The Last Quicksilver Story

We’ve talked about Quicksilver in the past, and how this perennial back-page filler for Quality Comics’ NATIONAL COMICS was brought back decades later by writer Mark Waid in the pages of FLASH and transformed into a virtually new character, Max Mercury. Quicksilver had never been a headliner, but he was a reliable supporting player, and his adventures ran for many years before eventually coming to a close in NATIONAL COMICS #71.

The writer of this final Quicksilver adventure is unknown at this late date, but the artwork was produced by Pete Riss, a member of the Quality stable who was one of the regular contributors to their Manhunter series in POLICE COMICS.

For all that he was recast in the modern DC universe as the “Zen Master of Speed”, the Quality incarnation of Quicksilver wasn’t really depicted as a speedster in the vein of the Flash or Johnny Quick. Rather, he came across as more of a fast-moving acrobat. He also had no civilian identity to speak of–he was Quicksilver all the time in these stories, which may be part of why he failed to catch on in a more major way.

Quality Comics lived up to their name–their output was unfailingly professionally put together and uniformly excellent. Even a third-string series like QUICKSILVER is at this point benefits from charming, open art (in what became pretty much the Quality Comics look) and a solidly plotted and written narrative.

ironically, Quicksilver is probably better known and more popular today than he was in his heyday. Of course, his moniker had been adopted during his retirement by Marvel’s mutant speedster, forcing Waid to rename him Max Mercury (though his Quicksilver name was referred to on a few occasions, as one of several identities he’d had over the years.)

As a final indignity, the last page of Quicksilver’s last adventure had to be shrunk down and printed smaller than the rest in order to fit in the Statement of Ownership for NATIONAL COMICS, which allowed them second class mailing privileges for subscriptions.

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