Real Name: Unrevealed
Identity/Class: Human (@ 2000 years ago through modern era)
Nature of Abilities: Magic User
Occupation: Former power broker for various
head of the FIRM;
owner of a Lousiana plantation;
prince of prehistoric Amerindian tribe
Group Membership: The Hood's army;
former leader of the FIRM
Lilith (former partner);
Avengers (Hawkeye/Bullseye, Iron Patriot/Norman Osborn, Ms. Marvel/Karla Sofen, Sentry/Robert Reynolds, Spider-Man/Mac Gargan), Blackout (Lilin), Carver, Death Ninja, General Ethan J. Hamilton, HAMMER, Colonel Hampton, Heart Attack, the Lilin, Sin-Eater (Ethan Domblue), Steel Vengeance, Steel Wind, Mr. Stern, Reverend Styge, Taskmaster, Mrs. Washington (minions);
Mephisto (former master)
Enemies: Asgardians, Avengers (Luke Cage, Captain America/James Barnes, Captain America/Steve Rogers, Mockingbird, Ronin/Clint Barton, Spider-Man/Peter Parker, Spider-Woman/Jessica Drew), John Blaze, Nick Fury, Ghost Rider (John Blaze/Zarathos), Ghost Rider (Dan Ketch), Heart Attack, Lilith, Mephisto, Zarathos
Known Relatives: Unnamed prehistoric Amerindian
princess (first wife, deceased), Tara (wife, deceased), Adam (brother-in-law,
married and widowed many times
Aliases: The Man without a Soul, the Soulless Man, various throughout the ages
Place of Birth: American Midwest
Base of Operations: Mobile;
formerly Cypress Hills Cemetery;
formerly Mill Brook, N.Y.;
formerly the swamplands of Louisiana;
formerly Southwestern North America, @ 2000 years ago
Extent of Education: Trained in sorcery
First Appearance: Ghost Rider II#74 (November 1982)
Powers/Abilities: Centurious lacks a soul, but his body
and mind are effectively immortal. He has gained immense
knowledge of the occult over the years and is now capable of telekinesis,
self-levitation, illusion-casting, projecting eldritch blasts, manipulating the
natural elements (earth, air, fire, water), mentally controlling certain lower
animals (and even humans under certain circumstances), summoning demons from the
abyss, and enhancing his own physical abilities. Centurious is also able
to tap into the elements themselves and offer up power to his followers,
transforming them into superhumans. With the aid of the Crystal of Souls,
Centurious was able to steal the souls from his victims and gain power from
them, while their souls remained trapped within the Crystal. In his more recent
appearances, Centurious was shown to actually feed upon the very essence of
victims, reducing them to dust. Plant-life touched by Centurious instantly falls
Centurious is proficient in various hand-to-hand combat techniques learned over many ages, though he prefers not to engage in physical combat
Weight: 215 lbs.
Hair: White, (formerly) Black
(Ghost Rider II#77 (fb)) - In the days when man was young and more in tune with the supernatural than they are now, a sorcerer named K'nutu, a resident of what would become Southwestern North America, awakened the demonic Zarathos, offering him a steady supply of souls to devour in exchange for the demon's aid in conquering their enemies. The alliance worked well, as K'nutu's tribe flourished and a strong cult built up around Zarathos. Circa 2000 years ago, this attracted the attention of Mephisto, who coveted the souls that Zarathos was devouring. Mephisto chose a human servant to aid him in upsetting the plans of Zarathos, choosing a young prince whose village had been overrun by K'nutu's tribe and whose beloved princess had been taken away in shackles, to be a sacrifice to Zarathos. The prince had prayed to the heavens for the power to save his lover, but it was Mephisto who answered the call. He took the prince's soul from him and sent him forth to the City of Ten Thousand Souls, where Zarathos dwelled. As the demon's servants looked on, Zarathos moved to devour the soul of the princess, but he was interrupted by the arrival of the man who would one day become known as Centurious. The prince was attacked by the angry Zarathos, but when the demon failed to devour his soul (for it had already been taken from him by Mephisto), both Zarathos and his followers were suddenly filled with doubt. In that moment of indecision, Mephisto struck, battering Zarathos and enslaving him. The prince escaped with his love, but he now felt no compassion for her. Without his soul, there could be no hope of love between them. Abandoning her, the prince wandered into the wastelands, muttering, "You must understand, my princess... for a living man without a soul, there can be no love, nor hope, nor even death! There is only air and dust and darkness. There is only -- eternity!"
