Captain America has succeeded in creating the New Avengers, a group of superheroes he believed bonded together by fate. After preventing the remaining inmates from escaping the maximum security prison called the Raft, and capturing escapee Sauron; Spider-Man, Wolverine, Spider-Woman, Luke Cage, Iron Man, and Captain America himself attempt to capture the 46 that have escaped. The trail leads them to a mysterious being named the Sentry, but he isn't exactly an enemy. Who is this well known being no one seems to remember? -summary
Despite the slight groans with this Avengers roster mainly over one character, I was still interested back then in seeing where this was going. The introduction of the Sentry was something I thought to be very interesting, especially with how Marvel planned to introduce him to main continuity. After I read this story for the first time, I thought this was easily the best retcon I had ever seen. Brian Bendis took an obscure character created by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee, and not only injected him into the Marvel Universe with a very believable back story, but also made him one of the most important characters moving forward.
New Avengers Vol. 2: Sentry contains issues 7 - 10, and it directly follows up New Avengers: Breakout , with the Avengers trying to appeal to the alter-ego of the Sentry, Robert Reynolds, to break out of his mental block and become a hero again. It's not the best introspective story you will ever read, however, at the very least it's kind of easy to feel sympathy for the character, and you would probably want to see what he'll do next. Especially when considering in his last appearance, he grabbed one of Spider-Man's most powerful foes ever named Carnage, and literally ripped him in half.
I like how Bendis handles characters some times, in this case a super villain by the name of Wrecker, leader of the Wrecking Crew. He makes him out into a serious, physical threat who can go toe to toe with half of the New Avengers team, putting a hurting on both Wolverine and Cage. This was an entertaining scuffle to rope you into the book. Later on, the focus moves towards character development as the remainder of the book takes place with various heroes attempting to mentally help the Sentry. The action crowd most notably will probably find this segment boring, but I enjoyed it though. The Sentry really is a tragical figure who spent a good part of his life in prison and forgotten supposedly on his own free will. The story telling is indeed gripping, and most importantly this is Marvel at their risk taking best. And the good thing about this is that it didn't stop here, and the main storyline would build even further. This story also introduces the Illuminati, which is a small team of the most powerful and intelligent superheroes in the Marvel Universe: Black Bolt, Iron Man, Professor X, Namor, Dr. Strange, and Mister Fantastic. They will go on to play a very large role in later stories.
The only problems I have with this book is the length. At only four issues this book is pretty short, and in what should be a fifth issue, is a Most Wanted list that is made up of 44 of the villains at large. It's a fun read in some ways if you're unfamiliar with plenty of Marvel villains very low on the food chain. However, there are some heavy hitters on there such as Carnage, the Wrecking Crew, Graviton, and even Crossbones. I think casual fans will enjoy that portion the most.
Unfortunately, David Finch does not return with the pencils, instead it's Steve McNiven, and even though his artwork isn't as great, he can still lay down some awesome character designs. This is without a doubt the best I have ever seen the Wrecker drawn. He looks scary, like a true one man wrecking machine that can rip Spider-Man into two pieces if he grabbed him. The action panels are very good also in the Wrecker fight, and the battle with the Void looks nice, but there really isn't enough focus on it to consider it even close to epic. The backgrounds have some nice moments, and the remaining artwork consist of very neat lines, good facial designs, and coloring.
The previous volume was the team's origin, this pretty much begins setting the wheels in motion. Even though it's not as action heavy as the last volume since there's more of a focus on characterization, this is still an essential book moving forward. People who have been away from comics for awhile definitely need this story, especially if you plan on reading World War Hulk later on. It would probably also help if you read the Sentry limited series written by Paul Jenkins. In any case, you need to read this book because it fleshes out plenty of things with the character. Recommended.
-Good action & artwork, nice introspective story
-Introspective story will not appeal to serious action fans
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