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Comic Book / Age of the Sentry

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Once upon a time, there was a superhero called The Sentry, the Golden Guardian of Good, the man with the power of a million exploding suns, generally considered to be one of the world's greatest heroes, helping to usher in an age of superpowered adventurers.

Okay, not really. The Sentry was made up by Marvel comics claiming that he was an old character Stan Lee had created and just forgotten about one day, and had several miniseries depicting him being an Alternate Company Equivalent of Superman, until two of his enemies made the entire world forget about him. Much Deconstruction followed.

The Age of the Sentry (co-written by Jeff Parker and Paul Tobin and co-pencilled by Ramon Rosanas and Nick Dragotta) is a depiction of a version of the Sentry during his heroing days, getting into bizarre scrapes with giant bears, radioactive hillbillies, and disturbingly obsessive fans, as a parody of the Silver Age Superman and his usual antics.


  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The Age of the Sentry has a number of characters with alliterative E names the recurrence of which he finds suspicious. It turns out that the E-E's are referents to Destroyer Darkmass, a being from the original universe the Sentry originated from (as E's can be shifted over to D's).
  • Affectionate Parody: Of Silver Age Superman. The story mocks all the foibles of those old stories, but it does so with the sensibility of someone who's clearly read and enjoyed a lot of them.
  • Ambiguous Situation: It's deliberately unclear whether any of the events of the series actually happened. For instance, the final issue, though claimed to be an "imaginary story", gives a pretty plausible explanation for how the Sentry and the Void became one person, as well as a potential origin for the Sentry himself. At one point, Reed suggests that these are his theories on what happened with the Sentry, and he's telling the story to Franklin as a way to try to formulate them properly.
  • Art Shift: On several occasions, the Sentry starts having moments where he zones out, and suddenly the art changes from faux-60s artwork to a more modern art style.
  • Arc Words: The initials "EE". It's a subconscious reference to Destroyer Darkmass, the ruler of the Sentry's home reality. Since he is one removed, so are the letters. Once Cranio points this out, the Sentry remembers.
  • Back for the Finale: Everyone, in issue 6.
  • Badass in Distress: Carol Danvers is caught by Ursus the bear, and has to pretend she's in peril, which she isn't, thanks to her superpowers.
  • Bears Are Bad News: One of the Sentry's enemies is a fifty foot tall, radiation-powered bear which is utterly immune to his attacks.
  • Black Hole Sue: A rare invoked and entirely intentional example. Wherever the Sentry goes and whoever he interacts with, things tend to be distorted to fit a Silver Age DC aesthetic. New characters are created to big him up, longstanding rivalries and dysfunctions are ignored, and things that make no sense with the established Marvel canon occur regularly. For instance, the Guardians of the Galaxy are completely transformed into a different group just to complement Sentry better, and two separate versions of Nick Fury show up just to fill out his birthday guests.
  • Call-Forward:
    • In issue 6, the Sentress reveals she's been depowered, with no knowledge of when her powers may return. The letters' page also promises that she'll continue to hold the same Good Old Ways values people love about her when she returns to action (Carol Danvers as Ms. Marvel was created to be a feminist icon).
    • The letters' pages are chock-full of this. One of them says that the Sentry may one day join the ranks of the Mighty Avengers, or "some other new Avengers group", and another has the reader asking if the book will tie in with Marvel Zombies, to the editor's confusion.
  • The Cameo: In issue 4, as the Sentry sends off members of the Guardians of the Galaxy, one of them, some guy called Immortal One, looks... familiar.
  • Captain Ersatz:
    • First off, the Sentry himself for the Big Blue Boyscout. There's also the Sentress, serving as a mix of Supergirl (Distaff Counterpart) and Wonder Woman, coming complete with an Expy of Etta Candy.
    • The Guardians of the Galaxy, standing in for the Legion Of Superheroes, complete with a larger roster of new characters based on LSOH ones.
    • Destroyer Darkmass is a mash-up of Darkseid (especially in looks) and the Anti-Monitor.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The irradiated meteor from issue 2.
