Is The Sentry Really Marvelman/Miracleman? - Idol Threat: Warning Shots at the Mainstream

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Is The Sentry Really Marvelman/Miracleman?



NERD ALERT! Do not read any further unless you have at least a SLIGHT interest in comic books. I realized that I haven’t made a comic book post since my ”open letter to the industry” post, which makes sense if you read the post. I think I’ve just been a little disillusioned lately, but I still follow all the stories and I still collect some comic books.

I’ve been trying to avoid most of the crossover/event stories from "the big two" but DC’s been making it pretty hard since they’ve been doing so well with the Green Lantern titles. They’ve given the history of the Corps a new meaning and mythos without changing anything and have kept their “Blackest Night” crossover from being too convoluted by keeping the story and artists clean and organized. Between all the Marvel and DC crossovers Blackest Night is the only one I keep up with. There is one particular Marvel “event” that I’ve been following however, and that’s their current “Siege” storyline.

Siege is the result (and resolution) of several storylines including the aftermath of the Civil War, Secret Invasion and the resulting “Dark Reign” afterwards. During the Civil War the Marvel Universes’ heroes were divided (and outlawed) over the subject of secret identities. It would later be revealed in the Secret Invasion storyline that the events that led up to Civil War and many others wer
e covertly orchestrated by the Skrulls who are an alien race of shape changers. The Skrulls secretly infiltrated the ranks of Earth’s heroes and villains in a plan to take over the world and exact revenge for the “Illuminati” attack. The Illuminati was a secret cabal of heroes that included Namor the Submariner, Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man, Professor X and Black Bolt King of the Inhumans. The now defunct secret society worked behind the scenes making decisions that they thought were in the best interests of the world, including attacking the Skrull world and threatening them so they would leave Earth alone.


Having lost faith with the world’s heroes after Secret Invasion the U.S. government gave control of their security over to the now “reformed” villain Norman Osborn (Green Goblin) who has been involved with “rehabilitating” criminals to work for the U.S. under the Thunderbolts program. Norman Osborn then formed H.A.M.M.E.R. which would be the nations new peace-keeping agency, but unbeknownst to the world Osborn also formed a pact with the world’s villains. This cabal included Doctor Doom, Loki and new crime kingpin The Hood and this alliance brought along the Marvel’s age of villain rule entitled “Dark Reign.”

WHEW! Now you know why I try and stay away fro
m most crossover events (and why most new readers are intimidated into diving into the world of comic books.) The events in Siege are sparked by an unprovoked and unauthorized attack on Asgard orchestrated by Osborn and Loki. Asgard perished during “Ragnarok” (the Norse version of the Apocalypse) but fortunately Asgard and their gods were recently “reincarnated” and relocated to Earth and was now hovering over Oklahoma. Loki had Osborn attack Asgard under the guise of it being an occupying threat to America (and after incinerating an entire football stadium of people and blaming it on the Asgardians to justify the attack.) Despite the many different storylines involved and complicated back story, so far Siege has turned into a pretty ordinary “event.” It seems the focus has been shifted towards the fall of Asgard (again) and The Sentry. Osborn has been manipulating The Sentry (and his alter ego The Void) into becoming his personal “attack dog” and now the Siege storyline seems to be revolving around the true origin and background of the seemingly all-powerful Sentry.

The Sentry had powers similar to DC’s Superman and was introduced to the Marvel Comics Universe in 2000 as a “forgotten” character from the 1940’s. The claim was that the comic character was found in the lost archives of the Marvel art records & that Stan Lee forgot he had created him (Marvel later reveals that the Sentry being a 1940’s lost creation was a hoax started as a publicity stunt, and that they got Stan Lee to play along with it.) The Sentry’s alter ego “Bob Reynolds” was reintroduced to the world as an over-the-hill guy, struggling with addiction (a metaphor for his addiction to the serum that supposedly created his powers) and whose heroic exploits were only remembered as comic book stories. All memories of his past has been erased from his mind and the minds of everyone in the world, yet images of his past continued to plague him.

We later find out that his arch villain The Void was actually a part of the Sentry, so he wiped out everyone’s memory of the Sentry (including his own) to keep The Void in check. After re-discovering his powers and history the Void comes back out, but with the help of earth's heroes the Sentry eventually manages to vanquish his foe. He has since been a member of the Avengers and Osborn’s “Dark Avengers” by being tricked into thinking Osborn is the only one who could help control the Void, and also because he identified with Osborns own personal struggles. It has been hinted that The Sentry’s origins are not all what they seem and that his powers are far greater than previously shown. It was even revealed that his other personality The Void has existed since biblical times, even suggesting that it was the plague that killed all of Egypts first born children. Now the Sentry/Void seems to be out of control and is killing and destroying everything in his way.


During the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con, editor in chief Joe Quesada announced that Marvel Comics had purchased the rights to the Marvelman/Miracleman Character. Marvelman was created for publisher L. Miller & Son in the early 50’s as the UK’s version of the discontinued character Captain Marvel, who also had powers similar to DC’s Superman. Marvelman was cancelled and resurrected in the 80’s with a spectacular run written by Alan Moore and continued by Neil Gaiman. In this story Michael Moran (Marvelman’s alter ego) was a middle-aged married man plagued with nightmares of flying. When he finally remembers the word that changes him into Marvelman the now transformed Moran begins to remember his past as a super-hero, whose heroic exploits where only remembered in comic books.

Marvelman also had two younger sidekicks; Young Marvelman and Kid Marvelman who later grew up to be evil (the Sentry also had a forgotten sidekick.) Marvelman later finds a secret British Military base with alien remains and discovers that his powers were the result of a secret government genetic experiment to reverse-engineer the aliens. All of the experiments' subjects were kept unconscious, their minds fed with stories and villains plucked from comic books by the researchers, for fear of what they could do if they awoke (so like the Sentry, Marvelman's "comic book exploits" was also fabricated.) Kid Marvelman was never put to sleep however and grew up with full knowledge of his powers and therefore had more time to grow stronger and crazier, but Marvelman managed to trick him into changing back to his human form. However he later changed back into Kid Marvelman after being raped while in a group home, and eventually Marvelman had to kill his former sidekick to stop his resulting murderous rampage.


There are some striking similarities to the two characters and Marvel's recent acquisition of the Marvelman rights has got everyone speculating. I was going to delve further into the two character's parallels until I found an article that did a way better job than I could so I'll end this long post by linking to another:

Conspiracy Theory: Is Sentry Really Marvelman?

Many are arguing that making the Sentry and Marvelman one and the same would taint the character & history of Marvelman and would be a waste of a legend and a burgeoning hero. Some have said that even Marvel wouldn't go this far, but remember they have needlessly raised the prices of most of their comics to $3.99, and their recent cutthroat "anti-DC promotion" shows that they're willing to go to controversial lengths to sell comics.

What I have realized is that whether Sentry turns out to be Marvelman, Young Marvelman or not this Siege storyline still seems like a pretty lackluster "event" that took over a thousand words of back story to explain. DC's "Blackest Night" series however is far grander in scope and succeeds in creating a cosmic event that I realize would take far less back story to explain if I were to write about that instead. So I won't. I think at least some of you are happy about that.

2 comments:

  1. Yeah, but Siege isn't written by fucking Geoff Johns, who I think just ret-conned the Lanterns into the Bible.

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