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Quicksilver of the Avengers (early Marvel Comics) dashing

Quicksilver

(Pietro Maximoff) (Profile #1 - Early)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

This profile depicts Quicksilver of the Avengers (Marvel Comics) as he was during his early appearances.

Specifically, it goes from his first appearance up to Avengers volume 1, #44.

This issue was chosen as the breakpoint because Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch underwent notable changes in their previously established history and personality beginning with issue #45 that culminated with them rejoining Magneto (See “The Inexplicability of History” below for details).

Thus, Avengers #45 not only makes for a useful historical benchmark but also a metafictional one — it could be argued that neither character was the same character that had been previously depicted.

Because of the above issues and to focus on the characters as depicted at the time in question, this profile has been developed with an emergent history approach. In other words, it is based solely on appearances and data available at the time covered by the writeup itself.

Ir thus ignores later revelations such as the true parentage of Pietro and Wanda with the exception of issues discussed in the “Inexplicability” section below and some parenthetical notes under Personality.

This is another character who turned out to be much more interesting than I thought when I started reading the original stories. Indeed, that was what inspired me to make the profiles for Pietro and Wanda in the first place. It’s a shame that these characters degenerated so poorly and with so little thought from most of their writers in their later histories.


Background

  • Real Name: Pietro (last name unrevealed)
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Wanda a.k.a. The Scarlet Witch (sister)
  • Group Affiliation: Avengers, formerly the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants
  • Base Of Operations: Avengers Mansion in NYC, formerly mobile
  • Height: 6’ Weight: 175 lbs
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: White


Powers and Abilities

As a result of his mutant genetics, Quicksilver is capable of moving at superhuman speeds. While he was initially not as versatile as most superheroic speedsters, his continuing practice of his abilities has helped him overcome his limitations.

While official descriptions of Quicksilver’s speed suggest that his maximum running speed in approximately 150 mph (in DC Heroes terms, 7 APs of speed), observations of his abilities in the comics suggest higher AP levels. By the end of the time covered by the writeup, Pietro had started racing bullets to test himself. Even at his lower speeds, Quicksilver is very difficult to see while running, making him effectively invisible while at superspeed.

Pietro also has a budding talent for technical matters. He could quickly learn to operate many mechanical devices (though the use of exotic gadgets such as Hank Pym’s cybernetic helmets eluded him during his brief studies of that equipment) and recognize their working principles, such as quickly determining that an Avengers’ training room device was targeting him by the sound of his heartbeat.

His fellow Avengers recognize his abilities in that regard and Pietro is often the default team member chosen to operate machinery such as vehicles and medical devices.


History

Quicksilver and his sister, the Scarlet Witch, were mutants who grew up in a small village in the Balkan nation of Transia. They were recruited into the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants when Magneto saved Wanda from a mob of her fellow villagers, who sought to murder her based on the belief that her mutant power was some form of evil witchcraft.

The Scarlet Witch felt that she owed Magneto her service for saving her life even though she disagreed with his philosophy. Quicksilver likewise had doubts but would not leave his sister’s side.

The Brotherhood’s first public act was to take over the small nation of Santo Marco in South America. Mastermind’s illusions convinced the people of Santo Marco that Magneto had a massive army at his beck and call.

After their quick surrender Magneto recruited those same people, making the army real; Magneto’s army greatly resembled that of Nazi Germany in both behavior and dress, with the only notable difference being that their army patches featured an M instead of a swastika.

Alerted to Magneto’s plans, the X-Men traveled to Santo Marco, infiltrated Magneto’s headquarters there, and routed the Brotherhood. Magneto attempted to enact a scorched earth policy by detonating a nuclear bomb and turning Santo Marco into a wasteland, but Quicksilver ran back and defused the bomb at the last moment before rejoining the Brotherhood as they took flight.

The X-Men soon confronted the Brotherhood again. This time their battlefield was Magneto’s orbital station, Asteroid M. During this fight Wanda and Pietro helped defend the Brotherhood against the X-Men but also actively interfered with Magneto’s attempts to murder the rival superteam, forcing the Brotherhood to end the fight by abandoning Asteroid M.

