Quicksilver #4

Issue Date: 
February 1998
Story Title: 
The Inhuman Race

Tom Peyer (writer), Derek Aucoin (penciler), Rich Faber (inker), Joe Rosas (colorist), Richard Starkings / Comicraft’s AD (letters), Mark Bernardo (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Quicksilver takes Crystal to the castle at the Hudson River, where she is joyfully reunited with her daughter Luna and introduced to the Knights of Wundagore. Reluctantly, Quicksilver accompanies his wife to visit Crystal’s family in New Attilan, the Inhuman Royal family headed by Black Bolt. He really doesn’t want to be there but has little choice in the matter. Receiving a cold reception, Quicksilver immediately annoys the family by not bowing to Black Bolt but they are overjoyed to see Crystal. They have arrived on the day of the Gene-Fest, when young Inhuman children undergo exposure to the Terrigen Mists and become something more (though sometimes less) than they already are. A banquet held by the Royal Family is, to Pietro, agonizing and he quickly makes his excuses to leave. He contacts Bova who tells him the Knights of Wundagore are missing and tries to leave the city, only for his sister, the Scarlet Witch, to prevent him. She persuades him to remain while the ceremony takes place which he does. Meanwhile, Maximus is contacted in his cell by Exodus who sends Fabian Cortez to amplify his mental powers in order that he can cause mayhem in New Attilan. He commands him to take direct control of Quicksilver. The mental attack occurs right before the Inhuman children can be subjected to the mists, with Maximus making Quicksilver steal the mists. The Inhumans quickly capture him, and he is thrown into a cell to reflect on his actions. Pietro wonders what happened and thinks about how Crystal and her relatives will feel about him now.

Full Summary: 

Quicksilver opens a new correspondence file to his wife Crystal, Crys-198. He mentions how in the nights when he thought he’d lost her forever, he’d got into the habit of composing letters she would never see. They comprised a diary of sorts, a kind of prayer with which to bring his wishes and fears into focus and keep her in his thoughts. Suddenly his life filled up when the High Evolutionary asked him to shepherd the Knights of Wundagore and he also had their daughter Luna back to look after. His letters had stopped and he felt guilty about that, but then he was awfully busy. Now she’s back, he is just as busy but here he was, writing letters she’ll never see, and he doesn’t really know why.

Crystal, wearing an all-in-one yellow body suit looks radiant as she leads Pietro by the hand into the royal chamber in New Attilan, the home of the Inhuman Royal Family. Pietro ventures into what he considers hostile territory with some trepidation and really doesn’t want to be there but he understands that they are Crystal’s family and he knows he has little choice over the matter. As they enter the room, the solemn expressions of the family members bite into Pietro, and Crystal’s attempt to lighten up the situation by saying, “Come on Pietro! It’s just my family! They won’t bite!” does little to calm his nerves. Sitting on his throne is the King, Black Bolt, the most powerful Inhuman ever to have lived. His voice can destroy anything in its path and it is left for his wife Medusa, Crystal’s older sister, to speak for him. Medusa stands to Black Bolt’s right along with the large teleporting dog, Lockjaw who lets out a growl upon seeing Pietro. To Black Bolt’s left stands the muscular Gorgon and his cousin Karnak, with Karnak’s brother Triton standing guard at the foot of the small staircase leading to the throne.

As the pair approach Black Bolt, Triton knocks shoulders with Quicksilver who realizes the collision was intentional but says nothing. Lockjaw growls, clearly not pleased to see him. Quicksilver’s thoughts instead turn to his friends, the Knights of Wundagore and he adds in his correspondence file that he ‘really’ doesn’t want to be there. Crystal grabs his wandering attention with a click of her fingers and tells him to kneel before their sovereign. As she bows though, Pietro is as stubborn as always and says “I am sorry, sweetheart, I mean no offense but with all due respect, Black Bolt, you are not my sovereign.” Black Bolt of course offers no reply, but Pietro thinks at least he could have nodded. Black Bolt makes a gesture with his hand which his wife Medusa interprets. She tells them her husband and liege acknowledges their greetings but now he decrees that they dispense with the formality, and suddenly she rushes forward to her sister and embraces her warmly, telling her how much she had missed her. Crystal’s cousins also greet her warmly, their stoicism now replaced by warm smiles and an outpouring of emotion.

Quicksilver feels good that his wife is able to rejoice, but he just feels awkward and utterly apart, noticing that maybe he’s not the only one, as Black Bolt remains seated, reticent and somehow unable to join in the excitement due to his position. Quicksilver wonders how Black Bolt must feel and their eyes make the briefest of contacts but both turn their heads away and Pietro thinks that they really don’t have anything in common.

