BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME
IG @ matt.tuck.writer
Will we ever see Sentry in the MCU? It’s possible since Loki and Eternals laid the foundation for Marvel’s Superman.
Despite the constant Marvel news cycle, fans are still talking about the events of Eternals. That speaks volumes considering the amount of news that Marvel has churned out this month. The film left so much for fans to digest, and the expectations are high. There’s Black Knight, Blade, the Celestials, and Eros, but Eternals may have opened a window for one of Marvel’s most powerful and complicated superheroes, Sentry.
DC HEROES IN THE MCU?
Two of the most talked about moments from the movie confirmed that DC Comics exists in the MCU. First, there was the Superman reference. Phastos’ son spots Ikaris and directly compares him to the Man of Steel. The other allusion came from Gilgamesh. When he met Karun, who introduced himself as Kingo’s valet, Gilgamesh replied, “Like Alfred in Batman.”
Initially, this sparked a debate of whether or not the DC superheroes functioned inside the MCU, and fans were thinking crossover of epic proportions. Of course, the context of the Batman reference in which Gilgamesh alludes to the Dark Knight as a comic or movie franchise suggests that, in the world of the MCU, DC’s heroes are fictional whereas Marvel’s caped crusaders are real.
While that may have taken the wind out of the sails for those banking on an epic Marvel/DC live-action adventure, the DC allusions could make for the beginnings of Marvel’s own Superman.
WHO IS SENTRY?
The idea is that Sentry was a Silver Age hero forgotten by the public. Four decades later, he returned to the spotlight to join the New Avengers and later the Dark Avengers. Created in 2000 by writer Paul Jenkins and artist Jae Lee, think of Sentry as a more human Superman. Sentry has virtually all the powers and abilities of the Man of Steel, but he is far from perfect.
In the same vein as the super soldier program, Sentry was the product of World War II experimentation. As the story goes, the Canadian and U.S. governments collaborated to make a more powerful version of the famed Super Soldier Serum. After the war ended, the operation was shut down, and the remnants were scattered across North America.
Bob Reynolds was a drug addict looking to get his fix when he broke into a laboratory. With his judgement impaired by his addiction, Bob sampled whatever concoction he could find. He unwittingly settled on the Golden Sentry Serum, which gave him the power of 1,000 exploding suns. The trouble is that Bob has symptoms of mental health issues, and it makes for one of the most interesting characters in comics. Physically, he is unrivaled and has the power to save entire universes. Mentally and emotionally, he becomes increasingly unstable and is easily manipulated during Dark Reign.
Those mental health struggles are personified as the Void. This entity is the dark side of Bob’s personality. When the Void takes control of Bob, Sentry commits unspeakable acts of violence and horror. He became so unstable that Marvel’s Silver Age heroes devised a plan to erase all memories of Sentry to protect the Earth from the Void, and that is used to explain why such a famous hero was forgotten.
When Phastos’ son compared Ikaris to Superman, going so far as to mention the iconic red cape and heat vision, it was more of a commentary on Jack Kirby’s inspirations when he created the Eternals rather than a hint that the Man of Steel is alive and active in the MCU. Director Chloe Zhao has gone on record saying that the mention of DC’s elite characters is connected to the mythological themes of the movie itself. The film established that many of the world’s myths were inspired by the Eternals, and we can assume that also includes Batman and Superman.
What if there’s more to it than that? The Superman reference could easily be adapted into the Sentry mythos. Since the memories of Sentry were erased, it would make sense that the stories of Superman are actually repressed memories of Sentry.
Connecting Sentry to the super soldier serum would easily fit him into the MCU fold. After all, the serum is the foundation for much of the MCU intertwined characters as it is. Why not add one more to the list?
Another key component to the Sentry story is the Void, and it’s a term we’ve already heard in the MCU. During Loki’s adventures across time and space, he was cast into what was more or less the limbo of the Multiverse called “the Void.” Guarding this interdimensional junkyard is Alioth who is a manifestation of its power. The Void hasn’t been mentioned since Loki, but it likely will return in the series’ next season.
Comic readers know a different story behind the Void. Besides being a symptom of Bob’s associative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder) and the darker part of his personality, Dark Reign gave the Void an interesting twist.
Sentry’s villainous alter ego became increasingly stronger and more dominant, and Norman Osborn found his Dark Avenger more difficult to control. Finally, Bob’s wife asks the Void for its name, and the response was major: “Galactus.” It was then explained that the Void is connected to the power cosmic, and it has existed for all eternity.
Between the Galactus references in What If…? and a clear setup in Eternals, and this could be the path to incorporating Sentry’s power source into the MCU with a twist.
THE DARK AVENGERS
There have been rumors of the Dark Avengers for years. It goes back to the gossip that Marvel Studios had commissioned a screenplay with the title, “Dark Avengers.” That tidbit was never confirmed nor denied, so it doesn’t amount to much. Still, it’s a fun idea to consider.
Since Norman Osborn is making his grand MCU entrance in Spider-Man: No Way Home, there could be more to this rumor. Of course, that hinges on whether or not Willem Dafoe has committed to more than one Marvel movie and if Norman survives NWH.
Let’s say there is a Dark Avengers in the works. It would be logical for Norman to recruit (or perhaps create) one of the original members, Sentry, which could play into an adaptation of the Siege of Asgard. After all, Asgard is on Earth in the MCU, and Norman could launch his famed assault. I doubt we would see Sentry ripping Ares in half, but a man can dream.
Where should you start on your search for those Sentry keys? While his first appearance should be at the top of your shopping list, there is more to Bob Reynolds than his debut.
SENTRY #1 (2000)
Of course this is the primary key to have. Bob Reynolds made his first appearance over twenty years ago. Since then, he’s died twice, so while he may be dead and buried at the moment, there’s nothing that says he won’t return in the future. This issue also featured the debut of the Void, and that should add to the intrigue.
The standard cover graded at a 9.8 last sold for $425 on November 19, and another brought $550 at the first of the month. Earlier this year, one earned a record $659, but none have surpassed the $600 mark since then.
The more collectible Sentry #1 is the variant cover. That one sold for $1,000 in May as well, though the last copy to sell brought $690 on November 18.
NEW AVENGERS #1
While not Sentry’s first appearance, he was reintroduced into the comics as part of the Secret Invasion kickoff. With the MCU series gearing up in the near future, this issue will have added value for the Skrulls’ Queen Veranke, who made her first appearance in New Avengers #1. There is a good chance that she will appear in the show, and that will have collectors gunning for this issue. Add Bob to the mix, and this is a great pickup.
The Joe Quesada variant has been the only 9.8 to trade hands lately when one drew $103 in October. The last time a standard cover sold online, it brought $40 in August.
NEW AVENGERS #49
Admittedly, this is not a Sentry key, per se, but it is intertwined in his comic history. He is featured on the cover of New Avengers #49, which is the unofficial first appearance of the aforementioned Dark Avengers. If there are hints of the team coming together, then it could take off overnight.
Before this year, even a graded 9.8 didn’t bring more than $45. So far in 2021, it has reached as much as $140 in August. The most recent purchase saw another copy bring $130 on November 18.
There is so much potential for Sentry in the MCU. He is such an interesting and complex character that his story would help Marvel Studios break from their typical action-comedy mold. Whether he is part of a Dark Avengers narrative or stars in his own series or movie, Sentry’s time is coming.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.