How Marvel Turned a Forgotten Iron Man TV Show Superhero into a Villain

The Armored Avenger Iron Man is known for a lot of things, but having a great animated series is not one of them. During an era where both Spider-Man and the X-Men both had fondly remembered series, Iron Man was defined by his notoriously bad one. The cast of the series was made up of his fellow heroes in Force Works, one of whom was a fairly obscure character.

Century was first introduced in the Force Works comic book series, and he unfortunately followed many of the trends of the '90s. Mysterious, edgy and wearing a terrible costume, Century was not exactly the darling of the Marvel Universe. Here's how the character was introduced, how he broke bad and why he isn't very fondly remembered.

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Iron Man and the Turn of the Century

Debuting in Force Works #1 in 1994, Century was created by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Tom Tenney. He was a sort of artificial being created from the consciousness of the alien Hodomurian race to defeat the evil Lore. He was eventually brought to Earth by the reality-warping powers of the Scarlet Witch, and he joined Force Works to help the team fight off the Scatter aliens.

Mellow and taciturn, Century wasn't much for emoting with his teammates. This saw him barely developed throughout the Force Works comic book, with his most notable story involving his being captured by aliens and fighting alternate versions of other Marvel heroes. He would eventually quit Force Works and leave Earth, though not before he admitted an attraction to Scarlet Witch. From there, the character's only claim to fame was his inclusion in the arguably bad Iron Man cartoon, as he fell into obscurity in the world of comics.

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Who Are Marvel's Century and the Revengers?

Former Avenger Wonder Man, a.k.a. Simon Williams, eventually questioned the team's success, seeing them as too reactive and doing more harm than good. He thus formed his own team, the Revengers, whose first goal was to stop the Avengers at all costs. Their ranks included several heroes and antiheroes, including Goliath, Eddie Brock as Anti-Venom, and the long forgotten Century.

The version of the team's roster with Century didn't last long, and the Revengers were defeated and captured. Century stated that his reason for joining the team was out of a sense of honor and respect for Wonder Man, especially since he had felt responsible for his death years earlier. Since then, however, Century has been nowhere to be found.

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One of the reasons for why Century failed to ever gain much popularity may stem from when and how he was introduced. A brooding and mysterious warrior with a gaudy costume, the alien was part of a wave of gritty '90s comic book archetypes. Given that Marvel already had heroes like Wolverine and Ghost Rider, as well as vigilantes like The Punisher and Venom to fill this role, a fairly similar generic hero was about as well-received as his arguably horrendous costume.

Even the writers seemed uninterested in doing anything interesting or original with the character, and even his attraction to Scarlet Witch felt like a poor imitation of her former relationship with the Vision. Given that he was a member of Force Works, a team that Iron Man led, and the fact that he was part of the team on the animated series, Century was essentially a side character to a hero who was not very popular at the time. When added to the fact that his one major appearance outside of the comics was in what is widely considered to be one of Marvel's worst animated projects, the failure of the character is hardly a surprise.

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Timothy Donohoo (1402 Articles Published)

Timothy Blake Donohoo is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he majored in Communication and minored in Creative Writing. A professional freelance writer and marketing expert, he’s written marketing copy and retail listings for companies such as Viatek. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing video games, watching documentaries and catching up on the latest Vaporwave and Electro-Swing musical releases.

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