Sentinel Squad O*N*E #3

Issue Date: 
May 2005
Story Title: 
Tin Can Heroes: part 3: Savagery

John Layman (writer), Aaron Lopresti (pencils), Norm Rapmund (inks), Chris Walker (colors), Dave Sharpe (letters), Nick Lowe (associate editor), Sean Ryan (editor), Mike Marts (supervising editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

James Rhodes and his recruits have all traveled to the Savage Land, but have been taken down by wild, mind-controlled dinosaurs. It even results in one of the recruit’s death. The survivors are found by Brainchild, Barbarus and Amphibius, who bring them to their newly-installed compound for their own evil purposes. Back in the USA, Valerie called the remaining recruits to her office to find out what went wrong during the battle with the Growing Man. During the meeting, Meld sticks up for Lex and lies that the power overload and the mass destructions are all his fault. Val apparently believes Meld, but hereby he is probably going to lose his chance for promotion. After a reunion with Slayton, who is now bound to a wheelchair, the recruits leave to the Savage Land. There, they meet up with Sergeant John Steele and his recruits. After a rough introduction, they battle the wild dinosaurs, but unfortunately Steele’s team ends up killed as well. During the battle, Lex uses his mutant powers to save himself and his teammates and thereby manage to fly into safety. But, now his secret of being a mutant is out and the truth about the earlier power overload revealed. Lex doesn’t want to worry about that now: his prime concern is to rescue Rhodes and the others. And he even has a plan to do that: they will rescue everyone without the usage of the Sentinels!

Full Summary: 

The Savage Land…

James Rhodes has been defeated. Four strong, giant arms pick him up, noticing that Rhodes is still alive. Another mysterious creature checks another defeated Sentinel, and finds another survivor. An amphibious-like creature finds an unconscious Skylark, who is also still alive and picks her up. Brainchild orders Barbarus and Amphibious to take their new foundlings back to the compound, certain they can find some use for them.

Barbarus notices another recruit, but he’s half-dead. Brainchild doesn’t think that the guy is going to last much longer, since he already lost a lot of blood. He thinks it’s better to leave him behind, so the mutates all walk back to their base. A few moments later, the fallen are approached by another, lizard-like creature who is ready to have some lunch!

9500 miles away in America, at the Sentinel Squad O*N*E* base…

Valerie angrily shows the gathered recruits in her office the disasters that happened yesterday. She explains that this was supposed to be a routine bodyguard assignment. Instead, an entire town was reduced in ruble, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage. Two Sentinel units were destroyed. And Jake Slayton is going to be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Val grants that the recruits contained a significant threat, but there are numerous unanswered questions about exactly what occurred. This morning, she plans on finding out the truth.

She asks Lex the first question. She shows him a picture of his Sentinel unit fighting the Growing Man. Val has learned that Lex’ Sentinel exhibited a strange power surge of unknown energy, which none of the O*N*E* technicians can explain or account for. And she hopes that Lex can. Meld interrupts, lying that he believes he has something to do with it. He lies that, before Lex and his squad went on the assignment, they had some words and that Lex isn’t the biggest fan of mutants. Meld claims that, because of his power to manipulate whatever metal he touches, his Sentinel is different from those of the others. He retrofitted it to allow the flexibility and responsiveness to his powers. So, Meld adds, after he and Lex went at it, he was mad. Meld claims to have touched Lex’ Sentinel and manipulated it bit by bit, making the power overload his fault.

Valerie appreciates Jeremiah’s candor, but his actions could have killed somebody. She defends that, under normal circumstances, this revelation would have probably been enough to kick him off the team. As it stands, this will go into Meld’s jacket, and will very likely affect his long-term prospects of promotions. Meld understands. Valerie continues to say that, before they move over the unit to the reassignments, she would like to explore some of the various protocols that were ignored in the bodyguard mission. Including the fact that the recruit company C.O. did not issue a plan of attack.

