Terror, dread, panic, betrayal–all can be found in the pages of Sentry #2 by writer Jeff Lemire and artists Kim Jacinto and Joshua Cassara. The feel-good series of 2018 this is not. But if you’re a reader who doesn’t always need your heroes to be bright and shiny, you’ll see that Sentry’s creative team is really producing something special here.
At the start of Sentry #2, we pick up where we left off: The Confluctor–the device Bob Reynolds uses to travel to a fantastical world within his mind and keep the deadly Void at bay–has gone missing! If Bob can’t find the Confluctor and complete his daily trip to Sentry World, he not only puts the entire world in danger, but attracts the attention of Misty Knight and other supervisors from the Aberrant Crime Division.
Now do you see why there’s a constant current of panic running through this comic?
Lemire does an excellent job with pacing this month, really hammering home the stakes as Bob races to find a solution to his dilemma. You feel sympathetic for Bob and see that he fully understands what little freedom and happiness he has is entirely dependent on finding the Confluctor–or building one from scratch. Unfortunately, Iron Man and Doctor Strange, the two heroes who helped establish the Sentry’s new status quo, are nowhere to be found.While all this is unfolding in the real world, Sentry World is under attack from Cranio. Don’t let this Sentry adversary’s comic booky design fool you–he’s deadly dangerous and using his mastery of the mind to wreak havoc in a dreamscape born from Bob’s thoughts.
It’s ideas like these that have always made me a fan of Lemire’s superhero work. From Extraordinary X-Men to The Terrifics, the writer has proven he likes to play with classic tropes and find new ways for readers to appreciate them. Again, we’re only two issues in, but Sentry just feels like the start of something unique in Marvel’s current lineup.
And this issue’s artwork, courtesy of Jacinto and Cassara, certainly enhance Sentry’s special recipe. This book just feels grimy. We’re in the littered alley behind the diner where Bob works. We’re six miles underground in a cold, concrete cell. Bob’s curse has forced him to fall so hard, and we’re right there in the muck with him. The grit of the artists’ pencils just gives the whole affair a very indie feel and harken back to the Sentry’s past within the Marvel Knights imprint.
This is just good, gripping comics. But if there’s a downside here, it’s just that Sentry is a real downer of a book. You don’t pick up an issue of Sentry to have fun–it’s a journey into despair. So just be aware, if you’re not having a great day, you may want to save this comic for a time when you’re feeling a little more Sentry than Void.