Outside, in the streets of New Attilan, the citizens are joyous because today is the Gene-Fest, the day when young Inhuman children will be exposed to the Terrigen Mists and have their DNA altered. The day brings back some unhappy memories for Quicksilver who, not so long ago had, misguidedly, tried to submit his daughter Luna to the mist’s properties. He is however of the opinion that it is remarkable that a whole city could be jubilant. As the children run and play and the adults drink while letting them have their fun, Black Bolt’s insane brother Maximus rants from his cell about how he should be ruling the people, and not his speechless brother who he feels has no idea how to rule. He thinks the children should be miserable and frightened, not ecstatic.

As Maximus throws himself around his cell with his hands tied behind his back, he bangs his head on the cell wall and is frustrated because his only ally, a voice which he hears in his head, isn’t speaking to him. He demands the voice return and tell him what he must do. Right on cue, the voice in his head returns and tells him that for starters, he should cease banging his head against the wall before he damages his brain even more. Maximus gibbers with excitement upon hearing this but the disembodied voice demands he stop cackling and listen. It tells him an emissary is being sent and he should concentrate on what he has to say. Suddenly, Fabian Cortez is teleported into the cell through a portal and Maximus asks who he is. Exodus, the man behind the mysterious voice, demands he listen to what Cortez has to say.

Cortez, now standing before him tells him that if he wants his throne back, he must use his ability to control minds. Maximus replies that his ability just comes and goes and right now it is only a spark. Cortez reaches out with his hand and uses his power to augment Maximus’ mental abilities and Maximus screams in pain as Cortez tells him that he is fanning the spark and with his power restored, he can conquer Attilan without leaving his cell. This of course, he can do after he does something for them. Maximus grins and says “Anything.” Exodus cuts back in as Cortez steps back into the teleportation portal and vanishes and he orders Maximus to focus on Quicksilver with the full force of his power and unhinge him. The malevolent Maximus agrees to this, happy that he is no longer helpless.

Relaxing in Crystal’s spacious quarters, Pietro sits, arms folded, as Crystal puts on an evening dress in preparation for dinner. Pietro thinks about how he has never seen her so buoyant, as if her exile has increased her appreciation of this universe. He had missed her terribly, and since she returned, he was miserable, his ambivalence all too apparent. Crystal asks him if he is dressing for dinner but he says he is comfortable like this (in costume). She says, “Liar. You’ve never been comfortable in your life.” Pietro replies, “That’s not true. I do enjoy a good sulk now and then.” Crystal smiles and asks him if he plans to stop soon. Pietro replies that it depends and asks if they are leaving soon. As she tells him they will, right after dinner, the Scarlet Witch wanders through their door carrying Luna in her arms.

They had been for a long walk around New Attilan where Luna had met a lady with lobster claws for hands. Wanda is wearing a costume that harked back to her original one, much more traditional than her recent efforts. Crystal thanks Wanda and takes Luna from her. Wanda thanks Crystal, saying this is a lot more fun than her usual social whirl of Avengers meetings. She then looks at her brother and asks, “Pietro! Are you still pouting?” Pietro replies, “Well someone must, there’s enough forced cheerfulness around here to appall a Spice Girl.” Wanda says, “I see. You know dear brother, you didn’t exist in the other universe.” Pietro asks what her point is. “Perhaps the place did have its charms,” Wanda replies with a smirk. Great, thinks Pietro, even his sister is a comedian today.

Soon, on what for Pietro is the most endless of days, he is seated at a long banquet table along with the Inhuman Royal Family, Luna and the Scarlet Witch as a feast is prepared for them. Black Bolt takes his place in the middle of the group, befitting of his position. There is plenty of food and drink, which is served by a team of waiting staff. Quicksilver is trying to be good but he’s ready to jump out of his skin. Super-speed is not always a blessing. To him, it takes the staff three lifetimes just to serve the meal as he tries not to shift too noticeably in his seat. When his plate is ready for him, he begins to eat, taking measured bites and small sips which is a struggle, but he realizes the need not to finish his meal too far ahead of everyone. As he dabs the corner of his mouth with a napkin, he turns to the others who are staring at him incredulously. Pietro realizes they haven’t even taken their first bite in the time he has completed his meal and everyone has noticed.

