Monday, November 15, 2010

How To Fix Marvel - Epilogue...The Story They Should Tell

To finish out my look at how to fix Marvel (and Reg asked what I'd do with DC, which is a whole 'nother story), I wanted to present my basic storyline for 24 issues of a Marvel title that I think could really bring Marvel out a bit, and it would help fix a B-list character they've messed up since his first appearance: The Sentry.

Yes, I've mentioned this character a lot, but now Marvel has set the stage for a way to combine the best of the two hottest selling independent titles out there, with a sprinkling of DC's "Elseworlds" and Marvel's "What If?", but keeping it all based in Marvel's current reality.

Quick recap of where Marvel is now: The Sentry is dead. During the "Dark Avengers" storyline that led into "Seige", Norman Osborn gradually manipulated him to the point where he finally snapped and became this evil incarnate that finally had to be killed by Thor. The world is terrified of him returning (witnessed in the "Hawkeye" limited series where Bullseye told the guards Sentry wasn't dead and it scared them to death). Remember, Marvel had originally set him up as the most powerful hero in their universe, then Quesada realized he didn't know how to write a comic book with a Superman-type character, so he gave him the "dark side" to hide behind. So here we go...

In the first eight issues, we have the return of the Sentry (no one in comics stays dead forever). But this time, we allow him to return without the dark "Void" crap that Marvel has clung onto from the beginning (never ever ever to return to this character again). Now we just have Bob Reynolds, a hero very sorry for what he's done and desperately wanting to have the chance to make up for it. Unfortunately, the world has seen this evil side and is terrified of him, unwilling to trust him. He must now justify himself. Even the other heroes won't trust him and want him dead!

Imagine this, we combine the concepts of Boom! Studios "Irredeemable" and "Incorruptible" by having the superhero who turns evil and kills his friends (remember Aries?), but then has a change of heart and wants to do right while the world is afraid of him. All of this, while staying in Marvel's current reality! A mainstream comic that is about redemption rather than one constant death after another!

During the second, fourth, and seventh issues, we see very quick one-page inserts of various alien warriors being abducted by some powerful force calling their name and saying "You are needed." All of this will come into play later in the storyline.

At the end of the eighth issue, Sentry goes into outer space to seek refuge because the world is terrified of him. For the next eight issues, Sentry finds planets that hail him as a hero because of how he helps them. But then at the same time there are worlds that have heard of him as the Void and fear him. Eventually we have several very cosmic fights as Sentry faces Gladiator of the Shi'ar and even has a rematch with Terrax.

Throughout this 8-issue arch, Sentry begins to slowly atone for what the Void made him do. He doesn't blame himself completely for what happened, and instead is able to realize he needs to fix things rather than constantly apologize for them.

But then we reach the final 8-issue storyline. A hugely powerful galactic warrior comes and attacks Sentry. After a very hard-fought battle, Sentry would find out this was the latest herald of Galactus, sent to kill him while Galactus himself is bearing down on Earth to destroy it. I could picture this being Galactus, though he's been defeated by the Fantastic Four so many times it's not funny. My Galactus, however, would have undergone a change. Instead of one herald, he would have created a small army of heralds, like a dozen or more (remember the abductions I mentioned earlier?). Now we have 12 heralds all rivaling Silver Surfer in terms of raw power, each with a different skill set.

They would lay waste to the heroes of Earth after an epic battle. All looks hopeless and lost, as Sentry streaks to Earth while Galactus sets up his machine to finally eat the planet.

Sentry arrives and begins a series of fights against the heralds of Galactus. One he could easily defeat, but four or five at a time would truly make for some great storytelling. As each herald is defeated, Sentry absorbs their power through his molecular manipulation. Each time he becomes more powerful as he turns each herald into the alien they were before they were changed.

And yes, the Silver Surfer would count as one of those heralds. A pretty epic fight, I think.

Sentry, herald of Galactus by Khris Reaves
After several fights, we get the final showdown where Sentry punches Galactus in the face and sends him down (and remember, Galactus is one of my favorite Marvel characters but I'm willing to do this for the greater good). Galactus sees that there was at one time some great conflict in Sentry, so as a twist he tries to turn Sentry into his greatest herald ever. The final scene of issue 23 is Sentry as some cosmic herald of Galactus, threatening to destroy the Earth. We see the heroes looking on in horror as the hero they could never defeat is evil again and more powerful than ever!

