Alpha Centurion is a Roman superhero, who gained his powers from years of extensive alien training after winning games organized in honor of Virmiru by Emperor Hadrian. Due to the unique properties of intergalactic travel, he returned to Earth almost 2,000 years later, and became a resident of Metropolis, where he would meet Superman and became a trusting ally over-time, having developed immense respect for him.
Marcus Aelius was a Roman Centurion during the reign of Emperor Hadrian. A race of aliens, the Virmiru selected him to learn from their advanced civilization after he was proven as the most worthy prospective warrior in the games organized at the Colosseum in the honor of Virmiru. After over ten years of learning from the Virmiru, he was returned to Earth, where he was supposed to act as a hero on what was then the world's biggest city. Due to the scientific properties of intergalactic travel, he actually found himself over 2,000 years in the future, and to his disappointment, the world's leading city was no longer Rome, but Metropolis. Nonetheless, he became the city's protector, in a world that did not feature a Superman. Already displaced thousands of years from his own time, the Centurion had a very public identity.
The Alpha Centurion originally appeared during Zero Hour as a member of an alternate timeline and met Superman as well as other heroes. He was the sole protector of Metropolis, operating out of what would regularly be LexCorp Tower, and even maintained a steady relationship with Lois Lane who had given him the name "Centurion". In his timeline, the Metropolis Police Force was an alternate good version of the 100, still featuring such members as Maggie Sawyer and Jim Harper. He met Superman when the two of them teamed up in Centurion's Metropolis against Bloody Mary. He also helped in the battle against Extant and Parallax, although the resulting temporal chaos erased him and his timeline from existence.
Eventually, a Marcus Aelius showed up in the regular timeline. His origins however were the same and he also learnt about Superman's heroics from Pax Romana, becoming impressed. Superman touched his ship and was shocked, delivering an EMP wave in the surrounding area and disabling Lois' helicopter. He rescued her and was impressed by her beauty. Superman called him "Alpha Centurion", but learnt he was a different Aelius. Aelius took the name of Alpha Centurion and after being interviewed by her, expressed interest in exploring Metropolis. Superman agreed to guide him around, after growing uneasy of him liking Lois and promised Lois to meet her with him again at Pier 18, though she thought Clark was acting strange. Superman told him that she was already engaged to a reporter, but he thought it was okay for him to try to woo her as she was in love with Superman too. After Lois was trapped due to a tanker unexpectedly exploding near Pier 18, Superman stopped him from rescuing her. Aelius was angry but understood his feelings, stepping aside. He drowned the tanker before it completely exploded and was saved from the shrapnel by Superman, who apologized for his earlier action. He was later hailed as a hero. Clark tried to tell Lois that he had eyes for her, but she told him not to worry as she wasn't from the same timeline he had met the other Aelius in.
His exploits became the hottest story in town and he met Lois on the roof of the Daily Planet for an exclusive interview since she wanted to make front-page headlines. He warned her that Superman won't be pleased, but she stated it was her job just like Superman's job was to stop Skyhook. While going to clear a pile-up on Route 4, he took Lois with her and she was able to cover his adventures as well as engagements for a day. Jimmy however beat her to the punch by covering Superman's battle with Skyhook. While dealing with crime in Metropolis, he also met the high-class residents of the city. His exploits gained the interest of Contessa who directed LexCorp into promoting his image and lavishly treating him, while making sure that the company's name will be promoted as well. Aelius marveled at how the world has changed yet remained different in some ways. He was impressed by Contessa's beauty upon meeting her. While examining an old estate of Lex Luthor with her, he met Superman again. The island however exploded as it had been trapped by Luthor, but everyone survived.
He was put in charge of Team Luthor, which he renamed and remodeled after himself, calling them the "Centurions". Marcus led them against the Parasite after Superman had been drained and the SCU officers were in danger. During the fight with the Parasite, he let the Tribunal take Superman into custody. After realizing that the Parasite had absorbed Dr. Torval Freeman, he told the Centurions to bring Freeman family while he held the Parasite down in a gravity well. The Parasite regurgitated Freeman's body upon the pleas of his wife Rachel, but luckily fled just as Centurion was unable to hold him down anymore and became exhausted. This caused his popularity to increase. He later told Lois that Superman had been abducted by aliens who had mentioned the Eradicator, whom he helped her in locating, though she was annoyed by his infatuation of her and warned him.