(Ghost Rider II#80 (fb)) - Centurious wandered for ages, gradually losing his morals and humanity. In ancient Egypt, he learned the arcane arts and stole a powerful artifact known as the Crystal of Souls. The prince hoped to steal a new soul for himself, but Mephisto's spell was too powerful. Growing ever more insane, Centurious began to take pleasure in denying others the pleasure that he himself could now never possess: the pleasure of having a soul. As the years passed, Centurious began to become more beast than man, acting out old rituals in some elusive hope of gaining enjoyment. He lost much of his memory, forgetting his real name as well as the fact that it was Zarathos who had led to his dire state. Finally coming to rest in Louisiana, he took a young woman as his companion and began stealing the souls of all who crossed his path.
(Ghost Rider II#74) - While driving through the curving roads of the
Louisiana swamplands, John Blaze allowed his mind to wander, leading him to lose
control of his motorcycle and crash. Blaze was found by an old man named Adam,
who helped nursed him back to health. While the two men slept around a campfire, Centurious emerged from the shadows, blanketed by fog. Centurious angrily
informed Adam that it was time to return home and that his foolish desire to
find help was doomed to failure. Blaze attempted to intervene, but was unwilling
to unleash the Ghost Rider and was thus unable to stop Adam from being taken.
Blaze elected to follow the eerie trail left behind Centurious: a trail
consisting of dead vegetation, for anything that Centurious touched seemed to
fall into decay.
In the heart of the swamps, Blaze found the remains of a once-proud plantation, but one that was now falling into the same sort of rot that plagued the countryside. Blaze found a man seated outside the house, but discovered that the man's eyes were vacant, as if his body were nothing more than an empty shell. Forcing his way through the darkened interior, Blaze found Centurious in the dining room, playing host to a party of mesmerized guests. Adam was present, as well, serving wine and food. Centurious named his guests, inviting Blaze to join them in a dance. Present around the table were: a Confederate soldier named Colonel Hampton, an old woman named Mrs. Washington, retired General Ethan J. Hamilton, and a lovely young woman named Tara, whom Centurious claimed was his wife. Blaze found himself forced to engage in a mockery of a traditional party, dancing with Tara and discovering that she, like all the others, appeared to be soulless. Centurious informed Blaze that he ate the souls of his guests and intended to do the same to him, but his attempt only unleashed the demonic Zarathos, an act which triggered Blaze's transformation into the Ghost Rider. Leaving his soulless minions to do battle with the Rider, Centurious rushed to find his Crystal of Souls, hoping to use it to gain additional power to face down his new foe. Their battle ended in a near draw, however, for when Ghost Rider sought to use his soul-shriveling Hellfire on the villain, he discovered that Centurious had no soul of his own. The only souls unleashed during the attack were those whom Centurious had fed upon for years. The backlash of energy forced Ghost Rider to revert back to John Blaze. Blaze's friend, Red Fowler, entered the house at this time, having tracked John's movements. The two men barely escaped the mansion, which was now blanketed by fire. Adam remained behind to make sure that Centurious died, revealing that Tara was his sister and that he'd stayed as servant to the monster for years in hopes that Tara might yet be saved. Faced now with the fact that his sister was forever lost to him, he chose to die rather than live without her. After Blaze and Fowler fled the scene, the mansion came down around Centurious, but the Soulless Man survived the affair and wandered off to start anew.
(Ghost Rider II#80(fb)) - Centurious traveled to the town of Holly, where he acted as the power behind a fire and brimstone pastor named Ethan Domblue, who took to calling himself the Sin Eater, claiming that he could literally devour the sins of his parishioners. Those who took part in this strange ceremony were left altered, as if a part of them were now missing.
