Pietro Maximoff is a character that has always felt like a bit of an also-ran when it comes to both being a speedster in comics and a hero in the Marvel universe. Quicksilver: No Surrender seems to want to fix that, but the series is off to a slow start.
The book comes from writer Saladin Ahmed, artist Eric Nguyen, and colorist Rico Renzi, and it spins out of the Avengers: No Surrender story, which saw Quicksilver help save the Earth only to vanish and be presumed dead thereafter. Quicksilver: No Surrender #1 reveals that Quicksilver may be suffering a fate worse than death. Destroying the orb used to keep some of the Avengers in stasis made Quicksilver become unstuck in time. Now he’s trapped in a state of limbo where he’s free to run about as he pleases, but everyone else is frozen like cardboard cutouts in the background.
Ahmed narrates the story from Quicksilver’s perspective, offering a glimpse into Pietro’s psyche. The speedster is self-important and petty, and a bit morose, but he’s self-aware as well. Ahmed also spends time having Quicksilver explain how he is “the fastest man in the world” and establish how that is different than simply moving quickly the way some other powerful beings in the Marvel Universe.
This establishes Quicksilver’s capabilities and his disposition, but then the narrative begins to pump the breaks. Pietro spends most of the issue trying to keep himself entertained in his current situation. It’s amusing to watch Pietro play some harmless pranks on his peers while he’s detached from their state of reality, but things don’t really pick up until the apparent threat of the series arrives. This would be fine, except that we get merely the barest hint of what this threat actually is, and so the issue ends without really explaining what the series is about. A lot of time is spent establishing the story's background and setting, but little in the way of a hook.
While this makes the issue somewhat frustrating, it’s worth noting that much of Ahmed’s other work -- like the fabulous Black Bolt with Christian Ward and the exciting relaunch of Exiles with Javier Rodriguez -- also started with opening chapters that were heavy on word count and setup, but found better balance as they went and Ahmed had provided the necessary background for the story he was seeking to tell. Quicksilver: No Surrender could easily follow suit and ultimately serve as a more successful first chapter of a larger story than an episode in and of itself.
While Ahmed seems primarily concerned with laying down tracks here, Nguyen’s art is nothing but momentum. Thin lines and heavy inks on Quicksilver’s runner’s frame create the sense that he is a character perpetually in motion even when little is actually happening in a panel. When the action does strike, Nguyen poses Quicksilver to maximize the sense of velocity and impact. He also has some interesting layouts that guide the eye like a runner rounding a curve rather than on a pivot, giving the artwork its own sense of momentum.
Renzi sets a subtle tone for the story, creating a rough paper-like background for Pietro to play against while he’s trapped between moments. Pietro’s opponent in this shines brightly against the background, and the end of the issue suggests that Renzie will have ample opportunity to play with this as the series continues.
Quicksilver: No Surrender #1 isn’t the most exciting start, but the creative team has created a mystery and setting that are both curious enough to want to learn more about. It may not have come out of the gate at full-speed, but Quicksilver: No Surrender seems likely to pick up momentum as it goes.
Published by Marvel Comics
On May 16, 2018
Written by Saladin Ahmed
Art by Eric Nguyen
Colors by Rico Renzi
Letters by VC’s Clayton Cowles