Sentinel Vol.2 #1

Story: Past Imperfect
Reviewer: Paul Sebert

Writer: Sean McKeever
Artists: Joe Vriens
Colorist: Kevin Yan & Udon Coloring
Letterer: VC’s Joe Carmagna
Editors: Mouy Lazer, Marc Sumerak, and Joe Q.
Publisher: The Mighty Marvel Way

Some books are just too good to die…

Case in point, writer Sean McKeever’s critically acclaimed series Sentinel, which was one of the launch titles of the ill-fated (and ill-named) Tsunami line. Despite receiving great reviews and a small but deeply committed cult following the title ultimately folded after 12 issues. However as luck would have it Marvel decided to release trades of the series in easy to afford, easy to carry digests. While initially over-shadowed by the success of Runaways, positive word of mouth eventually paid off. McKeever would win the Eisner Award for Talent Deserving Wider Recognition for his work on this and other titles, and for now Sentinel is returning in the form of a 5 issue mini-series.

Picking up 24 hours from where the last series left off, our protagonist Juston Seyfert has ran away from home in a last ditch attempt at redemption, trying to reunite with the mother who left his family a decade ago. However NOTHING quite goes the way that Juston expects as we soon learn that his disappearance has attracted the attention of the media, the police, and most ominously the Commission on Superhuman Activities. As our hero enjoys a moment of quite in the woods, it becomes clear that he’s in over his head as the robot’s own dark history comes to light.

Juston Seyfert is a remarkable little character. A good kid who suddenly stumbles a giant mechanical device of great power, initially used the Sentinel for somewhat selfish purposes only to become consumed by guilt as he ultimately confronts the consequences of his actions. Now Juston’s trying to atone for his actions and set his life right, but is not sure how and what to do; his every move seeming to pull him in deeper into a maelstrom of consequences.

While McKeever’s script does a wonderful job of simultaneously bringing new readers up to speed while continuing the script from a logical standpoint, Joe Vrien’s artwork is the real surprise of this issue. While staying true to the animated manga-esque character designs of the first series, Vrien ads a very loving and intense level of detail to each character. The titular Sentinel in particular is a work of beauty, a massive lumbering marvel of graphic design. The coloring by Udon Studios Kevin Yan is GORGEOUS, perhaps the best computer coloring job I’ve seen in a comic this year, lending the title an almost hand-painted look. In short this revival of the much-loved series is shaping up to be every bit as good as its predecessor, and possibly even better.