The Sentry comic books definitive issue-by-issue collecting guide and trade reading order for omnibus, hardcover, and trade paperback collections. Find every issue and appearance! Part of Crushing Krisis’s Crushing Comics. Last updated June 2018 with titles scheduled for release through December 2018.
The Sentry filled a long-empty space at Marvel Comics where their Superman had never existed in a way that is fundamentally Marvel.
Marvel has never been about all-powerful, all-good characters. Even dating back to the Golden Age, their most moral characters are flawed with human weaknesses (Captain America, Spider-Man), while their most powerful characters are flawed with moral weaknesses (Namor). While Hyperion was a Superman analog of the Squadron Supreme universe, Marvel never had their own consistent Superman analog.
Writer Paul Jenkins changed that with the introduction of Bob Reynolds as The Sentry in 2001 for Marvel Knights, and he did it in an intriguing fashion in 10 self-contained issues.
First, Jenkins retroactively inserted The Sentry into Marvel’s past continuity, making him a previously unknown Silver Age character with a built-in reason to have been forgotten. This is a trick that has been performed many times over at both Marvel and DC, but Jenkins may have done it with the best execution. He not only wove a complex history for Sentry, but took the time to give him meaningful connections with each major Marvel franchise and delivered a perfect reason for his obscurity.
More importantly, Jenkins made Sentry as deeply-flawed as he is powerful. Sentry’s archenemy, The Void, starts out as a typical Silver Age foe. Yet, in a twist, it turns out that The Void is fundamentally connected to both Sentry’s power and his absence from continuity.
Sentry could have ended there, withering back into obscurity. He did not because Brian Bendis brought him back in the shocked twist ending of his New Avengers #1. It turns out Bob Reynolds had voluntarily locked himself away to protect the Earth, but in a low moment for Marvel’s superheroes he becomes The Sentry once again – despite the commensurate cost of The Void.
Bendis’s use of Sentry was both a blessing and a curse for the character. He appeared widely for the half-decade, but apart from a few initial arcs in New Avengers The Sentry was mostly super-powered wallpaper in the background of other stories. Few writers understood his tragic flaw, and Bendis had a lot of other plots to juggle at the time.
(One thing Bendis gets very right is the necessity of a certain moral inflexibility for The Sentry to balance himself against The Void. Sentry is not a character who can compromise – it would literally threaten all of existence if he did.)
That all changed with Dark Avengers in 2008. A major theme of the title was Norman Osborn’s elevation to power and inability to contain his insanity on that massive stage, but it was equally (or, even more!) about The Sentry’s decline into insanity without being surrounded by a team of stable, morally-strong heroes. Sentry’s psyche unravels issue by issue until the grand finale in Siege, of which he becomes the unwitting star.
It seemed like that was the end of The Sentry, despite a brief (and thoroughly wrong-headed) revival as a Horseman of Death in Rick Remender’s Uncanny Avengers. However, Sentry finally returned for good in Donny Cates’ brief run on Doctor Strange in Marvel Legacy. Cates seemed to understand the fundamental balance of Bob Reynolds in the same way Bendis did over a decade before. From there, Sentry launched into his first ongoing series with writer Jeff Lemire in Marvel Fresh Start in 2018.
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- 2000 – 2001: Origin of the Sentry: The Sentry, Vol. 1
- 2005 – 2007: New Avengers & Sentry, Vol. 2
- 2007 – 2009: Mighty Avengers, World War Hulk, & Age of the Sentry
- 2009 – 2010: Dark Avengers, Dark Reign, & Siege
- 2012 – 2018: Marvel Now, All-New All-Different Marvel, & Marvel Legacy
- Marvel Fresh Start: The Sentry, Vol. 3 (2018 – present)
As you read the guide, the formatting calls out important material:
- Key Sentry material is in bold.
- Significant but non-key guest appearances are aligned to same left margin as the bold appearances to reinforce them as part of Thanos’s core story order.
- Minor appearances and cameos are indented further right and in italics. These tend to be optional, and I’ve provided some background where possible.
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This original Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee series tells The Sentry’s complete origin. Later, Age of The Sentry inserted other early tales into his history. However, due to the unique nature of Sentry’s insert into the Marvel Universe, it makes sense to read the original Jenkins series first without any interruptions.
The Sentry by Paul Jenkins (2001 paperback / 2018 paperback)
Collects Sentry (2000) #1-5 and the five accompanying Sentry specials (which should be read in this order): Sentry/Fantastic Four, Sentry/Hulk, Sentry/Spider-Man, Sentry/X-Men, and Sentry/Void
Brian Bendis rescues The Sentry from potential obscurity by bringing him back in New Avengers! The New Avengers are the marquee team in this period of Marvel continuity, which means the Sentry makes many guest appearances – though few of them are particularly notable.
