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Sentinels: The Shiva Advent
Reviewed by Joe Crowe, © 2010

Format: Book
By:   Van Allen Plexico
Genre:   Superhero
Review Date:   January 29, 2010
RevSF Rating:   8/10 (What Is This?)

"I intend to be much better armed by the time I am actually required to engage in the use of force against anything as dangerous as your robot." -- Wolf

Shiva Advent is the fourth book of Van Allen Plexico's Sentinels. But now would be a good time to jump in. It starts a new series of superhero vs. alien action stuff.

Plexico's influence for this story appears to be Jim Starlin from Marvel's 1970s Warlock. Both have super-powerful heroes mixed with ordinary humans, fighting colorful villains who plan galactic annihilation.

The cover and interior art by Chris Kohler and Rowell Roque screams Jim Starlin and / or George Perez. Mondrian is a red-skinned lady with a gun and Ultraa shows off his six-pack. He also has the Captain America-style flared red gloves.

In the first Sentinels book, one of the five cast members was killed. The victim was a main good guy, not a redshirt. He was the exposition guy. And he got dead, not comic-book dead. Pining for the fjords dead. Sod monitor dead. It surprised me, which is a good thing.

In Shiva Advent, almost half the cast is murdered in the first 26 pages. This time, the cast fills up again, with new guys popping up every few pages. But still, it got me again.

Sentinels is a comic book in novel form. It has hero archetypes such as the genius, the young hothead, the brick, and the leader. This time the main guys are the brick, Vanadium, and the leader-type Ultraa.

Sentinels books get right to the plot, with little backstory or time spent in quiet reflection. Ultraa's mystery has been teased for the whole series, and big chunks of it get solved.

My favorite character is Vanadium. He's a big robot. He thinks in italics about his personal crises, then he blows up spaceships.

Sentinels does not try to reinvent the superhero business. It's something I saw before, but I read anyway, because I liked that stuff when I saw it before.

Sentinels: Shiva Advent has some of my favorite things: Big robots and guys with big weapons. Those are what I want to read about. If more books had them, society would right itself.

RevolutionSF's Joe Crowe can fly at the speed of an out of shape human.

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