Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why Does Everyone Know Centrix?

Okay, "everyone" might be an exaggeration...But I've been surprised at how well known this character is despite appearing in only one book.  And within that book, it seems like he appeared in only one panel!

In the ongoing and never-ending DC vs Marvel debate, I am firmly in the DC camp. That may seem odd since Marvel has far more prominent Canadian characters, but aside from that bunch, Marvel offers very little else that appeals to me.

A lack of Canadian characters has long been an areawhere I've found DC Comics lacking.  From time to time, I would search for DC Canucks in the hope that one was introduced without my knowledge (this is how I found Dark Crow and Freight Train).  And in doing this, I always seemed to stumble into Centrix.  People discussing the subject of Canadian DC characters would miss Flying Fox, or Sparx, but invariably, there was Centrix.

So what's the deal with this guy?  Well, he first (and last) appeared in Justice League Quarterly #17, a book in which the Global Guardians get decimated in an attack from a long-time nemesis of one of the team members.  I don't own the book, but my understanding is that once the threat is disposed of, the Guardians replenish their ranks with some noobs, Centrix among them.

I believe, however, that the extent of his appearance is an image displayed on a video screen as existing members discuss the newcomers.  The page scan below is from the Crisis on Earth Prime blog, which dedicated a few posts to chronicling the adventures of the Guardians (post-crisis, pre-flashpoint).

Centrix hasn't been heard from since, which may actually be to the character's benefit.  As COEP points out, being a Global Guardian often leads to a pretty lousy fate.  DC writers seemed to use them an the comic book equivalent of wrestling jobbers (or how Brian Michael Bendis uses Alpha Flight).

For all that Centrix in-story adventures are, somehow a few sites have managed to nail down his history and abilities.  Here's comicvine's take:
Mark Armstrong was a very successful advertising executive. He was so successful that he was able to retire at a young age. Thanks to his retirement, he was able to practice and hone his meta-human abilities. Centrix is one of the few public Canadian superheroes that used to fight small crimes until he was introduced to the Global Guardians by the Martian Manhunter...

Due to his wealth, he was able to finance the Global Guardians during his stay on the team.

Centrix can project invisible, energy force waves from his body. He carries projectiles with him that he uses to throw with his force waves, making them formidable weapons.
Presumably, the above was copied from the DC Encyclopedia as comicvine lists that book (and the updated version) as Centrix's only other appearance.

It's pretty easy to speculate that there is little future for this character when he arguably has not had a present.  Still, there are plenty of examples of little-known characters resurfacing to varying degrees, so who knows?  The mention of Centrix financing the Global Guardians reminded me of what Angel did for the Champions of Los Angeles years ago.  Centrix could do something similar with the handful of Canadian characters in the DC stable.  Or perhaps he could be behind the funding of the Sandmen, members of the World Army on Earth-2.  If someone at DC wanted to create a book based around its universe's Canadian content, Centrix could make a great instigator.

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