(Ghost Rider II#80-81) - Shortly thereafter, Blaze was approached by his old flame Roxanne Simpson. Roxanne told him of problems occurring in her new home, Holly. Blaze accompanied her back to Holly, learning that Domblue claimed that his own life had been changed by the mysterious arrival of a stranger. A stranger who resided within the halls of Domblue's church, the First Church of the Mortal Redeemer. Blaze allowed Domblue to perform the sin-eater ritual upon him, but this only served to unleash the Ghost Rider and draw forth the real villain: Centurious. Lurking beneath the church alter upon which the parishioners would lie when their sins would be devoured was the Crystal of Souls. Centurious used the Crystal to steal Blaze's soul, leaving only Zarathos to inhabit the Ghost Rider form. While Centurious swore to the Sin-Eater that the church would expand to encompass the entire world, Ghost Rider attacked. Weakened by the loss of Blaze's spirit, Ghost Rider was beaten and left for dead by Centurious, who now realized that without vengeance to sustain him, he was left with only his own corruption and despair. He took his followers and fled from Holly, hoping to take the Sin-Eater's Traveling Salvation Show on the road. It was then that Domblue rejected his master, having realized the true depths of evil that Centurious possessed. After mortally wounding Domblue, Centurious was once again faced down by Ghost Rider, who managed to split open the Crystal of Souls. This freed the souls of those trapped within the Crystal, but also forced Centurious into the prison that was the Crystal of Souls. Zarathos allowed a dying Sin-Eater to project the demon's spirit into the Crystal so that he might destroy Centurious once and for all. This left Blaze in sole possession of his body once more. The Crystal itself, now housing both Zarathos and Centurious, was thought lost forever when it fell into a crack in the earth, though it actually fell into the hands of Mephisto.
(Amazing Spider-Man I#276 - BTS) - Mephisto briefly released Zarathos from the Soul Crystal.
(Thor I#430) - The Soul Crystal was seen in Mephisto's possession.
(Ghost Rider III#16 - BTS) - Centurious somehow managed to gain his freedom from the Crystal but his memories were once more unfocused. Knowing only that he sought power for himself, he began forming a small cadre of followers, creating the organization known as the FIRM and bringing such beings as Carver and Reverend Styge under his control. Centurious also made a deal with Steel Vengeance during this period.
(Spirits of Vengeance#2 ( fb) - BTS) - The sister of the comatose cyborg Steel Wind became associated with Centurious and Reverend Styge. In return for rehabilitating Steel Wind, they transformed her sister into a cyborg under their service: Steel Vengeance. Centurious apparently also took their souls (or at least Steel Vengeance's) as part of the deal.
(Ghost Rider III#16 - BTS) - Reverend Styge, operating as the new Sin-Eater, tapped into the suffering of Dan Ketch's mother, offering to revive her deceased daughter Barbara.
(Ghost Rider III#18) - Centurious grew angry over Styge's failure to bring him more souls. He warned Styge that he could be unmade easily enough and that new souls were needed to help restore his failing memory. After Styge failed to gain the soul of Mrs. Ketch, Centurious punished his Sin-Eater by tearing out his left eye. He allowed Styge to live only because the Sin-Eater's words about the Ghost Rider stirred something in Centurious' memory.
(Ghost Rider III#25) - The FIRM, operating under the direction of Centurious, sent Ghost Rider's old foe Blackout to retrieve the hero and bring him into their custody. This attempt fails, though it does leave Ghost Rider's host near death, which forces the Ghost Rider to remain in his heroic form 24/7 for the next few weeks. The FIRM was led by a man named Stern, who received his marching orders from Centurious himself.
(Spirits of Vengeance#2 ( fb) - BTS) - Steel Vengeance claimed that Centurious, referred to only as "master", was the only one who could soothe her sister's pain and that it was she who approached Centurious with her offer of servitude.