He can handle the humiliation, but his punishment is extreme as he has to remain there, doing nothing for what seems like the rest of his life while the others lazily chew their cud. He looks thoroughly dejected and wants some time alone with Crystal and Luna. He wants to go to work and get busy, training his Knights. As he thinks all this, his sister’s fork hasn’t noticeably moved any further towards her mouth. This is torture. As he remains seated, lost in his thoughts, a roasting dish is uncovered revealing a pig with an apple in its mouth. Quicksilver thinks that this is what he gets for leading a crew of evolved animals; even the main course makes him feel homesick. Quicksilver’s thoughts recall the events following his reunion with Crystal.


He had taken her to the safe house on the Hudson where he and his Knights lived and kissed her as they entered the castle. She had asked him, “Is this where you live? In a castle?” He said she should wait until they were inside as the place was huge but first, Luna and Bova were dying to see her. She kneeled down and hugged her daughter tearfully and said, “Look at you! You’ve grown so much and I’ve missed it!” Luna replied, “Don’t cry mommy, I’ll grow some more okay?” Pietro tapped her on the shoulder but Crystal, understandably, didn’t want to let go of her daughter. He said she needn’t, but just say hello to the family. Crystal turned, still kneeling to find the Knights of Wundagore, standing behind her husband who introduced each of them and her to them. She asked Pietro why they weren’t with the High Evolutionary and he told her that their creator had to flee Mount Wundagore and had entrusted their care to him. Crystal stood up and looked disappointed, as she had hoped they could have lived alone a while. Pietro said he had hoped she wouldn’t be hoping that.


Quicksilver wonders that perhaps it was Crystal’s response what is bothering him, and maybe it should, but actually it doesn’t. He stands up from the table as the waiting staff remove the empty plates. He is eager to leave but Crystal places her hand on his shoulder and tells him to hold it right there as they can’t miss the ceremony. Black Bolt is ready to give his speech. Pietro puts his head in his hands saying quietly, “But he can’t even talk…” Black Bolt rises from his chair, wearing a ceremonial robe around his shoulders and opens his arms. His wife Medusa speaks for him. “The monarch thanks you all for attending. Would that he could speak his gratitude without unleashing the cataclysmic force of his voice. He asks that you grant him your patience as I interpret his gestures.” Karnak and Gorgon mutter to themselves about which mutant the request for patience is aimed, implying that Black Bolt has no need to ask for anything, especially from Pietro. Their respect for Quicksilver knew no beginning. Black Bolt meanwhile is clearly being diplomatic.

Crystal asks Pietro to sit but he tells her he can’t as he has to use the men’s room. He knows his lie is transparent but even though it pains him to lie, he has neither the endurance nor the time to watch Black Bolt and Medusa play charades. He has responsibilities to his Knights as Sir Ram reminds him incessantly. As he leaves the chamber, he uses his radio headset to call the safe house, impatient that someone pick up. At the castle, Bova steps out of the shower with a towel wrapped around her waist, rather annoyed that her peace has been broken. She picks up the phone and Pietro asks her where the Knights are. Dripping with water, she replies that she doesn’t know where they rushed off to. Ending the conversation quickly, Quicksilver dashes towards the exit of the building, concerned that if anything has happened to the Knights, it will be his fault. He asks himself how he could leave them to fend for themselves as he knows at first hand how cruel the human world can be.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a bright flash knocks him to the ground and he sees his sister standing before him. As he says her name, she tells him not to act so hurt as it was just a mild hex. She adds that they should go outside as the ceremony is starting. As she grabs his arm to help him up, he says “Let me go! The Knights are missing, and they’re -,“ but Wanda cuts in, telling him, “Fine, for all you know but Crys will hurt you if you leave. Break her heart and I’ll break your legs.” As she says this, she plants a kiss on his forehead as Pietro stares at her, more annoyed that she is right than anything.

Later, Quicksilver continues his correspondence file to Crystal as he has been doing all along. He knows Wanda just prevented him from making a serious mistake. He did overreact to the Knights’ absence, grasping for any excuse to leave before the ceremony. He finds it painful to watch Black Bolt using the Terrigen Mists to mutate children, ever since the day when Luna was an infant, when he threw one of his then-common anti-human tantrums and illegally tried to subject her to the mists himself. Crystal’s family never mentions it but they remember. He, along with everyone else is in a large scientific laboratory where Black Bolt is presiding over the ceremony. From his seat, Pietro can see the monarch standing in front of an orb-shaped green flask containing the mists and a group of Inhuman infants, looking expectantly at the exciting events from inside a clear glass cell. As Black Bolt attaches a pipe from the orb to the cell, the children’s faces light up, anticipating their new forms and powers.