    • Cranio and Gorax's draining the Sentry's powers. Not to mention Gorax's brain, which comes back in a big way in issue 6.
  • Cthulhumanoid: Gtt-chow. Thanks to the art-style, she manages to look more cute than hideous.
  • Dance Party Ending: Issue 4 has the Sentry finding Tyrannus has kidnapped the popular band the Crick-Hits... so he could see them perform, at which point everyone - Cranio (the man with the tri-level mind!) included, while the Sentry wonders what the heck's happening.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The Sentry is a man of the 50s/60s, so he's occasionally pretty sexist. The Golden Age Sentry, meanwhile, attacks a bunch of beatniks for wearing black and having beards, thinking they're bad guys.
  • Expy: The Sentress (otherwise known as Carol Danvers), is a Supergirl / Wonder Woman mash-up (the Distaff Counterpart but with a Wonder Woman-esque supporting cast), the Guardians of the Galaxy are the Legion Of Superheroes, and some of the Sentry's unseen villains resemble Superman's.
  • A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted: The hillbillies find there's a huge mass of gold on their land thanks to the Sentry, and plan to spend it all on tobacco. The Sentry fetches Harrison Oogar, Caveman of Wall Street, to help them invest it wisely.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the first issue, when Scout, Watchdog, and Lindy begin traveling through the timestream, the silhouette of Destroyer Darkmass can be seen in the background, tearing apart an alternate Earth. This foreshadows the Sentry's true origin as revealed in the final issue.
    • In the first story of issue 4, Cranio keeps trying to tell the Sentry something, but he disappears before he can. It turns out he's trying to tell the Sentry the truth of his origins.
    • In issue 5, the Sentry zones out while exploring deep space with Starhawk and Sun-Girl, and mentions several galaxies were destroyed back in his home universe ... except the Sentry's from Earth, so ... It's actually because he's remembered the universe his powers come from.
  • Framing Device: The stories are explained as Reed and Sue Richards reading comic books to Franklin when he's unable to sleep.
  • Funny Background Event: In issue 2, as the Sentry talks to Scout, Watchdog sniffs a fire-hydrant and then manages to destroy it just by marking it.
  • The Hero Dies: The Void completely absorbs all the Sentry's power, killing him.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: Millie, giving advice to Manoo, tells him that he shouldn't just talk to his would-be girlfriend about shoes, because there are more things to women than that. Then she tells him to always compliment her shoes. The Sentry tries pointing out what she just did, only to be told to shush.
  • It Will Never Catch On: The letters page for issue 5 has the editor dismissing the idea of married superheroes.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In issue 6, Cranio points out some of the logical flaws of the Sentry's origin story from issue 1.
    Cranio: Ah, the gullibility of youth. That you would think that scientists would just leave such groundbreaking substances around with no security. Or that Russian missiles launch west with no political repercussions.
  • Large Ham Title: Cranio has a habit of introducing himself as "Cranio, the Man with the Tri-Level Mind!"
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The final issue has Cranio telling Sentry about another universe, one which is constantly being remade and reconstructed by a powerful being (supposedly, to match the universe he lives in now) and that Sentry's essence originally hails from that universe. The whole thing is fairly obviously a knock on DC, which did a Continuity Reboot largely to make their characters closer to those in the Marvel Universe, and where Sentry's original concept originated from.
  • Legacy Character: One of the Guardians of the Galaxy is a 31st century version of the Golden Age hero, the Destroyer (also doubles as a mythology gag, what with Drax the Destroyer being a founding member of the modern era Guardians).
  • Like a Duck Takes to Water: Harrison Oogar, Caveman of Wall Street. Him beat market five years straight.
  • Mood Whiplash: The Age of The Sentry issue 2 has a story about the Sentry's birthday. Typical Silver Age nonsense, with Jean Grey fawning over the Sentry's dog, and two Nick Furies in one place, and then the art changes to a more modern style, as Cranio arrives, with images of planets exploding behind him ... phew, good thing Bob just zoned out for a minute there, folks!
