Marvel Comics Presents (1st series) #169

Issue Date: 
December 1994
Story Title: 
Century (2nd story)

2nd story: Dan Abnett (writer), Lawrence Brown (artist), Madonna (letterer), Frank Lopez (colorist)

Michael Krager (assistant editor), Richard Ashford (editor), Ralph Macchio (group editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

2nd story:
Force Works arrive in Hong Kong and battle the Mandarin’s Avatars. During the battle, Century fights the Avatar called Q’wake. Century recalls how he came to meet up with Force Works, and his memory loss. As he defeats Q’wake, his staff, Parallax, detects a familiar energy signature resonating from the Avatars. Century teleports away to uncover the cause of this familiar energy, and hopefully piece together his memory. But in abandoning Force Works, he leaves Spider-Woman in the clutches of death.

Full Summary: 

2nd story:
The Pegasus Hex-Ship belonging to the newest super hero team, Force Works, slows to a dead stop, and, inside the powerful Scarlet Witch, the heroic Spider-Woman and the mighty USAgent stare down at a city in ruins – Hong Kong. With them is their newest teammate, the alien Century, as well as the mysterious Recorder. Century thinks to himself that he would like the city below to remind him of something, but it does not. It is just burning stone and dispersing smoke. He recalls that they have come here to answer Hong Kong’s scream for help, but he is not sure what help they can offer.

The Scarlet Witch, Force Works’ leader, tells her team that tactical holograms show several apparently super-powered individuals on the rampage below. She opens the outer hatch and tells them to get ready to move. The Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman and USAgent enter via the hatch, however Century raises his staff, Parallax, and slices open the co-ordinates of Time-Space, and arrives on the ground an instant later, before his teammates. The alien looks around and sees that this portion of the city has been razed / torn apart / crushed, and he wonders what could have destructive power enough to be responsible, when the question becomes academic, as the Mandarin’s Avatar known as Q’wake approaches Century from behind.

Century sees that his assailant is huge and challenges him in a human dialect that he has not yet mastered, but his actions made his intent clear. Q’wake slams his fists against the ground. The air shock of the impact nearly knocks Century off his feet. But there is more to the blow than simple kinetic force, as Century sees Q’wake unleash some paranormal control of seismic effect, which splits the planetary crust to a depth of seventy meters. The “earth-wound” as Century calls I yawns wide to consume him as he falls towards it, but Century is quick enough to spin Parallax and side-step into the null-space of an interdimensional void.

Brilliant color bursts around Century, who tells himself that this is his domain, the confluence of realities, an in-between nowhen that allows him to access all parts of the universe.

Shown with flashback images that take place during Force Works #1:
Century recalls first arriving on planet Earth when he was plucked from the confluence of realities by as colossal burst of probability energy, courtesy of the Scarlet Witch. He emerged into the midst of a battle between the alien Kree warriors, and his soon-to-be comrades, Force Works. Before any explanations could be rendered, Century had joined the heroic Force Works in combating the menace of the alien scavengers known as the Scatter. It was a bitter struggle made worse by the fact that somehow, Century led the Scatter to Earth.

Century is not sure how he led the Scatter to Earth, however, as his odyssey through null-space had eroded his memory, leaving him with no knowledge of who or what he is. Century reminds himself that Force Works offered him hospitality, comradeship and a chance to recuperate, and yet, despite long hours of meditation, he has not yet been able to recover his lost identity.

Null-space slides past and Century selects his co-ordinates for relocation, appearing right behind Q’wake. Century does not give Q’wake a second hance to cripple / defeat / kill him, and lashes out at him with Parallax, knocking Q’wake backwards. Century realizes that his teammates have engaged the other Avatars in battle. He sees that the struggle is intense and knows he should help them. But something makes him pause - a hint, a flavor of energy, a trace of power as distinct as a fingerprint and unique as a snowflake. The energy surrounds Q’wake, and Century realizes that it is what gave his foe his unearthly power.

Suddenly, Century recognizes the energy and, for the first time, a piece of his shattered memory returns. His mind is overwhelmed and spinning. Nearby, Spider-Woman is in serious trouble against the decrepit Lich. ‘Century! Help me! Please!’ Julia pleads with Century. Lich bears down over the desperate Julia, who continues to call out to Century for help. ‘For God’s sake!’ she cries. Bit Century does not respond. And an instant later, he teleports away. ‘I don’t believe it!’ Julia gasps as she sees Century vanish. ‘NOOOOO!’ Julia screams as Lich wraps his hand over her face.

Traveling through null-space, Century tells himself that he is loathe to leave his teammates in such dire circumstances, but that he must - even if it results in their deaths. Century has decided that he must follow the energy signature to its source, as it may prove to be the key to his lost past, and more. Century tells himself that if what he remembers is correct, it is too dangerous to ignore - too dangerous for him, for Force Works - and for the planet Earth itself….

Characters Involved: 

2nd story:
Century, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman II, USAgent (all Force Works)

Recorder II

Lich, Q’wake (both Avatars of the Mandarin)

In flashback images:
Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman II, USAgent (all Force Works)
The Scatter
Kree warriors

Story Notes: 

The other stories in this issue are:
(1st story) The Mandarin in “Past is Prologue”
(3rd story) War Machine v Vengeance in “Fallen Idols” part 3
(4th story) It, the Living Colossus in “Rock ‘em, Sock ‘em Robots”

2nd story:
This story takes place within the pages of Force Works #6, and ties into the “Hands of the Mandarin” crossover.

This story is narrated by Century.

Despite claiming this issue that he teleports from the Hex-Ship to the battle field below, Force Works #6 clearly shows Century dropping from the Hex-Ship with his teammates.

Century’s teleport departure from Hong Kong takes him central China, as seen in War Machine (1st series) #9. Century’s quest regarding the energy signature he detected in Hong Kong continues there.

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