Subsequent encounters between the two groups made it clear to the X-Men that Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch served Magneto out of a perceived debt rather than agreement with his cause (indeed, they were in some ways more sympathetic to Xavier’s approach toward addressing anti-mutant prejudice), but the X-Men could not convince them to leave his service.

The twins even sought advice on their dilemma from the Fantastic Four, but a misunderstanding led to a fight with the Thing and the Human Torch that convinced the siblings that no one would help them.

There goes the Brotherhood

After the fateful battle in which the alien scientist known as the Stranger took Magneto away from Earth for study, the mutant siblings realized that while Wanda may have owed Magneto her life, they both had repaid that debt many times over while risking themselves in his service.

Though Cyclops extended an invitation to them to join the X-Men, Wanda and Pietro decided to return to their homeland and forget the war between the mutant factions for the moment.

Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff) racing Hawkeye's arrow

Soon afterward as the siblings were vacationing at a Swiss chalet, Quicksilver read a newspaper announcement that the Avengers were looking for new members. Pietro saw this as an opportunity to demonstrate their good intentions without the confounding influence of their mutant origins being front and center.

The X-Men had already informed the authorities of Wanda’s and Pietro’s rejection of the Brotherhood and the two of them were welcomed into the Avengers with open arms. Wanda and Pietro reveled in being able to put their talents to positive uses and in the companionship of friendly caring people.

I am an Avenger

As members of the Avengers, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver aided the team in opposing numerous menaces, most notably the Mole Man, Doctor Doom, the Atlantean warlord Attuma, and the team of Avengers arch foes gathered by the brainwashed Black Widow.

It was during that last conflict that the Scarlet Witch noticed her powers and her brother’s superspeed were fading. The two of them took a leave of absence to return to their native village in the Balkans, theorizing that their unique abilities were tied to some quality of their homeland and could be restored by renewed exposure.

As it turned out, a scientist whose lab was housed in that same village was able to help them, applying a diathermatic treatment that not just restored but slightly increased their powers. This scientist recognized them as both the unfortunate exiles of the village that they had been but also as the famous Avengers they had become.

He was only the first of the village to offer Pietro and Wanda his help and kindness, as the rest of the village had also realized they had misjudged the mutant siblings and sought to make up for their previous poor treatment of them by welcoming the two home as heroes.

For the next few weeks, Wanda and Pietro enjoyed the company of their fellow countrymen, including lavish gifts for Wanda such as a trained falcon to play with and the chance to borrow the President’s sports car and drive alongside Pietro as he ran along the mountain roads.

They were also telepathically contacted by Professor X, who once again invited them to join his team, but they declined as they planned to resume their duties with the Avengers.

Return to America

Soon after Pietro and Wanda returned to the Avengers, Captain America took a leave of absence. While he was gone, the siblings became the glue that held the Avengers together.

While they did not assume a direct leadership role, the two of them worked together (with Quicksilver usually following the Witch’s lead) to smooth over disagreements between their teammates’ tempestuous natures and keep the group focused on their work.

Thanks in no small measure to Wanda’s and Pietro’s contributions, the Avengers defeated powerful foes such the Asgardian goddess known as the Enchantress and the ruthless alchemist Diablo. Captain America returned to the fold to find a well-integrated team that was able to foil a fiendish plot masterminded by the Mandarin.


The Inexplicability of History

Avengers #45 introduced substantial changes to the history and characters of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, the former being most affected by the alterations. The villagers from whom Magneto had saved the siblings were now depicted as strangers to them, with Wanda’s accidental use of her powers happening by chance as the two passed through the area.

Pietro was constantly on the verge of violent outbursts because of the anti-mutant bigotry he continually encountered and Wanda’s confidence faltered as she became increasingly dependent on the decisions and guidance of others.

Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff) takes down numerous guards

This was greatly at odds with previous depictions of the villagers as fellow townspeople of Pietro and Wanda as well as the welcome acceptance they had received from those villagers and the world at large after having demonstrated their good intentions.