As the crime wave started rising, he started forming a team to rescue Superman, fearing the criminal elements would get encouraged by his absence. He first recruited Steel whom he rescued in Washington, D.C.. He also contacted Superboy and Supergirl to help him, informing them that The Tribunal had taken Superman. While telling Lois to not publish story about Superman's abduction and slyly suggested having sex with him, for which he was slapped in return. He and his team them went to Nekrome and rescued the Outsiders from those possessed by Eclipso, before taking The Eradicator with them. Since they didn't know where the Tribunal's planet was, he decided to scan the area and located distress signal from Mope's ship. He stayed behind while the team went to check it. Assuming the team could easily take them, he left after detecting what he thought was the main base of the aliens, only realizing later it was a bait set up by The Cyborg baited him.
He was captured by the Tribunal and lodged with Superboy, and later disabled the geneti-lock cuffs on them both. Superboy, who had assumed him to have been The Cyborg all along, however attacked him, but Aurelius was able to stun him by throwing him at the force field barricading their prison cell. Superboy refused to listen to him but the fight was stopped by the guards who took Aurelius away for interrogation. The team found out in prison that Superman had been sentenced to death. Marcus after disabling hos geneti-lock freed the rest of the team, but found that The Cyborg had taken control of all the technology of Tribunal World. Cyborg restrained him so his own team will kill him thinking he's Superman. Superboy attacked him but stopped fighting after Superman was launched towards Krypton. They were saved by Superman who had managed to free himself.
The Tribunal nonetheless sentenced Superman to death, but he and the whole team decided to leave. After realizing that Mope had been left behind, Superman told Centurion to retrieve his ship along with steel while he and others went to rescue his friend. The team was defeated by the Cyborg, under control of Tribunal Prime, but rescued by Marcus. Everyone assumed Superman had died when the rocket he was strapped to exploded in the radioactive remains of Krypton, but in actual he had survived. They headed back to Tribunal World and subdued Tribunal Prime after the other judges pronunced him guilty. When Superman was allowed to go free, he carried the whole team back to Earth and announced to everyone what had happened. Superboy meanwhile apologized and was forgiven, while Aurelius' respect of Superman also greatly increased.
Back on Earth
Centurion resumed his vigilante career once he came back, but was annoyed with his ship repeatedly being used by vagrants or being dirtied. He decided to temporarily park it on top of the Daily Planet building, hoping to gain information quickly and also annoy Lois which he found pleasurable. He later met Lois at her office and scheduled an appointment with her at her home regarding the rescue of Superman, while also asking to turn over a new leaf as friends and apologized for his earlier behavior. He later assisted Superman by moving his ship into low-earth orbit, so the shaman fighting him couldn't feed on its EMF.
Superman along with Impulse later helped him in fighting off Scavenger, who had planted dummy bombs throughout the world to ward him off while he struck the Metropolis Museum of Art. He however was able to get away with the "Coins of Power". He unexpectedly showed up while Lois was investigating the mob's involvement with the fishermen union, offering to drop her home. He carried her away, though she stated that she didn't need it. She was surprised to learn he knew her engagement being broken off.
Lex learnt about Centurion and LexCorp's relationship with him after returning to Metropolis. Meanwhile, Aelius attended NASA's gala for their manned Mars mission in place of Superman. Lex tapped into the Centurions' armor and had them attack the audience, forcing Aelius to attack them. He realized that the operators had been killed by someone and took Jimmy with himself before they self-destructed. He was hounded by the media following this and public trust fell in him. Being wracked with guilt, he quit LexCorp and decided to permanently leave Metropolis. Before leaving, he talked to Lois and stated he wished things could have been different between them while stating that he'll miss her the most. She gave him a goodbye kiss before he left and felt weird, but thought that she'll miss him.
After leaving Metropolis, he shifted to Washington, D.C., believing he will be well-suited to its power-maneuvers. There, he stopped Ephemera from stealing historical documents from the National Archives. She requested him to help her in collecting past relics, stating he could understand the value of history as he was from the past too. As she was taken away by the Special Crimes Unit, she promised to make him hers someday. He was mobbed by reporters and rushed off in anger after being asked about the disaster in Metropolis. He was then contacted by Bellator of the Virmiru, who asked him to kill Foris, their representative left on Earth in exchange for him, claiming he had gone insane and planned to destroy Earth. Marcus disagreed with killing him but Bellator demanded it and had already sent out advertisements in his name to draw out Foris, who contacted Marcus to attend a party. There, Foris met him secretly and promised to meet him later after learning what the Virmiru had tasked him to do.