(Spirits of Vengeance#2) - Steel Vengeance was interrupted during her massacring of a wannabe cowboy named Tim Andrews. The interruption came in the form of a phone call from Reverend Styge, who told her that their master wished for her to go after John Blaze and the Ghost Rider. Steel Vengeance attacked the Quentin Carnival, but was eventually driven off by Ghost Rider, whose Penance Stare failed to affect her since she no longer had a soul. During her escape, Steel Vengeance lost control of her motorcycle and tumbled off the side of a mountain.
(Ghost Rider II#35) - Centurious continued his attempts to gain control over the Ghost Rider, this time by using the FIRM to create Heart Attack, another super-powered agent charged with capturing the Rider. Heart Attack was actually Tyler Meagher, formerly leader of the all-female assault force known as H.E.A.R.T.
(Spirits of Vengeance#9) - Steel Vengeance returned, this time with her sister Steel Wind in tow. The two attacked the Carnival again, leading a horde of demonic entities summoned forth by Centurious, whom Steel Vengeance referred to only as "master." Ghost Rider and Blaze were summoned away by Mephisto before the sisters could gain their revenge, but they did make off with Ghost Rider's captives: Deathwatch, Hag and Troll.
(Spirits of Vengeance#9) - Centurious took out his frustrations on Steel Vengeance, "unmaking her" magically as punishment for her failures. Carver, another of Centurious' minions, was allowed to play with both Steel Vengeance's remains and the inert form of Deathwatch. Centurious sent Steel Wind back after John Blaze, telling her that he would deal with Ghost Rider through other means. To aid her, he gave her a small mystic trinket in the shape of an eye. This device allowed her to summon more demonic entities with which to attack the Carnival and distract Ghost Rider. During this massive battle, the being known as Vengeance made his debut, attacking Steel Wind and telling her that he alone would have the pleasure of killing Ghost Rider. Steel Wind was badly injured when one of Blaze's companions, a psychic named Miranda, lost control of her abilities. At the end of this affair, Centurious swore that the time had come for him to emerge from the shadows and claim his vengeance on John Blaze and the Ghost Rider. Now brandishing long white hair and wearing a ferocious looking face mask, Centurious presented a very different image than before.
(Ghost Rider III#34 (fb) - BTS) - Centurious sent the creature later dubbed Death Ninja to infiltrate Deathwatch's employ in an effort to locate the Ghost Rider.
(Ghost Rider III#37) - Heart Attack ambushed Ghost Rider in the Cypress Hills Cemetery, once again failing to defeat him. Centurious, speaking through a darkened computer monitor, warned Stern that he expected Ghost Rider to be delivered to him alive and that he was growing weary of Stern's insolence. When Stern launched a full assault himself on Ghost Rider and the visiting Archangel, he fell victim to the Rider's Penance Stare. Both Stern and Heart Attack were then punished by Centurious, who dissolved the FIRM and claimed the souls of his followers.
(Ghost Rider III#41) - Centurious sensed the summoning call of Lilith, who was calling out to her demonic children, the Lilin. Centurious believed that Lilith might aid him in gaining control of the Medallion of Power, which he hoped would restore his lost memories. Centurious approached Lilith with his offer of an alliance and then displayed his vast power by easily dealing with the Lilin. Impressed by this, Lilith agreed to aid him ,and together they kidnapped Dan Ketch's mother, hoping to use her as a pawn in their power play.
(Spirits of Vengeance#14) - Steel Wind and several of the Lilin attempt to capture the shard of the Medallion within John Blaze, but upon Ghost Rider's arrival, the group fled the scene. Dan Ketch then informed John Blaze that the man behind their recent miseries was none other than Centurious, prompting the formerly reluctant Blaze to mutter "I'll get my bike" through clenched teeth. Meanwhile, Centurious and Lilith attempted to gain information relating to the Medallion from Mrs. Ketch, but they soon realized that the terrified woman had no clue what they were talking about. This forced Centurious to reveal himself to Ghost Rider, offering him the safe return of Mrs. Ketch in exchange for the Medallion located on Ghost Rider's motorcycle. The battle ended in a draw, but Centurious swore to return soon and he escaped with the injured form of John Blaze.