Indeed, an extended subplot from previous issues featured Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch returning to their native village and being treated as beloved celebrities, partly as an apology from the villagers for their previous treatment of the twins.

Their character development was reversed, with Pietro more tempestuous than in their first appearances with the Brotherhood and the Scarlet Witch becoming even more uncertain.

No-Prize hypotheses

While this profile simply ends before these changes are introduced, it is possible to rationalize these alterations.

It has been suggested that Magneto’s volatile and erratic personality over the years is the result of neurological imbalances caused by the mutant power surging through his body. A similar process may have had an adult onset in both Pietro and Wanda.

In support of this explanation, it should also be noted that the changes in the twins’ history were depicted as reminiscences by Quicksilver and thus may be explained as a delusional revision to his personal memory of the event.

The blatant prejudice that he suddenly seemed to be suffering might likewise be seen as Pietro interpreting his interactions with others in an increasingly negative light as his pathology deepened.

This process could extend to the ever-worsening insanity that both characters later exhibited.

Exotic Cultures

Despite various flashbacks and even an extended visit to their homeland of Transia, little is known about Pietro’s and Wanda’s native culture. Transia is described only as a central European country though stories after the period covered by this profile have described it as a former part of either Bulgaria or Romania, which would place it in eastern Europe.

Unlike later comics, their Transian village was explicitly stated to be their hometown rather than a place they had settled in or were passing through during their time with the Romani. It is possible that the village in question was Romani. The difficulty in identifying their native culture is further confused since their village was unnamed and the twins’ last names were also never given during this time.

Given the vague background information at the point covered in the writeup, their Languages very likely include Bulgarian and/or Romanian and possibly Romani as well.

French and/or Swiss German are also highly likely as the siblings spent a considerable amount of time in Switzerland without any apparent communication problems. The Scarlet Witch was depicted as speaking French in later years.


Description

Pietro is a muscular white male whose square chin gives him a somewhat regal look. His short silver hair is distinguished with a pair of upswept locks that habitually sweep up from the forehead, looking like something between the wings of a bird taking flight and wide antennae.

As Quicksilver, Pietro wears a dark green bodysuit with light green trunks, boots, and gloves. There is a white lightning bolt band around the waist that also branches diagonally up the front from the left hip to the right shoulder and wraps down the back in the same direction.

When relaxing off-duty, Pietro is attired in slacks and either a polo shirt or a tunic and vest.


Personality

Quicksilver tends to act impetuously at times. How much of this is part and parcel of his powers and how much of it is simple youthful enthusiasm is open to question. This trait flares up the most at the beginning of a particular situation or encounter, after which Pietro settles down and analyzes the situation more thoughtfully.

This is also true over the long term. For example, when Quicksilver first joined the Avengers his youthful ambition drove him to seek leadership of the team.

However, he soon recognized Captain America was better leader and settled into a supportive role without hesitation or regret. When Captain America temporarily left the team, he did the same for the Scarlet Witch. When she gave an order or suggestion, she often found Quicksilver already on the move, having anticipated not only her idea but the specific role she had in mind for him.

Overprotective

As would be expected for someone who has lost almost all of his friends and family, Pietro is particularly protective of his sister.

When the siblings were with the Brotherhood, Quicksilver stayed by the Scarlet Witch’s side continuously and was quick to rush to her defense when someone endangered or harassed her, even against powerful opponents such as Magneto.

Once they had moved to the safer environs of Avengers Mansion, Quicksilver was able to relax and leave his sister unaccompanied while he pursued his own interests in gadgetry or watching athletic performances.

Still, if an enemy of the Avengers directly threatens Wanda, Pietro’s protective instincts rise to the fore and override most other considerations.

Quicksilver (Pietro Maximoff) with Hawkeye and Captain America

During this time Quicksilver’s protective behavior did not have the unhealthy, quasi-incestuous overtones that it would take on in later stories. Quicksilver was quick to fend off some potential suitors’ attentions toward Wanda, but with good reason.