Then we hit issue 24. Sentry has already shown an ability to manipulate molecules (as he did to defeat the Molecule Man in Dark Avengers), so we see him override the change made to him and attempt to pull the very life essence from Galactus. In the process, he finds that The Void had actually taken over Galactus and used him in an attempt to destroy Sentry and Earth. The Void escapes into one of the former heralds and disappears into space. Galactus leaves the planet (again), and Sentry is seen as the hero who saved the world, though the people are still leery of him.

So there you have it, 24 issues of potential that could allow Marvel to cash in on some of the "hot stories" of today while still being original and keeping it all in current continuity without some massive bloodshed or people ripped in half or scenes of Sentry running off in tears again like we saw in Secret Invasion. Instead, we have a Superman-type character actually facing challenges in the Marvel Universe without crazy stuff. Can you tell I'm a writer who has always wanted to try his hand at comic books?

And how about his weakness now? With no Void, we have no weakness, right? Wrong. He's always been known as the man with "power of a million exploding suns", so his weakness now is the fact that he has to constantly vent off his power or he will die. In other words, he has to fly off somewhere (like the other side of the moon) and explode this massive power surge on a regular basis, or he'll go nuclear/cosmic. Khristian came up with that twist, and I liked it.

Just think, when the people finally start trusting him again, someone discovers he's a walking thermonuclear bomb just waiting to detonate and everyone is scared of him again! There's another eight-issue arch in that one!

So there you go, my look at Marvel is over. Someday soon I may take on DC, but for next week I'm turning it over to my new co-blogger, Khristian. My son is a comic book fan and you've seen his graphic work before on here (and on this very post in two places!) and he's agreed to help me out with guest posts. Next week, is sure to be interesting if you're a movie buff! I'll be back in two weeks with more rants and raves.

So what do you think about the story? Comment away!

11 comments:

Rick said...

great pot Brian. I thought his weakness would be darkness. Since he haas the power of the sun. Like he can't spend more then an hour in the dark or he would loose his powers or die.

Bab said...

Mind if I add a suggestion? You want good Marvel cartoons? Hire Bruce Timm away from WB! He's a true fan and would be able to take Marvel (toons at least)characters back where they belong. Great blog, I'm happy to have found it!
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Anonymous said...

WHY ARE YOU NOT WRITING FOR MARVEL!?

They fucking ruined Sentry who I loved

Brian Reaves said...

Thanks, Anonymous. I would gladly write for them! Put in a good word for me, ok? :)

Anonymous said...

Just to let you know, it's Siege, not Seige.

Also, Quesada didn't create the
Sentry's dark side, Paul Jenkins
did (and that was during the
Sentry's first miniseries).

César Hernández-Meraz said...

I did like your story ideas for the Sentry.

It reminds me of all I liked from the first Gambit regular series. Each issue revealed something that would later be used in the stories themselves, even if, at the moment, it did not seem it would be a part of it. At the end, everything that happened in the comic had a reason to be there.

SmoothYeti said...

I am a HUGE Sentry fan, I hail him as probably my favourite character. It was a very sad day when I went in to the comic book shop to find the one shot with Sentry's funeral.

It was utter bollocks, but I expected it. After the sheer humiliation of being killed in no more than 5 panels because the writers ran out of space, he was laid to rest as the most raped of potential character Marvel has ever had.

I love this guy, there is so much to him. The constant rewriting of his origins was horrific, and looking at the several attempts they had, you can almost use him to see how the Marvel writing style has changed. See in his first mini-series where there is a scale to his darker side, he has ruined the world before. Then in his second mini-series (drawn by Romita Jr), we see his turmoil is more isolated, with only a city or two at stake. Then finally, in the Dark Avengers (I'm breezing over his introduction to the New Avengers because that is simply outside of a house) where, yes, it gets "gritty and realistic." They made him a drug addict, and not just addict to drugs, addicted to power.

He spans the whole writing changes of the decade. Scale of the world, down-scaled to a few cities, to a garden, and then "realism".

Incidentally what you proposed as his next story arc I thought of too, at least along similar lines. My theory was that he was far too powerful to be on Earth, so he could go on his own galactic quest, potentially getting caught up in matters concerning Nova or the Guardians of the Galaxy. Hell, imagine if he joined the Annnihilators. But I would've kept him on his own path.