New Avengers (2005) #1-3 & 7-10: See New Avengers. Sentry is the final page cliffhanger in issue #1, which at once explains where he has been since his series and reveals him as part of the plot twist. He is very much the focus of #2, with a stunning, memorable moment. He appears in just a single panel of issue #3. Issues #7-10 follows the team recruiting him.
During NA2: A cameo panel of flashback in Carnage (2010) #4 that show Carnage’s recollection of the events of the issue.
During NA3: A wordless cameo flashback in New Avengers (2005) #42
Young Avengers (2005) #11-12: See Young Avengers. The New Avengers show up to assist the Young Avengers in a fight against Skrulls. Sentry quickly disappears into the background of the fight.
House Of M (2005) #1-2 & 8: See Marvel Universe Events. Sentry appears wordlessly in a few panels of issue #1 as the Avengers meet with the X-Men. Issue #2 checks in on the status quo of every Avengers, and we see Sentry visit his psychiatrist Doctor Stephen Strange for two pages. He appears on two pages of issue #8, and it seems he does not recall the House of M reality.
New Avengers (2005) #14-15: See New Avengers. In issue #14, Sentry briefly defers to the rest of the group as to whether they believe Jessica Drew is telling the truth. In issue #15, we get two very exiting panels staring at Sentry’s back while he appears with the team (/sarcasm).
During NA15: Flashbacks in Mighty Avengers (2007) #14, which is a major Sentry-focused issue! However, since it is a part of Secret Invasion, it will probably be best to read it there.
After NA15: A non-continuity cameo on a TV screen in Amazing Fantasy (2004) #13, and an appearance standing silently with the New Avengers in Marvel Team-Up (2005) #14
Sentry (2005) #1-8: Sentry Reborn
A modern-day Sentry story written by his creator Paul Jenkins. This reframes his intense struggle against his dark counterpart The Void for the modern day.
New Thunderbolts (2005) #13-14: Sentry appears in just three panels of issue #13. The Thunderbolts draw Iron Man and Sentry into responding to a distress call before attacking them. At first, Sentry does not recognize his opponent, Photon. Their fight becomes the major feature of issue #14, where Sentry remarks that he recognizes Photon’s energy signature. This will be paid off in Civil War: The Return.
New Avengers (2005) #17-21 & Annual 1: See New Avengers.
In a single panel of montage in She-Hulk Vol. 2 (2005) #7, Sentry says he would testify on the behalf of Starfox.
Iron Man Vol. 4 (2005) #9-11: See Iron Man. This is a fun featured appearance, but it is not significant for Sentry. Sentry is the final page stinger in #9, where Nick Fury commands him to neutralize Tony Stark. Though the cover of #10 advertises their fight, it doesn’t begin until the final few pages of the issue. It continues through the first few pages of #11, until Tony distracts Sentry with news of disasters around the world that he may be able to avert.
Civil War: Return (2007) One-Shot (2nd story): Civil War: Marvel Universe (2007 paperback / 2016 paperback)
Also, see Marvel Universe Events. Both of the stories in this issue feature Sentry significantly, but the second is the most important to his chronology. At this point, Civil War has already begun. The second story depicts a memory that leads Sentry to register his super power. This places him on the path to leaving the New Avengers to join the Mighty Avengers, and ultimately to Dark Avengers and his demise. Note that this second story is not collected in Captain Marvel: Secret Invasion! It is only available in the collections above and in the Civil War Box Set.
A flashback in Wolverine (2003) #47 shows Sentry policing Wolverine for being in violation of the Registration Act (as you can imagine, that ends poorly). Sentry appears in the background of a still photo in a news report about T’Challa and Storm’s wedding in Black Panther (2005) #18.
New Avengers (2005) #24: See New Avengers. This Sentry-focused issue uses a flashback in the mode of his original mini-series to explore his relationship to the Inhumans as his position in Civil War leaves him conflicted.
Sentry flies around in the background of Registration headquarters in Civil War: Front Line (2006) #9-10 (1st stories).
Civil War: See Marvel Universe Events. Ultimately, Sentry’s actual participation in Civil War is barely noticeable beyond his joining the Registration forces in Return.
Sentry appears in the first story of Civil War: Return (2007) One-Shot, which focuses on Captain Marvel.
Sentry flies in to the belated rescue along with Ms. Marvel in a cameo in New Avengers (2005) #25. He flies in behind Iron Man to support the Registration forces in two panels of Civil War (2006) #6.
