If you’ve seen X-Men: Days of Future Past, odds are you’re now a much bigger fan of Quicksilver now than you were before you went to the movie theater. Yeah, somehow that goggle-wearing glam rock doofus that everyone mercilessly laughed managed to work on the big screen in a big way. Evan Peters’ performance and that one sequence even makes us – and we can’t believe we’re saying this — like how the silver-haired speedster looks in DOFP. Seriously, he’s that good.
Quicksilver’s been around in the comics for 50 years now, and he has quite an impressive and complicated history that’s tied up with a lot of other Marvel heavy-hitters. His film presence is going to become comparably complicated when Aaron Taylor-Johnson zips onto the big screen as the character in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Yeah, that’s right, two actors playing two versions of Quicksilver in two different movies made by two different movie studios! In order to learn more about Mr. Maximoff and prepare yourself for his impending ubiquity, here are five single issues to get you up to speed on Quicksilver.
Uncanny X-Men #4 (1964)
The character first appeared as a member of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants 50 years ago. He debuted alongside his twin sister, the Scarlet Witch, and fellow malicious mainstays Toad and Mastermind. The issue revealed that Magneto had saved the mutant twins from an angry mob of villagers (is there any other kind?), thus ensuring their loyalty. But creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby saw it fit to give Pietro Maximoff a bit of nuance; when he learned that Magneto’s master plan involved the slaughter of hundreds of humans, he used his super speed to sabotage his boss’ plot and give the X-Men the upper hand.
Avengers #16 (1965)
That hint of heroism resurfaced in a big way just a year later when the twins joined the Avengers. Fed up with being manipulated by the Master of Magnetism, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch traveled to New York City after reading about the Avengers taking in the reformed criminal named Hawkeye as a member. The pair arrived just as every founding Avenger decided to take a leave of absence, making them a welcome sight to Captain America as he struggled to keep the team together. This issue solidifies Quicksilver as a force for good in the Marvel Universe.
Vision and the Scarlet Witch #4 (1983)
There’s one key component of Quicksilver’s history that Marvel Studios just can’t touch since they don’t have the film rights to the X-Men; he’s Magneto’s son. Yep, the very man that rescued him as a teenager and then held him hostage within the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants is also, in true comic book coincidence fashion, his dad. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver’s true parentage is a tangle of lies and deception, something that the first Vision and Scarlet Witch miniseries desperately tried to sort out. This issue runs through the pair’s true history and also features the birth of Quicksilver’s daughter, Luna.
X-Factor #87 (1993)
Quicksilver’s a jerk. He’s been characterized as a short-tempered ego-maniac from almost day one, but no writer ever thought about why Pietro acted that way until Peter David took over writing the character in X-Factor. This quiet issue deals with the X-Factor crew undergoing psychiatric evaluation following the stressful events of a massive mutant crossover. Quicksilver’s vignette sums up his character perfectly, making the arrogant hero the most relatable he had ever been up until that point. Trust us, no trip you ever take to the bank will be the same after you read this issue.
X-Factor: The Quick and the Dead (2008)
Pietro fell on hard times in the mid ’00s; his sister went mad, he lost his mutant powers, and his plan to lead a revolution blew up in his face. That’ll happen if you try to make a mutant revolution happen using powerful and unstable crystals, you know. This one-shot by Peter David and Pablo Raimondi features Quicksilver at his lowest, as he struggles with through an identity crisis in a cramped prison cell. Much like X-Factor #87, this done-in-one story gets to the heart of the character and builds him back up again, culminating in Pietro spouting off what should be his battle cry: “I’m freaking Quicksilver!!! And you can eat my freaking dust!”