Briggs becomes angry when he hears Val talking about the reassignments. He defends that he already informed Val that the communications system was down, and that the others jumped into the fight before he could give his orders. He wants to know where the combat instructor is, as he isn’t present at the meeting. After all, he was the one who signed off this unit going into the field when some of them clearly weren’t ready.

Briggs believes that Rhodes should take some of the responsibility. Val reminds Briggs that he’s walking on thin ice. She explains to him that he can talk about responsibility with his new Unit commander. Briggs has now been relieved of his commands. And as for Rhodes, she adds, he was leading another Sentinel Squad unit to the Antarctic. And at the moment, he is missing in action. And the recruits Rhodes took with him are presumed dead.

A few moments later…

The recruits walk out of Val’s office, and go outside. They notice all of the broken Sentinel parts being dropped back on the ground. Nixon jokes that they said his squad was a disaster, but when he takes a look at all of the Sentinel parts lying around, it looks like the other squad’s mission has been a complete disaster. Rajani warns Nixon not to bee too smug, as there aren’t any of them left to chew out. She defends that this is the unit they will replace, and realizes that they will probably face the same thing they did.

At the back, Lex whispers to Meld and thanks him for what he did for him back in Val’s office, especially considering what kind of a jerk he has been. Meld doesn’t mind, as he gets that kind of behavior from most people. He doesn’t see any reason why Lex should have been any different. After all, Lex isn’t the only mutant who wishes he could keep his powers a secret. Lex doesn’t know what to say. Nixon thinks Joni must think it’s pretty cool to be reassigned to the Brawler unit. Rajani thinks so, remembering that Valerie told her that her temperament suited that unit. And, she also angrily defends, she doesn’t like being called “Joni.”

Nixon believes that they are still going to need somebody to supply the technical information. He wants to know who’s going to pilot up the recon unit. Slayton, now with a wheelchair, jokes that that would be him. Everyone is thrilled to see Jake again, except for Briggs, who still mocks about the fact that Val mentioned he’s walking on ice. Slayton jokes he can’t let the team down when there’s work to be done.

Nixon is surprised that Slayton is already talking about work when he shouldn’t even be back on his feet yet. Slayton doesn’t see why not, as he can pilot a Sentinel as good as anyone else can. And from what he’s been told, the unit is going to need all the help they can get. Nixon thinks Slayton must have heard about their mission to Antarctica. Slayton confirms that, mentioning that he’s got a full workup on the mission. The other squads they are backing up, including their new squad commander, Sergeant Steele. Steele is some piece of work. And for the record, their new mission won’t be just Antarctica. It will be in… the Savage Land!

While taking a look at the beautiful Savage Land and its many dinosaurs, Steele begins explaining the unit’s mission. First thing he needs the recruits to do is to forget everything their old combat instructor taught them. He reveals that he and his men were the first Sentinel Squad to be combat-certified. He wants the recruits to understand he doesn’t want them working with him, and that he already doesn’t like them. But as long as everyone is there, Steele wants to make one thing clear: he will be the voice of God. He will be the divine rapture and merciless retribution, all rolled up into one glorious piece of metal mobile warfare. Everyone can call him Sarge, or even Sergeant John Steele. Steele doesn’t even care what the rookies are going to call him; he just expects that when he gives an order it will be followed up upon.

Steele points the recruits to the valley below. That is mutate territory. He explains that the mutates are a bunch of freaks that Magneto made even freakier, and that they have been causing problems ever since. Their compound showed up a month ago on the O*N*E* satellite imaging systems, and what they are doing there is anybodies guess, but it looks like one big mess. He adds that the Savage Land already has intelligent dinosaurs, and they aren’t sure what augmentation devices have been implanted onto their heads. O*N*E*’s intel hasn’t been able to inform him if building a super-powered dinosaur army is the mutates’ plan, or just part of their plan. But Steele doesn’t really care about that. He does care about finding out if Rhodes and the other recruits are still alive, and entering the compound where they will probably be.

