Empowered by the enigmatic Professor's secret formula, high school student Robert Reynolds becomes a superhuman. After trouncing the school bully who had tormented him, Reynolds sews together a costume and makes his debut as the heroic Sentry. But his darker aspect lurks around every corner.
In March 1947, Project Sentry kicks off at the West Virginia installation known only as the Facility, when a joint United States/Canadian government operation employs former Nazi scientists and material from Canada’s Weapon X Program in an effort not only to re-create the USA's Super Soldier Serum, which empowered Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, nearly a decade before, but also to magnify its effects on an ideal test subject by several thousandfold. However, Cold War politics eventually interfere with the project, fragmenting it into sub-operations with outsourced research and no central administration guiding it in its entirety, and no subsequent super-soldier projects, such as those that produced the Nightmericans, Ted Sallis, AKA the Man-Thing, Frank Simpson, AKA Nuke, and others, met with total success.
Decades following Project Sentry’s beginnings, Robert Reynolds, a high school freshman suffering from schizophrenia and anxiety disorder, steals an experimental version of the Super-Soldier Serum from one of his science professors, a subcontracted researcher with the project. Unaware of its nature and hoping for no more than a memorable drug experience, Reynolds drinks the serum and immediately obtains remarkable solar-powered superhuman abilities. Due to his psychiatric problems, Reynolds manifests an intensely malevolent persona called the Void, but his subconscious just as quickly manifests a balancing heroic persona. Unconsciously separating into two entities, neither aware of their connection to the other, Reynolds, unable to manage the Void identity as yet, takes the form of the Blue Buffoon, a costumed criminal based on childhood drawings. He threatens his classmate and crush Lindy Lee. The heroic persona, wearing a makeshift mask, defeats the Buffoon and departs.
Re-merging into a single individual and still not fully understanding what had happened, Reynolds is contacted by government officials, presumably alerted by the professor from whom he had stolen the serum, and the naive youth allows them to test his powers at the Facility. However, project personnel, terrified of the unprecedented effect the serum’s unauthorized use had induced in a random teen and the implication that he could share the power with others, make several attempts to kill him, attempts he was far too durable to even notice. As a method of control, the professor gives him a false explanation for the serum’s effects and deceives him into believing he requires regular re-applications of the serum, actually harmless saline injections. The deception causes Reynolds to unconsciously impose such a restriction on his abilities and even develop a psychosomatic addiction to the false serum. However, these precautions do not prevent him from launching a Super Hero career as the Sentry, although much of his early activities apparently occur outside the public eye.
His intelligence as magnified as his strength, the Sentry constructs the high-tech Watchtower as his headquarters, overseen by the artificial intelligence Centrally Located Organic Computer (CLOC), and his heroic deeds become legendary, not only around the world but also throughout space.
A Million Exploding Suns
The Sentry possesses remarkable levels of superhuman strength, speed, and intelligence, as well as invulnerability, enhanced senses, energy-projection abilities, and the power of flight, all fueled via absorption of solar radiation and dependent upon his mental state. When stable, he has the potential for virtually limitless power, described as equal to “a million exploding suns”; however, if his mental state wavers, he becomes weaker and easier to defeat.
He also possesses vast but untapped psionic powers. The energy which imbues him has the side-effect of rendering the Hulk docile, even in the midst of intense rages; whether he can apply this trait to other effects is unrevealed.
As the Void, he possesses many of the same powers, in addition to the abilities to assume different shapes and invade the minds of others using tendrils of darkness.
His Own Worst Enemy
The Sentry battles many foes, but none as powerful as his arch-nemesis and darker half, the Void, a malevolent persona who dedicates his life to killing as many people as the Sentry rescues. For a long time, the two do not realize they are aspects of the same person and the Sentry goes to great lengths to defeating the Void, even altering his memories and that of the worlds’ memories as well.