  • My Brain Is Big: Cranio, the Man With the Tri-Level Mind! In a variation on the usual form of this trope, rather than having one extra-large brain, Cranio has an enormous transparent skull with three normal-sized brains floating within it.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • A member of the Guardians of the Galaxy named Immortal One appears who is clearly Wolverine. This is a reference to the fact Wolverine, particularly his animalistic qualities and having a brown-and-black outfit in his later appearances, are highly similar to a member of the Legion of Superheroes (which the Guardians are standing in for) named Timber Wolf. There's also the member of the Guardians named Destroyer - no, not that Destroyer, the OG Golden Age Destroyer.
    • One of the responses to a letter in the final issue denies the idea that the Sentry and the Void are one and the same, since the preceding story was just an imaginary story (honest). After all, how would the Sentry be able to battle the Void if they were one and the same person? That'd just be crazy!note 
  • Nightmare Face: Issue 5 ends with a disturbing shot of Reed Richards making a manic face, made worse by his bloodshot, undershadowed eyes from lack of sleep.
  • Noodle Incident: The editor's notes and letter pages all allude to other incidents the Sentry was involved in over the years, none of which ever actually happened.
  • Obviously Evil: Warloo, Gtt-chow's current boyfriend, a large, burly Jerkass. Gtt-chow doesn't realise he's bad news right up until the guy has her strapped to a table.
  • Pants-Positive Safety: The Golden Age Sentry keeps his gun in the back of his pants.
  • Parody Sue: The Sentry himself is ridiculously more powerful and skilled than just about anyone, has no intended flaws, and is beloved by every hero in the Marvel Universe. This is entirely Played for Laughs.
  • Reality Warper: The Sentry, due to the nature of his powers, unintentionally warps it to fit him and his powers just by existing.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: A trio of kids manage to build a near-perfect robot replica of the Sentry, and use it to play Shipper on Deck.
  • Retraux: The miniseries focuses on the Sentry's supposed Silver Age era exploits, with art and writing style to match.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Some of the readers who send in letters appear to have this, asking questions only comic book fans from our universe would understand. The editor has no clue who this "Wolverine" fellow is, nor what a Marvel Zombie might be (though he comments that it sounds like what a fan of the Distinguished Competition would call a Marvel fanboy).
  • Sudden Downer Ending: Issue 6. The Sentry discovers the truth of his origins, and is then killed by the Void, who turns good and takes his place, with no-one the wiser, not even Lindy Lee. This is likely an homage to other Silver Age Superman stories, which frequently had surprisingly dark stories scattered among the absurd ones (particularly "imaginary stories", one of which featured Superman's first death).
  • Superdickery:
    • After Lindy Lee finds out his identity, the Sentry and the Professor wipe her memory, while Scout quips that "everyone knows gals can't keep a secret". Note that this is after Lindy helped save the Sentry's life.
    • After the incident with the overzealous fan-club, Robert Reynolds decides to date Lindy Lee while also dating the Sentress.
    • One of the letter pages mentions an incident where the Sentry feigned madness for an entire month, alienating his loyal friends and supporters, all to confuse a supervillain into believing his Brain-Addler-Beam would not work. The fan in question praises the Sentry for his heroic determination.
  • Take That!: At one point in the final issue, Sentry encounters a figure named Destroyer Darkmass, a cosmic-scale villain who routinely destroys his universe and then remakes it, with the apparent goal of making it more like the world Sentry currently resides in, and that his actions have splintered the timeline and made it impossible for the Sentry's essence to survive there. This is a pretty clear jab at DC's various Continuity Reboots and Continuity Snarls, particularly Crisis on Infinite Earths, which retconned out most of Superman's Silver Age adventures and largely changed the cosmology to function more like the Marvel Universe (including having many of Marvel's top creators on board).
  • Tempting Fate: Just after being kissed by Millie the Model, the Sentry thinks nothing could spoil his day. And then an angry Lindy appears.
  • Verbal Backspace: Sue Richards states Reed has been busy trying to undo global warming, only to state he was actually trying to cure Ben Grimm's mutation, when Ben (who was right next to her) does a double take.