Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Mike Deodato
Now comes the beginning of the end for Norman Osborn’s merrily band of sociopaths the world calls Avengers, with Dark Avengers wrapping up at the end of Marvel’s Siege event. Where better to start than with the most powerful and most unstable of the bunch – the Sentry?
It’s finally happened. The cracks are coming apart in Sentry’s fractured psyche as the inner/outer struggle between himself and the Void comes to a head. At first thought, I want to say “It’s about time,” but then I realize this is probably the perfect time (and probably planned that way).
Bendis has toyed around with this Marvel-ized Superman ever since New Avengers #1, but the cosmic-power-level being never quite meshed well with the more grounded stories of Bendis’ Avengers teams. Why would he? He’s been portrayed less as a character and more as an unstoppable fix-it-all force of nature set upon anything after simply a few panels of therapeutic pep talking.
Now though, (conjecture and hope on my part) his story may be ending. Having been a mainstay of the post-Disassembled Avengers, giving the Sentry this set up for a possible conclusion to his tale would be a fitting step in setting the Marvel Universe right as Siege has set out to do. At the very least though, it’s a good start to breaking apart Osborn’s Avengers, which is actually happening.
The back and forth bickering between Sentry and the Void really highlights Sentry’s dullness in light of the Void. Sentry tries his hardest to stay the Boy Scout. Void though has fun. He’s ready to unleash all that power of a thousand suns upon the world, while being snarky about it. I’m glad he had the majority of the dialog from the two in this issue. He’s more entertaining to read, and I look forward to seeing much more of the Void than the Sentry in the next issue.
Also very impressive is the use of Sentry’s wife Lindy. For a long time now, Lindy has been nothing more than a terrified, catatonic piece of furniture to decorate scenes within Sentry’s home. No more of that. You get the feeling Bendis did that on purpose for the shock of reaching that breaking point and having a nice cathartic moment of truth, and it works.
Lindy and her beliefs about Sentry help tie in a two-page biblical flashback to Moses at the beginning of the book, which is later alluded to on the final page. It seems out of nowhere at first, but it makes sense as the book goes on. It has an interesting impact, but I’m not sure yet if it adds or distracts from the story. Ultimately, it will depend on if this line of thought is continued in the next issue or if it stops here and goes nowhere.
Deodato does a good job in this book. For one, there are the well-done visual cues in showing who is in control of the body – Sentry or Void (the black dialog bubbles help too). Void with harder, glowing eyes and heavy black shadowing. Sentry showing his baby blues with a worried, even scared expression. The Sentry probably looks best though when he’s shown with heavy damage (which could just be me liking to see Sentry get hurt).
Everyone else in the book looks pretty good too. Well detailed from creases and wrinkles to making our facial hair. Even that always creepy and slimy gaze of Norman Osborn comes out in full force.
The flashbacks are told in black and white and a good amount of grays. This provides a great contrast to the one panel shot of the “fictional” account of Sentry’s origin done in Golden-Age style with a dot printing look. Aside from that, the lack of color in the true story highlights just how un-heroic Sentry really is. Super hero comics, especially Golden Age ones like he’s supposed to be, are typically in bright, vivid colors and are much cleaner. But here his true hero status is called into question. All that color is gone to show the black and white truth. The less defined, clean and complete lining shows that the past isn’t clean and clear.
Even without all that, the flashback scenes still look just as good and detailed as the rest of the book, even to the point of seeing individual whiskers on pre-Sentry Bob Reynolds’ face. The backgrounds, while not as clean, are even better shown in flashbacks than in the present that happens in a mostly dark room (expect a lot of straight black shadowing). Those that aren’t though are nice looking space scenes.
With all of that, the art isn’t groundbreaking, nor is it perfect with Sentry having a long and flat horse face in at least one panel. It does do a good job though depicting the dark truth of the Sentry.
This is the start of what could be an extremely satisfying climax to the tale of the Sentry and the Void. Its lasting power really depends on the strength of the next issues. Still, I wouldn’t put it past Marvel to let the Sentry get cured and redeemed, thus losing any interesting qualities he may have. But for now, I’ll be optimistic and see where this story goes.
Overall (Not an Average) 9/10