The Scarlet Witch suffered a second nervous breakdown which resulted in her returning the Earth to its original state with her reality altering powers. While things seem to have shifted back to normal for regular people and superheroes. Things are everything but normal for mutants. What exactly did the Witch do to her own mutant kind?
Due to the Scarlet Witch stripping a majority of the mutant race's powers, the mutant population has dwindled to a handful and are now facing extinction. The Sentinel Squad whom are commanded by O.N.E. (Office of National Emergency) had been ordered to protect the remaining population and see to it that they not leave the X-Men's school grounds, mainly because the US government now believes they can control them. However, these Sentinels are very different, they are not the ones the mutant population had been fighting for so many years. Who exactly are they? And how was the Sentinel Squad even formed? -summary
Sentinel Squad is another crossover in the Decimation story arc, which is the follow up event to House of M. The stories were meant to further expand on a premise that actually had some incredible potential. After the Scarlet Witch stripped most of the population of their mutant powers, she plunged the race into a state of confusion and very soon despair. Many mutants woke up the next day with their lives completely changed; some were changed for the better because they can now walk as regular humans, others happened to die immediately due to the instant erasing of their powers. One mutant drowned because his powers were lost while he was in water, and another burned to death while examining a volcano. The Scarlet Witch's brother Quicksilver, took drastic measures to restore his powers, which eventually lead to a Cold War between the US government and the Inhumans. For the most part, many of these crossovers addressed the obvious hanging plot threads in some way and therefore didn't come off as serious filler. One part of the story I didn't see coming would be the origin of the Sentinel Squad. I mean, who would actually care about them? It isn't exactly as if they made such an amazing first impression in Decimation: The Day After. In fact, one came off as such a jerk I doubt anyone would have cared about his story. In any case, John Layman delivers Decimation: Sentinel Squad # 1 - 5, which covers the founding of the group and even attempts to develop its members.
The actual story behind the founding of Sentinel Squad is quite believable. The Sentinels of the past relied on their programming, which made it impossible for them to determine right or wrong. They couldn't look pass their main priority which was the killing or capturing of mutants. Valerie Cooper, a liaison of the government, believes it would be best to use human pilots for the Sentinels, and she gets the green light to carry out the project after a demonstration. From there the candidates are introduced, with James Rhodes, one time Iron Man and current War Machine, to act as their instructor.
The hardcore comic fan in me had to own this story, and even I wasn't impressed. So I can imagine plenty of others not getting into this comic at all. The biggest names in this book are actually the Sentinels, and they're far more popular than both Valerie Cooper and James Rhodes, but the Sentinels a majority of fans love are the cold, merciless, robotic mutant killers, and not these human piloted ones. This is not exactly a good thing at all. Therefore, Layman puts himself in a position where he must deliver with these characters he's pushing and the action.
The characters seem to have some type of personality beyond the usual stereotypes as you will see later in the book. I cared for some a little while there was one I completely loathed, so I guess Layman's writing for them worked on some level. But since these are Sentinels we're reading about, then well, the action must stand out at some point. If you've read even half of the battles between the X-Men and the Sentinels, then you're not going to be the least bit impressed here. The Sentinel Squad's first real mission sees them heading to the Savage Land, where they battle a group of somewhat intelligent dinosaurs. The action can be good at times, as you will see torn up clothes in the dinosaurs mouths, which indicates they have eaten some of the members. However, since the overall story wasn't great, it definitely would have benefited from serious over the top action, in which it doesn't have. It simply needed more action.
Aaron Lopresti is behind the pencils once again, and there's nothing really negative to say about his artwork. I actually like this design of the Sentinels better than the older ones. The bit of action found here is decent at best, with the dinosaurs tearing them apart during battle. The coloring is another strong point, since everything looks so lively. As far as style is concerned, there's just nothing really bad to look at here.
This is a book I can only recommend to Decimation completest. The characters were developed well enough, but there's no one I really care to follow. And despite the action having its good moments, I don't think the Sentinels were displayed well enough. I guess it's because after years of watching them in battle; I have grown too attached to the cold machines, who go around killing mutants mercilessly by the dozens. These man-piloted robots just didn't do it for me. To include, this story doesn't really add anything relevant to the Decimation arc. Overall, come into this book only if you must own everything in this crossover.
Pros: - Some good artwork
Cons: - Nothing truly memorable here, way too average and not even really necessary
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