Alan Holloway is back with the latest Sentinel comic - issue 11 "Dark Matter". A five-strong team of mercenaries, each with a unique psychic ability. After a successful job, they are hired by the Narata Corporation to jump into a war zone in order to liberate some important information.
Sentinel has been on quite a journey since it started in 2020. The world seems to have changed, but that's not stopped them from regularly putting out quality comics. How many indie creators have put out 11 comics in the past 2 years? Not many. And to keep a level of quality as well makes it all the more impressive. They're also unique in style, with their 64-page comics that keeps panels on a page to a minimum. There's an art that goes into creating a longer comic without it feeling like it'll take a while to read, whilst still keeping everything entertaining. It's why we love them.
As usual, at Comic Book News UK, we'll start with the art. Ian Beadle worked on Sentinel issue 4, "Misty Moore", and so we kind of knew what to expect. Ian though surpassed our expectations with some incredible art that improves on an already impressive style. The linework at times is impeccable, with some really detailed work with shading that is top-level stuff.
Whilst the art is incredible, I did find that Trebor's face took the focus away from the experience as it doesn't match the rest of the style. I do get why it was done like it is and the same style is used elsewhere later on but I prefer the detailed line work used elsewhere. A solid block colour of grey would have really elevated the style, like for on the cover (just obviously not in colour). Apart from that small gripe though, this art is going to leave readers marvelling at some panels. Every page has some impressive details.
The constant line work in Griff's face deserves a special mention! We already can't wait for Ian to return to Sentinel in the future.
Storywise, Alan Holloway is at his usual best. The dialogue is full of wit and everyone gets a moment. A few bits of dialogue for each character throughout and you feel like you know exactly what each character is like. They all have their part to play and even though some get more page time than others. Juggling a team for page time is tough and you have to pick the strongest - there's a reason a lot of Justice League pages feature the Trinity more than the rest of the team. For Dark Matter that's Griff, the team leader, and Trebor, the teams' big man.
You're dropped straight into the action with Dark Matter under fire. It's made quite clear that they don't want to be there and it's only because they're being paid that they are. You get a glimpse at their powers but not much - what they can actually do is explained later on.
Alan has shown a few times now that he can write sci-fi well, but he really kicks it up a notch here with the fast-paced action. There's little room to slow down which makes for a great page-turner. With Ian's art, it needed action like this and given previous issues we knew that Alan had this under control. He's really mastered this format.
This could easily be a series. It's almost a shame that this is a one-shot comic (although who knows, they could pull a Baddock and appear more than once).
Dark Matter is a brilliant showcase of what Sentinel Comics are about. A neatly packaged story that delivers in content on all fronts. A fun action-packed story with some brilliant artwork. What more could you want from a comic?
To purchase copies of Sentinel, send a DM via Facebook (@thesentinelcomic) or Twitter (@uk_comic), or one either Ed Doyle (@EDDREDD) or Alan Holloway (@Emceehamster), and they'll sort you out with payment being made by PayPal. And copies of Sentinel in the wild can be found at Imaginarium, 39 Meadow St, Weston Super Mare, BS23 1QH.
And while you're here, check out our Q & A with Alan and Ed here: Q&A with Sentinel Comics.
Dark Matter is currently on Kickstarter, with a few days left, which we highly recommend you check out and back. There's no need to have read the previous issues, so starting at issue 11 is completely fine - but check out the previous ones because they're all good. Kickstarter link: SENTINEL COMIC ISSUE 11 "DARK MATTER" by alan holloway - Kickstarter