Created by noted anthropologist Bolivar Trask, the
first Sentinels were lumbering, semi-humanoid robots
tasked with the apprehension or elimination of mutants.
Although Trask's principal field of expertise was anthropology,
he also demonstrated considerable talent in the areas
of biophysics, cybernetics and robotics. When his young
son, Lawrence, developed precognitive abilities, Trask
embarked on a privately funded anthropological study
of the rapidly increasing, worldwide emergence of genetically
empowered individuals. He became convinced that these
mutants, the first of a newly evolving race, would use
their powers to dominate the world and enslave mankind.
Trask eventually founded a small group of researchers,
led by himself and his now-adult son, to compile evidence
that mutants posed a threat to humanity. Drawing on
his considerable fortune, Trask hired a large team of
cyberneticists, roboticists and engineers to realize
his designs for the ultimate solution to what he perceived
as a global dilemma.
Trask publicly revealed the existence of the Sentinels
during a live, televised debate on the alleged mutant
menace with Professor Charles Xavier -- secretly the
telepathic leader of the heroic band of masked, mutant
adventurers known as the X-Men. The Sentinels were programmed
to protect mankind from mutants, but cold logic led
them to conclude that they could best accomplish this
aim by seizing control of society from the imperfect
humans they considered to be their inferiors. One of
the Sentinels attacked and kidnapped Trask during the
debate, countermanding his orders. The Alpha Sentinel,
Master Mold, attempted to force Trask to construct more
of its kind, so as to facilitate the androids' conquest
of the human race. Training a thought-reading probe
on the ape-like X-Man called the Beast, Trask realized
that not all mutants would inevitably use their powers
to subjugate humanity. Finally grasping the magnitude
of the evil he had wrought, the scientist sacrificed
his life to destroy Master Mold.
Following Bolivar Trask's death, his son spearheaded
construction of the Mark II Sentinels. Wrongly blaming
the X-Men for his father's fate, Larry Trask targeted
the outcast adventurers for capture and imprisonment.
When the medallion that suppressed Trask's powers was
removed, the Sentinels realized that he was a mutant
and declared their autonomy. In effect, they had become
their own masters. The Sentinels computed that the best
way to halt human evolution was to destroy the sun,
the source of most mutation-inducing radiation on Earth.
While orbiting their target, however, they concluded
that they lacked the means to destroy it. The Sentinels
returned to Earth to implement a new set of tactics,
but were put down by the Avengers. Earth's Mightiest
Heroes deactivated or destroyed most of the robotic
executioners. Trask died during the battle.
The U.S. government took ownership of the Sentinel
plans following Trask's death, and Dr. Steven Lang was
placed in charge of a federal investigation into the
origin of genetic mutation. Unknown to his employers,
Lang's objectivity was skewed by a fanatical, irrational
distrust of mutants. He used his position to acquire
Trask's designs and notes, then sought financial backing
from the Hellfire Club, an elite social organization
of the world's wealthiest and most powerful figures.
In pursuit of its goal of world domination, the Hellfire
Club provided Lang with funds to construct new Sentinels
and an orbital space station -- not knowing that he
intended to terminate every mutant abducted. Unfortunately
for Lang, his first captives were the X-Men. The heroes
escaped their bonds, and destroyed Lang's Sentinels
and space station.
After the terrorist organization called the Brotherhood
of Evil Mutants attempted to assassinate Senator Robert
Kelly, the president inaugurated the secret and illegal
operation known as Project Wideawake to apprehend and
detain genetically empowered individuals. The government
contracted Shaw Industries to construct Sentinels in
secret -- unaware that the company's owner, Sebastian
Shaw, was himself a mutant. Without the government's
knowledge, Shaw used the Sentinels to attack the X-Men
in his role as leader of the Hellfire Club.
The next Sentinel threat would originate in an alternate
future where the mutant-hunting robots reigned supreme.
Nimrod, a state-of-the-science Sentinel, traveled back
in time -- emerging in the present to hunt mutants as
he had in the future. The X-Men neutralized Nimrod,
but his technology merged with that of Master Mold.
The amalgamated android battled the X-Men, who were
able to defeat the robot only by forcing it through
the dimensional portal called the Siege Perilous. The
magic of the Siege Perilous would allow any entity that
passed through it to be reborn as a new being. Nimrod
returned in humanoid form as Bastion and began to integrate
Sentinel technology into unsuspecting humans.
These sleeper agents were unaware of their programming,
awakened only by mutant activity. Privately re-establishing
the Sentinel program, Bastion received government sanction
to commence Operation: Zero Tolerance. Commanding a
hidden army of Sentinels, he ransacked and razed the
X-Men's mansion, downloading Xavier's extensive computer
files on mutants around the world. Bastion used this
information to systematically attack and capture the
X-Men and their associates. The android ultimately was
destroyed, but the X-Men found it difficult to locate
and deactivate all the humans he had transformed. The
mutant heroes could not attack these cyborg Sentinels
in wanton fashion, as they were victimized humans --
a weakness on which Bastion likely had counted.
The latest mutant-hunting androids, the product of
a shadow-ops program, assimilate automobile and aircraft
components, machine parts, and building materials to
keep pace with genetic mutation. As humankind inches
toward extinction, the Sentinels gather in secret enclaves
throughout the world -- waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting
First Appearance: X-Men (Vol. 1) #14