Robot 6

Is this the future of the Marvel Universe?

from Captain America Reborn #6

from Captain America Reborn #6

A few days ago, I noticed something…odd going on in both Captain America: Reborn and Invincible Iron Man: The giant flying robots with long tentacles presiding over the apocalyptic future glimpsed by Cap sure looked an awful lot like the possibly Starktech-derived “sentries” that have been bedeviling Tony Stark in the hallucinatory dreamworld he’s been stuck in throughout his recent coma. My suspicions deepened when I saw The Beat’s DC month-to-month sales analysis number-cruncher Marc-Oliver Frisch point the same thing out on Twitter — the first time I saw anyone talking about it online. Then io9’s Graeme McMillan took the ball, and the scanner, and ran with it.

So are we looking at the seeds of some post-Heroic Age event years in the making? Tough to say, but if you read behind the lines of what Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada has said about Marvel abandoning the event-comics model following the conclusion of Siege, it sure sounds like the line-wide crossover is not dead, just resting — waiting until such time as creators and readers alike are less ground down by the constant barrage of “this changes everything.” And if you’re gonna start dropping hints about some distant-future event, the final pre-Siege story arcs of titles starring key characters like Captain America and Iron Man make sense as the places to do it.

Now, Stark’s belief that the robots may be derived from his own technology, plus the fact that they’re called “sentries” and they follow the orders of a mysterious figure called “The Bureaucrat,” helps the IIM sequences read like allegory: H.A.M.M.E.R. chief Norman Osborn using the groundwork laid and technology developed by former S.H.I.E.L.D. head Stark to create a fearsome new world order, using the Sentry as his chief enforcer. But there’s really no such “it’s just a dream” interpretation to be had with Cap.

I’m curious as to whether we’ll see something similar go on in other titles — Thor, say, just to round out the Avengers’ Big Three. Also, the fact that they’re giant hero-hunting robots whose name begins with the letters “s-e-n-t” makes me wonder if the X-Men will be involved somehow; given its basis in alternate futures, the upcoming X-event Second Coming could be a logical place to look. Finally, it can’t be coincidence that the ‘bots are called “sentries” in a universe where the Sentry is making the kind of waves he’s been making lately, can it?



I was bandying this around on Twitter the other day myself — honestly, I think the Starktech/IIM thing is purely coincidental, and if anything this is a reference to the War of the Worlds/Killraven stuff. Those look a HELL of a lot like the big Martian octomonster things from that continuity to me, which is set in a disastrous future Marvel Universe.

And that heady, spacy ’70s Marvel stuff is exactly within what I assume Brubaker’s main influence zone would be.

Human Bong aka Chris

February 8, 2010 at 11:02 am

My first thought was ‘War of the Worlds’ too, but mainly just for the Cap Reborn scenes. I could see the Iron Man stuff being an unrelated coincidence.

With that said, it’s a really interesting and plausible theory.

I honestly felt that “The bureaucrat” was a part of his own psyche. Or hoped that it was, anyway, that part of Stark which needs to micromanage and control.

An alternate future in a close-ended story isn’t a bad idea, but Marvel isn’t set up for close-ended stories. I wonder if anyone knows how many current Marvel characters have come from alternate futures. Rachel Summers — does anyone think that her alternate future is still possible? If it isn’t, why does she still exist?

Peter David’s CAPTAIN MARVEL relied heavily on alternate future scenarios for its plot material — perhaps because its hero was so dull –but that wound up being a problem, with storylines treating the Songbird-Genis marriage as if it had already happened.

If the alternate future suggested in the material above is supposed to arrive, then it had better arrive soon, or the current storylines and near-term ones will be rendered practically irrelevant. What would the effect on AVENGERS have been if “Avengers Disassembled” had been announced two years ahead of time?


David: All things considered, I think it’s more likely that books by former collaborators Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction featuring the two leaders of the Avengers franchise are tied together with the same thing than it is that it’s a coincidence-slash-Killraven reference. You know?

I also think the Iron Man stuff is coincidental. I think the dark Capt. America tendrils are a manifestation of an out of control Sentry/The Void. Since the void seems to manifest itself similarly.So c
Caps vision is what will happen if he and the avengers cant stop Sentry/The Void.

Hey, I wonder if THE SENTRY is involved. You know, what with the tech in his tower looking like that.

Boo, late refresh before reply. J beat me to it.

Mysterious Stranger

February 8, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Has Marvel done a Captain America The End book yet? Could be hinting at that.

Well, if the Sentry is a problem or the problem, then the solution is already there because of the retcon of his origin in DARK AVENGERS #13. Take the serum that creates the Void and engineer a serum (antidote) with the opposite effect, and get the Void to drink it.


Chalk me up as another who thinks this is Killraven related. The ones in Cap look similar to the Alan Davis redesigns from his Killraven project, and the ones that interacted with the main Marvel Universe in Wisdom were based on those versions too.

Sean, I just want to preface this by saying: I’m not trying to be contrary for the sake of being contrary, and I totally see why people are forming these opinions.


Both Brubaker and Fraction have operated largely sealed runs. Certainly characters from other books have popped in, and the events of their books have rippled out, but in general, if something happens in one of those two titles, it’s the firing of a gun placed on a table earlier in that title.

While I totally agree that the alien mechanical monsters look very similar, it just seems very uncharacteristic for BOTH of these writers to simultaneously set up a long-term plan like this, and also for Brubaker’s Cap run to stake so much of itself on what’s happening in another book. It could absolutely, certainly be Brubaker and Fraction collaborating on a cross-book story, and I won’t exactly be shocked if that’s what it is, but I honestly think Brubaker forwarding Cap’s own story completely within itself somehow is more likely than a planned interlock with Iron Man, especially when the aforementioned monster machines are only psychological avatars in the latter case.

But, I mean, I could be completely, totally wrong, and in 2012 I’ll be reading an Avengers/Secret Avengers/Iron Man/Cap crossover that’s blowing my mind.

Sean T. Collins

February 8, 2010 at 6:36 pm

To be clear, I’m not saying that I think Brubaker and Fraction went off on their own and came up with a crossover for themselves–they’re part of the Marvel braintrust that meets at story summits and plots out the whole Marvel Universe for the foreseeable future. That’s not uncharacteristic, it happens every few months. Not saying that’s what’s going on here, but I think it can’t be ruled out.

To me, the REBORN pages reminded me of KILLRAVEN. A modern imagining of the Martian tripods.

Whats up with the evil Thor in the background? Maybe thats the Thor from the demon alternate Earth that exists on the other side of the Fault from the Realm of Kings…

If there’s this big heroic age supposed to be ahead of us it would make sense that all the displaced “core” characters of the MU come back together to face some ultimate evil.

This could be a Sentry origin story that re appropriate the sentinels and puts all the super powers (mutant/man/god) in the cross hairs.

Could be fan wank.

Sometimes fan wank is better than the actual explanations.



October 19, 2012 at 8:13 am

old man logan series, this looks nearly identical to the future-past as told by Logan, Cap. Dies and the Red Skull and a horde of villians prevail. Logan is tricked into murdering every x-man in the mansion. Turns out the mutant phenomenon was an isolated and now passing evelutionary phase dying out with the remenants of their offspring…

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