Guest Review: The Sentinels Books 1 – 3

Posted: December 3, 2012 in Reviews
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By RAHeadley

The heroes in Plexico's Sentinels series of novels. Property of Van Allen Plexico

The heroes in Plexico’s Sentinels series of novels. Property of Van Allen Plexico

The Sentinels is a series of books written by Van Allen Plexico, http://www.whiterocketbooks.com/plexico/

The first three are titled:

Volume 1: When Strikes the Warlord

Volume 2: A Distant Star

Volume 3: Apocalypse Rising

The trilogy is also available collected together in Sentinels: The Grand Design from Amazon.com, http://www.amazon.com/Sentinels-The-Grand-Design-Omnibus/dp/0984139257/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_4

These books are fantastic superhero novels drawing on the classic Avengers stories from Marvel Comics. Plexico has extensive knowledge of The Avengers and it is reflected in the excellent writing for the Sentinels series. Each book is around 250 pages, give or take a few.  It is one of those rare reads where you find your eyes moving faster to get to the next word or sentence, but because all those individual words make up some great parts, you find yourself going back and reading them again to make sure you didn’t miss anything.  There are also some very good illustrations throughout the book as well which help to visualize how the author views his characters.

I can’t help but draw parallels to some of the cosmic storytelling by the likes of Roy Thomas, Jim Shooter, and a bit of Jack “King” Kirby, all who contributed so much to the classic Avengers.

I’ve tried to provide a brief synopsis of each volume without giving everything away.

Volume 1 introduces the main characters including a classic comic-book villain.  The introduction of Lyn Li who becomes Pulsar is reminiscent of the classic X-Men books from the 60’s where you meet a mutant just discovering her powers. Esro Brachis, the genius inventor turned superhero, is a wonderful take on Tony Stark/Iron Man. Ultraa is an almost Superman type hero with his powers, although I like Plexico’s twist on them. The super villain, The Warlord, is a great blend of Dr. Doom, Kang, and some of Plexico’s own elements. You can almost hear The Warlord speaking the well-written villainous monologues as you read them.

There are also other characters introduced in this book, including the peculiar Cavalier, that appear in the rest of the series but the gist of this volume is to bring the heroes together.

Volume 2 continues the story with Vanadium, introduced in volume 1, as a member of the team.  I view Vanadium as a Silver Surfer/Vision-esque type character, but again with Plexico’s own twist. A new character is also introduced, Mondrian, an alien female that becomes integral to the story-line, now and in the future.  Each of the other characters are represented well, but just as volume 1 focused more on Lyn Li, the central characters for this book are Esro and Mondrian.  A new villain shows up, a type of Ultron meets the Super-Adaptoid as well as continuing with The Warlord.  Volume 1 could have been the only story he wrote about the Sentinels but this book may as well have said, “To be continued next month”. This book also goes much further out into the cosmic story telling that Plexico is so good at, which concludes in volume 3.

Volume 3 is the last part of this trilogy. Plexico does a brief recap of volume 2, but you really need to read them in order to get the best effect. This is also the conclusion of the first trilogy which has the Earth at the center of a cosmic struggle with the fate of the planet itself hanging in the balance!  Full of alien invasions, alliances with other races, and even super-villain on super-villain action!  Ultraa is the main man, so to speak, in this book and Plexico does a great job with him.  He is a very powerful character, again think Superman type powers, and it is good to see him shine.

While I do point out some similarities between Plexico’s characters and those of mainstream comics, there is no doubt the he puts his own fresh spin on them.  Including a very good way of focusing on how the characters act alone or together instead of just what their powers and abilities are.  Additionally, the action scenes he describes are just as good as seeing them drawn out in all their Four-Color glory.

I hope I have not been too vague, but I don’t want to cheat you, the reader, out of enjoying these fine stories for yourself!

I will do a review on the next trilogy in the near future.

Excelsior, Mr. Plexico!

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  1. […] Guest Review: The Sentinels Books 1 – 3 […]

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