New Avengers (1st series) #9

Issue Date: 
September 2005
Story Title: 
The Sentry, part three

Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Steve McNiven (Penciler), Mark Morales (Inker), Morry Hollowell (Colorist), RS and COMICRAFT’s Albert Deschesne (Letterer), David Finch, Danny Miki and Frank D’Armata (Cover), Deborah Weinstein (Production), Aubrey Sitterson and Molly Lazer (Assistant Editors), Andy Schmidt (Associate Editor), Tom Brevoort (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

Yesterday, Iron Man and his Illuminati group met to discuss the Sentry, but no one seems to remember him, not even Reed Richards, who was the one who sent Matt Murdock to the Raft to meet the Sentry in the first place. However, when Reed scans his files he finds 1,223 references to the Sentry, which leads Xavier to discover that someone has tampered with Reed’s mind. In the present, the heroes who have gathered to confront Robert are attacked by the Void. Emma Frost and Mr. Fantastic get to Robert and are protected by the powers of Iron Man, Invisible Woman and Dr. Strange. Mr. Fantastic shows Robert a video he made as the Sentry long ago, detailing how no one remembers him, not even himself. Once in a while, he has moments of clarity, but he forgets soon after. That is why he made this video, so one day someone could figure things out. After seeing this, Robert agrees to let Emma in his head and the two find thousands of suppressed memories, but odd enough some are in comic book form. Emma then finds a hidden memory and discovers that a mystery villain hired her old enemy, Mastermind, to mentally erase the memory of the Sentry out of Robert’s head and also to make him scared to use his powers for fear of creating the Void. In addition, Mastermind reprogrammed Robert to unknowingly make everyone else forget him as well. This revelation is too much for Robert to bear and he runs away from Emma.

Full Summary: 

Iron Man sits at a table in a decrepit building alongside Namor, an astral projection of Dr. Strange, Black Bolt, Mr. Fantastic and Professor Charles Xavier. Iron Man, sans helmet, tells the men that this is what he wanted to speak with them about. Does anyone there know who the Sentry is? They might have a problem on their hand.

Who? questions Xavier. Robert Reynolds, replies Iron Man. He then turns to Mr. Fantastic and asks him to fill the others in on who Robert Reynolds is. Reed, however, is confused as to why Tony would ask him. Tony repeats the name of the Sentry, but Reed apologizes, as he does not know who that is. Tony reminds Reed that last week he sent Matt Murdock to the Raft to look into his case. I did, asks the bewildered Richards.

You didn’t, asks the now confused Tony. Reed admits that he doesn’t know who the Sentry is. Tony describes the physical features of the man in question, but this does not ring up any bells in Reed’s head, not even the part where Tony mentions that Sentry recently asked S.H.I.E.L.D. to throw him in prison for murdering his wife. However, Lindy Reynolds is alive.

Reed explains to Tony that he hasn’t spoken to Matt Murdock in months. He isn’t trying to be cagey, for he really has no clue what Tony is talking about. Iron Man admits his confusion, but Reed decides to check his files on his hand held device. While the hand held searches, Reed begins to explain that it won’t find anything… but then all of a sudden the hand held announces it has found references in Reed’s files to the Sentry. In fact, it found 1,223 references. Xavier turns to Reed and tells him that he thinks someone has been tampering with his brain without his permission.

Robert Reynolds is on his knees, dressed in his t-shirt and boxers, crying outside his house, in front of the combined forces of the Avengers, X-Men, Inhumans, Fantastic Four, Dr. Strange, Namor and S.H.I.E.L.D. In tears, Reynolds tells the heroes that he is there. The heroes are all confused, and also oblivious to the massive oozing black tentacles slithering in the sky overhead. However, Thing is the first to see the attack, but it is too late. The tentacles strike without mercy and slam into the ground, which sends the heroes off their feet violently.

