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Sentinel Squad O*N*E #5: Review

May 2006
John Layman, Aaron Lopresti

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Story Name:

Tin can heroes, part 5: Creep mission

Review & Comments

4 stars

Sentinel Squad O*N*E #5 Review by (October 28, 2014)
Various Squaddies will be seen in various X-issues, but Rhodes and Skylark won't join in until XM#186. Here Rhodey will be piloting a normal Sentinel, not his Iron Man/Sentinel hybrid. He has given it the codename War Machine, and Skylark calls hers Crazy Train. Soon after this Briggs will get sent against Vulcan in XM: Deadly Genesis #5 and killed. Lexington and Slayton's Sentinels will get their codenames Megaton and Shrapnel in the Civil War: XM limited series. Also there Val Cooper will finally uncover Lazer's duplicity, and he'll be killed by Johnny Dee. Dhama won't be seen in many of the early appearances, and her Sentinel won't get the codename Ogre until XM#202 (according to the Marvel Continuity Project). She'll feature more after that. Just before that the other Squaddies will appear in XM: Phoenix Warsong, which will be Jim Rhodes' last gig with them before he transfers to the Initiative program. After several more appearances the Squad will come to an ignominious end in Uncanny XM #493. The pilots will be infected by nanites, turning them into human/Sentinel hybrids. They will attack the X-Men and their Sentinels will be destroyed.

As mentioned in #1, Meld, Randall Nixon and Emil Winston won't be in the continuing Squad appearances. We now know that Nixon is dead, Winston has become a backroom boy (and won't be seen again). Meld has quit, but will resurface after the Squad is finished. He'll be an X-student (with no explanation of how he got there) during the Utopia Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men crossover. He'll be fatally wounded in X-Force #23 during the Necrosha event, and reported dead in XM: 2nd Coming #1. I don't think Meld is mentioned in upcoming Squad apps. So we'll never find out why Lazer was so interested in him. The enemy Sentinels here are some of the Wild Sentinels developed by Donald Trask III in Ecuador. They have been designed to evolve, building the next generation from whatever they can find. Thus there are many types of Wild Sentinel. Cassandra Nova is mentioned here, and she used Wild Sentinels to commit genocide in the mutant haven Genosha. In Decimation: House of M: The Day After, Lazer and Cooper get the go-ahead to use the Sentinels as peacekeepers for the remnant mutant community. And as surviving mutants start to flock to the Xavier school we see the Sentinel Squad arriving as at the end of this issue. In X-Men #177-179 Val Cooper will explain that they are here to protect the X-Men, not fight them. Lazer won't get involved until the 198 mini-series, where his villainous nature will become more open. He'll get puppet-controller Johnny Dee to arrange for the assassination of Mr M, who has become the charismatic leader of the 198 mutants taking refuge at the X-school.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Sentinel Squad O*N*E #5 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
5 surviving Sentinel Squad members (Rajani Dhama, Alexander Lexington, Jeremiah (Meld) Muldoon, Jake Slayton and Emil Winston) return to base with their patched-together Sentinel and the 2 Squaddies they rescued from the Savage Land (Commader James Rhodes in his man-sized 'Iron Sentinel' suit and Tracy Skylark). Prof Winston says he's retiring from Sentinel piloting to return to what he's best at - designing improvements for them. (The bosses never wanted him to pilot a Sentinel anyway.)

But the returning heroes are met by Gen'l Lazer and some military police who want to arrest Lex. Cpl Briggs got back before them and reported that Lex disobeyed the orders of his superior Sgt Steele, and Steele and 2 other Squads are now dead. Plus Lex is a secret mutant.

Jim Rhodes intervenes, saying that Lexington saved the lives of his team plus Rhodey and Skylark. Lazer backs down, but promises changes.

3 weeks later Briggs is back in charge, now promoted to Squad Captain. Skylark has joined our Squad. Briggs is going to lead them on a mission to save a village of mutants in Ecuador, who are being menaced by the mutated Sentinels of Cassandra Nova.

But meanwhile Val Cooper reviews the current Squad makeup with Gen'l Lazer, with the changes this issue and #3 (Rajani Dhama switching to a Brawler Sentinel, Jake Slayton taking over the Recon unit). Cooper claims that Lexington showed leadership ability, and has the respect of his teammates, while Briggs has neither. And supposedly she and Rhodes have a free hand in organising Squads. But Lazer says there is 1 overriding rule - no mutants in positions of authority.

The Squad faces the Nova Sentinels like huge insects, which seem reluctant to attack fellow Sentinels. Lex wants to try to communicate with them, possibly order them to cease their attack on the mutants. But Briggs prefers the direct approach. He blasts 1, and then the other insectinels turn on the Squad.

Now the Squaddies are forced to fight, and even Lex uses his mutant electrical power to fry them. The other mutant Meld makes his Sentinel exude tentacles which grab the flying bugs, and then his power can melt them too. Slayton detects human life signs in the church basement. Skylark's Sentinel breaks in and rescues a load of kids. The battle is ended, but the children are orphans.

Earlier in the issue Meld said he would wait for the right time and then desert, to get the freedom he's never had his whole life. Only Lex and Slayton know about this, and support it. Meld indicates that the time is now. Slayton tells Briggs he's picked up a news report from Quito about 5 more Sentinel bugs heading there. Sensing an easy victory in front TV cameras Briggs orders Slayton to accompany him there.

Meld is going to stay to look after the mutant children. He doesn't want them brought up by an uncaring government as he was. Rajani and Tracy are miffed that they weren't let in on the plan. But they readily agree to tell the bosses that Jeremiah was killed when some more insect Sentinels appeared.

Presumably that all goes to plan. We now skip a month to M-Day, and Lex wakes up to find he's no longer a mutant. He joins the rest of the Squad hearing that it's happening all over the world. Val tells Jim that Lazer is 'worried' about the safety of the remaining mutants, now that they are heavily outnumbered by enemies. And Sentinel Squad O*N*E is going to do something about it.

As the Squad prepare for their new assignment we learn that Lex is now in charge. Lazer is unhappy because he thought he'd made it clear that he didn't want Lexington to be given command. Val Cooper reminds him that he said she could do what she wanted as long as she didn't give the job to a mutant.

The Squad leave Rhodey welcoming a new set of recruits, and fly their Sentinels to the X-Men school.

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Barberoids 1 cover original artwork on ebay

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

James Rhodes
James Rhodes


Plus: Alexander Lexington, Emil Winston, General Lazer, Jake Slayton, Meld, Nathaniel Briggs, Rajani Dhama, Tracy Skylark, Valerie Cooper.

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

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