Sentry is MIA in the climactic battle in Civil War (2006) #7, though he appears in news footage at the end announcing the creation of The Initiative (and, by extension, Mighty Avengers). Despite his absence in the fight, people recall him in flashback panels of the battle, including in Ms. Marvel (2006) #14, Black Panther Vol. 4 (2005) #25, and Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #538. Both Civil War: Front Line (2006) #11 and flashbacks in Avengers: Initiative (2007) #8 include a panel of the resulting news footage.
After Civil War, Sentry cannot possibly align himself with his former colleagues in the rebellious New Avengers. Instead, he remains under the watchful eye of Tony Stark and Carol Danvers in their new, government-endorsed Mighty Avengers team. This team makes even more guest appearances than the New Avengers!
World War Hulk opens with Sentry in semi-retirement, but seen by the Illuminati as the best chance to defend the Earth against a rampaging Hulk. While Sentry isn’t a major star of this series, it’s one of the biggest examples of his moral inflexibility and paralyzing fear preventing him from being more than a background player who punches things.
After World War Hulk, Sentry goes through a strange period where he is in the cast of Mighty Avengers but barely appears in Mighty Avengers! That is because this period of Avengers is dominated by tie-ins to Secret Invasion, in which Sentry is just a minor player.
Mighty Avengers #1-6: See Mighty Avengers. On the first splash page of issue #1, Ares remarks that the team has only been together for 14 minutes, which places all of this sequential action prior to all other Mighty Avengers appearances. Sentry is the heaviest of heavy hitters on this team, and he gets some satisfying action – particularly in issues #3 and 5. Also, the close of issue #6 sets up the next period of plot for Sentry.
During #1: Irredeemable Ant-Man (2006) #7
Before the final pages of #6: Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America (2007) #2 (AKA: Avengers) occurs before and during the following New Avengers issues; Sentry has just returned from therapy and helps Black Widow defeat a giant monster.
In New Avengers (2005) #28-30 us a present day plot is intercut with the team attempting to rescue Captain America from SHIELD custody and encountering the Mighty Avengers team, including Sentry. Sentry has very little to do in these issues.
After #6: flashback in Secret Warriors (2009) #10.
Mighty Avengers (2007) #7-11: See Mighty Avengers. Sentry has little to do in #7-8 as the team battles the Venom bomb. He briefly squares off against Doctor Doom in #9 and becomes the focus of #10, which is in the style of his 2001 flashback specials but with the present day Sentry as the star. He is in the background again in #11.
During #8: Sentry and the team are glimpsed from afar in New Avengers (2005) #34 headed to the site of the Venom bomb, and on TV during the fight in New Avengers (2005) #35. New Avengers (2005) #36 shows that team’s side of the fight in #8. In a flashback in Spider-Man/Fantastic Four (2010) #4, Sentry can be seen in the background of a panel during this same action.
After #11: In New Warriors (2007) #2 Sentry silently watches a TV broadcast about the team.
Silent War (2007) #2 & 5: In issue #2, Sentry confronts the Inhumans. It references his relationship with Crystal from New Avengers (2005) #24, and he has a very rational (but one-sided) conversation with Black Bolt. Sentry is mostly in the background of the Mighty Avengers fighting the Inhumans in #5, though he is the one to inform Tony that they’ve lost the fight.
World War Hulk (2007) #1-5: See Marvel Universe Events. Sentry sits out the fight in #1-4, with a few pages per issue commenting on his reticence to engage. Finally, he enters the fray in #5. This leads to a pivotal, cathartic moment for Sentry – the first time he’s ever been able to fully unleash his powers.
During #5: We briefly glimpse the climatic fight from different vantage points in World War Hulk: Front Line (2007) #5-6 and Incredible Hulk (2000) #111. After the fight, Sentry cameos in group shots of the clean-up crew in World War Hulk: Aftersmash! Damage Control (2008) #2-3.
After World War Hulk: Sentry briefly cameos with the Mighty Avengers against major threats in Cable & Deadpool (2004) #50, Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men (2008) #1, and Captain Marvel (2008) #1
Age Of The Sentry (2008) #1-6: Sentry: Age of Sentry (ISBN 978-0785135203)
Note that this book was released “Direct Market only,” meaning that most major online booksellers did not receive a copy unless it was for sale by a third party! This is a strange story, as the modern day framing of the tale fits here, but present-day Sentry is only glimpsed in the last moments of the series.
After Age of Sentry, Sentry appears with The Mighty Avengers when they show up for a few pages of the Last Defenders (2008) #4, but don’t really do anything. He also appears in cameo as a background character in a large group of heroes in Fantastic Four (1961) #556-557 & 562.