Robert looks on helplessly as he sees Captain America chop a tentacle in half. Thing and Spider-Man wrestle against their assailing tentacles, while Cyclops defends himself with an optic blast. Wolverine slashes through, as Medusa finds one of her arms caught. As he looks on in horror, Robert hears a voice telling him that they are all going to stop this right now.

Robert looks up to see Mr. Fantastic and Emma Frost before him. He also notices they are in some sort of pink protective bubble. Robert screams that the void is there, but Reed tells him that they are protected. Robert does not accept this, though. Reed reasons with Robert and calls his attention to the Invisible Woman, who is creating this shield around them. Dr. Strange is casting a spell to fortify it, and Iron Man is creating another field around all of that. Emma Frost here is going to use her mutant psychic powers to help him. However, they need him to help them.

Emma speaks up and tells Robert that usually under this kind of physical attack she would gleefully use her powers to unlock his mind for him, but in his case that is too dangerous. He has to let her in. He has to do this. Reed asks Robert if he can do that and stop this attack. Confused, Robert tells them that he isn’t doing this. The Void is doing this.

Outside the bubble, the heroes confront a massive fiery monster with horns, calling itself the Void. He tells the heroes that he is the bringer of destruction and death to the world. Spider-Man tells the Void that they weren’t really looking for destruction and death today, but they will take his application and let him know of an opening.

In the protected bubble, Reed pulls out a circular monitor out of a case and asks him if he can hear him. He can stop this. Confused, Robert asks Reed what he is talking about. He is just a normal guy. You can do it, says Reed. Still confused, Robert asks Reed why he thinks he can stop this. You told me, says Reed. He then turns on the monitor. Robert watches a video of himself, where he introduces himself to Reed and tells the scientist that if Reynolds looks familiar, but unable to be placed anywhere, then Reed should join the club.

Robert, dressed up as the Sentry in the video, tells Reed in the recording that he is making this video because, outside Reed’s family, Robert is his best friend. How can that be, though, if Reed doesn’t even remember him? Sentry does not know. He doesn’t even know how and when he’ll get this video to Reed. He has a feeling he has already sent him a message like this. If Reed sees this hopefully he will be curious enough to find the other pieces and put it together. Needless to say, something bad has happened to him. No one remembers him and for the most part he doesn’t remember himself either. He knows he is Robert and he is married and has a dog. However, anything to do with this costume is a blank in his mind.

Sometimes he has cycles of memories of his other life, but they are all jumbled and fall on top of each other and then his powers come and go. Sometimes he has a moment of clarity, like now, where he knows everything. Then two seconds later it is all gone. Then he is just some guy sitting in front of his television. The thing is though; he thinks he is doing it to himself somehow. He might be punishing himself for doing something. Maybe he is trying to stop being the Sentry by attacking himself with the Void. He is the Void. He knows this. However, why is he the Void? Why has he created something to punish himself for being the Sentry?

If it wasn’t him that did this then was it Reed? Did Sentry ask Reed to do this to him? Who has the power to do something like this to him? Does he have the power to do this to himself? How powerful is he really? Worse yet, maybe he just doesn’t have the emotional power for all of this and he is insane. This could be a cry for help. Either way, he is scared out of his mind. Even now his mind is falling black again. He doesn’t remember who he is making this video for. He will have to rewind later to see. That is how quickly this all slips away.

Sentry admits he is scared Reed will see this and then forget he saw it. Sentry then asks Reed for a favor. If he cannot fix this then he should toss Reynolds into the Negative Zone or into Skrull space, or just kill him with an ultimate nullifier. He does not want to live like this for a moment longer. He half remembers Spider-Man talking about great power and great responsibility. He has tons of power and can’t take responsibility for it.

In conclusion, if by some odd miracle he and Reed are watching this together, then he has a message for himself. Shut up and let them do whatever they have to do to stop this. Does he hear himself? He has to do what they say. He just wants to go home! He really wanted to be a hero. He really did. He loves his wife. He hopes he hasn’t done anything he can’t live with.

