• Columns 

    The Sentry: Worst Character in Comics?

    By | July 29th, 2009
    Posted in Columns | 2 Comments

    The Golden Guardian of Suck

    Everyone who reads comics has their favorite characters. My favorite characters are all versions of the Flash, Kyle Rayner, Jesse Custer, Bigby Wolf, Deadpool…and really the list goes on and on. Quite often though, you’re going to have your least favorite character as well. In my case, the character I dislike I have enough disdain for to honestly believe that he is irrefutably the single worst character in comics and in this post I will make my case for it. After my five points I believe you’ll even agree with me.

    So who is the character?

    The Sentry.

    1. He’s so over-powered he has to be written out of every event

    While the Sentry is seemingly a constant early on in every mega-event that Marvel puts on, he never seems to appear very much in the middle and end of events. There is a pretty good reason why that is, and that’s because he’s so freaking overpowered that there isn’t a lot any writer can do with him.

    I mean come on, his first real appearance in a regular continuity Marvel book was in the first arc of New Avengers, in which his first big action scene was flying Carnage up to space and then tearing him in half. Yes…as in Carnage from Spider-Man comics. As in the one that tortured Spidey endlessly and was a legitimate heavy in Marvel comics. The Sentry dealt with him as I would deal with a fly, or as Spider-Man would deal with Paste Pot Pete (minus the killing on the last part).

    For an example of the Sentry being completely useless when it comes to events, may I guide you to Secret Invasion or Silent War. In Secret Invasion, Bendis (who is seemingly the only person at Marvel who likes to use the guy) effectively writes him out of the book, sending him deep into space after a Skrull transforms into his alter-ego/nemesis the Void. Poor widdle Sentry, getting scared of the big bad shape shifting alien. No less, the Sentry lasts exactly two issues into Marvel’s biggest event before getting completely written out. Nice.

    2. If he isn’t, he’s effectively a mobile deus ex machine

    Let’s say you do want to use the guy in the event. What are you going to do to make him not end it immediately? I mean the guy has the power of one million exploding suns…that sounds pretty powerful. Kind of sounds like someone who can come out of nowhere and pretty much wrap up a story in a snap.

    Well, according to Greg Pak’s World War Hulk, you use the Sentry’s agoraphobia (seriously…more on that later) and his fear of his own power as an excuse for the first four issues, and then you send him in when you paint yourself into a corner, pretty much make him seem crazy and Earth-threatening, and then have the Hulk defeat him to turn him into the hero of the story.

    So essentially the only event he was used in, he was saved until the very end so he could reverse the fortune of the primary character and wrap up the story nice and tidy like. Sounds like deus ex machina personified to me.

    3. His main personality traits are crazy and…crazier

    Back to the agoraphobia thing. So let me get this straight…the Sentry is the most powerful character in Marvel Comics right? From what I understand, it’s not even close. But because they want to make sure he isn’t a walking game-changer (like he was in WWH), they saddle him with intense agoraphobia and schizophrenia, and not just any schizophrenia, but the type where it manifests itself in the form of your own arch-nemesis.

    So the Sentry is the world’s greatest superhero but also is afraid of public places and is quite literally his own worst enemy.

    Priceless. Completely priceless.

    4. The only characters he has a good relationship with are Norman Osborn and Black Bolt

    Continued below

    If you were an overpowered superhero with severe mental problems, who would you likely associate yourself with? Unless your answer is the mute ruler of the Inhumans and the sociopathic leader of America’s military forces who occasionally wears a goblin mask to get his kicks, then you are mistaken.

    Seriously, could you imagine these three hanging out for football Sunday? Sitting around the TV watching the Vikings/Packers, with one of them never speaking, one of them acting very sullen because he’s worried he may switch to his other identity and murder the other two, and the other one contemplating how he can most easily murder the other two. Let’s just say if there was a draft of Marvel characters that you would want to hang out with, these three would be part of the last five picks, along with the Watcher and Fin Fang Foom.

    Not only that, but as a sub-point, the Sentry is ridiculously easy to manipulate. Because the Sentry is overpowered and because Norman Osborn is power hungry and bat shit crazy, ol’ Normie moves the Sentry around his chess board like the good little pawn he is. “It’s no big deal if you murder a bunch of Atlanteans Robert! They would die without water anyways.” Oh Normie…you’re such a hoot.

    5. I’ve met Superman, and you sir are no Superman

    Last but not least, we have Gil’s favorite point. I’m pretty sure I’ve read this character before. His name was Superman. The only differences between the Sentry and Superman is that Supes doesn’t look like a hippie, is not insane, and actually can participate in events without having to be used as a complete deus ex machina. It’s crazy! Well, not Sentry crazy, but crazy no less.

    My point is this: Marvel is a universe of characters we can relate to and ones that can seemingly be defeated. The Sentry is neither of those. Join me in sharing with Marvel that we’ve had enough of the Sentry, and that next time he flies off into space in the midst of a world crisis/event comic, he can stay there.

    //TAGS | Character Spotlight

    David Harper

    David Harper mainly focuses on original content, interviews, co-hosting our 4 Color News and Brews video podcast, and being half of the Mignolaversity and Valiant (Re)visions team. He runs Multiversity's Twitter and Facebook pages, and personally tweets (rarely) @slicedfriedgold. By day, he works in an ad agency in Anchorage, Alaska, and he loves his wife, traveling and biscuits & gravy (ordered most to least, which is still a lot).


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