Avengers/Invaders #2, 4-8, & 12: See Mighty Avengers. Sentry is an active member of the Mighty Avengers squad in this book, which sees the modern day Avengers clashing with the time traveling pseudo-Golden Age Invaders. (Really, they were created as a retcon in 1975.) Sentry does not get many specific moments in this series. He appears in the background of #2, 4, & 5 before finally speaking as he confronts the classic Golden Age Human Torch in issue #6, but he is practically invisible in #7-8 & 12.
Hulk (2008) #7-9: See Hulk. Sentry shows up in the final panel of the A-story in #7 along with Ms. Marvel to fight the grey Hulk in Las Vegas. The ensuing battle in #8-9 is a a rare Sentry fight where he actually has dialog and motivation, instead of acting as a human battering ram. It references the fact that he and Moon Knight see the same therapist.
After Hulk #7-9, Sentry appears in Hulk Smash Avengers (2012) #5, a retcon story shows that shows him facing off against Red Hulk. It’s just a few panels of beat’em’up – no significant dialog or continuity. Then, he appears with the Mighty Avengers in Adam: Legend Of The Blue Marvel (2009) #1 & 5. Like Sentry, Blue Marvel is a character retconned into long-term existence in the Marvel Universe. Unlike Sentry, Blue Marvel isn’t a fundamentally flawed Superman – and they briefly have it out over this point in issue #5.
Secret Invasion (2008) #1-2 & 4 or Mighty Avengers #14: See Marvel Universe Events or Mighty Avengers. Sentry is one of many background players in the opening Savage Land skirmish of Secret Invasion in issues #1-2, though he does have a single memorable page where an imposter Vision preys upon Sentry’s weakened mental state. That page is greatly expanded upon in Mighty Avengers #14, a Sentry-focused issue. We see a past conflict between Sentry and the Skrulls and witness the Skrulls’ abject fear of his power before following the aftermath of the scene with Vision. Secret Invasion #4 gives us a panel of follow-up. You can effectively skip Secret Invasion #1-2 & 4 and get all of the information you need from the Mighty Avengers issue.
We see a cameo of Sentry in another angle on the Savage Land conflict in Iron Man: Director Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2007) #33 and New Avengers (2005) #41. We also glimpse him in the finale of Secret Invasion in Secret Invasion: Front Line (2008) #5, even though he doesn’t appear in the same scene in Secret Invasion #8.
If Sentry was somewhat ubiquitous in his role as a Mighty Avenger, he becomes downright unavoidable as part of Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers. The team appears throughout the Marvel Universe during Dark Reign, yielding dozens of Sentry cameos.
However, if you want the main story of Sentry, that goes down entirely in Dark Avengers – which is the story of the rise and fall of Normal Osborn, but also of the continued decline of The Sentry. He has significant plot moments in every issue.
Dark Avengers (2009) #1-6: See Thunderbolts & Dark Avengers.
Click to expand a list of minor appearances and cameos in this period. During Dark Avengers #2: New Avengers (2005) #50 After #5: Free Comic Book Day 2009: Avengers (2009), Dark Reign: Young Avengers (2009) #5, All New Savage She-Hulk (2009) #2-4, Mighty Avengers (2007) #21, Agents Of Atlas Vol. 2 (2009) #1 & 3, Dark Wolverine (2009) #75-76, Punisher Vol. 8 (2009) #1, Timestorm: 2009-2099 (2009) #4, Ms. Marvel Vol. 2 (2006) #40 & 42, Secret Warriors (2009) #1, Deadpool Vol. 4 (2008) #10, Dark Reign: Lethal Legion (2009) #2-3 (in flashback), Fear Itself: The Worthy (2011) #4 (Gargoyle flashes back to a single panel of the Dark Reign era, when he was pummeled by Sentry while in the Lethal Legion), Incredible Hercules (2008) #127-128, Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #596-597, New Avengers (2010) Annual 1 (Sentry is shown in a panel of flashback to the Dark Avengers period) After Dark Avengers #6: Mighty Avengers (2007) #30
During Dark Avengers #2: New Avengers (2005) #50
After #5: Free Comic Book Day 2009: Avengers (2009), Dark Reign: Young Avengers (2009) #5, All New Savage She-Hulk (2009) #2-4, Mighty Avengers (2007) #21, Agents Of Atlas Vol. 2 (2009) #1 & 3, Dark Wolverine (2009) #75-76, Punisher Vol. 8 (2009) #1, Timestorm: 2009-2099 (2009) #4, Ms. Marvel Vol. 2 (2006) #40 & 42, Secret Warriors (2009) #1, Deadpool Vol. 4 (2008) #10, Dark Reign: Lethal Legion (2009) #2-3 (in flashback), Fear Itself: The Worthy (2011) #4 (Gargoyle flashes back to a single panel of the Dark Reign era, when he was pummeled by Sentry while in the Lethal Legion), Incredible Hercules (2008) #127-128, Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #596-597, New Avengers (2010) Annual 1 (Sentry is shown in a panel of flashback to the Dark Avengers period)
After Dark Avengers #6: Mighty Avengers (2007) #30
Dark Avengers / Uncanny X-Men – Utopia: See Thunderbolts & Dark Avengers. Sentry appears in Utopia One-Shot, Dark Avengers (2009) #7, Exodus One-Shot and also Dark X-Men: Confession (2009). He has some significant plot and action in this crossover.