(Ghost Rider III#42) - Centurious had his minion Carver attempt to cut a shard of the Medallion of Power from John Blaze, nearly killing Blaze in the process. Centurious also pulled a shard of Ghost Rider's chain from the pseudo-vampire Blackout's head, which gave the Soulless Man an idea: if he could gain control over the potent weapon, he would be that much closer to gaining the full power he sought. Luring Ghost Rider into a trap, Centurious sent Deathwatch to steal the chain. This gambit succeeded, leading Centurious to swear to "...use power enough to challenge Mephisto himself," making it clear that more of his memories were beginning to resurface.
(Spirits of Vengeance#15) - While John Blaze lay in agony following the torture he endured at the hands of Carver, Centurious hid beneath the Cypress Hills Cemetery, with Ghost Rider's chain in his grasp. Using his mystic power and sheer force of will, Centurious managed to tap into the power of the chain, forging it into a weapon he could control. At this point Lilith saw Centurious unmasked for the first time and gasped in surprise. Centurious responded only with a "what did you expect?" leaving everyone to wonder exactly what lurked beneath the garish mask he now wore.
(Ghost Rider III#43) - While testing out his new weapon on his demonic servants, Centurious made the mistake of ordering Lilith about like a serving girl, which prompted her to warn him not to underestimate her. Nevertheless, she accompanied him when he confronted Blaze, Ghost Rider, Mrs. Ketch, and the mysterious Caretaker in Cypress Hills Cemetery. Centurious demanded that he be given the Medallion of Power, claiming that he was better suited to wield it than any other. Ghost Rider attempted to use his Penance Stare on Centurious, only to learn that the lack of a soul made the villain immune to the assault. Centurious then tossed aside the Ghost Rider, calling him a mere shadow of Zarathos. As Centurious made ready to claim the Medallion once and for all, he was shot by John Blaze and fell to the ground. Unmasked by Ghost Rider, the Spirit of Vengeance remarked that Centurious seemed familiar to him. Centurious responded that while there was much that he still couldn't remember, he knew that he had once been human, before Mephisto and Zarathos entered his life. The implications of this were not explored for the hole in Centurious began to grow in size, finally releasing the demonic Zarathos, who had lurked within him ever since his escape from the Soul Crystal.
(Spirits of Vengeance#16) - The newly freed Zarathos began to celebrate his return to the living, prompting Lilith to proposition him. Centurious raged at this, swearing that she would die for her impudence. Unfortunately, in his weakened state he was no match for the Lilin and they easily beat him down. While Lilith sought to manipulate the confused Zarathos into serving her, Centurious summoned the last of his strength and struck back at Zarathos, who then used his mystic powers to hurtle Centurious into the air.
(Spirits of Vengance#23) - While drinking to drown his sorrows over the death of his wife and the disappearance of his kids, John Blaze found that his friend Quinn had fully repaired Steel Wind. Blaze told her that her old master still lived and the intended to kill him once and for all. Centurious, meanwhile, was feasting on victims in an attempt to rebuild his strength. Still accompanied by Carver, Witch Woman and several demons of Styge, Centurious bemoaned his fate, running his hands over a stone tablet upon which an image of his beloved princess was carved. In the depths of the Soulless Man's lair, Blaze and Centurious clashed once more, with Centurious ranting that even the envy he felt for Blaze's rampant emotions rings hollow, for it was nothing more than a ghost of a feeling he could no longer possess. The arrival of Steel Wind proved crucial, for she had an opportunity slay Blaze, but elected instead to turn against Centurious. When Steel Wind stood over the fallen form of Centurious, Blaze talked her into letting him live, but when the woman had walked away from the scene, Blaze chose to act himself, shooting Centurious point blank in the head. Blaze claimed that this had at last ended the threat of the Soulless Man, but given the mystic forces at the disposal of Centurious, this seems unlikely.
(Dark Reign Files) - Quasimodo researched Centurious for Norman Osborn.
(New Avengers I#63 (fb) - BTS) - Centurious joined the Hood's army.
