Saturday, October 6, 2012

The World's Fastest Mouth

Comic book matchups that had you scratching your head--
but still made you curious about how the fight would turn out.

Welcome to another installment in a series of posts we could only call:

Given the nature of this particular fight:

You'd think it would be over in a flash, wouldn't you?

This is another of those "misguided" fights. After escaping Magneto, Quicksilver is looking for a way to redeem himself to the Avengers in order to rejoin them--and under the impression that Spider-Man is wanted by the police, he goes after him in order to bring him to justice.

After bringing Spider-Man down to street-level, the battle begins:

Quicksilver's problem is that he always talks a good game--but the sensational abilities he's always trumpeting never seem to pay off at the end of his fights. Maybe because he's too busy talking about them, when he should be using them. It never seems to occur to him that you're nullifying your speed advantage if you're still moving slowly enough so that your opponent can hear your full sentences:

Unfortunately, Spider-Man's strength is indeed foiling Quicksilver's multiple punches--he may be seeing stars, but he's not going down for the count. If we don't examine that too closely, we could probably swallow that. Quicksilver, fast as he is, still possesses just the strength of an ordinary man--whereas Spider-Man's strength and stamina are clearly documented (if sometimes inconsistent). The problem here is that we know Quicksilver can build up enough momentum to increase the impact of his punch by many times--I mean, he's mowed down squads of soldiers, for Pete's sake.

So if his opponent is reeling--as Spider-Man obviously is--he's got plenty of time (with his speed, that's no exaggeration) to take off and build that momentum, circle back, and deliver the enhanced punch. Two or three of those, and Spider-Man's out--oh, hell, we'll make it four, just for good measure. Quicksilver won't even be winded.

But ol' fleet-foot doesn't agree with me, and tries a new tactic:

Which would work, if only it would occur to this so-called trained speedster that, if you're moving that fast in a circle, you're pretty much a stationary target--particularly if you stay within arm's reach.

Which, ridiculously, he does.

It's usually been a rule of thumb that the more Quicksilver blusters, the more certain you can be that he's going to be unconscious fairly soon. He's sometimes his own worst enemy in battle. You'd think Captain America, when he was training him, would have advised him to rein in the ego and focus more on the task at hand.

Anyway, you can guess what happens next. Once Quicksilver wakes up, Spider-Man clears things up with him, and they go their separate ways. In any sane world, Spider-Man would have been hoisted over Quicksilver's shoulder and carried into the nearest police precinct. But that will have to wait until Quicksilver's battle savvy no longer lags behind the rest of him.


Anonymous said...

Although I love your posts in general, I think you're missing the point with Quicksilver.

Pietro is quick-tempered and jumps to conclusions, so of course he manifests superspeed powers.

In Marvel, personalities and powers tend to line up: the flexible and intellectually far-reaching Reed Richards ends up with super-elasticity, the hotheaded but attention-loving ("flaming") Sunfire & The Human Torch both end up with fire powers, creative yet misunderstood as "creepy" Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man, often "stormy" Thor has the powers of the storm, as a shy girl Susan Storm disappears into the background literally while as Susan Storm-Richards, a confident woman with unseen strengths most people never seem coming, she is now best known for her invisible forcefield, etc. (Yes, I know there are more than a few exceptions, particularly among the more recent creations.)

And five of the more dourly quick-tempered, recklessly hasty Marvel heroes -- the aforementioned Quicksilver, his nephew Speed, the villain Speed Demon, and Alpha Flight's own Aurora and Northstar -- all end up with superspeed powers.

You'll notice the more even-tempered speedsters, such as Whizzer and Spitfire from World War II and Makkari of the Eternals, don't seem to get knocked out that often, and they use their powers with far more tactical consideration most of the time.

So it's not really that unrealistic that Quicksilver ends up losing so often; it's part of the Marvel theme that personality matters more than powers such that people who are too quick to judge and rush in hastily will end up repeatedly humbled whether they have superpowers or not.

Comicsfan said...

I can't quite sign on with your personalities/powers theory, Anon; for instance, Thor's personality is as confrontational and quick to anger as that of any other Asgardian (good heavens, have you met Odin? :) ), and I would categorize young Peter Parker as introverted rather than "creepy" (though in either case, I think it's safe to say that a radioactive spider was more responsible for the type of power he ended up with than any aspect of his personality). Also, Sue Storm began manifesting her force field well before she gained the confidence and strength of character you describe. That said, you're not the first to think along these lines--even a few of Marvel's scripters have floated this theory from time to time.

In another post, though, I elaborate a little more on why I feel Quicksilver tends to overplay his hand in battle, reasons which have more to do with the nature of his power rather than any influence of his personality.