Comic Book: The Sentry

First seen in The Sentry #1 (September, 2000), Robert Reynolds was an overweight, middle aged, alcoholic until one day he awakens and realizes that he is the Sentry, a superhero with the power of one million exploding suns, who must once again take the mantle of the hero to fight his archnemesis the Void, whom he fears is returning soon.

This rather strange origin story begun via a hoax that was perpetuated by Stan Lee himself in stating that there was a golden age superhero whom he just forgot about and wanted to weave into the continuity. Through a series of recursive flashbacks Robert Reynolds is seen fighting alongside Marvel's most popular superheroes including the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, and Spider-Man, and the entirety of the Sentry's first miniseries revolves around figuring out why everyone has Laser-Guided Amnesia surrounding his existence.

His actual powers were bestowed upon him when a young Robert, while working in a physics lab, drank a serum that "moved his molecules 1 second ahead of the current timeline." It was later revealed that this was a newer version of the Super Soldier serum that transformed Captain America.

Seen as somewhat of an Alternate Company Equivalent of Superman due to his seemingly limitless powers, including: energy blasts, super strength, flight, and of course a hefty dose of New Powers as the Plot Demands.

The Sentry, while seeming like an Invincible Hero, actually has many weaknesses due to his being Ax-Crazy (this is not expunged when Robert becomes the Sentry). Robert Reynolds is an agoraphobic, anxiety-ridden schizophrenic who relies on his robot sidekick CLOC to calculate the severity of problems that need his help, and solves them in order based on CLOC's input.

Despite his death at the end of Dark Reign, the Sentry was resurrected by the Apocalypse Twins' new Horsemen in Uncanny Avengers, though Thor convinces him to help stop Exitar the Executioner. Sentry, having fully succumbed to his insanity and believing himself to be the successor of Apocalypse, agreed to do so... after he rid the world of the "cancerous" mutants.

In terms of Video Games, The Sentry was a playable character in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 for Nintendo DS and Marvel Super Hero Squad Online.

Tropes this character's series use:

  • Alliterative Name: Robert Reynolds, though he usually goes by Bob.
  • Anti Christ: The Void generally functions as this. Hiroim refers to him as a "Worldbreaker", in contrast to "The Sakaarson".
  • Ax-Crazy: As the Void.
  • Back from the Dead: While he's been resurrected several times, his most recent revival was when the Apocalypse Twins revived him as one of their Four Horsemen of Death. It's not known if the Void has been revived as well.
    • It appears, going by Bob's word, the Void never died. It simply got tired of being imprisoned in the sun and shuttled itself off to the White Hot Room.
  • Badass Boast: From Siege:
    Sentry/Void: How many gods will I have to kill today?
  • Beware the Superman: Being powerful to such a degree is more than dangerous when also having such serious mental problems. As seen in Dark Reign, he is very easily manipulable. And not to talk about what happens when the Void breaks out. Breaking literally every bone of the freakin' Hulk, rampaging through New York or leveling the whole city of Asgard. And that's by far not everything that this psycho has unleashed during his life.
    • After he survives being disintegrated, Bullseye wonders if, when he finally goes over the edge, they'll actually be able to kill him. The answer is no, not unless he lets you.
  • Blonde Guys Are Evil: Sentry is psychotic, but not always evil.
  • Body Horror: When he transforms into the Void, the results are usually monstrous.
  • Brains: Evil; Brawn: Good: Shows both sides. He's a supergenius, but usually defaults to trying to smash things or throw them into the sun.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": He has an S-shaped sigil on his waist.
  • Bullet Catch: The Sentry once stopped an assassination attempt in this manner.
  • Care Bear Stare: The Sentry can emit a calming aura to help the Hulk manage his rage. Reed Richards tries to simulate this aura during World War Hulk, but it doesn't work.
  • Character Shilling: Some of it's a consequence of him being a walking Cosmic Retcon, the rest is just there for the usual reason.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The Sentry's eyes glow yellow when he uses most of his powers, blue when he's using his psychic powers, and red when the Void is about to emerge.
  • Combat Tentacles: Part of the Void's physical makeup, the tentacles are strong enough to restrain the Hulk and break his bones.
    • In Siege, they ripped Loki in half (and then maybe a few more pieces).
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: The Void's wardrobe of choice throughout The Sentry limited series.
  • The Corrupter: Norman Osborn, who thoroughly abuses Bob's fragile mental state. It wasn't until Osborn provided the Sentry with another dose of the serum that the Void became the dominant personality.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Sentry has multiple examples of being the one issuing these out. One is Sentry vs. Ares during Siege.
  • Dark Secret: The truth behind the origin of the Sentry, kept between Bob and his wife, Lindy. Bob was just a drug addict looking for a fix, not an innocent young man working in a physics lab. The Void is the manifestation of the part of him that is still that junkie.
  • Death Is Cheap: Sentry had died and returned within the confines of a single issue, usually as a result of the Void's intervention.
  • Depending on the Writer: Sentry has something like eight different origins, and the level and type of his mental psychosis fluctuates from issue to issue. Even the Void seems to change from split personality to separate entity on alternating weekends. His level of power also goes up and down, from "stronger than Thor, but it'd still be a fair enough fight" to "could smash the entire planet into gravel with a single pushup."
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The Sentry has supposedly defeated Galactus either on his own or with the help of Nate Grey. Debatable given never really shown even in a flashback and the Sentry's unreliable history, but Nate's comment afterwards, when Norman Osborn implies that he was manipulating the Sentry, suggests that it might actually have happened.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Bob finds out that a yoga instructor is putting some moves on his wife; sometime later, the Sentry saves 150,000 people from a crashing boat, while the Void hurls a jet airliner into a building and kills 150,000 people. Ramón the yoga instructor was in that building.
  • Driven to Suicide: He's tried more than once.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Sentry tries his best to hide his drug-filled past from everyone he can.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Void is hinted to be an angel of death from Biblical times.
  • Elemental Powers: The Void can control the weather.
  • Enemy Without: The Void is capable of manifesting separately from the Sentry, and there have been occasions when the two have fought.
  • Eye Beams: One of his myriad powers.
  • Expy: His original series seems to be heavily inspired by Alan Moore's rework of Marvelman/Miracleman. Both feature middle aged guys who are vaguely haunted by their past as the most powerful person on the planet. Down to details like being jealous of their super selves, their wives being more attracted to their other selves and their origins in a secret government program. Which makes the Sentry an Expy of a reworked Darker and EdgierCaptain Ersatz of a Captain Ersatz, as Marvelman was a British copy of Captain Marvel, who was himself a copy of Superman. So he's like Superman's fifth cousin twice removed.