In addition to such threats as Wilson Fisk, AKA Kingpin, Victor von Doom, AKA Doctor Doom, Kl'rt, AKA Super-Skrull, and Galan, AKA Galactus, the Sentry (either alone or alongside fellow heroes) fought the extradimensional Android Pirates, super-strong Danny Boy, the hallucinogenic Hippy, the Living Nuke, the subterranean Lobster People, Menace Master, Xeniac and his teammates in the Factious Five, murderous robot Tommy Vermilion and others.
Close Ties and Avenger Allies
As Reynolds, he becomes romantically involved with Lindy Lee and eventually marries her. Though she becomes afraid of him and his near-limitless power.
Following the more public debuts of the Fantastic Four and others, the Sentry becomes much better known and forms friendships with most of New York’s Super Heroes, particularly Doctor Stephen Strange, AKA Doctor Strange, and the FF’s leader Reed Richards, AKA Mister Fantastic. Younger heroes such as Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man, and the X-Men regard him as a role model, and his powers bring calm and control to Bruce Banner, AKA the Hulk, who, soothed by the Sentry’s solar energy, becomes his devoted friend.
The Sentry teams up with the FF, the X-Men, and the Avengers against his darker self, the Void, and later joins Norman Osborn, AKA Green Goblin’s sinister Avengers. Osborn attempts to help the Sentry deal with his demons while managing with his own, but ultimately manipulates Robert’s dark half, the Void, for his own purposes.
A History Split in Two
After marrying Lindy, the Sentry subsequently revealed his true identity to the world, with Spider-Man, as Peter Parker, winning acclaim for a famous photo of the hero. During his later career, he was assisted by young Billy Turner, AKA Scout, and canine companion Watchdog, both of whom apparently received a portion of his power, confirming the government’s fears.
At times troubled by the burden of his overwhelming might, he became a patient of psychiatrist Dr. Cornelius Worth, who well understood the responsibility he had been given in helping one of the world’s most powerful superhumans. Unfortunately, Worth’s treatment inadvertently stirred Reynolds’ long-dormant evil persona, which finally re-manifested as the Void, a dangerous madman who murdered thousands in Manhattan, decimated the planet Temporalon, and allied himself with various criminals, including Hammerhead, who dealt the Sentry an unspecified but humiliating defeat. The Void, operating out of a parody of the Watchtower in Antarctica, managed by its own computer, COLC (Computer to Obliterate Life Completely), instilled primal terror in his victims and was devoted to killing as many people as the Sentry rescued, making him as feared as the Sentry was revered.
After fighting the Void both alone and alongside his fellow heroes, with one battle nearly slaying Scout and the Hulk, the Sentry recognized the Void as an aspect of his personality, or vice versa; however, before he could properly address the situation, his most persistent enemy, the madly militant General, hired the mutant Jason Wyngarde, AKA Mastermind, recently freed from capture by the Secret Empire, to prompt Reynolds, via illusions projected directly into his mind, to erase not only his own memories of both his personas but, using vast untapped psionic powers, alter the memories of everyone in existence as well, as if neither the Sentry nor the Void had ever existed. With this accomplished, the Sentry and the Void merged once more, leaving Robert Reynolds to live an ordinary and increasingly dissatisfying life; however, he unconsciously implanted vague impressions of his career in the minds of certain comic book creators, making their stories a potential clue to his nature in the event that his memories surfaced in mere fragments.
Years later, for reasons as yet unrevealed, the Void persona awoke within Reynolds and again separated himself from his heroic persona whom he left behind to gradually regain his memories as the Sentry. Reviving the world’s memories of both himself and the Void, the Sentry joined the FF, the X-Men, the Avengers and others in battling the Void, now wielding power of cosmic proportions. Unfortunately, the Void proved more unstoppable than before and, realizing the only end to the conflict was to subdue both personas, the Sentry, whose subconscious had developed an elaborate explanation for the world’s memory loss, reinitiated the former status quo, re-merging himself and Void as the amnesiac and forgotten Reynolds.
