Tales From The Clearance Rack #1: The Age Of The Sentry!

by The Masked Mark (@justastupidmark)

I have a serious clearance rack problem.

I pretty much can’t not buy a trade paperback if it’s under five bucks. I even bought a book of old romance comics from the 60’s  for six bucks once because five pages were done by Kirby.  So when Billy first started talking about starting this site, I smelled an opportunity.

Finally, I could explain all the truly awful titles on my shelf with something besides, “Well I know it sucks but it was only four dollars”.  I would be able to say I bought it to review it for this column. Although I may have blown my cover by writing this here, but nobody I know in meatspace is actually reading this so…

Anyhow, for my first column, I’m going against type, and I read something REALLY GOOD!

If you only know The Sentry from his time in The Avengers, or his appearances in some of the big crossover events from around the time I stopped keeping up with Marvel, you know the character has a clever concept, and is very poorly written.  That is not the case with this book.

Gone is the horseshit neuroses where he spends pages on end clutching his scalp like a louse-ridden madman.  In place of that, we have loads of camp. And if you know me, you know I love camp.

The bulk of this series took place in the silver age, and as someone who taught himself to read on silver age Spidey, FF, and Hulk I must say they NAILED the tone.  There are cameos by everyone from Captain America to Millie The Model to the Guardians of the Galaxy (not the movie ones, they came later).  There’s Sentry dropping solid wisdom like this:

sentry

There is even an ad for fruit pies with hippies in it.

This book does explore some of the themes generally associated with the character as well. Mainly,  his relationship with the Void and the fact that he’s somewhat fictitious even in his own universe.  Where Bendis handled this stuff with all the delicate subtlety of a drunk with a traumatic brain injury, Jeff Parker and Paul Tobin dance playfully around the subject, never taking themselves, or this universe, too seriously.

If you ever read Alan Moore’s run on Supreme and thought, “Well that was a great idea to start with, but now you’re just sacking off Alan” this book is for you.

I paid $4.98 for this book, and if you can find it for even twice that,you should probably pick it up.

Tune in next time when I make myself read something awful, so you don’t have to!

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