Despite the number of properties that have enjoyed a resurgence of popularity this millennium, there are still plenty that remain untouched. Not every line can be Masters of the Universe, and, because of this, some properties may be destined to only exist as nostalgic bookmarks of a specific point in time.
But plenty of those properties carry a kernel of greatness inside them, that with the proper execution could be monumentally fun toys today. Centurions is one of those properties.
Centurions was yet another “come and go” property that existed for a brief moment in time, enjoyed a multimedia explosion, and then, almost as quickly as it burst onto the scene, disappeared. Like those other properties, Centurions had their own 65 episode cartoon series, a brief comic series, and a toy line.
This was one of those properties I never had as a kid. Despite having the 4-issue comic and watching the cartoon, I never had any of the figures. They were more expensive than other toys, and I think it was just a matter of too many toys and not enough parental money to go around. MASK was my go-to secondary toy line at the time, and, unfortunately, Centurions had to exist in that realm of “oh well” where you just can’t get everything.
But I’m not a kid anymore. I can have any toy I want, so nyaah.
Centurions is a fun concept that I think would work well in today’s multi-articulated world. The Centurions themselves were three armor-clad adventurers (later expanded to five on the cartoon for additional ethnic diversity) who merged with high-tech mechsuit add-ons to fight evil.
These weaponized battlesuits were fully modular due to the plug-in nature of the figures, so plenty of different combinations could be achieved. In the cartoon or comic they shouted “Power X-treme” when merging with the tech add-ons but… you don’t have to do that unless you really want to. Rob Liefeld would probably want to.
Following the theme of GI Joe and MASK and plenty of other properties, there was a land, sea, and air theme to the three core Centurions. You can probably tell their specialties by their names: Ace McCloud, Jake Rockwell, and Max Ray. Yeah, Exactly. Jake Rockwell is probably my favorite of the three because of his hardcore assault weapons system. Dude basically has a tank strapped to his chest sometimes. Hardcore.
Each of the different weapon configuration has its own name, but the elements can be mixed and matched as much as you want to. There’s an endless amount of customizing potential to these designs. I can imagine people creating their own additional weapon add-ons just by adding the necessary plugging feature to whatever they wanted. Imagine a toy line that could be constantly upgraded by new components that plug on to a core body. That would mean never having to buy the same figure multiple times, you could just buy the additional suit-sets.
The Centurions fought a bad guy with a name even more subtle than their own: Doc Terror. He’s a half-man, half-machine nightmare with an incredibly cool design that I could easily see as an awesome action figure. He’s also fully modular and can be blended with different weapons systems as well. Along with Doc terror is Hacker, another man/machine nightmare hybrid. The two robotic halves of the evil twosome could form something called “uniborg,” so the full modularity presents a lot of potential.
The toy line was “X-tremely” brief, not even making it to a second wave. But if revamped and relaunched, a lot of concepts intended for the second wave could be released, including the additional Centurion members Rex Charge and John Arrow. And there’s plenty of directions the property could go after the main original cast is made. I didn’t collect this line when it first came out, but I can see the possibilities for a revived Centurions line, and it has so much potential if updated properly. Somebody make this happen!