X-Men 14-16, 57-59

The Sentinels :
Then And Now (If Now Was 1969)

It takes three issues to tell a Sentinel story; and the classic X-Men series has two such stories, five years apart. Issue 14-16 was published in 1965 and issues 57-59 came out in 1969 - a five year time span. Of course, in the world of the X-Men, time is different, only three years have passed since Bolivar Trask released the Sentinels to hunt mutantkind and their second, even deadlier, appearance.

The creative teams were different too. The first Sentinel story arc were done by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Werner Roth (drawing as Jay Gavin). The second story arc was written by Roy Thomas with the incomparable Neal Adams doing the art. Let's check out the Sentinels then and now.


Looking at the Sentinels when compared to a human, the original Sentinels were big, as can be seen on the left panel; around twice as tall as a man. The Mark II Sentinels, on the other hand have become gigantic.


The Mark I Sentinels, again on the left panel, used power blasts from their hands or chest emblems - aside from that, they had the titanic strength of their huge metalloid bodies. Three years later, the Mark II Sentinels have become much, much deadlier. As can be seen in the panel on the right the Sentinel is adapting to the Iceman's power - using super-hot steam to take out Bobby Drake. Other adaptations include using anti-gravity to move the Blob or steel tentacles against the bounding Beast. It makes the Mark II Sentinels impressively difficult to take out.


As can be seen in the top panel, the Mark I Sentinels where downright treasonous, betraying their creator, Bolivar Trask. The Mark II Sentinels didn't have this flaw. In the lower panel, a Sentinel accidentally hits Judge Chalmers, a non-mutant, this sends him into a panic because it is against Sentinel directives to harm humans.


The first sentinels were led by the gigantic Master Mold. As shown in the right panel, when Larry Trask, rebuilt, and improved, his father's machines, he saw it best to control them himself through that funky helmet of his.

I find Thomas' and Adams' story arc much superior to the original Sentinel tale in issues 14-16. Adams' art is simply breathtaking, a great match for Roy Thomas' fast paced story - lots of twists and surprises on this one. Nonetheless, the Lee, Kirby and Roth tale holds a special place for me simply because it is the first Sentinel story, establishing concepts that writers still use to this day when they write about the Sentinels. And write about the Sentinels they do, these metal giants have become an enduring part of Marvel lore.

Posted by  Pete Albano - December 7, 2011

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Other Classic X-MEN Stories

1 : Classic X-Men introduced; Magneto

10, 60-63 : Savage Land

11 : The Stranger

12-13, 32-33, 46 : Juggernaut

14-16, 57-59 : Sentinels

17-18 : Magneto

19 & 27 : Mimic

20-21 : Lucifer

22-23 : Marvel Villains

24 : The Locust

25-26 : El Tigre

28 : Banshee

29 : Super Adaptoid

30, 47 : Maha Yogi

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