Monday, May 30, 2016

Real Name: Pietro Maximoff
First Appearance: X-Men #4 (March, 1964)
Fight Club Ranking: #818

Featured Fights:
- vs X-MEN: X-Men #6 (Jul 1964)
- vs APOCALYPSE: Uncanny X-Men #295 (Dec 1992)
- vs MAGNETO: X-Men #25 (Oct 1993)
- vs GALACTUS: What If...? #70 (Feb 1995)
- vs FLASH: Marvel versus DC #2 (Mar 1996)
- vs VENOM: DC versus Marvel #4 (Apr 1996)
- vs TEEN TITANS: Unlimited Access #3 (Feb 1998)

I was tossing a few characters around for this week's HOTW, but in the end, I settled on one of the surprise breakouts of the X-Men movie franchise: Quicksilver.

The real furor started back in 2014, when Quicksilver was introduced to audiences in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Played by Evan Peters, he was stage centre for an effects sequence that stylistically showed what it's like to move at super-human speeds. It was an undeniably striking moment underscored by on-point, era appropriate soundtrack - Jim Croce's Time In A Bottle. A moment of levity and exciting super-heroics in the sometimes dour world of Bryan Singer's direction.

That same year: Marvel Entertainment introduced the speedster as a future attraction teased in a credits sequence from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Approximately a year later, Quicksilver was back in the spotlight in one of the most bizarre twists of the complicated Marvel Comics licensing phenomenon, this time played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

There still tends to be a faith in Marvel's handling of in-house characters, but in Age of Ultron's Quicksilver, some of the biggest cracks were exposed.

It seemed unlikely that Quicksilver would be the battleground for superhero supremacy on the silver screen, but somehow, that's exactly what happened! Even more remarkable - FOX were the winners in the creative tug-of-war! Marvel's version was unceremoniously killed off, while the X-franchise brought theirs back for another run around in X-Men: Apocalypse, and mainstream advertising campaigns!

It all speaks to the core importance of the character in the original comics. It's been a while since I've seriously paid attention to the character. He was a creative casualty of House of M, Decimation, and the lengthy tedium of the post-Morrison deconstruction of the X-Men. He lost his speed powers, messed around with Terrigen mists, did some sort of time travel, was homeless, and generally degraded as a character to the point of no interest. The end of a forty year run that defies belief.

Through all the BS it's easy to forget that Quicksilver is the son of one of the Marvel Universe's most legendary villains: Magneto! It was in that capacity he was introduced, a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants with his hex powered sister Scarlet Witch. They quickly turned on their villainous father and found their way into early membership of the Avengers! For many years, this role seemed to keep Quicksilver distanced from his parentage, as he became a middling arsehole in the Avengers ranks, who married an Inhuman (Crystal) and had kids of his own. I say arsehole -- because that was really his defining trait. Forget the comedy antics of the movies. Quicksilver's been prone to fits of madness and aggression throughout the years - a perennial angry, scowling jerk.

By the nineties he rejoined the mutant ranks on the side of heroes, and became a member of the government sanctioned X-Factor. Somewhere in there he at least managed to throw a punch in his father's direction [X-Men #25], but was still defiantly under utilized as the heir apparent to Magneto during his Avalon years. Granted, Age of Apocalypse toyed with it well, making Quicksilver the second in command to Magneto's X-Men leadership.

I like Quicksilver. I like that he's been unexpectedly thrown back into the spotlight. As the X-Men films move forward, I'm interested to see what they might make of the character. Is there more to explore? Could this factor into the much discussed New Mutants movie? We'll have to wait and see.

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