Mere months later, however, both personas resurfaced, and the Sentry, wrongly believing the Void had murdered Lindy, demanded S.H.I.E.L.D. imprison him in the Raft. Mister Fantastic, his memories briefly stirred by the awakening, sent Matt Murdock, AKA Daredevil, and Foggy Nelson to consult with the Sentry, then immediately forgot he had done so. When Max Dillon, AKA Electro, hired by Skrulls disguised as Hand ninjas, staged a breakout of several inmates during the attorneys' visit, Nelson convinced the Sentry to assist Captain America, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman (actually Skrull Queen Veranke) and others in ending the crisis. Shortly after this, the Sentry mentally retreated while the Void monstrously manifested to fight Earth’s heroes, until the White Queen Emma Frost telepathically unearthed the true cause of the world’s lost memories. Regaining control of himself but choosing not to revive humanity’s memories of the Void or himself, the Sentry “debuted” as a founding member of the latest incarnation of the Avengers; the Watchtower, invisible to any detection for years, rematerialized for him to reside in once more, with CLOC scanning the world for disasters meriting intervention by the Sentry, sometimes in the company of a robot version of the earlier Watchdog. To deceive the Void persona into inactivity, the Sentry pretended to believe he had imprisoned the Void in the Watchtower, since if the Void believed this as well, he would not re-emerge.
The Sentry, growing ill at ease with his renewed responsibilities and suspecting his memories were still not entirely intact, pursued the General into the Negative Zone where his solar-based powers were weakened. The Void used this as an opportunity to manifest in the Negative Zone himself, having remotely influenced the General for precisely this purpose, then killed the General and escaped into the Earth dimension. The two enemies fought a devastating battle at an amusement park, where Worth confronted them; the Sentry finally remembered the Void was the true Robert Reynolds, a realization that strengthened the Void. After an unsuccessful attempt by S.H.I.E.L.D. and Doctor Strange to convince him he was a mental patient named John Victor Williams and bury his memories and the powers they fueled once and for all, the Sentry tracked the Void to his base and, ignoring his enemy’s taunting claim to be essential to him, hurled the Void into the sun, although the Sentry well knew he would inevitably return. Meanwhile, Hammerhead somehow regained his memories of the Void without the Sentry's prompting, suggesting others might do the same.
When former Thunderbolts leader Norman Osborn was given control of the Avengers, the Sentry, won over by Osborn's charisma and promises of psychological aid, joined the new lineup. While on this team of “Dark Avengers,” the Sentry struggled with whether he was good or bad, especially after he seemingly decapitated the sorceress Morgan le Fay. During this time, he exploded into a flash of light and disappeared but then later reappeared. Osborn approached him and attempted to convince Robert that the Void did not exist, yet when the Void would appear, Osborn would use the Void for his own ends against the Atlanteans. Meanwhile, Frost telepathically connected with Robert, keeping the Void at bay. When Robert went back to his tower, Lindy was there and afraid for her life, she shot him with an alien ray gun, and he seemingly perished.
Though he wasn’t gone for long and his Void persona resurrected him. The Sentry and the Void battled, the Void intent on killing Lindy. Though the Sentry ultimately protected her from the Void, Osborn had her killed by the villainous Bullseye. Unaware of Osborn’s involvement and days later, the Sentry helped lead a siege on Asgard. After a brutal battle with the God of War, Ares, the Sentry brought the floating city down to Earth. Then, the Void assaulted the assembled heroes but he was taken down by the H.A.M.M.E.R. Helicarrier thanks to Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man’s efforts. Robert, restored for a moment, begged to be killed and Thor Odinson, AKA Thor, fulfilled his wishes and took his life. Thor laid his remains in the sun, but Robert’s life was far from over.
Sentry was later resurrected by the Apocalypse Twins as their Horseman of Death. It took the combined efforts of Janet Van Dyne, AKA the Wasp, and Thor to convince him to help humanity, and he was able to stop the Celestial Exitar the Executioner from destroying Earth.