The video ends.

Outside the bubble, the Void is now a fat, disgusting monster with boils all over him. The heroes converge on the beast, who threatens to end the world.

In the bubble, Robert thinks to himself for a moment, and then tells Emma to do whatever she needs to do. Emma tells Robert to relax and to open his mind to her. Robert begins to ask Emma what will happen, but suddenly his mind is ripped away and taken to the astral plane.

Robert finds himself in a white void with Emma Frost, who marvels at what she sees. While Robert rubs his head, Emma tells him that he is suffering from very complex memory suppression and it amazes her. Robert looks up to see a stream of various images of his life, from the normal and mundane to the heroic and crazy. Emma tells him that sections of his brain have been closed off. What he is seeing is what she has cracked open a little, but his brain is hungry for all that it has been denied. What he is seeing now are his memories. This is he. However, the problem is… how he can have all these experiences with all these people like Hulk, Hawkeye, Dr. Strange, Reed, Kingpin, Thor, Vision, Iron Man, and etc…but no one has even heard of him.

Emma tells Robert not to answer, as it was rhetorical. It is one thing for him to make himself forget himself, but that doesn’t answer why no one else remembers him. She already went through this with Reed this morning and found all these memories of the Sentry repressed in the same way. Is Robert a psychic too? She thinks that, if they can find the memory that shows her how he became the Sentry, they might be able to pinpoint where and when this all came apart. However, he needs to remain calm and he needs to concentrate.

“‘Kay?” asks Emma, who finally ends her monologue.

With her powers, Emma probes through the memories and finds one of a teenage Robert. However, the image looks as if were taken out of a comic book. Emma is confused and wonders why this looks like this. The two watch the memory as Robert finds the Professor’s secret formula, which might be the secret to life. A young Robert drinks the formula and is suddenly transformed from geeky and scrawny to muscular and handsome!

Ok, says Emma, as she understands how Robert got his powers. However, she still doesn’t understand why the memory looks like a comic book. Wait a minute, says the scared Robert. Emma asks him what this is.

The memory shifts to that of Robert in a suit, declaring that he was given the powers of a thousand exploding suns for a reason. He will stand for something more than himself. He will stand for humanity’s hope.

Robert tells Emma to stop this, but she tells him that she isn’t doing anything. He is doing it all. Robert, confused, tells her that this isn’t right. This isn’t how it happened. Look at that though, says Emma as she point at a memory straight ahead of her. The two lean closer to see the memory of Robert in a cave, in Nevada, with Iron Man, Captain America, his wife Lindy, and comic book creator Paul Jenkins.

Emma asks Robert if this was today. I think so, says Robert. Comic books, states Emma. What does this mean, asks the worried Robert. I’m looking, says Emma as she looks around at the other memory snapshots before her. Emma uses her powers to look around and tells Robert to stay strong. They will find it.

Suddenly, she does find it. Robert sees a spot where a memory should be, but instead if is nothing but darkness. What is it, Robert asks. Something we are not supposed to see, replies Emma. Emma then rushes up to the memory and rips it off the streaming gallery. Her eyes glow blue and she tells Robert that this might feel a little weird. She then stabs her hand finger into the memory and charges it with psychic energy, causing Robert to scream.

Just relax, says Emma, as they look into the memory.

In the memory, the Sentry looks up and is in a laboratory. A man tells another that he is done. How do you know, replies the other. It is what you hired me for, answers the first. It is done; the Sentry is no more.

Robert asks who that is. Emma replies that the man is Jason Wyngarde, also known as Mastermind. He is an old school villain; part of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

The memory continues as Mastermind tells the other mystery man that there was a tremendous mental force holding Sentry’s powers together. The other man argues that the Sentry’s powers are solar based, but Mastermind tells the man that it is the mind that holds them together. That is what made this operation work so well. Mastermind’s powers allow him to make Sentry see, smell, hear, and feel anything he wants him to. He has found that the stronger the mind, the easier this works. One would think it would be the opposite, but it is not.