  • From a Single Cell: The Sentry has been blown into pieces by powerful enemies like Morgan Le Fey and the Molecule Man but his body always reconstitutes itself.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Was a meth addict before getting his superpowers.
  • Groin Attack: On the receiving end of this by Hercules in Dark Reign.
  • Healing Factor: A pretty powerful one which puts even Wolverine and Hulk to shame.
  • Hero Killer: Especially in Siege.
  • Home Base: The Sentry has the Watchtower, while the Void has the "hidey-hole" in Antarctica.
  • Humanoid Abomination: On a good day, the Sentry can rewrite reality and it's implied he's only as human as he believes himself to be. On a bad day... well, there's the Void.
  • Hurl It into the Sun: After defeating the Void, Bob hurls it into the sun after giving it a kiss.
    • Lampshaded in-comic: "I don't throw everything into the sun."
  • Ideal Hero: The Sentry limited series reveals that the Sentry persona is actually Bob Reynolds' idealized version of himself: the handsome, invincible champion of the entire planet.
  • Indecisive Deconstruction: As time goes on, it gets increasingly hard to tell if his Character Shilling is part of a clever commentary on the shifting nature of reality in comics or just the writers desperately trying to convince fans that Sentry's really a likable and interesting character, honest.
  • Informed Attribute: The Sentry was often pushed as being the ultimate hero that aside from being the most powerful was an inspiration to everyone, their best friend, as smart as Reed Richards, and involved in nearly every major Marvel event from convincing Tony Stark to stop drinking to being the best man at Reed and Sue's wedding. Outside of stories written by his creator and maybe one or two others these attributes were never demonstrated. He never demonstrated intelligence on par with Reed or being a major inspiration or friend to anyone. The attempt to force the idea down readers' throats that he was all that yet it was never demonstrated is another reason he is despised.
  • Intangible Man: Part of the Void's power set.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Bob forcibly transforms into the Void after he loses control.
  • Insane Equals Violent: Very much so for him! Generally he's (mentally speaking) like a young child, often asking if what he did was right, so it makes sense that he would lash out when he's angry/upset.
  • Made of Iron: The Thing throws his best punch at Sentry. There was probably more pain in Thing's hand than in Sentry's body.
  • Mercy Kill: A reluctant Thor puts Bob out of his misery at the end of Siege.
  • Mind Rape: If beating an opponent to a pulp with fists won't do the trick, Bob will resort to this. He'll even make the victim see him as the Void and not the Sentry.
    • What if a foe has Wolverine's healing factor and unbreakable bones and Luke Cage's unbreakable skin? Sentry won't even blink.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: In truth, it is still not clear exactly what the relationship is between Bob Reynolds, the Sentry and the Void (Is the Void the real Bob Reynolds, or is the Sentry, or is neither, or are they both?), exactly what the serum was he took or even whether it actually did anything, what the exact nature and source of his powers is (I am a superhuman! I am actually the angel of Death! I am a refugee from another universe! I am Galactus!), how the Void really came into existence and whether he is really dead. This, of course, fits in very nicely with the notion that the Sentry is bugnuts insane and genuinely does not know what happened, and perhaps subconsciously even alters reality to suit whatever his psychosis says is the real story that day!
  • Neck Snap: Thor snapped the Sentry's neck in a What If? centered around Secret Invasion.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: To an absolutely insane degree. He was bodily disintegrated by both Morgana leFay and Molecule Man, and simply re-appeared with no explanation. When he tried to commit suicide by flying into the sun, he was already swimming in superheated solar plasma when his evil self basically said "Don't be silly, kiddo".
  • Off with His Head!: The Sentry killed Sub-Mariner villain Attuma in this manner.
  • Our Angels Are Different: The Void might have been around since Biblical times as the Angel of Death.
  • Playing with Fire: And what powerful fire it is.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: In his miniseries, the Sentry actually bled after being bitten by a dog. By the time Siege rolled around, Bob was shrugging off blows from Thor's hammer without a scratch on him.
    • This could be something to do with his psychosis, as his strength levels yo-yo almost as much as Gladiator's.
  • Power Glows: He's not called the "Golden Guardian of Good" for nothing.
  • Psychic Powers: The Sentry has shown psychic powers strong enough to give Doctor Strange pause. It is believed that Bob used this power to erase the entire planet's memory of the Sentry, including his own.
  • Psycho Serum: The serum that gave Bob his powers was a new version of the Super Soldier serum amplified 100,000 fold. According to The Sentry limited series, Bob became the insane Void persona from the moment he injested the serum.
