There are a small handful of comics in the world that stand alone as undeniable masterworks in my eyes. Marvels by Kurt Busiek and The Watchmen by Alan Moore, to name a few. What sets them apart aren’t just the unique perspectives and story lines, or their meticulously illustrated art styles. It’s their elegance. The master-crafted puzzle pieces that together, stir and brew your emotions and the written story into something mysteriously personal. Among such works stands an illustrious ray of light and hope in the world of Marvel Comics. The Sentry, by Paul Jenkins.
Without getting into the details of the story, since I strongly suggest that you read it on your own, it’s a story of self discovery and remembrance. Robert Reynolds takes a journey through his memories, and how the hidden secrets of his mind have effected the past as well as the foreboding future.
The writing of this comic series isn’t it’s only defining feature. Jae Lee‘s artwork takes the story to new heights, highlighting the recurring themes of light and darkness, as well as empowerment and dream-like mystery.
Lee makes us question what is real and what is fantasy in a story that constantly questions, who is the Sentry? Not just in the context of the heroic icon, but the person beneath the iconic gold and blue.
The Sentry (2000) isn’t your classic hero’s tale. It’s pages don’t unfold into large scale battles between heroes and villains, nor do they stand to paint Robert Reynolds as an impossibly perfect Superman. The weight of this comic comes from the mystery, the heartbreak, and how our notions of “the greater good” are challenged by his journey.
This story moved me to pieces, forcing me to think on a complex level on what it means to be a force for good, and also that every person, even a super-person, must come to face their demons.
If you’d like to pick up a copy, please support your local comic shop. I’m sure that it’s employees will tell you as I’ve told you here, The Sentry (2000) is a must read.
David “DC” Collins