Here on our blog section for forgotten comic book characters, we’ve taken a look at some of the most unique and bizarre characters of all time. Let’s just say this next one has a leg up (or several legs up) on the competition. Back during the Silver Age of comics, DC’s Wonder Woman faced off against a creature like no other, The Crimson Centipede.
The Crimson Centipede made his debut appearance in Wonder Woman #169 (April 1967)
The Origins of the Crimson Centipede
This abomination was the creation of the God of War Mars (Ares). After he and Aphrodite had one of their eternal debates on whether anyone could defeat Wonder Woman, Mars sent the Crimson Centipede to Earth in an attempt to embarrass the Amazon Princess.
While Wonder Woman was out and about with Steve Trevor, though under the guise of her alter ego, Diana Prince, the pair investigated gun shots coming from a nearby bank. Lo and behold, they found a strange centipede/man hybrid to be the perpetrator. Steve, being the stand-up guy that he is, attempted to stop the Crimson Centipede from getting away. His attempt was unsuccessful though and the Centipede knocked him unconscious.
Wonder Woman Battles the Crimson Centipede
This distraction did give Diana a chance to make the transformation into Wonder Woman, but her usual efforts at thwarting villains came up short. The Human Centipede showed his lightning quick reflexes by quickly knocking her away with his arms, avoiding her Lasso of Truth, and speeding away with the stolen bag of cash as fast as the wind.
Watching from afar, Mars was pleased with his creation, and took the time to gloat to the beautiful Aphrodite. The Goddess of Love didn’t lose confidence though, and she warned Mars that things could go differently during the next confrontation.
Doubt Creeps In
Onlookers were surprised at Wonder Woman’s quick defeat, and they began to ponder whether she could defeat the creature. They didn’t have to wait long, as the two came to blows once again following another bank robbery. The results were much the same though. In another failed pursuit, Wonder Woman was knocked off of a building by the Centipede. At that point, doubt began to creep in on citizens, Steve, and even Diana herself.
The Perfect Criminal
As news continued to travel of Wonder Woman’s defeats at the hand of the Crimson Centipede, the villain began to spread his newly attained wealth to the criminal underworld, with the caveat being that the criminals continued to create more crime and chaos. As an emissary of Mars, the Crimson Centipede had no need for money. His only purpose was to humiliate and defeat Wonder Woman, to which Mars continued to take delight in observing.
The Final Battle
The two arch enemies came into confrontation one final time, and the Crimson Centipede made a grievous error during the battle. While the Centipede had the upper hand against Diana, she became distracted by Steve’s attempted interference. This caused a stray bullet to knock Diana unconscious. Seeing her magical bracelets as a threat, the Centipede removed them from her wrists. This caused Wonder Woman to go into a destructive frenzy, as removing an Amazon’s bracelets releases their unabated strength. The battle ended quickly and the Crimson Centipede was defeated once and for all, causing the God of War to curse Wonder Woman while Aphrodite grinned.
The Legacy of the Crimson Centipede
This version of the Crimson Centipede was never heard from again, and only appeared in flashbacks of later comic issues. Like many others, the creature’s existence was eventually erased during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, which saw the collapse of the original Multiverse.
However, another more monstrous version of the Crimson Centipede was encountered by Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman in the Wonder Woman Steve Trevor Special in August 2017. This hideous creature was also defeated at the hands of the Amazon Princess.