  • Sealed Badass in a Can: The Sentry was voluntarily imprisoned at the start of the New Avengers series, sporting a scraggly Beard of Sorrow.
  • Sexier Alter Ego: Bob's wife, Lindy, prefers sleeping with him while he's in Sentry form.
  • Shaping Your Attacks: A rarer skill, the Sentry can create yellow Hard Light constructs similar to Quasar's quantum constructs. In a fight against Terrax, Sentry created a bubble construct to block the Herald's Hand Blast.
  • Shockwave Clap: One of the Sentry's attacks. He uses this one against a bunch of the Void's attack drones in The Sentry #8.
    • He may have picked it up from or taught it to his buddy, The Incredible Hulk.
  • Speech Bubbles: The Void's speech bubbles are black with white lettering, the exact opposite of the Sentry's and most other characters.
  • Split Personality: The Sentry (good) and the Void (evil). The relationship between them is described as a god complex: every time Sentry did something good, Void did something equally evil.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Sentry only gets stronger with time. He cannot be completely destroyed (see his immortality trope entry) and can exchange punches with Hulk and Thor. Sentry can impress even Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme, with his psychic and telepathic abilities and possesses molecular manipulation on the same level as Molecule Man. Moving faster than the speed of light is a simple matter for Sentry and he can travel distances in seconds that even the speedier characters require minutes for. The only weakness Bob has is his unstable mind but making use of this weakness is a huge gamble even for master manipulators because they risk releasing the Void.
    • Sentry while either completely stable mentally or Voided out is a true monster to behold. Sentry's strength depends on his mental stability and Sentry managed to fight World War Hulk after being consumed by his agoraphobia for 29 hours, showing even a weakened Sentry is a force to be reckoned with. The Void managed to rampage through Asgard and topple foes such as Thor and Ares in Siege, and he was just getting started. When Void was not as powerful, he was still able to break every single bone in the Hulk's body.
      • Proof of this is when, as the Horseman of Death (and thereby even crazier than usual), he manages to stop Exitar, a Celestial from descending to destroy the Earth, when Rogue, who'd taken powers from quite literally all the Avengers and all the X-Men, including the full power of Wonder Man, and a machine powered by the Hulk hadn't managed it.
  • Super Speed: Sentry can fly to the Sun and back in seconds.
  • Super Strength: The Sentry is one of the strongest heroes in the Marvel Universe, capable of matching strength with the Hulk, Thor, and Hercules. The Void's strength is enough to break almost every bone in the Hulk's body.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: The Void
  • Super Weight: He is often said to be Level 6. He supposedly stalemated Galactus, has often been compared to the power of a million exploding suns, defeated a far weaker than previously Molecule Man, and was said to be a Biblical angel of death, capable of causing greater destruction than the multi-universal damage of the Scarlet Witch, but we never actually see anything concrete, beyond easily overloading the Absorbing Man, who has had no trouble copying Mjolnir in the past. As it is, he is a powerful Level 5.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Void began taking on larger, more powerful forms leading up to Siege, possibly due to the second dose of serum provided by Norman Osborn. Before, during the Sentry miniseries, the Void seemed to be limited to humanoid size at best.
    • Following his becoming a Horseman of Apocalypse, he's even more of a beast than usual, quite capable of handling Thor alone and taking on a Celestial.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: With the Mighty Avengers, Sentry is stated outright to be the strongest member, but held back by his lack of skill.
    Hercules: Learn to fight like you mean it, pretty boy.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Unlike the Sentry, the Void can shapeshift at will, sometimes taking the form of whatever its opponents fear most.
  • Willfully Weak: Possessing incredible power, the Sentry holds back because he's afraid of losing control.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: A poster boy. It was suggested by characters that Sentry is addicted to his power, which stems from his past as a junkee.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Gives a brief one during the events of World War Hulk. The Hulk contends that the Sentry doesn't want to fight him. The response (paraphrased): "God help me, I do...because you're the only one I can hit like this."
  • World's Strongest Man: The Sentry is without question a heavy contender for this title and Marvel has no problem with making characters say so. Karnak calls him "Earth's most powerful warrior."
  • Would Hit a Girl: And kill a girl, too. Violently.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Lindy has this issue in The Sentry V2, besides preferring the Sentry persona instead of ol' Bob, she also had to cope with her husband's unstable presence by seeking an affair with her Yoga instructor Ramón.