As he watches the proceedings, Pietro’s mind is attacked by the newly powered Maximus, sending thoughts from his cell directly into Pietro’s brain. Because of Maximus’ persuasive powers, Pietro now feels that, although everyone’s eyes are on Black Bolt as he completes his sacramental preparations, they are really staring at him. Maximus suggests that ‘No, they are all laughing at you.’ Pietro, now coming under his influence thinks, ‘Exactly, they all hate me, everyone does! Odd that the Inhumans chose the week of Crystal’s return for this ritual. They knew I’d be here. This festival is meant to be a sham, to humiliate me, but I won’t let that happen.’ As Black Bolt flicks a switch which will begin piping the mists into the children’s cell through a cylindrical flask, Pietro, in a blinding display of speed, rushes to grab the mists before they are pumped through it and as Black Bolt watches helplessly as the mists vanish, Pietro is up and running out of the building, thinking that by the time the Inhumans realize their scheme has backfired, he’ll be miles away as no-one moves as swiftly as he does.

He is wrong however, as he suddenly sees Lockjaw squatting before him, with his antenna smoking and with his mouth shaped into a ferocious looking scowl. He has teleported Medusa, Gorgon, Karnak and Triton to stop him and Quicksilver puts on the brakes when he sees them blocking his path. “Lockjaw!” he exclaims, “Stupid teleporting cur!” Gorgon tells him, “You get one warning Quicksilver! Surrender the sacred mists!” When they are not immediately forthcoming, he stomps his foot to the ground and causes a seismic ripple which topples Pietro, bringing him to the ground and releasing the mists from his grasp. Medusa uses her hair to grab the flask before it shatters on the ground and Triton places his foot on Pietro’s chest to prevent him from standing. Quicksilver however isn’t in the mood to lie down so easily and he uses his left foot to propel debris upwards, some of which strikes Medusa on the chin which releases her hold on the flask.

As Karnak prepares to smash Quicksilver, he easily throws Triton away from him, grabs the flask once again before it comes down, and holds it in front of him as Karnak’s hand comes down, breaking the flask in two and releasing the mists. Pietro gloats, “Ha! What effect will they have on you now?” Out of nowhere, Crystal floats down alongside Black Bolt and shouts, “Enough!” as she dissipates the mists harmlessly by creating a strong gust of wind with her elemental powers. The blast of wind also knocks Quicksilver unconsciousness.

Later, as he sits chained in a small cell, the spectre of Maximus laughs insanely in his mind. Pietro recalls the last few moments in his correspondence file to Crystal. He thanks god that he wasn’t conscious to face her. He shudders to imagine what was going through her mind. He has disgraced himself, defiled the ceremony, shamed their daughter, assaulted her family and probably ripped Crystal’s heart out. He knows that it must have been she who created the hurricane blast which knocked him out and it must have hurt her to be the one to lay him low and to wait as Black Bolt silently deliberated his fate. Quicksilver wants to know why he acted as he did and wants to make it up to Crystal. He wants to know what these horrible feelings mean and what has happened to his Knights, adding once more that he also wants to get out of there.

Characters Involved: 



Luna Maximoff

Scarlet Witch


Black Bolt, Gorgon, Karnak, Maximus, Medusa, Triton (all Inhuman Royal family)


several servants and other Citizens of New Attilan

Fabian Cortez (Acolytes)

voice only:

Exodus (Acolytes)

In flashback:



Luna Maximoff

Lord Anon, Bova, Lord Churchill, Lord Delphis, Lord Gator, Sir Ram, Lord Tyger, Lady Ursula, Lady Vermin (all Knights of Wundagore)

Story Notes: 

In this issue, Crystal is wearing a slightly different yellow costume to one she wore in Quicksilver #3.

The Inhuman Royal Family members are all related to Pietro’s wife Crystal. Her real name is Crystalia Amaquelin Maximoff and she is the sister of Medusa, the cousin of Triton, Karnak and Gorgon and also the cousin/sister-in-law of Black Bolt, Medusa’s husband.

While the Inhuman Royal family are basically genetically altered humans who have been exposed to the Terrigen Mists, Lockjaw is simply an evolved dog, as explained in X-Factor (1st series) #71.

Quicksilver once attempted to use the Terrigen Mists to change his human daughter Luna in Thing #3, during one of his then common anti-human tantrums. The Terrigen Mists don’t always produce benefits, as the luckless Woz discovered in Inhumans (2nd series) #2.

The Spice Girls were a successful British pop group who had several chart-topping hits such as “Wannabe“, “Say you’ll be there“ and “Goodbye“.

At the banquet, the royal family and their guests are all seated at one side of a long table, which is a strange seating arrangements and not really designed for conversation. This may be to protect Black Bolt’s feelings as he is unable to communicate verbally with anyone.

Issue Information: 
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