Villains of Marvel Comics: :Turner D. Century


Turner D. Century

Real name: Clifford F. Michaels
First appearance: Spider-Woman 33
Died in: Captain America 319
What's His Problem? Clifford M. Michaels was raised by eccentric millionaire Morgan MacNeil Hardy to believe two things: that turn-of-the-century American society was ideal, and that modern society was increasingly corrupt. When Hardy retired from his political crusades against smut and decadence, his ward Michaels took over as the colorful Turner D. Century and began lobbying for a return to old-time moral values in San Francisco. At first, Century did this through public speeches and some minor crimefighting; however, he soon decided that modern society was beyond redemption--that it had to be purged by fire and rebuilt from the ground up. To that end, he began burning down anything and anyone in the city that he considered immoral or impure. Driven off by Spider-Woman, he later threatened New York and also menaced the midwest before his murder by another vigilante, the Scourge of the Underworld.
Abilities: Century was a gifted public speaker and a talented but erratic machinesmith who designed and built his own eccentric tools and weaponry.
Weapons: Century dressed in turn-of-the-century costuming and his paraphernalia was designed to match that look. His favorite accessories included a flame-throwing umbrella and a flying bicycle.
Favorite Quote: "The answer lies here, in my greatest creation: The Time Horn! With it attached to my bicycle, I will fly over the streets of decadent New York and unleash ultrasonic sound waves--that will attack the central nervous system of all those under the age of sixty-five! After that, only the pure ones--the old ones--will be left alive! And this city of sin and debauchery- -will become a veritable heaven-on-earth!" (Marvel Team-Up 120. TDC unveils his wickedest, wackiest plan ever; thankfully, the horn was imperfect and succeeded only in rendering younger New Yorkers unconscious for a few minutes.)
Heroes He Kept Running Into: TDC battled both the original Spider-Woman and Spider- Man. ("You arachnids are becoming a nuisance!" he fumed.) He also reluctantly battled the 1930s mercenary adventurer Dominic Fortune, who was by then one of the senior citizens Century so adored.
People Who Think He's Not So Bad: Morgan MacNeil Hardy loved TDC like a son and taught him everything he knew, but he was heartbroken when he learned of Century's murderous extremes and allowed himself to die in a fire sparked by Century's battle with Spider-Woman. Century also had something of a popular following in San Francisco for a time, but that evaporated when he turned to murder and mass destruction.
Most Despicable Act: Century killed dozens of people in San Francisco, many of them complete innocents unlucky enough to belong to "impure" races. His attempt to kill everybody under the age of sixty-five in New York wasn't especially nice, either.

by Sean McQuaid


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