Lex wants to know what the plan is. Steele is surprised to hear that remark. He angrily defends that they are hundred-foot tall robots with super-strength, laser beams and enough munitions to fill-up a battle tank. He wonders what Lexington thinks the plan is. Lex admits that doesn’t really make him feel any better. After all, they all saw what happened to the last Sentinel Squad that came there. Steele reveals that he read Lex’s file and doesn’t need that kind of attitude. Steele defends that they originally send one squad in to deal with these monsters, and now they have three squads to work with. They’ve got twenty-four super-strong Sentinels, with the combined firepower of Desert Storm and Hiroshima. He gives the order to move into action, so all the Sentinels do as told and attack the mind-controlled dinosaurs!

Steele orders Williamson to fire some missiles. He does so, but the missiles are out of control! They ricochet, and hit Winston’s Sentinel! His Sentinel is destroyed, but luckily Winston himself survives the blast. Steele believes that these dinosaurs don’t just have enhanced strength and defenses – they are telekinetic as well! A dinosaur attacks Briggs using its claws, but Briggs is having trouble of his claustrophobia again and doesn’t do a thing to help himself. Steele lifts his Sentinel up into safety. Slayton recognizes that the Sentinels are too powerful, and fears they are going to be exterminated if they don’t keep moving. Steele, who gets surrounded by many wild dinosaurs, believes they are going to be exterminated anyway.

Lex doesn’t think so. He decides to use his powers, and charges up his Sentinel. Another power overload takes place, which hit the dinosaurs and takes most of them out! Briggs finally realizes the truth: that wasn’t just a power overload earlier: it was caused by Lex! Everyone is startled, except for Meld, who is pleased. Steele wants to know how many mutants are on this squad. Lex doesn’t think that’s important right now, noticing that not all dinosaurs are defeated yet. He wants to retreat but Steele doesn’t think so. Lex doesn’t care about what Steele says, as he doesn’t want to end up as dinosaur food. He orders his squad to follow him and leave. Steele angrily defends that Lexington doesn’t get to give the orders around here. As Lex’ squad follows him, the dinosaurs fire their optic beams upon Steele and his squad, killing them all!

Briggs becomes angry with the fact that there are just six of them left. Rajani knows that, and believes that, if they hadn’t followed Lex’ lead, they might have ended up as well. Briggs doesn’t care, as they can’t know that for real. Lex has had enough of Briggs’ whining and wonders when he’s finally going to step up and do something. He leaves his Sentinel, and uses a platform to land on the ground. Briggs thinks that the mutant they’ve been working together with is also a deserter.

Briggs becomes even more upset and wants to hear one good reason why he shouldn’t blast Lex. Lex smiles that he isn’t going to run away. He claims that, if these mutates and their pet dinosaurs want a fight, they are going to get one. And they are also going to rescue Rhodes and the other recruits. But they won’t do it without a plan because otherwise they’ll end up dead as well. They are going to rescue everyone… without Sentinels!

Characters Involved: 


James Rhodes

Valerie Cooper

Alexander Lexington, Emil Winston, Nathaniel Briggs, Jake Slayton, Meld, Randall Nixon, Rajani Dhama, Tracy Skylark, Williamson and unnamed others (all O*N*E* recruits)

Sergeant John Steele

Amphibius, Brainchild, Barbarus (all Savage Land Mutates)

several Savage Land dinosaurs (all unnamed)

on Val’s computer screens:


the Growing Man

Story Notes: 

First appearance of Sergeant John Steele and mentioning of Williamson.

Lexington and Meld had words about Lex’ mutant powers in Sentinel Squad O*N*E* #1. The team fought the Growing Man last issue, which resulted in Slayton losing his legs.

“Desert Storm” is another name for the Gulf War, which began with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990 and was eventually over in 28 February, 1991. The Japanese city of Hiroshima is best known in historical facts for the World War II bombings on August 6, 1945 with the use of the atomic bomb “Little Boy.”

Magneto having created the Savage Land mutates was revealed in X-Men (1st series) #62.

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