ISBN: 0785121242

I’m not a Marvel comic expert. But from what I gather halfway through the graphic novel, The Sentry is a departure from the usual Marvel superhero story.

First, who’s The Sentry?

Second, why has he forgotten his past and is living the life of an ordinary human?

Third, why has the world, along with the other Marvel superheroes (Fantastic Four, Spider-man, the Hulk etc.) forgotten him?

This doesn’t seem like the usual bash and conquer Marvel story. The plot is indirect. At the onset, you’re told there’s the looming and unstoppable threat of “The Void”, who — simplistically speaking — has the ability to make its victims doubt themselves. It all builds up to the final story where all the Marvel superheroes, led by now awakened Sentry, confronts The Void.

Much of the stories leading to the final confrontation are from the perspectives of other superheroes. They recall how The Sentry has played his unique part in inspiring them. E.g. Spider-man, Richard Reed of The Fantastic Four, The Hulk, X-men’s Angel.

The afterword by Stan Lee reveals it all. The story of The Sentry turns out to be a clever hoax by Marvel, inspired by the marketing approach used in The Blair Witch Project.

This, to me, is like the topping on the cake. I can appreciate the thinking that went into the idea.

The Sentry graphic novel is also interesting in that here’s a seemingly unknown superhero who’s portrayed as someone who’s been there all along. Gave the story that mysteriousness. Although at times it seemed a bit long-drawn, as there’s only so much you can ponder over “Who’s The Sentry” before it gets to “Tell me about him already!”

Good thing the later parts were made more interesting, as through the perspectives of the various superheroes who shared how they related to the Sentry, we also learn more about them. E.g. The Hulk being mentored by the Sentry, as well as Spider-man and Angel.

This graphic novel could be used in a book discussion too. The Sentry, his reliance on the serum, and the mysterious Void are all a parable of the fight against alcoholism or drug addiction.