By Jim Beard
Who doesn't love giant robots? That'd be the X-Men—especially those giant robots who're perennially trying to hunt, capture and kill them!
With more versions through the years than you can shake a nanobot at, the robotic Sentinels rank right up there with Magneto in the roll call of tenacious X-Foes. Dr. Bolivar Trask originated them but these mutant-hunting automatons' upgrades far exceed their creator's designs, so wherever the X-Men turn, there be Sentinels.
The latest Sentinel sighting comes to us in the pages of X-FACTOR #21, out March 18 and destined to be a prime example of why you just don't mess with some giant robots. In fact, all of the following confrontations teach the very same lesson. Pay attention, class!
X-MEN v1 #14 (1965) – Professor X agreed to a televised debate with the irritable Dr. Bolivar Trask but he never agreed to being accosted by Trask's new mutant-hunting robots, the Sentinels. Ultimately, the artificial humanoids decided they were better suited to rule to world and the X-Men plunged into their first conflict with Trask's "no more mutants" plan gone horribly awry.
X-MEN v1 #98 (1976) – Fruitlessly hoping to relax for the holidays the X-Men came under attack by Mark III Sentinels, this time directed by Dr. Steven Lang. The mutants fought valiantly but ultimately some would be captured and scrutinized by Lang at a hidden base. While Wolverine attempted to break free from the Sentinels, Cyclops and Nightcrawler discovered their enemies' base existed no where on Earth—but as a space station in orbit.
NEW MUTANTS v1 #2 (1983) – Out at the mall for a day of fun, the New Mutants ran headlong into government agents and their "Project Wideawake" tools, the Mark V Sentinels. The young mutant students waged a commendable battle against the giant robots, each of them fighting in their own unique way—and winning. Once local law enforcement arrived, Karma possessed the agents and forced them to confess their shameful Sentinel terrorism.
X-MEN v2 #65 (1997) – Hunted by the forces of Operation: Zero Tolerance forces led by the human-Sentinel hybrid Bastion, the X-Men once again came under attack. One by one the mutants succumbed to Bastion's own creative breed of weapon, the Prime Sentinels, and this time the revolution was televised. Then, the Xavier Institute fell and it appeared as if those who hated mutants the most finally won.
NEW X-MEN #115
NEW X-MEN #115 (2001) – An unholy alliance between the devilish Cassandra Nova and a Trask descendent led to new trouble for the X-Men. A pack of so-called Wild Sentinels, made up of available rag-tag materials, initiated hostilities against the heroic mutants while their mistress betrayed and murdered Trask. The captured X-Men struggled against their captivity but Nova declared war on the mutant-populated Genosha and the Sentinels began to obliterate the entire country.
What sort of Sentinels will the future bring? What more horrors could the artificial constructs rain down upon the X-Men and their allies? Jack into X-FACTOR #21 on March 18 and find out!
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