Marcus didn't believe Foris was up to any good and attacked him after he stated that he wouldn't surrender. Forus claimed to him that Marcus was just a pawn and the Virmiru planned to conquer Earth. Despite his superior technology, Centurion managed to defeat him but refused to kill him and decided to learn Bellator's true motives. As he refused to execute him when Bellator demanded it, both were attacked. Bellator admitted to conquest having been the true goal of the Virmiru all along, before Forus killed him. Marcus regretted this and thought it was a dishonorable death. After he recovered, Forus told him that telling humanity about the Virmiru's planned invasion will do nothing and advised him to continue being Earth's protector in the meantime.
After Dusk crash-landed on Earth, the Legion of Super-Heroes and Superman learnt from her that a Sun-Eater was coming to devour their solar system's Sun. Superman convened a meeting of all the super-heroes at S.T.A.R. Labs in Metropolis. Centurion was chosen by him other heroes who could generate heat and light, the Pax Romana was chosen for carrying them due to its strong protective shield. Marcus and the other heroes used their energies to create a yellow star after Mister Miracle and his team failed to stop the Sun-Eater. The plan however backfired, as the Sun-Eater not only devoured the second sun and still went after Earth's sun, it also drained the heroes of their body-energy.
After Hal Jordan was killed while destroying the Sun-Eater and reigniting the Sun, Aelius attended his funeral. When Superman's wedding came near, Batman had him and the JLA look after Metropolis until Superman was away. He later attended Lois and Clark's wedding as a friend, wishing to not disrupt the ceremony if he had to leave early. After being pushed through time by Epoch, Kyle Rayner and Superman Blue would encounter him in 33 A. D., the latter greeted him and stated he will meet him in the future. Marcus tried to describe this to his fellow officers who laughed it off.
After Superboy's disappearance, Roxy Leech contacted him about his whereabouts. Centurion stated he didn't know but offered to help find him. A long time later, he would assemble along with many heroes in Metropolis where they were possessed by shardstones similar to that of Blackrock, made by an alien race convinced by Despero that humanity was destructive and immoral. They were released after Superman tried to convince them of the good in humanity and Batman trusted in them to do the right thing.
- Genius Level Intellect: Marcus was victorious in challenges of the intellect during the contests organized in the honor of Virmiru. His training by the Virmiru has vastly expanded the scope of his knowledge to even that of extra-terrestiak life-forms.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced)
- Peak Human Condition: Marcus was victorious in combat challenges over all competitors during the gladiatorial games organized by Hadrian. He had been trained by Virmiru to act as a protector of Earth.
- Tactical Analysis: The Centurion is highly dexterous in combat, able to figure out an enemy's weakness at times even though it may be difficult to spot.
- Weaponry: Marcus was already a skilled warrior back in Rome. The training of the Virmiru has further advanced his knowledge of weapons to include highly advanced ones.
- In JLA/WildC.A.T.s, Superman Blue and Kyle Rayner met a young Marcus who served Emperor Hadrian in 33 A.D. In the real world however, Hadrian was only born in 76 A.D.
- 40 Appearances of Marcus Aelius (New Earth)
- 5 Images featuring Marcus Aelius (New Earth)
- 2 Quotations by or about Marcus Aelius (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Marcus Aelius (New Earth)
- Zero Hour: Crisis in Time #3
- Adventures of Superman #516
- Zero Hour: Crisis in Time #1–0
- Adventures of Superman #527
- Superman: The Man of Steel #49
- Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #2
- Superman: The Man of Steel #50
- Superman (Volume 2) #106
- Adventures of Superman #529
- Steel (Volume 2) #21
- Outsiders (Volume 2) #24
- Superman: The Man of Steel #51
- Adventures of Superman #530
- Steel (Volume 2) #22
- Action Comics #717
- Superman: The Man of Steel #52
- Superman (Volume 2) #108
- Adventures of Superman #531
- Superman: The Man of Steel #53
- Adventures of Superman #532
- Superman: The Man of Steel #54
- Adventures of Superman #533
- Superman: The Man of Steel #55
- Adventures of Superman #535
- Action Comics #722
- Alpha Centurion Special #1
- The Final Night #1
- Green Lantern (Volume 3) #81
- Superman: The Wedding Album #1
- Superboy (Volume 4) #49
- Superman/Batman #32-33
Superman Family member