WARNING: The following contains spoilers for The Sentry #1 by Jeff Lemire, Kim Jacinto, Rain Beredo and Travis Lanham, on sale now.
John Wick is a pivotal action movie renowned for its brutal fight choreography and foreboding, seedy visuals. It’s also the film that distilled the concept of action hero motivation down to its most base element -- if you want to piss off your protagonist and compel him to vengeful action, just take away something they values dearly. If you want to turn him or her to a rageful, murderous, gunkata-fueled death storm (i.e., turn the action knob to 11), just kill the dog.
That’s a lesson The Sentry #1 takes to heart in its very last panel, which sees one of the titular hero’s faithful sidekicks, the corgi Watchdog, ruthlessly murdered by an unseen assailant. The effect, of course, is a strong one. Most people are naturally (and rightly) soured by the act of animal violence, but in this case it might be the only thing that can motivate Bob Reynolds, the Sentry himself, to action.
The Sentry #1 finds Bob down on his luck. For years, he flew the skies alongside Earth’s pantheon of superheroes as the benevolent Sentry. Now, he works with his former sidekick Billy, otherwise known as Scout, flipping burgers at a local dinner. Despite having lost an arm, Billy desperately wants to get back into the heroing business, but Bob isn’t having any of it. He knows that if he becomes Sentry again he will also be releasing the Void, a creature of unimaginable power and wrath who is a dark aspect of Bob’s superhero powers.
To contain the Void, Bob retreats to a pocket dimension every 24 hours where he can play out his best memories as the Sentry. There, he is greeted by shades of his old allies, Billy in his prime, Watchdog ready to leap into the fray and a new recruit, Sentress, the superhero incarnation of a waitress Bob has a crush on. They form as a super team on the nightly, thwarting everything from sentient shadows to the Void himself. And then it all falls apart.
The final few pages of The Sentry see Bob plunged into icy fear. Someone has stolen his Confluctor, the pocket dimension’s doorway. Not only that, they have entered the pocket dimension and appear to have killed off both Scout and Watchdog. It seems clear that in The Sentry #2 Bob will have a choice to make. He’ll either need to fix this problem as Bob Reynolds, the line cook, to take up the mantle of Sentry again and risk releasing the Void -- if he hasn’t escaped already.
Given the laundry list of terrible things the Void has done, including killing millions in New York City, there are few things that could push Bob to become Sentry again. If the state of his pocket dimension remains as such, though, it’s a sure thing that Bob will come looking for the culprit. As John Wick taught us all: Do not mess with a man’s dog.
On sale now, The Sentry #1 is written by Jeff Lemire with art by Kim Jacinto.