Mastermind was a lecherous old man making repeated, clearly unwanted advances toward a teenage girl and Namor was a dangerous, unknown quality. On the other hand, Pietro had no objection (indeed, seemed to give no particular thought at all) to the Scarlet Witch’s interest in safer, more respectable men such as Cyclops or Captain America.

Belong

As is understandable given the circumstances of his life, Pietro values the idea of belonging and approval. He was eager to take the opportunity for public redemption by joining the Avengers and both he and his sister greatly appreciated the unconditional acceptance and friendship they received from that group.

Pietro worked valiantly to uphold the proud traditions of the group and became almost as protective of Captain America (who was the most welcoming of the Avengers) as he was of his sister. He thus clashed most frequently with Hawkeye, whose recklessness and defiance of the good Captain were particularly offensive to him.

Though Pietro shares the same values as his sister, he is not always as adept at articulating them. Oftentimes the Scarlet Witch will be the first to make a definitive suggestion, after which Quicksilver will act on it with great enthusiasm. This may lead casual observers to think Pietro is the dominant personality of the two, when in actuality the reverse would be more accurate (though they tend to be equal partners in group decision making).

The power of speed

Though Quicksilver wants others to see him as a person and not simply a mutant, he has never regretted having his powers, taking joy in practicing his abilities whenever possible. He even thrills to watch others display their athletic talents and looks forward to the time when he could do the same without suffering public displays of anti-mutant prejudice.

Pietro will on rare occasions express sentiments of superiority over homo sapiens, usually in regards to his abilities or in response to anti-mutant discrimination taking place in his presence. Such displays are perfunctory and quickly dropped, suggesting that they are instinctive defensive responses to the scorn of others rather than heartfelt sentiments.

Though Quicksilver would become painfully arrogant in later stories, at this time he was confident enough in himself and respectful enough of others to act without contempt or malice. He even took pains not to make others look bad.

For example, while watching an acrobatic show where one of the performers made a mistake and was falling toward the ground, Pietro used his superspeed to dash out invisibly and move the safety net to catch him, making it appear as if the incident was a planned part of the show.

When speaking to the performer afterward, he congratulated the man on his routine and shared his relief with the “lucky placement” of the net.

Gearhead

Pietro has a hobbyist’s interest in mechanics and electronics, which he is finally able to indulge greatly as a member of the Avengers. In addition to becoming familiar with the operation of their usual devices, Quicksilver sometimes toys with the more esoteric gadgets created by Avengers such as Hank Pym.

For example, one issue opened with Pietro fiddling with an old cybernetic helmet of Pym’s, attempting to determine for himself how it was used.


Quotes

“I’ve warned you never to threaten my sister !! The Scarlet Witch and I remain here to serve the leader, not to be taunted by a black-hearted fiend like you !”

“But the Avengers might accept us without caring that we are different — without always reminding us — we’re mutants !”

Mole Man: “You shall now be subjected to ultrasonic vibro-waves ! Within minutes, your muscles will be reduced to mashed potatoes !”
Quicksilver: “It cannot be as unbearable as the sound of your droning voice ! Do your worst, madman !”

“Not now, Wanda ! I want to finish watching this acrobat act on the Ed Sullivan Show ! If only I were free to perform in public that way ! How it would gladden my heart !”


DC Universe History

If one uses the proposed Scarlet Witch DCU history in which she joined the Force of July, Quicksilver could accompany her as another member of that team.

Alternatively, Pietro and Wanda could have then been inducted into the Justice League during one of its recruitment drives, most likely Maxwell Lord’s creation of the JLI.

When Batman began working with the JLI with lessening frequency, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver stepped in to provide the missing leadership and direction needed, keeping such disparate and expressive personalities as Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, and Orion working together.

Their mental dissolution as described in “Inexplicability…” above would have contributed to the League’s collapse during the “Breakdowns” storyline and resulted in increasingly turbulent and problematic behavior as time went by.

As another approach, after Wanda accidentally burned a house due to poor control of her powers, she and her brother were arrested by the local police. At this same time, the Queen Bee was recruiting the Global Guardians for Bialya, so the local government offered their two captives mutants to the Guardians in exchange for some good publicity.