While the Sentry wandered the vastness of space, hoping to find a way to die once and for all, he encountered Doctor Strange, who helped him find some peace by trapping him in his own mind, which relieved him of Apocalypse Twin’s hold over him. But when Strange needed the Sentry’s help to prevent the new Sorcerer Supreme Loki Laufeyson, AKA Loki, from taking all the world’s magic, he did the unthinkable: he released the Void. The Sentry aided both sorcerers against the Void and ultimately defeated him, locking him in the Sanctum Sanctorum. Disappointed in Strange’s actions and feeling let down from the promises he made to protect the world, the Sentry demanded that Strange never contact him again and to leave him alone.
With the help of Iron Man and Strange, Robert finds balance. Using a device called the Confluctor, Robert could enter an imaginary dreamscape where the Sentry and the Void could roam free, while Robert lived a normal life in the real world. But Robert’s former sidekick, Scout, teamed up with the villainous Cranio to steal the Confluctor and re-create the Sentry formula for himself. Robert transformed into the Sentry and Robert was cast into the Sentry World dreamscape. There, Robert embraced the Void and became something else. He killed Scout and after briefly engaging with the Avengers, he flew off into outer space, leaving Earth’s Mightiest wondering whether he was on their side or not.
The new Sentry/Void returned to Earth and while meditating in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, his powers manifested around him, and the energy created from it attracted T’Challa, AKA Black Panther, and the Agents of Wakanda. One of the agents, the Immortal Weapon Fat Cobra, pierced the Sentry/Void’s meditation bubble. Unaware his meditation was causing monstrous chaos and destruction, he simply refrained from culpability. The combined power of the Agents of Wakanda wasn’t enough, so Black Panther called in backup: Thor. While Thor and the others le[t their opponent busy, Fat Cobra struck him with the full might of his chi and it let loose the evil energy from the Sentry/Void, which he then consumed. The Sentry/Void on his knees apologized and insisted he ponder his new state of self elsewhere and he promptly shot himself into outer space.
The Sentry/Void then sought out Mister Fantastic’s help and he advised him to go to the Negative Zone and soak up the negative cosmic rays, and the Void left him. Now just Robert, he remained stranded in the Negative Zone, unable to access his heroic self, the Sentry. When Norrin Radd, AKA Silver Surfer, found him, they merged to stop the Void, who had become the leader of the Cancerverse which was invading the Negative Zone. Meanwhile, the Cancerverse spread and the Sentry was trying to cross into the Positive Universe but faced Beta Ray Bill and his Inhuman companion and teleporter, Lockjaw. The Fantastic Four gathered heroes to keep the Cancerverse at bay, with Susan Storm-Richards, AKA Invisible Woman, protecting them all with a powerful force field. Richard Rider, AKA Nova, arrived with a cohort of allies and the heroes worked together, focusing on the Sentry alone, assuming he was the Cancerverse’s leader. Nova encouraged the Silver Surfer/Robert amalgam to merge with the Sentry and give them all a fighting chance. Their plan worked and the Sentry/Void was restored, who revealed that he was never the Cancerverse’s leader. They were after Nova who had been cured and they wanted him back. Nova led them away and then took the entire Cancerverse into himself, with the heroes helping to hold him together with their powers. The Sentry/Void then destroyed Nova and remained behind to stand as Sentry over the universe he nearly annihilated.
When Knull, the primordial and malicious God of the Symbiotes, arrived on Earth with hundreds of thousands of symbiote dragons behind him, the Avengers called in the Sentry. He arrived to take Knull out into space and destroy him, but Knull ripped the Sentry to pieces and embraced the Void. Having died in Earth’s orbit, Robert as the Sentry remained there, a ghost. Approached by Dr. Jane Foster, the Mighty Thor turned Valkyrie, escorted him to Valhalla. On their way, they found a Knull-corrupted Celestial which attempted to take the Sentry’s soul and even though Valkyrie’s efforts were valiant, the Celestial got what it wanted. He was soon released with other souls thanks to Jane and a ritual performed by Danielle Moonstar, AKA Dani Moonstar, Ivanir, and Brunnhilde, AKA Valkyrie, and ready to enter the afterlife.
Though his body was in pieces, the Blasphemy Cartel stitched it back together to act as a host for a ghost known as Revenant Prime.