Emma, perplexed, asks Robert who the other man is.

In the memory, the second man, who wears a military hat, tells Mastermind that this is the greatest achievement of his life.

Who is this, wonders Emma.

In the memory, Mastermind tells the other that he is proud of this too. Not only will Robert not remember being the Sentry, but he himself will make it so no one remembers him either. He won’t even know he is doing it. How will it work, asks the other man. Mastermind explains that Robert will be so scared that he will think the world is being attacked by the devil if he uses his powers.

Suddenly, Robert clutches his head and screams that it cannot be him. Who, asks Emma.

In the memory, which is beginning to fade, the mystery man tells Mastermind that this is more than he hoped for. Mastermind tells him that there is a catch. The mystery man may not even remember this happening either. No one will know he beat the Sentry. They won’t remember the Sentry. It doesn’t matter, says the other man. All that matters is that he did it. This is complete and total. No hero has been dealt this defeat before. The Sentry is beaten mentally and physically. The mystery man doesn’t need people to know. This is good enough. P>

The memory ends.

This is wrong, states Robert, as he runs away from Emma. He tells her that she had not right to do this. Emma tells Robert that this isn’t his fault, but before she can chase after him she hears a loud booming sound. “Oh no…” says Emma as she senses what is outside.

Outside the bubble, the Void has transformed into another terrible gray beast and begins pounding on the protective bubble, while the heroes lie defeated all around.

“YOU HAD NO RIGHT!” screams the Void as he bashes the bubble.

Characters Involved: 

Luke Cage, Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman (Avengers)
Wolverine (Avengers and X-Men)

Beast, Colossus, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Shadowcat (X-Men)
Blackbolt, Gorgon I, Karnack, Lockjaw, Medusa (Inhumans)
Dr. Strange
Human Torch II, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Thing (Fantastic Four)
Namor, the Submariner

Robert Reynolds/Sentry

Black Bolt, Dr. Strange, Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Namor, Professor Xavier (the Illuminati)

Memory: Mastermind I
Mystery villain

Story Notes: 

Six months after Avengers (1st Series) #503, Electro is hired by a mysterious employer to break Karl Lykos out of the Raft, a prison near New York for super-powered criminals. Already on the island were Matt Murdock and his hired bodyguard, Luke Cage, who were there to meet with the mysterious super-hero, the Sentry, who was in jail by his own decision and for also apparently murdering his wife. Spider-Woman, an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., also worked at the Raft when Electro attacked. Soon, Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-Man found themselves at the Raft to help out, and won the impossible battle. Captain America, inspired, asked Iron Man, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Luke Cage and Daredevil to join him as the new Avengers, though Daredevil rejected the offer. The team discovered that the break was to cover the escape of Sauron, whom the team tracked to the Savage Land and captured with the aid of Wolverine, who was asked to join the team. However, the team secretly discovered that several of the inmates on the Raft were listed as dead and that a rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. operation squad was mining for vibranium. Someone, or some group, is harboring illegal material and super villains as weapons, and there are strong indications that S.H.I.E.L.D. and its new director cannot be trusted. Thus, the Avengers were reborn. Worse yet, though, is that Spider-Woman seems to have a triple allegiance, as not only does she still work for S.H.I.E.L.D., but she also works for a secret employer whom she is reporting back on about the activities of the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D.

Though not named in the story arc, writer Brian Michael Bendis later revealed that the group Iron Man met with is known as the Illuminati and have been secretly around for a while. Details about them can be seen in New Avengers: The Illuminati special, a precursor to the Marvel Civil War event.

At this time, Xavier is secretly on Genosha, as seen in Excalibur (2nd Series), so that is why he is probably not with the heroes to confront the Sentry alongside his X-Men, many of whom do not know that he is on Genosha.

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