Writer Jeff Lemire and artist Kim Jacinto bring us a new #1 (with no legacy numbering) this week with The Sentry. The character has had a lesser known and convoluted history (first appeared 18 years ago), which has given Lemire more liberties to write the hero back the way he wants. Our story begins with a quick one-page narration of who the Sentry and his enemy are. Then the story jumps off to some pseudo version of Manhattan that has no real inhabitants or consequences. Sentry is there playing hero for some reason, yet to be told. In the beginning, things are not quite clear, but we get the feeling that Sentry is quite a powerful and tormented character.
Kim Jacinto’s art conveys action beautifully. In the opening action sequence, we see Sentry in flight ripping an enemy in half. In his face, you can see intense emotion as if in some sort of stupor like rage. VC’s Travis Lanham does an exceptional job lettering in sound effects with character. Not only does Kim draw action sequences well, the everyday life moments fit Lemire’s writing style perfectly. I’m not sure what kind of direction Lemire gave Kim, but for some reason, I can tell it’s a Jeff Lemire comic by the art alone when we get to scenes showcasing Sentry in regular life as Bob Reynolds. There’s a kind of wholesome, battered, and authentic look to it that is reminiscent of Lemire’s own art in books like The Underwater Welder and Essex County.
Lemire writes Sentry #1 with expert craftsmanship and threads the needle that few others could. The story has nuance and complexity which I can’t do justice in a short review. Essentially, Bob Reynolds is a ticking time bomb. He can’t use his superpowers in the real world and has to return home every so many hours to defeat his arch-enemy in a pocket mind dimension created by Doctor Strange. If he doesn’t, all hell breaks loose for the people of Earth. During this time, Bob basically feels he lives a double-life and is troubled by the meaningless of living as a nobody cook at a run-down diner.
Lemire’s dialogue gives the character depth and makes him feel human. This isn’t a superhero above reproach or some mannequin of a character that is superficial. Kim’s artistic style exemplifies the realistic feel that is trademark Lemire. When Kim draws the diner restaurant that Bob is a cook at, there is dirt and grime on the building, stains on Bob's apron, and dust & wrinkles on his face. Not the typical Superhero, huh?
Sentry #1 is another home-run-hit for Marvel’s Fresh Start. It is a humanizing and action-packed thriller that breathes new life into Sentry. If you’ve ever enjoyed a Jeff Lemire comic, go pick this up, I think you’ll love it.