(New Avengers I#64 (fb)) - The Hood approached his army and let them know of Osborn's offer to make them certified heroes if they participated in the siege on Asgard.
(New Avengers I#63-64) - Centurious participated in the siege of Asgard.
(New Avengers I#64 - BTS) - Later, during the siege of Asgard, Loki took away all their additional powers as the city crashed around them.
Comments: Created by J.M. DeMatteis, Bob Budiansky, and Dave Simons.
It is never explicitly said that Death
Ninja was serving Centurious. However, given that he was just one of many during
this story arc that was serving "The Master" and that "Master" turned out for
the rest to be Centurious, it should be obvious it is him.
K'nutu the shaman from Centurious' origin takes his
name from the Kahn-ut-tu shamnesses of the Star Trek
episode A Private Little War.
Centurious has no known connections to
Ghost Rider III#41, p18, pan2
Ghost Rider II#74, p13, pan1
Spirits of Vengeance#23, p11, pan4
Ghost Rider II#74 (November, 1982) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Bob Budiansky (pencils), Dave Simons (inks), Tom DeFalco (editor)
Ghost Rider II#77 (February, 1983) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Don Perlin (pencils), Dave Simons (inks), Tom DeFalco (editor)
Ghost Rider II#80-81 (May-June, 1983) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Bob Budiansky (pencils), Kevin Dzubin & Danny Bulanadi (#81) (inks), Tom DeFalco (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man I#274 (March, 1986) - Tom DeFalco (writer), Ron Frenz (pencils), Joe Rubinstein, John Romita Sr. & Russ Steffens (inks), Jim Owsley (editor)
Thor I#430 (March, 1991) - Ron Frenz & Tom DeFalco (writers), Ron Frenz (pencils), Al Milgrom (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Ghost Rider III#16 (August, 1991) - Howard Mackie (writer), Mark Texeira (artist), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Ghost Rider III#18 (October, 1991) - Howard Mackie (writer), Mark Texeira (artist), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Ghost Rider III#25 (May, 1992) - Howard Mackie (writer), Ron Wagner (pencils), Mike Witherby (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Spirits of Vengeance#2 (September, 1992) - Howard Mackie (writer), Adam Kubert (pencils), Chris Warner (inks)
Spirits of Vengeance#7 (February, 1993) - Howard Mackie (writer), Adam Kubert (pencils), Bill Reinhold (inks)
Ghost Rider III#35 (March, 1993) - Howard Mackie (writer), Bret Blevins (pencils), Al Williamson (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Spirits of Vengeance#9 (April, 1993) - Howard Mackie (writer), Adam Kubert (pencils), Klaus Janson & Bill Reinhold (inks)
Ghost Rider III#37 (May, 1993) - Howard Mackie (writer), Bret Blevins (pencils), Ferd Fredricks (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Ghost Rider III#41 (September, 1993) - Howard Mackie (writer), Ron Garney (pencils), Chris Ivy (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Spirits of Vengeance#14 (September, 1993) - Howard Mackie (writer), Mike Manley (pencils), Jeff Albrecht, Ralph Cabrera, Tom Palmer & Timothy Tuohy (inks)
Ghost Rider III#42 (October, 1993) - Howard Mackie (writer), Ron Garney (pencils), Chris Ivy (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Spirits of Vengeance#15 (October, 1993) - Howard Mackie (writer), Mike Manley (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks)
Ghost Rider III#43 (November, 1993) - Howard Mackie (writer), Ron Garney (pencils), Chris Ivy (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Spirits of Vengeance#16 (November, 1993) - Howard Mackie (writer), Henry Martinez (pencils), Keith Williams (inks)
Spirits of Vengeance#23 (June, 1994) - Howard Mackie (writer), Henry Martinez (pencils), Bud LaRosa (inks)
Dark Reign Files (February, 2009) - Michael Hoskin & various others (writer), Jeff Youngquist (editor)
New Avengers I#63-64 (May-June, 2010) - Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Mike McKone (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Last updated: 11/25/12
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