Welcome back to the Blog of X, my mutant-loving friends. This week I thought it would be fun to look back at the history and key books concerning one of the best villains in the X-Universe: the Sentinels! Who doesn't love giant, pink and purple, mutant-killing robots?? These evil machines have been a staple of the X-Men rogues gallery ever since their creation and I decided to compile some of that history into this checklist of keys. I might do a follow up since there are so many great key Sentinel books, but here are a few favorites for now. So without further ado, let's dive into some robot lore!
The Sentinels first appeared in X-Men (Vol. 1) #14, as created by mutant-hating military scientist Bolivar Trask. The story is a three-issue arc (14-16) in which Bolivar loses control of his first few Sentinels and eventually sacrifices himself to stop them. Issue 15 introduced us to Master Mold, the 'hive-mind' leader of the machines, who is trying to oversee and protect the Sentinel factory. Hickman fans will remember the similarly-named Mother Mold as a character in House of X that might later be significant in the current run.
The Sentinels returned in X-Men issues 57-60 when Larry Trask (Bolivar's son) decided to carry on his father's work. These next issues (with great art from Neal Adams) are some of my favorites just because of how great the panels look. Larry, predictably, fails and is revealed to be a mutant himself. Much like dad, Larry must work with the X-Men to stop the threat that he, himself, created. The solution is to send the Sentinels to battle the Sun?
A few years later those same Sentinels returned to Earth to battle with Earth's Mightiest Heroes in Avengers (Vol. 1) issues 102-105. Most notably issue 103 has a great cover with the team fighting off one of the metal giants. The X-Men are only mentioned in this storyline but it seemed important to me, since it's the first time the Avengers battle the Sentinels.
The next time we see the Sentinels is during the Claremont run (issues 98 and 99), with the next X-Men team. This time, its a new evil Doctor, named Steven Lang (first appearance in issue 96), who is responsible for creating the evil machines. Some of these new models, called X-Sentinels, can even look like our own mutant heroes. The new X-Men solve this problem by destroying the imposters and severely damaging Lang's mind.
DAYS OF FUTURE PAST:
There are certain X-Men issues that are iconic for many reasons. The Days of Future Past storyline, in Uncanny X-Men 141 and 142, is an all-time great concept that pays off beautifully. These two issues have so many incredible mutant moments but for me it's all about the future world dominated by Sentinels. The second issue, with Wolverine being destroyed right on the cover, is a classic.
An important standout among the many versions of Sentinels is the machine known as Nimrod. First appearing in Uncanny X-Men issue 191, Nimrod is from an alternate future (the same one as Rachel Summers, daughter of Cyclops and Jean). He has come back to solve the mutant problem at it's source. He has had several great storylines but has come to greater popularity for his role in the futuristic sequences of Powers of X last summer. In that future we see several versions of Nimrod (Nimrod the lesser is working 90 years in the future and Nimrod the greater is 990 years into the future) all still trying to solve the mutant problem.
I hope you enjoyed this dive into the Sentinel program. They are a top tier X-Men villain and I am happy to chat about them all day. Here is an eBay affiliate link if you want to hunt for some Sentinel keys AND support this blog at the same time.
Thanks for taking the time to hang out and I hope to see you back here again every Friday for more BLOG of X!!! If you want to get more from the John's Comics with Kids squad just watch for us on Instagram and YouTube.