Hmmm . . . okay. It does do what I kinda hated after M-Day which is “Oh, that was sad – ON TO OUR NEXT ADVENTURE!” Never give anything time to breathe, never give anyone time to reel, never give the story any space before the next retcon, the next disaster of the week, the next exploding room you’ve seen a thousand times before. But it does do some of the stuff I do like, like examining a character, like watching someone totally unwind in the face of things they cannot control. Which is why I forgave a lot of the running around and time travel and cosmic nonsense, because the writing does get the main character right, and you are just watching him slowly unwind. You are watching him lose it.
Quicksilver starts the book suicidal, like a lot of ex-mutants after M-Day. His wife Crystal tries to encourage him to start a new life, one where is a constant presence in his daughter’s life, one where he is not being sucked into the world’s drama. And you’d think that’d be enough. Instead, when he discovers there is a way he might regain his powers – or any powers – he violates everything he claims to care about, the most sacred tenets of his new home, betrays his wife, brings her world to the point of war, kills a man, and kidnaps his daughter and addicts her to this new power-imbuing substance. He brings it all crashing down around his ears because he can’t stand being ordinary. In a way this is a good thing to read in conjunction with Alias, which poses the question of what would drive someone to want to be a superhero, with all the danger, sorrow and pain, if not the absolute, petrifying fear of being an everyday, overlooked, ordinary person.
Because the story is told from Quicksilver’s point of view, you just watch him drive himself on and on, never outwardly questioning or reflecting on what he’s doing or why, just convinced it is the right – no, the only thing to do. Even though he must see the damage he causes, even though he must know the danger. Never a bad intention but always an evil outcome.
My favourite part of this was watching his relationship to Luna, his daughter. He hates his own father so much, for his abandonment, for his manipulation, for his conditional love. He swears he is nothing like his father. And yet, he jumps at the first chance to be anything other than a loving, present father to his daughter. He destroys her entire world without any thought to her. He separates her from the care of her mother. He addicts her to a substance he doesn’t fully understand, changing her in ways he can’t imagine. He places her in harm’s way alongside him again and again. And he does this because he wants to prove himself a father, but completely on his terms, completely without any regard for what she wants or is best for her, completely without any responsibility. And yet he protests he is nothing like his despised father.
The only redeeming act he commits throughout the entire piece is to return his daughter to her mother when he realises where his actions have taken him, and where they will lead. He realises he is not good for the people he loves, that he is not capable of being the man they deserve. That he cannot get through a day without fucking up and these days he’s fucking up quite badly.
All in all, it’s a good story.