things back together again. See Shooter’s AVENGERS #216. Years later, in FANTASTIC FOUR, Englehart did a story that said the Man and the Beyonder were both parts of a Cosmic Cube (reality alteration), but that obviously didn’t stick.

        Perhaps I’m the only one who gives a damn about structure, in the literary sense — blame my degree in English — but this issue is a perfect example of how a retcon can change a concept, and cause a disconnection between the concept and the older stories based on it. After all, commercial fiction is often touted by the writer, and marketed by the publisher, as “high concept” fiction. If someone wants to do a haunted house story in which the house is haunted by ALIEN-type beasts which kill ghost hunters, then that concept is the basis for the story.

        Whatever one might think of the Sentry being written as a Jekyll and Hyde character, that’s a damaging change. The only reason I can see for it is that Bendis wanted Osborn to be able to manipulate the Sentry by offering him more doses of the serum. As originally written, that wouldn’t have worked. All he could do was play mind games.

        I can hardly think of a single major hero that Bendis has written in his AVENGERS titles in a way consistent with his past. He retconned the members of the Illuminati, Wanda, the Sentry, and Hawkeye; he mischaracterized Dr. Strange; he altered Cage’s power (the “unbreakable” skin); he wasted a couple of years and entire issues writing about someone impersonating Spider-Woman. Perhaps he’s written Spider-Man and Wolverine in character, but they don’t do anything meaningful in stories. They just look nice and crack jokes. He even retconned the Hood.

        If one were to think of Bendis’s AVENGERS work as a multi-lane highway, the highway would have wrecked and disabled cars blocking traffic.

        SRS

        • ~wyntermute~
          January 24, 2010 at 5:23 pm — Reply

          I’m sorry, but I didn’t read everything you wrote. I got to the part where you said “Bendis had the Molecule Man…” and then realized your issues may be with the writer, not the writ. If that’s not the case, I apologize for TL;DR-ing your post, but… Well, it sure sounded like you got up onna soapbox and started pointing a finger. I do the same with G-mo, so I understand what it’s like.

    • January 23, 2010 at 6:33 pm — Reply

      The other big problem is the Sentry’s power, which is practically a copy of his Scarlet Witch’s. Why give two crazy characters the same power, unless the only idea he has is to have them do, or threaten to do, crazy things with the power? He’s not writing characters, he’s writing the power.

      And you know what’s interesting? Neither Wanda NOR The Sentry’s powers were described this way until they were in the hands of Brian Bendis. What if The Sentry is the straw that will bring classic Scarlet Witch back into the heroic fold once and for all?

    • January 25, 2010 at 8:22 am — Reply

      It makes me wonder if Bendis plans to Assemble the next Avengers in the same way he Disassembled the old ones: Scarlet Witch/Sentry reality-altering, etc. etc. Could Bendis’s big reveal be that Bob Reynolds is another of Wanda’s contructs, or maybe Wanda herself? Are we about to go through a year of House of S?

  23. adriana
    January 23, 2010 at 9:22 pm — Reply

    wait wait, false alarm, this is DARK Avengers. Therefore everything gets a “dark” in front of it. ERGO, if he’s “God” he’s actually “Dark God” ™, the new, dark, gritty, cool character from Marvel! he’s like God! but dark! it’s easy to see how you’d get confused.

  24. Alvarlux
    January 23, 2010 at 11:38 pm — Reply

    I just read the issue and was at first annoyed. It felt like they told half the story on purpose to have the cliffhanger ending.

    After reading all of these comments and thinking about it more I think it gave me more info then I thought at first.

    1) Osborn’s serum I believe has nothing to do with giving Sentry powers. From my perspective it seems to put Reynolds at ease (falling back into his old drug habit he can let go) and The Void gets control. That’s where the “secret weapon” aspect comes into play. Reynolds trusts osborn to help him keep the Void in check and Void knows Osborn will let him out to play.

    2) I believe Sentry is immensely more powerful then he has been able to show. He’s just forced to restrain himself since as he’s said previously, using too much of his power brings out the Void. I always thought this was a great idea, create a Superman who can never be all powerful so you don’t get the ridiculous escalation in enemies for him to fight

    3) I don’t think the “You are God.” line was ever meant to reference Sentry being “God” but rather a reference to how Sentry is cosmic+ in power.

    4) I don’t think the Void is something Reynolds created. If you saw the recent X-men arc where Emma Frost and Cyclops have to fight a piece of the Void in their minds, i think this storyline is heading towards the revelation that Void is something that has stuck with Reynolds because it likes the power not because they are the same person. The steps taken to destroy Void have always failed because Void exists exterior to Sentry.

    5) This storyline seems to be like the Avengers comics during Secret Invasion. Bendis explains things in the side stories so you know whats going on in the Main Event (ie The Siege). So we have to ask ourselves? Does this turn lead to Sentry defeating Void, seperating from him, or something else?

    • Brother129
      January 24, 2010 at 4:10 pm — Reply

      As I previously stated, all of the explanations and conjecture you and the other posters are offering make perfect sense and could easily plausible. All I’ve been ranting about is that the writer simply hasn’t provided enough material to justify any of those excellent potential storylines you and others keep bringing up.

  25. Steve
    January 24, 2010 at 4:13 pm — Reply

    I didn’t come away from the story thinking Sentry was literally Yahweh. I came away thinking he was the plagues that befell Egypt…

You know you have something to say, say it in the comment section