Sunday, May 29, 2005



Sentinel #1-6 (June - November 2003)
Writer: Sean McKeever

Sentinel was one of the Tsunami titles that Marvel put out a couple of years ago, and like most of the other titles it was canceled incredibly fast. Sentinel made it to issue 12 before cancellation, though I suppose it's possible that it did well in digest format.
Juston Seyfert is just some nerdy kid. He lives with his dad and his brother in a junkyard (their mother left them) and they're dirt poor. Juston's just started high school and he's getting picked no constantly by the jocks. Brutal.
So what does he do? He hangs out with his two friends and they build battlebots to fight with (I wish I knew how to do that) and he pines after a girl who's a couple of years older then him and who, shock horror, talks to him.
Juston also has a sentinel in a shed behind his house.
It's broken and barely working, but he's fixing it up (using skidoos and other parts) because who wouldn't want a robot of their own? At first he's not sure what the robot is, but eventually he finds out that it's a mutant hunting robot. Pushed too far by the bullies at school he's going to use it for his own purpose.
McKeever does a good job of making most of the characters believable, to a certain extent. There are some parts in the high school that just don't make sense to me, perhaps because it's set in a US school. There's a separate corridor for older students? That doesn't parse with anything that happened to me in high school. Similarly hanging out with people in other grades wasn't that big a deal. Another problem I had in relation to this was that the art made the ages of the characters hard to judge. Juston's a first year at high school, so that makes him... 15? 16? What age are the bullies? They can't be older then 18 or so, but they look a lot older and bigger then Juston and his friends. Speaking of the bullies they seem ridiculously mean, more like something you'd find in fiction (heh) then something in real life. Maybe some of these problems just come from a lack of understand of American high schools, I don't know.
Apart from that I thought the writing was good. The issues usually ended on a cliff hanger that made me want to read more. And hell, I wanted to read more, I wanted to see what happened next to the characters. Their actions seemed fairly believable and the ways that Juston interacts with Jessie (the girl Juston has a crush on) and his friends and family are pretty good. There are a few bits where the technological aspects fall down (it's just a circuit board, there's piles of them lying around in the garbage) and how the hell do you rebuild a sentinel with junk anyway?
The art was pretty good, UDON studios have a nice sort of anime feel to most of the art, though I found the difference between the characters and some of the backgrounds to be sort of jarring. I wonder if there were different people assigned to drawing different aspects of the comic. That'd be interesting at least. One other complaint I have about the art is only sort of about the art and is a pretty ridiculous niggle. At one point Juston's holding up printouts from news websites about sentinels. While I'm glad that the text in the stories isn't just nonsense it has just been stolen from a news article. Kind of sketchy...
Also, sort of amusingly, while this story is set in small town Wisconsin Juston uses (ie. Google) to look up stories, and ends up printing out a story from the Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail's website. Well I found it amusing...
Overall I found Sentinel to be a good read and I'll be on the lookout for the final six issues. I can't quite see how this would be an ongoing though. In a small town Juston's going to be found out to be the person controlling the sentinel fairly soon and even then I can't imagine there being that much for a boy and his robot to do in small town America (he could always go and fight supervillains, but that's not really the mood the series creates). Perhaps it's for the best that the series ended after only twelve issues.


There are high schools here with seperate halls for older kids. Mine didn't, but I have heard of them.

And there are horrific bullies. Mine definitly had them.
Thanks for the info. I know a lot of us highschools are huge (mine had only a few hundred kids in it) so I'm not really sure how they worked.
And while I was teased throughout school I never had any really bad shit happen to me, guess I was lucky
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