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Monday, September 13, 2010

To Better Know A Hero: Quicksilver

Real Name: Pietro Django Maximoff

First Appearance: X-Men #4, March 1964 

Nicknames and Aliases: Pietro Frank, Matheo Maximoff,

Powers and Abilities: Quicksilver possess the mutant ability to move and think exceedingly fast. He can run at speeds up to Mach 5, and his body is designed to survive the rigors of moving at such speeds.

For a time following the Scarlet Witch's depowering of 98% of the world's mutants, Quicksilver was powerless before artificially gaining the ability to briefly move forwards and backwards in time. His original abilities have since been restored.

Weaknesses and Achilles’ Heels: Impatience, arrogance, and a certain proclivity for bouts of insanity.

Friends and Allies
: Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff, his sister), Crystal (his ex-wife), Luna Maximoff (his daughter), Polaris (Lorna Dane, his half-sister), the Avengers, the X-Men, X-Factor, the Inhumans, the Knights of Wundagore.


Foes and Antagonists
: Magneto (his father), Maximus the Mad (his ex brother-in-law), Kang, Ultron, Immortus.


Movies and Appearances:
Quicksilver has made appearances in various animated ventures through the years, including the Captain America portion of the "Marvel Superheroes" show in the 60s and the 90s X-Men cartoon. He was a recurring villain on "X-Men: Evolution", as one of Mystique's teenaged Brotherhood members, and has appeared on the more recent "Wolverine and the X-Men" cartoon.


One-Sentence Origin: Raised by gypsies and recruited by Magneto for his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Pietro Maximoff eventually gave up his villainous ways and joined the Avengers, using his mutant super speed to help save the world as Quicksilver!

Memorable Moment
: X-Factor #87: In the excellent Peter David-penned epilogue to "The X-Cutioners Song", Pietro explains to super-therapist Doc Samson why, exactly, he is always so impatient and irritable (click to embiggen).


Fun Fact: DC's Flash could beat Quicksilver in a foot race. While Quicksilver is easily the fastest character in the comparatively more down-to-earth Marvel Universe, Flash is capable of running at speeds up to and, in some cases, beyond the speed of light, far eclipsing Quicksilver's top speed.


Teebore’s Take
One of Marvel's earliest villains-turned-heroes, Quicksilver is generally known for three things: semi-regular reversions to villainy, his relationship with Magneto and Scarlet Witch, and being an insufferable ass.

First introduced as a member of Magneto's original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (their familial relationship hadn't been established at that point), before long Quicksilver quit the group and alongside his sister, joined the Avengers in their first major roster shakeup, as part of "Cap's Kooky Quartet". As an Avenger, Quicksilver frequently picked fights with fellow villain-turned-hero Hawkeye, underminded Captain America's leadership, and was hugely over-protective of Scarlet Witch. He left the Avengers to briefly rejoin Magneto before seeing the errors of his ways again, eventually meeting and marrying the Inhuman Crystal.


Over the next few decades of publishing history, Quicksilver oscillated between good and evil, including stints as the head of the Zodiac criminal cartel (while under the influence of Crystal's mad brother-in-law, Maximus) and as a member of the government-sponsored X-Factor team, in a book penned by Peter David. Quicksilver was the driving force behind the "House of M" reality, in which an insane Scarlet Witch, at Quicksilver's urgings, remade reality with mutants as the dominant species and the family of Magneto rulers of the world. This led directly, following the destruction of that reality, to the removal of 98% of the mutant populations' powers, including Quicksilver's, and another bout of insanity and return to villainy. Currently, Quicksilver is once again working with the Avengers, trying to make amends for his (most recent) crimes.


While his see-sawing between good and evil can be tiresome (and is largely a victim of heavy-handed plotting), the relative uniqueness of Quicksilver's character is interesting: a hero who isn't really that nice a guy. Everyone would want to hang out with Captain America, but who would want to hang out with the moody, arrogant and impatient Quicksilver? He doesn't like most people, but still does his best to protect them (when in his right mind, at least). That's a unique perspective on a character, even in the more-tarnished Marvel Universe, and it adds some depth to Marvel's overall tapestry.

12 comments:

Anne said...

I'm always a fan of Quicksilver. In Wolverine and the xmen, Magneto is like superdix x 10 towards him, and i keep wanting him to redeem himself and go good guy.

Also, i remember years ago, when there was plotting about some team (i don't think it was Gen X...maybe XFactor...?) and who would be the new captain. Wizard had an article about who who be good choices and Quicksilver's name came up. i always remembered how they thought that might go

"Gather round children while we plan our next attack. But first, let me tell you about my divorce again"

also, i remember a scene when he was eating with his in-laws and extended family, and he was tryin really hard to eat slowly, but when he was done it turned out he ate like ridiculously fast and then he was all embarassed.

Still and all, super speed = awesomeness, though i'm already an impatient person so it'd probably lead to villainy for me

baroness van bitzenhofer said...