Dark Avengers (2009) #9-13: See Thunderbolts & Dark Avengers. Sentry’s story really kicks into high gear with issue #12; #13 is effectively an all-Sentry issue.
After #13: New Avengers (2005) #56 & 59-60 (implied in 57), Captain America (1968) #600 (2nd story), Dark Reign – The List: Avengers (2009), New Avengers (2005) Annual 3, Dark Reign – The List: X-Men (2009), Dark X-Men (2010) #3, Mighty Avengers (2007) #32-33, Vengeance Of The Moon Knight (2009) #1-2, Sword (2010) #4
Dark Avengers (2009) Annual 1 & 14-15: See Thunderbolts & Dark Avengers. These issues are focused on Sentry. Issue #15 leads directly into Siege; Sentry does not appear in #16.
During #15: Siege: Cabal (2010), Avengers: Initiative (2007) #31
Siege (2010) #1-4: See Marvel Universe Events. This is a pivotal story for Sentry – effectively the end of his initial decade of Marvel continuity. He has pivotal moments that would go on to be referenced for years in each issue.
During Siege #1: Siege: Embedded (2010) #1, Dark Wolverine (2009) #82, Avengers: Initiative (2007) #32, Siege: Embedded (2010) #3, Thor (1966) #607
During Siege #2: Avengers: Initiative (2007) #33, a flashback in Chaos War: Ares (2011) #1.
During Siege #3: Thor (1966) #608, Avengers: Initiative (2007) #34, New Avengers (2005) #63-64, Siege: Captain America (2010) #1, Avengers: Initiative (2007) #35, Siege: Embedded (2010) #4
During Siege #4: Siege: Embedded (2010) #4, Mighty Avengers (2007) #36. In a flashback in Thor (1966) #620.1, Thor recalls the battle of Siege in a wordless panel.
What If? 200 (2011) #1 is an out-of-continuity story titled “What If? Norman Osborn Won the Siege of Asgard”
Sentry: Fallen Sun (2010) #1 (Amazon / eBay): This is a rare Marvel comic from after 2005 which has never been collected! Oh, the horror! (It is not in Siege: Embedded, as some solicits incorrectly state.) This issue is a requiem for Sentry written by his creator, Paul Jenkins. It wasn’t collected along with the main Siege or Dark Avengers books since it was not written by Bendis, and it didn’t fit with any of the other tie-ins! This is his last in-continuity, present-day story until 2013.
Sentry is still MIA at the beginning of Marvel Now, but that changes in Rick Remender’s Uncanny Avengers. His status is left uncertain at the end of that series, and we don’t see him again until the end of 2017 in Donny Cates’s brief run on Doctor Strange in Marvel Legacy.
Uncanny Avengers (2012) #9-11, 13, 15, 21-22: See Uncanny Avengers. Sentry is brought back as one of the Four Horseman of Death alongside Banshee, Daken, and Grim Reaper in the cliffhanger of issue #9. Sentry isn’t entirely himself here, nor does he get a lot of major scenes. He briefly fights with and disables Thor in #10. Their fight continues in a chunk of #11, where we see Sentry isn’t entirely under the control of Apocalypse. He is in just one panel of #13, facing down The Wasp, which continues through half of #15. Sentry ultimately plays a pivotal role in the resolution of the story in #21-22 (he’s on two pages in each of those issues).
Sentry appears in a single panel flashback to the Dark Avengers era in Power Man and Iron Fist (2016) #6
Doctor Strange (2017) #382-385: See Doctor Strange. Sentry is a featured co-star in this issues; he figures heavily into how Doctor Strange is able to challenge Loki for the title of Sorcerer Supreme.
Spinning out of his return in Doctor Strange, author Jeff Lemire writes The Sentry in his first ongoing series.
Sentry (2018) #1-?: Collection not yet solicited.
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