Max Mercury was born in the early 19th century. By 1838, he had been assigned as a messenger at a fort. He made friends with the local Blackfoot clan. Unfortunately his fort commander, who did not trust any of them, leveled a bounty on the clan and ordered a full-scale massacre. The shaman of the clan, with his dying breaths, told Max that many tribesman were returning from the hunt, and that they would be ambushed if not warned quickly. With a pinkish substance, the shaman drew a lightning bolt on Max's chest, gave a prayer to the god of the storm and the wind, and died. Max ran faster and faster and faster still. As swift as the wind, he took the soldiers' weapons and caught the Blackfoot arrows in midair. He devoted the next few years of his life to protecting the natives and the settlers from one another as Ahwehota, or as he was better known, Windrunner. However, one night during a thunderstorm, Max felt drawn to the lightning from deep within his heart. He ran as he had never run before, breaking all barriers, and he began to be drawn into the speed force, the energy field that gives speedsters their power. He finally had met his glorious destiny, but fear stopped him, sending him ricocheting through time to New York of July 14, 1891.
Again and again, he tried to get to the speed force and failed. He continued his super-hero career as Lightning, Blue Streak, and Quicksilver between each jump in time.
By 1947, Max had established the his current name, Max Mercury. He was sometimes called "The Whirlwind of the West." He often would team up with other speedsters, including the original Flash, Jay Garrick, and Johnny Quick, who would never believe that there was a speed force. Somewhere along the line, he got to know Zatara, the great magician who is father of Zatanna.
In 1949, Jay Garrick saved him from the Screaming Skull, a debt which Max vowed only to pay in a life or death situation.
In late 1947, Max saved the small town of Manchester, Alabama from Dr. Morlo and his toxic bombs at great cost to himself. Max's lungs were burned and his blood was tainted when he breathed in Morlo's mustard gas. Fortunately, the local physician, Dr. David Claiborne, found him lying in a culvert. David and his wife, Laura, cared for Max, who was out for nine weeks. He awoke to a new year and a new home. With David, he found a best friend with whom he shared a love of fishing, tennis, and the "Shadow" radio show. Laura, however, was special. She was lonely because David was always so busy, being one of the few doctors in the area. Max stayed with the Claibornes for quite some time. One lonely night, Max and Laura sat on the rooftop, looking at the stars. Laura felt so lonely with David always gone, and she and Max had grown to love each other. The inevitable happened. When David returned home, Max just ran. He jumped in time again, this time to New Year's Day, 1957.
By the sixties, Max again showed up, teaming with Johnny Quick as they fought the villain Savitar. Max chased after Savitar, a sprint that sent him flying into the seventies. He began to keep a journal in Korean, and he would often probe the speed force, trying to sense the presence of Savitar.
Eventually, Max gave up on his superspeed. Living in the Central Keystone area, he got a job selling subway tokens for MTA.
However, when Professor Zoom was in town, pretending to be the late Barry Allen (the second Flash), Jay Garrick and Johnny Quick enlisted his aid, recalling the Screaming Skull incident. Jay had kept Max's old, forties costume. Max joined Jay, Johnny, and the current Flash (Wally West), in fighting Professor Zoom. He began to teach Wally to find the Zen of speed, thus gaining the nickname, "The Zen Guru of Speed."
After Zoom was defeated, Max disappeared for awhile. When Wally was trapped in time after adding Johnny's speed formula (3x2(9yz)4a) to his own speed, Max appeared. He could only remain at that high speed for a short time, but he taught Wally a valuable lesson about making decisions. Later, Max would occasionally keep an eye on Wally, peering into his house through the window or watching from a nearby alley.
Mentor to Impulse
Max again showed up after Bart Allen had arrived from the 30th century, to teach Wally about the Speed Force, help train Bart, and lend a hand in defeating Kobra, who had unleashed Project Morpheus on Keystone City.
