Quicksilver: No Surrender #1 Review

by Charles Martin on May 16, 2018

Quicksilver: No Surrender #1 Review
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Eric Nguyen
Colourist: Rico Renzi
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Saladin Ahmed launches into his third Marvel series with an intimate portrait of Pietro "Quicksilver" Maximoff, the perennial front-runner for the gold medal in the Jerkbag Avenger race.

Pietro is our narrator as well as our star, and he speedily summarizes first his General Deal and then his role in No Surrender. Saving the world has trapped him in a unique prison, unstuck from time and utterly alone.

(Well, I say unique. It's a standard-issue sci-fi "the whole world is frozen except for us" premise. Squirrel Girl got stuck in one a few weeks ago.)

Being alone is not the most novel problem for Pietro. He wryly notes that he's always been fast enough to run away from both danger and from personal entanglements. Pietro also has enough self-awareness to recognize that it's his personality, not his powers, that makes him tough to love. 

To demonstrate that insight as well as just talking about it, Pietro wastes no time in finding time-frozen Magneto, dressing him in a clown suit, and taking embarrassing selfies with him. Pietro knows he is a petty man. Not was, is.

There's more than just a yawning gulf of introspection threatening Quicksilver in his solitary world, of course. Not long after he convinces himself he's alone, he discovers he's not, and the natives ain't exactly friendly. An initial triumph leads to a revelation of bigger challenges in a cliffhanger ending.

This high concept series delivers an interesting challenge for artist Eric Nguyen. Pietro's world has to look profoundly different in every panel to emphasize the strangeness of the trap he's stuck in. Mr. Nguyen leans heavily on Rico Renzi's capable colours to illustrate this time-freeze. The world around Pietro goes grey, but he and his surprise antagonists are painted as vibrant heartbeats of life and action threaded through the stillness. (This edition's absolute separation of the moving and non-moving worlds is frankly more satisfying than the muddier portrait painted in Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #31, which was also coloured by Rico Renzi.)

While the layouts are imaginative and the colours are sharp, I wonder about the sketchy finish Mr. Nguyen uses with the moving characters. I recognize it's a conscious choice, and additional detail is deployed on bits of the frozen world to emphasize the contrast between motion and immobility. There's also a suspicious voice in my head whispering that it's a time and effort-saving measure, and that readers deserve to see Pietro looking both fast and polished. Quicksilver #1 looks good, but I can't escape the feeling that it could look better.

Saladin Ahmed's script paints a pretty lovable warts-and-all portrait of Pietro. He's honest with himself (up to a point) and that's an express ticket to engaging with the reader. As presented here, the forces opposing Quicksilver in his time-freeze have a beautifully symbolic connection to his own character. I almost don't want to see their nuts-and-bolts backstory in future issues; the antagonists work so well on a metaphorical level that it almost seems a shame to ground them in more concrete ideas. I have faith that Saladin Ahmed can thread that needle and give these bad guys rational underpinnings without losing their deliciously personal link to Pietro.

Saladin Ahmed and Eric Nguyen deliver a speedy but intimate portrait of Quicksilver before throwing some fascinating roadblocks in his path. While this miniseries doesn't start off in a position of all-time greatness, that definitely could be where it's headed. The introduction is well above average and packed with enough promise (both visually and narratively) to get readers clamouring for more.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
How many times has Quicksilver come charging out of a cover at us? It feels like it's been done before, not just on Avengers #677.