WARNING: The Following Article Contains SPOILERS Up To X-Men: Red #4.
A horrifying new form of Sentinel - the mutant-hunting robots who are perennial foes of the X-Men - has proven capable of transforming any mutant into a secret soldier for the anti-Mutant agenda. Worse yet, this new threat was revealed when it took control of the weather-controlling X-Man Storm, turning her loose upon the mutant population of Wakanda before pushing her to take her own life.
X-Men: Red author Tom Taylor hasn't held back in his efforts to modernize the Sentinels for The Information Age. No longer confined to robotic shells that are several stories high, this new breed of Sentinels think smaller and smarter. Earlier issues of the series revealed that The Sentinels have weaponized social media, tracking people who might be sympathetic to anti-Mutant propaganda and literally reprogramming their minds with viral messaging that transforms them into organic Sentinels. The Sentinel program also makes the immune to the mental manipulations of telepathic mutants like Jean Grey.
Ironically, The Sentinels have evolved even further, developing the ability to directly take control of Mutants themselves. It does this by accomplishing physically what the earlier Sentinel program accomplished through pinpoint marketing and brainwashing.
Through the combined efforts of Black Panther, Jean Grey and the technopathic mutant Trinary, The X-Men are able to isolate what Trinary dubs a Sentinite. This nanite Sentinel attacks the fear center of the brain, controlling the host's flight and fight responses, pushing them to violence. What is more, The Sentinite lends its host its natural ability to detect mutants among ordinary humans with a glance along with an immunity to telepathic attacks.
The implications of this new breed of Sentinel are truly horrifying. The telepaths among the X-Men - usually the first line of defense in sensing any sort of sneak attack - are completely helpless against the Sentinites. Not only do the powers behind The Sentinels now have the ability to take control of any mutant and turn them into a secret soldier, but they could easily wipe out all of mutantkind with one order that every infected mutant should terminate themselves!
Thankfully, with the help of Black Panther and Wakanda's advanced science, Storm and Jean Grey are able to devise a solution that will protect the X-Men in the field. The issue ends with Jean Grey's team donning new costumes made of a fabric that acts as a natural firewall against the Sentinites. This, coupled with a new base of operations in Atlantis,will hopefully provide the team the edge they need to take the fight to the mysterious power behind the new Sentinels.
While Tom Taylor's modernization of The Sentinels is unlikely to win fans among those who accuse Marvel Comics of being too focused on promoting social awareness, his story continues the fine tradition of X-Men comics tackling current events and sensitive political issues metaphorically. It's also gratifying to see Storm and Jean Grey in a position of power leading their own team, after years of playing second-fiddle to Wolverine and Cyclops in other titles.
X-Men: Red #4 is now available from Marvel Comics.