April 17, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #138: Century

An Avengers team breaks up, becomes a more proactive group with a lame name, and then adds a mysterious alien. It's Century, ladies and gentlemen!

Why is it when comics publishers think their regular all-star superhero team wasn’t proactive enough, they do a thing where a splinter group goes off, forms a team with a more “awesome” name, and then gets promptly forgotten, along with any new characters that might have joined in the interim?  That happened when Captain Atom formed an Extreme Justice team apart from the Justice League, but at least that name was somewhat close to the original.

But then the West Coast Avengers broke up and became Force Works, and that meant adding a new “awesome” team member named Century.

Does the name refer to his age?

What was the deal anyway?  OK, to start, as stated above, the West Coast Avengers broke up and a few of their members decided to form a new, more pro-active team called “Force Works,” with the original membership of Iron Man, the Scarlet Witch, U.S.Agent, a Spider-Woman, and Wonder Man.  Wonder Man died, or as much as a man made out of ionic energy can die, in the very first issue, so there was a roster opening and then some weird guy named Century showed up and turned out to be instrumental in defeating the bad guys for the first arc.  As such, under the by-laws of comic book super teams, he was invited to join and accepted because he needed a new family or something.

Beware the Force Works!

But who was Century?  Well, he was the genetic creation of the alien race known as the Hodomurians.

As opposed to the much cooler Hodormurians.

They had some problems, so they created Century, a being with the minds of one hundred of the strongest surviving members of the race.  He was able to access all their memories, and with the use of his powerful staff Parallax.  Parallax allows Century to focus and not be so…distracted as one hundred different minds strived for attention.  As it is, Century naturally lost the staff but recovered it in time to join Force Works.

So what sort of cool powers did Century have?  Did he have the strength of 100 men?  Nope.  He had memories and basic skills, and that was about it as far as Century powers went.  The Parallax staff did allow him to teleport, and sometimes he would shoot off a bunch of different words all at once like some kind of living thesaurus.  And that was about it.  He hung out with Force Works, and then when Force Works went away, so did he, and not even having a supporting role on an Iron Man animated series could save him.

But that was the 90s.  Surely some of Marvel’s totally radical new characters from that decade had staying power?

I think I’ve written columns about half these guys.

Or not.