After trying to locate Laura Claiborne, only to find that she had died a while ago, Max learned that he had a daughter, Helen, who still lived in Manchester. Wanting to keep an eye on her, he decided to move there. Wanting Bart to be taught the finer secrets of speed, Wally sent him with Max to Manchester. Max, known to the average citizens as Max Crandall, Bart Allen's uncle, always stressed keeping a secret identity. He would put Bart through challenging drills, such as solving jigsaw puzzles in midair; dodging knives, axes, maces, swords, etc; and running obstacle courses while dodging knives, axes, maces, swords, etc.
One day, Max met his daughter, Helen, in the library. She took an instant liking to him. Not knowing that he was her father, she would always flirt with him, but he obviously never returned those feelings. He often would help her around the house. Bart, also not knowing the secret, would urge their relationship on.
One night, after Bart had returned from fighting Blockbuster, Max disappeared. He had been kidnapped by Savitar's ninjas and taken to his fortress, where he was tortured. Fortunately, just before he was to be killed, he escaped. He ran to his home, where he was met by Wally, who took him to the hospital. Using a map carved on Max's chest, he and Jesse Quick (Johnny's daughter) went off to fight Savitar. When Jesse destroyed Savitar's speed battery, Max felt a surge of speed energy, and was able to help the others fight Savitar. During this adventure, Johnny finally accepted Max's lessons about the Speed Force, and perished saving his daughter. After Savitar was defeated, Max and Bart returned to Manchester.
One day, Max and Bart showed up at Helen's to find her being beaten up by her ex-husband. Max's scream--"Take your hands off my daughter!"--revealed to Bart and Helen Max's secret. Max had to tell Helen the whole story, including his and Bart's identities. However, they now shared even closer bond.
Into the Speed Force
Max finally become one with the Speed Force after his body was taken over by Jay's nemesis, Rival.
The Speed Force eventually sent Max, along with Barry, Wally, and Bart, to an alternate Earth. Here, they decided to allow Bart to absorb the power of the Speed Force so that he could be sent back home to defeat Superboy-Prime.
- Speed Force Conduit: People who, for whatever reason, are connected to the Speed Force are sometimes called Speed Force Conduits. This means that they are connected to the Speed Force and are tethered to it.
- Accelerated Healing: The Speed Force connection allows the speedster's body recover from injury much faster than normal.
- Increased Perceptions: The Speed Force enhances the speedster's senses, allowing them to perceive the world at a rate attuned how fast they can react.
- Phasing: Speed Force conduits can tap into the Speed Force to vibrate their molecules in a way to achieve intangibility for short bursts, allowing them to phase through objects.
- Speed Force Aura: The Speed Force also manifests an aura around the speedster and whatever they are carrying, protecting them from adverse effects of their speed, such a friction with the air.
- Superhuman Stamina: While not unlimited, the connection to the Speed Force does bolster the speedsters stamina well beyond the limits of a normal human.
- Superhuman Speed: The main effect of the connection is to allow a speedster to move at vast superhuman speeds. This also confers:
- Vortex Creations: Speed Force conduits are able to create vortices of air by running in circles or rotating their extremities at super-speed. These vortices can be used for a number of effects.
- Meditation: Max practices a form of meditation called "hypermediation", that allows him to detect various aspects that are inside the Speed Force, such as a voice or a visual.
- Multilingual: He is able to speak Japanese, English, Russian, Cantonese, Mandarin, and possibly more.
- Max Mercury originally appeared as Quicksilver, published by Quality Comics during the Golden Age. His first DC Comics appearance was Flash (Volume 2) #76.
- Max Mercury has gone by many nicknames over the years. Akin to the 'Scarlet Speedster', Max was called the Whirlwind of the West, Zen Guru of Speed, and Laughing Robin Hood.
- 180 Appearances of Max Mercury (New Earth)
- 28 Images featuring Max Mercury (New Earth)
- 17 Quotations by or about Max Mercury (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Max Mercury (New Earth)
- Max Mercury at dccomics.com
- Max Mercury at Wikipedia.org
- Max Mercury at Flash: Those Who Ride the Lightning
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