"Everyone would want to hang out with Captain America, but who would want to hang out with the moody, arrogant and impatient Quicksilver?"

He sounds like the perfect bad boy to me, and I think you'd be surprised at the number of women who would hang out with this Silver Fox.

Falen (Sarah) said...

i'd hang with him.
He's like the guy that girls would want to "fix"

Teebore said...

@Anne: Magneto is like superdix x 10 towards him, and i keep wanting him to redeem himself and go good guy.

That's how I feel when I read those early Silver Age issues of X-Men when Quicksilver is in the Brotherhood. "Just go and join the Avengers already."

"Gather round children while we plan our next attack. But first, let me tell you about my divorce again"

Haha! It's funny cuz it's true.

though i'm already an impatient person so it'd probably lead to villainy for me

Yeah, one of things I like about Quicksilver is that I can relate to his impatience. Not on a superhuman level, but getting stuck behind the person who can't operate an ATM, or who pulls out their checkbook AFTER the cashier is done ringing everything up and given the total?

Yeah, I totally empathize with you, Quicksilver. Jerk on!

Teebore said...

@Baroness: He sounds like the perfect bad boy to me, and I think you'd be surprised at the number of women who would hang out with this Silver Fox.

First of all, ha!

Second of all, I get what you and Falen are saying. I'm well aware of women's stupid proclivities towards "bad boys". Quicksilver's just never struck me as the bad boy type, though.

Wolverine, now, there's your classic bad boy, and even though you could probably use the same adjectives to describe both him and Quicksilver, there's something about Quicksilver (maybe the aristocratic haughtiness?) that seems to set him apart from your Wolverine/Gambit/Dylan McKay bad boy heartbreakers.

You're both probably right though, and Quicksilver is just another example of the coolly irresistible jerk-ass. He's certainly done well enough for himself through the years in the ladies department despite all his flaws...

(Not counting, of course, the alternate reality in which he schtupps his sister, but the less said of THAT abominable series, the better...).

Dr. Bitz said...

Well, I'm not all that moody, arrogant or impatient, but I do dislike most people, so I have that going for me.

Teebore, you beat me to the punch in referencing Ultimate Quicksilver. (I was going to say Scarlett Witch seemed more than just a "friend/ally.")

Anyway, I always picture Quicksilver as more the younger Ultimate-type Quicksilver. So it always weirds me out to see him older in the regular X-Men universe...or the old X-Men cartoon where's he old and on steroids (like all the X-Men heroes and villains in that cartoon).

Teebore said...

@Dr. Bitz: I was going to say Scarlett Witch seemed more than just a "friend/ally."

I don't know what you're talking about lalalalala....

the old X-Men cartoon where's he old and on steroids (like all the X-Men heroes and villains in that cartoon).

Look, we were ALL on steroids back in the 90s. They were just reflecting the times.

Anonymous said...

The only redeeming thing about Ultimate Quicksilver is that he had a fantastic fight scene at the climax of the Grand Theft America arc. You also got a sense of his frustration at the end when Hawkeye tells him to stop standing and do something when he has already killled Hurricane, saving Hawkeye

Teebore said...

@Anonymous: Yeah, Ultimate Quicksilver was actually pretty cool until Jeph Loeb got his crappy hands on him and his relationship with Scarlet Witch went from "questionably creepy" to "gross".

JP said...

Hi Everyone.
I swear I saw a different copy of this same strip where he's shown in line at an ATM, etc. as he's describing his feelings. (And he is younger? Perhaps wearing green?)
Is that possible -- perhaps in one of the spin-offs?

Teebore said...

@JP: Is that possible -- perhaps in one of the spin-offs?

It doesn't ring a bell for me, but I'll keep my eye out for it.

Harry Sewalski said...

DC's Flash could beat Quicksilver in a foot race. While Quicksilver is easily the fastest character in the comparatively more down-to-earth Marvel Universe, Flash is capable of running at speeds up to and, in some cases, beyond the speed of light, far eclipsing Quicksilver's top speed.

I was under the impression that the Runner (he's one of the Elders of the Universe) was the fastest in the Marvel Universe...

(Which in turn raises the question - have you read Quasar #17, perchance? The Runner gathers a group of characters with super speed, and sets up a race to the moon with them competing against each other. I'm not going to spoil the issue, but it was great fun.)

Continuing on, something I liked about Marvel vs. DC is that they actually had a decent reason for why Quicksilver stood more of a chance against the Flash - the Flash wasn't in the DC Universe, and so was cut off from the Speed Force, which greatly handicapped him. Neat explanation. (Wait... maybe that was JLA/Avengers, come to think of it...)

@Teebore: Yeah, Ultimate Quicksilver was actually pretty cool until Jeph Loeb got his crappy hands on him and his relationship with Scarlet Witch went from "questionably creepy" to "gross".

...I'll refrain from giving my opinion on Loeb.