Wanda and Pietro were offered a pardon if they joined the Guardians; Wanda accepted due to guilt, and Pietro, as ever, did it trying to protect her.

The Bialyan Global Guardians were then revealed as villains, fighting the JLI. But the twins’ hearts were in the right place, and they ultimately broke with Guardians to join the JLI (perhaps even freeing Beetle and Booster from Bialya’s jail in the process).

Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch first joined the JLI and then transferred to JL Europe when it was formed, with the two often working as translators for the rest of the group. In the JLE, Wanda meets the Silver Sorceress, who taught her the secrets of magic before being killed.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Quicksilver

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Responsibility of Power
Int: 05 Wil: 05 Min: 05 Occupation: Superhero, former terrorist
Inf: 04 Aur: 04 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 023 HP: 050

Powers:
Flight: 05, Invisibility: 06, Superspeed: 09

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Flight and Invisibility are Contingent on Superspeed (-1FC each)
  • The active APs of Invisibility are limited to two-thirds (⅔) of the APs of active Superspeed (rounding down) but it can be Activated simultaneously with Superspeed without expending an Action (-1FC total)
  • Because Invisibility is related to Pietro’s speed rather than being rendered imperceptible by visible light, he can be detected while Invisible with a normal Perception Check versus an OV/RV equal to the active APs of Invisibility without the need for special Powers; though this Check requires a roll on the other character’s part, this does not cost that character an Action (-2FC)

Skills:
Acrobatics (Dodging)*: 05, Gadgetry (Identify Gadget)*: 05, Scientist (Observation)*: 05, Vehicles (Air, Land, Water)*: 05

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Acrobatics (Dodging) can only be used in conjunction with Superspeed (-1FC)
  • When Quicksilver substitutes Superspeed for DEX, this also raises his Linked Vehicles Skill (+1FC)

Advantages:
Local Hero (Transia)

Connections:
Avengers (High), Scarlet Witch (High), X-Men (Low)

Drawbacks:
MIA (Protecting those close to him — this always includes his sister but can also extend to highly-respected friends such as Captain America)


Exceeding the Speed Limits

When Quicksilver first developed his superspeed, its uses were much more limited than those of most superheroic speedsters. During his time with the Brotherhood Pietro only had Initiative: 21, 35 HPs, did not have Flight, and his Superspeed was only 07 APs as well as suffering the following Limitations:

  • Superspeed can only substitute for Physical OV, not full DEX (-1FC)
  • Superspeed cannot substitute for Physical EV (-1FC)
  • Superspeed cannot reduce the time to complete tasks (-1FC)

During his hiatus between leaving the Brotherhood and joining the Avengers, he raised Superspeed to 08 APs and bought off the first Limitation above as he practiced the more efficient use of his abilities. As part of this growth Pietro also started using more Superspeed-based Trick Powers such as Air Control.

Quicksilver’s time with the Avengers not only increased his usual HP level but also gave him enough additional experience with his talents to buy off the remaining Limitations. Pietro continued pushing his limits and developed the ability to fly contemporaneously with increasing Superspeed to its current 09 APs just before the end of the time period covered by this writeup.

While Quicksilver was with the Brotherhood, he had a Low Connection to that group but no Connection to the Avengers or X-Men. The X-Men Connection replaced the Brotherhood one when he left the supervillain group and the Avengers Connection was acquired soon afterward when he joined that team. He did not have the Local Hero Advantage until his return to Transia.


Design notes

The Invisibility Power was used instead of the High-Speed Movement rules because Pietro’s Superspeed-based invisibility behaved differently than those rules would allow.

In particular, it was usable at lower APs of Superspeed than would normally be possible but was not as effective as it would be using the normal rules.

Quicksilver also does not seem to be subject to the collateral damage rules for 8+ AP high speed movement, which may be a +1 FC Bonus to Superspeed in a campaign that normally applies those rules.


By Roy Cowan

Source of Character: Marvel Comics

Helper(s): Capita_Senyera, Marcello, Sébastien Andrivet, Mike Winkler

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