I find the What If? where he consumes the world hilarious and fucking amazing in equal proportion, simply because that could happen. It also pisses me off though that at least one other story in that book shows him dying, if I remember rightly.

I would've much preferred if he was banished from Earth, but told up front about it, not like Planet Hulk, instead of being killed in such a manner. He would have the whole universe to travel in order to get over the crimes he has committed, and to get over the death of his wife.

I respect Bendis introducing him back in to the universe, but I cannot forgive him for mutilating such potential. I can even understand why Marvel wouldn't make someone like Superman. Someone like Superman would stand out like a sore thumb in the Marvel universe. Everyone based on Earth seems to be at ground level, instead of high above everyone else, or in the Fortress of Solitude. Marvel can create scale, but their characters are down to earth, no matter how powerful they are. Even when Earth characters are in space, their mentalities are still very rooted to Earth, as if they still live on it.

But, Sentry could have been the exception. There could be conflict between him and the Avengers if he steals their limelight, instead of having to limit his powers to fight by their side. He could do all the work instead of them, and more, almost making them not needed. Just, something that would properly capture the scale of the Sentry's power, and his potential.

It's a shame. We'll see him again, but I almost hope we don't. Not unless he's treated with respect. For as long as he stays dead, no one can rape him.

One final thought though. He shouldn't actually be dead should he? Several things. CLOC tells us in the funeral one shot that he shall rebuild the Watchtower and await his master's return. Reed is told to read a passage from his diary, which surely leads to something. He also has Molecule Man's powers, which means in theory he cannot die. The only reason I'm hesitant with such is that if Molecule Man can die, could Sentry? Or did Molecule Man only die because of how powerful Sentry is?

R.I.P Robert, until about a year's time.

Ps. Really liked your story arc idea. Who did the fake art for him and Galactus?

janice wee said...

Great idea. I actually like the way Sentry started off in New Avengers and so much could have be done with him if Marvel hadn't messed it up.

Would love it if they brought back Sentry without Void and had to work to regain trust of everyone.. love your plot.

C. Lewal said...

This wouldn't work. Someone would say someone with the power of a million exploding suns (a walking nuclear bomb) shouldn't exist, Captain America would realize he's a huge hazard to Earth, and then somehow Hope and the Scarlet Witch would destroy him.

On the other hand, they could power him down. That might ensure he has a place in the Marvel universe that doesn't involve Stark and Reed safety-draining him or something.

Anonymous said...

I really liked your idea man. I'm also a huge fan of Galactus, and I love your idea of him absorbing the powers of his newly appointed army, and then going after Galactus. I'm a really big fan of the Sentry, he has sooooo much potential but Marvel insists on raping the character to the point where it's just not even recognizable anymore.

I'm not sure if the writer's even realize the magnitude of that much power though in the first place.... A million exploding suns... one supernova has the energy and destructive capability of 10 Trillion of our most powerful nuclear bombs.... now multiple that by a million. An un-restricted energy blast from the Sentry would theoretically wipe out AT LEAST a few galaxies. I honestly don't see how Thor could even have concievably damaged him let alone killed him if your looking at the numbers properly...

But meh, I'm really hoping he comes back better then ever. No more headcase, no more void crap, and finally realises his full potiential. I want to see some arc where it shows him REALLY going all out.
IDK maybe he gets sucked into some alternate dimension where Galactus found a way to absorb Death, Chaos, Order, Hate, Love, Infinity, and Eternity... Basically he no longer needs to feed on the energy of planets, and the universe is his toy that he runs like a spoiled child. So Sentry has to fight a Super Galactus lol. Ok it's blown out of proportion but it would make anything DC has ever done look like a joke :P

Anonymous said...

I dont really think The Sentry needs to come back and really hope he doesnt come back ever.

The original mini series was really good and interesting because it was kind of out there for Marvel at the time (and with really beautiful art) but the more Sentry was used, the more of a deux ex machina he became no matter what kind of emotional/psychological brakes they put on him. A really unconvincing one at that.

The exact same thing would happen again and, without any disrespect, if your story ever got made then the next 6 issues would be well spent having Thanos take The Sentry apart forever.

The best thing about The Sentry was that he was sort of a parody of, or twist on, Superman and the worst thing about him was that he was actually Superman.

For me the joke had the best possible punchline in Siege and should be left alone.

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