Bob and Gabe Should Punch Each Other Sometime

September 11th, 2007 by | Tags: , ,

I like the Sentry. I think he’s a righteous dude. The thing about him is that he’s all about history. We know who he is and what he used to be. We know the legacy. Now his role in Marvel’s world is stagnant. He’s either there to show how powerful an opposing threat is, stepping out of sight to give the Avengers more of a challenge (“Oh, Patriot’s hurt? I’ll be back in a bit.”), or he’s yakking about the Void and their inner war. He’s currently taking his time to enter the fray in World War Hulk, but after that’s over and done with, who is he going to fight? The Void is the only part of his past that’s here to stay and we need some variety. His other villains were mostly Silver Age jokes that don’t deserve a push to the forefront.

The Sentry needs a real arch-nemesis.

Over the past couple of days, I had finally read through both Deadly Genesis and the Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire. I recall hearing bad things about both of them as they were coming out, with the addendum that they make great reads in trades. Plus Brubaker is Brubaker and I really liked that What If from last year based on the big Deadly Genesis retcon.

As I read through Deadly Genesis, I grew to love Vulcan as a villain. Good, new comic characters – especially villains – are a hard find these days. I was happy to finally have somebody new who I could buy as a major threat. The more I read of him, the more I realized that he would make a fantastic enemy for the Sentry. While the Void is the Sentry’s anti-conscience and acts as his sinister shadow, Vulcan really comes off as the true Anti-Sentry.

Both of them are incredibly overpowered. The Sentry’s only real physical defeat came from the Collective, who himself was one of the most powerful entities in the universe. Other than Vulcan’s forced escape at the end of Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire, his only real defeat was from Gladiator. This was both after Vulcan had spent a lot of time and energy slaughtering most of the Imperial Guard and before he truly knew what he was dealing with in terms of Gladiator’s strength. I won’t count Vulcan losing to Krakoa here, since Vulcan’s power had yet to be fully awakened. Admittedly, the Sentry looks to have the immediate advantage due to Vulcan’s lack of super durability. Though you have to wonder, since Vulcan can manipulate energy like Magneto manipulates metal, what could he do to a being with the power of a million exploding suns? This could be Wolverine vs. Magneto or Superman vs. Kryptonite Man all over again.

Both the hero and villain in question are retconned characters. The Sentry was the top superhero of Marvel, only to be forgotten about by most of its inhabitants. Vulcan too was a hero forgotten about for years, only to return, albeit pissed off. That What If I mentioned earlier shows that if Vulcan had not failed during the Krakoa incident, he too would have become the top hero of Earth. The difference is that unlike the Sentry, Vulcan loses to his own mental instability and can’t control his powers, causing him to grow more and more corrupt.

Funny thing about Vulcan, he hits all the notes of a Mary Sue character, but I can still look past it. He’s the long-lost brother of Cyclops and Havok. He’s an omega-level mutant. He effortlessly kills no less than three major X-Men characters. He ends up ruling a major galactic empire. I guess what breaks the deal is that even if he does get laid with an established character, the character is Deathbird. Who in their right mind wants a piece of that? I’m not going to make the effort of looking it up, but I’m sure Deathbird has about as much erotic fanfiction to her name as Booster Gold’s secretary or MODAM.

Despite their vast powers, Sentry and Vulcan are still shown as children. The difference, and really, this is the main thing that separates them, is that they are two different kinds of children. The Sentry is a timid, but well-meaning child. The kind that does what he’s told and tries not to question authority. Vulcan, meanwhile, is a complete brat. Considering his true age is 15 or so, it makes sense, but he’s still a monster. He has a right to be angry at some of the things done to him, but his reactions are way over-the-top. The entire 18 issues can be summarized as one big temper tantrum.

To elaborate, their brains are both damaged goods (as well as a weak spot for both). It’s just that the Sentry is strong enough to power through. Vulcan is essentially what Sentry could have been.

So first I thought, “Hey, if Vulcan started fighting the Sentry on a regular basis, that could be pretty cool.” Then I noticed a segment of Vulcan’s fight with the Imperial Guard. Two of the guardsmen use their powers to place Vulcan in a shadow environment and fuck with his head. Look at the choice of words here.

Now I’m wondering if Sentry vs. Vulcan is Marvel’s plan already. It would make sense if true and I’d have to hand it to them for the perfect set-up. Sentry’s build-up is more focused on the Avengers and Fantastic Four side of things while Vulcan is, naturally, an X-Men villain and centers himself in that part of the universe. The two are separate and pumped up with recognition. It’s only a matter of time before they are set against each other.

…I’m so off-base on this.

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5 comments to “Bob and Gabe Should Punch Each Other Sometime”

  1. ‘sall right dude. I know the feeling. Haven’t we all had a speculative idea that turned out to be far better than the canonical implementation?

  2. Well… there were some face-offs that eventually happened, such as Punisher and Bullseye and Iron Man and Doctor Doom… so who knows? Sentry vs. that Summers guy may be a possibility.

    And yeah, Gabe was seriously so Mary Sue.

  3. Good call, Mark. This is a definite Iron Man vs. Dr. Doom type match-up.

  4. “Who in their right mind wants a piece of that?”

    Bishop. I guess if you can ignore her wanting to kill and/or manipulate you, she’s hotter than Lilandra. Although for some reason I keep thinking of them as Captain Fear and Infectious Lass. Oh well.

    To get a little more serious, Vulcan actually manages to miss the one true mark of the Mary Sue: love. Sure, a crazy bird lady digs him, but everybody else thinks he’s an ass at best or Shi’ar Antichrist at worst. Which works great for the character, because he can pull dick moves like waiting until after the wedding to frag D’ken. When you have a guy who can really sell that sort of thing, you’ve got one magnificent bastard of a villain.

  5. The Sentry will eventually end up in space for a long period of time because that’s the only place in the Marvel Universe where he’d be a challenge rather than a god. Not to mention that he has issues as bad as all the rest of the cosmic characters.