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Sentinel Squad O*N*E #2: Review

Feb 2006
John Layman, Aaron Lopresti

Story Name:

Tin can heroes, part 2: Growing pains

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Sentinel Squad O*N*E #2 Review by (October 22, 2014)
I'm not going to explain Galactus and Silver Surfer or Hydra, but the Growing Man is worth a note. It (not necessarily always the same 1) was originally used by Kang in Thor #140 and Avengers #69. But he tended to leave them lying around where anyone could pick them up, like the Rigellians in Iron Man #108. After a few more appearances Hydra got hold of 1 in Thunderbolts #5. 'Growing pains' is a favourite title for issues featuring Growing Man. The aforementioned IM#108 and Thunderbolts #5 both used it. We never learn Gen'l Lazer's plan for Meld, beyond giving him a special Sentinel.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Sentinel Squad O*N*E #2 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Alex Lexington's Sentinel takes down Galactus with a couple of blasts and breaking his neck (as if!). All the while James Rhodes is kibitzing from his man-sized armour (even after Lex swats him like a fly). But Lex forgot about the Silver Surfer, who destroys the Sentinel and kills him. But of course its a virtual reality training system operated from inside a mock-up Sentinel. Commander Rhodes' praise is blunted by a reminder that this was supposed to be a defensive exercise.

Jake Slayton wants to know when they'll get to pilot real Sentinels. Rhodes replies when they stop dying in the simulations. Slayton also bitches about having to learn hand-to-hand combat. Commander Rhodes reminds them that the Sentinels will respond to their control, and will only be as fast and accurate as they are.

He also tells them (and us) more about their future. Once they're active they'll be living and sleeping within their Sentinels for 3 months or more. Special suits will stimulate their muscles to prevent atrophy, and they'll get some bi-weekly out-of-armour time. Nathaniel Briggs appears worried by this.

Rhodey discusses the team with Assistant Director Val Cooper, who reminds him that he has carte blanche to drop anyone he wants. Jim is worried about Slayton's attitude, but he thinks he can whip him into shape. He's more concerned that this team is being pushed harder than previous ones. He also wonders about the mutant Meld (Jeremiah Muldoon). Cooper says Gen'l Lazer has special plans for him. (We get to see Meld's metal-moulding ability.)

Val in turn says that she and the General are doubtful about Lexington's prior discipline problems and Rajani Dhama's temper. Jim defends both of them, but counters that he'd really like to fire Emil Winston, who is a scientist not a soldier and in his opinion unstable. Cooper replies that they need Winston's cybernetics/AI skills, and he only agreed to join if he could drive a Sentinel.

She ends by announcing that the team will be going on their 1st mission.

Corporal Briggs leads a team consisting of Dhama, Lexington and Slayton. The 4 robots look the same to me, but Slayton claims to be in a Brawler, Dhama is in a Recon model, and I think Lex is in a Stealth unit. (It isn't shown as invisible as 1 will be in #5, but the Hydra agents who turn up don't seem to see it. But then most people seem to be ignoring all of them.)

The job is to guard 1 of the Senators who backed the Sentinel Squad O*N*E program, but who is now a target for Hydra because of his anti-terrorism stance. They are working with SHIELD who have learnt of an imminent assassination attempt.

Lex complain that this isn't the kind of thing they signed up for. Briggs snaps at him to shut up, because he's claustrophobic and it's getting to him. (In that case why did he ever volunteer to pilot a Sentinel in the 1st place?!) Nat tries to disguise his discomfort by asking about Lexington's operational status. Lex reminds him that Dhama is monitoring them all from her Recon Sentinel. (The males seem to like taunting her by calling her Joni instead of Rajani.)

Dhama detects 2 armed Hydra agents near (invisible?) Lex, who grabs them. But another agent approaches (and sees) Slayton, apparently carrying a doll. That agent is also a suicide bomber, who detonates his explosives. Jake's Sentinel is unharmed, but the 'doll' has grown much bigger.

The Sentinel and the doll trade blows, the doll getting bigger all the time. Rajani interrogates their database and realises that this is a Growing Man. It's an android that absorbs kinetic energy and uses it to grow. By the time she tells Jake, the Man is bigger than the town centre.

Briggs is frozen as the other 3 Sentinels combine blasts, but only make matters worse. In return the Growing Man rips Slayton's Sentinel apart and then stamps on it. Lex decides to risk exposing his mutant status. He uses his power to charge up his Sentinel, and applies the energy directly to his foe's head. The Growing Man collapses and shrinks.

Rajani detected what was happening, but Lex tried to bluff that he managed to activate something in his Sentinel. I think his action also destroyed his Sentinel's arms (but if so then a word balloon is misplaced).

When the dust has settled Val Cooper and her boss Gen'l Lazer turn up. Lazer dumps the blame for the devastation, and the loss of a Sentinel, on Cooper, because she and Rhodes assured him the team was ready for such a simple job. Val tells Briggs to bring his team to a debriefing next morning to work out what went wrong.

Several times during the operation team members asked Briggs for orders, but his claustrophobic panic meant he was unable to answer. He tries to blame it on problems with his comms, but Dhama says her monitors reported it working. Briggs tries to divert attention by asking how Lex's Sentinel killed the Growing Man.

Val tells them all to shut up. And they watch as Slayton is stretchered away from his broken Sentinel. He's lost his lower legs.


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> Sentinel Squad O*N*E: Book info and issue index

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Aaron Lopresti
Norm Rapmund
Chris Walker
Pascual Ferry (Cover Penciler)
Pascual Ferry (Cover Inker)
Pascual Ferry (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Dave Sharpe.
Editor: Sean Ryan.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

James Rhodes
James Rhodes

(Rhodey)
Silver Surfer
Silver Surfer

(Norrin Radd)

Plus: Alexander Lexington, Emil Winston, General Lazer, Growing Man, Jake Slayton, Meld, Nathaniel Briggs, Rajani Dhama, Randall Nixon, Valerie Cooper.