It’s somewhat fitting that the Sentry appears in a small role in Adam: Legend of the Blue Marvel, as it serves as perhaps the final (some would say unfortunate) affixation of Robert Reynolds to the modern Marvel canon. When the Sentry plays the role of a known commodity in a book aimed to retroactively forge a new character into existence, things have pretty much come full circle. And while the first half of the issue strikes a similar tone to the typical delivery of a Sentry story (complete with the kind of stilted dialogue George Lucas tries to pass of as pastiche), it eventually takes a hard left turn into pertinence just as your about to dismiss it as mindless fluff.
I can’t really go into the plot of the story without spoiling the main twist, so keeping that in mind I’ll keep things comparably short and sweet here. Principally, if you can make it through the first eight pages or so, there is a lot to like within Grevioux’s script. He tells a story of social injustice, which begins with a bit of unexplained time-travel and ends on a somewhat ambiguous, yet wholly provocative note.
The bulk of the issue serves as a tale of the times, exploring the decision making process behind issues that many of us would believe rather clear-cut, yet given the era at hand, made for tough discourse. Grevioux doesn’t hold back any punches, but also never really dips into hyperbole in order to make his points, which I imagine would be hard to do given current public sentiment. There are times where specific characters seem like cardboard cutouts of the archetypal bigot, but it’s also fair to say that these sorts of walking clichés actually existed/exist, so these portrayals aren’t just justified, but also accurate.
Matt Groome’s pencils are clean and consistent, though his character designs, specifically in regards to the main antagonist, are fairly customary. The Anti-Man is downright awkward in scheme, though I’m not sure how much of that is Groome’s fault, as much as how he was told to draw him.
In the end, I can’t think of a better time for this type of story to surface. We’re at a crossroads in America and in some ways Legend of the Blue Marvel can help to accentuate both past sins and the resurgence of hope. The story itself suffers at times, specifically in the opening pages, but the message at its heart is thought provoking enough to make up for any shortcomings.