The young messenger for a fort in the American West, and a friend with the Blackfoot clan. During 1838, the Blackfoot clan was ambushed, on orders from the new fort commander, As Max came close to his friend, the shaman of the Blackfoot clan, he, with his last breath, invoked ancient tribal magic over the messenger, giving him superhuman speed. The messenger said goodbye to his old friend and was sent to stop the rest of the Indians, who had been on a hunt, from being ambushed. The scout found the Indians and the US Army detachment, and disarmed them all, preventing the massacre. From that day forth he became known as Ahwehota—“He who runs beyond the wind” or Windrunner, the fastest man alive of that era. He continued to stop massacres throughout the west, and he went on for years like this.
Windrunner was grateful for the gift he had but was curious about it's origin. He felt the call from what was the source of his power, what has since been called the Speed Force, the extra dimensional energy source of power for all speedsters created by the second Flash (Barry Allen). Windrunner ran faster than he had ever run before, faster than light, finally tapping into the Speed Force. The Speed Force was calling him, wanting him to become part of it on the other side of light. He felt embraced, thinking the glorious destiny awaits him but he started to feel fear and he was removed from the Speed Field, bounced forward through time, landing several decades in the future in June 14 1891. He periodically attempted to reach that place again, somewhere he so longed to be, but each time he just jumped forward to a new era, where he adapted and used a series of names, Bluestreak, Quicksilver... Eventually becoming known in our era as Max Mercury.
At some point in time, an author Lee Cardy started writing novels about Max's time as Windrunner. Pulp magazine stories about Max's time as Whip Whirlwind were written as well. Those are magazines Jay Garrick (the original Flash) grew up with.
The original creation of Max Crandall was by Jack Cole and Chuck Mazoujian. He originally took on the identity of "Quicksilver" and made his first comic book appearance in the pages of National Comics #5. It wasn't until later that he got revamped and became Max Mercury. His Max Mercury persona was created by Mark Waid and he made his first appearance in his Max Mercury persona in The Flash #76.
Major Story Arcs
For More Information: Impulse
In 1948, Max was seriously injured saving Manchester, Alabama from a toxic bomber. He was found by a local Doctor David Claibrone, and taken to his remote home to convalesce. Dr. Claiborne was away much of the time, and Max developed a close relationship with his wife Laura—which culminated in a brief affair. When David discovered them together, Max ran, brushing up against the speed force again and time-jumping. Decades later, Max found out Laura gave birth to his daughter Helen Claiborne.
The Flash's Mentor
For More Information: Flash, Impulse
When Barry Allen (later revealed to be Eobard Thawne, Professor Zoom) almost killed Wally West (who was Flash at the time), Jay Garrick asked Johnny Quick (fellow speedster from 40s) for help but they also needed Max who at the time was selling metro tokens. While he claimed they have the wrong guy (either because he did not recognize them or does not want to be a part of it), Jay made him use his super reflexes and reminded him that Max owns him one for unknown reason that has something to do with Screaming Skull in 1949. Max accepted and Jay gave him his old costume back. He kept it because he wanted to remember him as Max was his hero. He helped Wally fight Thawne but he escaped.
Since then, Max came out of the retirement, becoming a mentor to as he began to discover his destiny. He told Wally how his powers never left him but he is slower because he put psychic blocks in his head, limiting his speed because of fear of replacing his mentor Barry and overshadowing his legacy. Wally had trouble accepting that but eventually he broke the psychic blocks, achieving new level of power and defeated The Reverse Flash. Max often spoke to Wally about a special force that gave all speedsters there speed. Wally like Max's previous pupil, Johnny Quick, never believed Max's theories on the "Speed Force". Even after Wally discovered the Speed Force by tapping into it and coming out of it, gaining new powers and abilities as well as increasing the old one, only proving Max's theories on an extra-dimensional force to be correct were still not enough to prove Johnny wrong.
Once Wally had learned all he could from Max, Max was then tasked with Bart Allen’s training and made his guardian, pretending to be his uncle, Max Crandall. Max worked with Bart to train him to use his powers whilst at the same time also trying to teach him how to be a normal kid something that was very hard to teach a child from the 30th century who was raised in virtual reality. He moved with Bart to Manchester, Alabama. While in Manchester he meets his daughter Helen Claiborne, now around his age, who he recognizes as his daughter. But she does not know who he is, as she had never met him. He didn't know how best to tell her that he was her father so he chose to keep it a secret and watch over her in secret. It was because his daughter lived in Manchester Alabama that he chose to relocate himself and Bart there to the house across the street from her. Although he tried to keep his distance whilst watching over her, Helen became romantically infatuated with Max. Max could not tell her his secret so he chose to lead her on, that is until Helen is threatened by a former boyfriend who had broken out of prison and chosen to break into her house, Max rushes to the aid of his daughter and when he enters the room he shouts "Get your hands off my daughter". Max saved his daughter but she found out two things about Max that night; his secret identity and that he was her father. She is terribly upset to learn this. It took Helen a long time to forgive Max for lying and leading her on but eventually she forgives him and Max and Bart move into her place eventually when Bart returns from the future.
When last seen, Max had been possessed by the spirit of the Rival, who used a time sphere to depart for some unknown era. It is later revealed Rival had imprisoned him in the Speed Force.
The Flash: Rebirth
For More Information: Flash: Rebirth
Max Mercury has recently escaped from the Speed Force and returned to the world of living in The Flash: Rebirth. While trying to protect his loved ones from his newly acquired abilities, Barry Allen makes the executive decision to return to the Speed Force and end his recent resurrection. Upon reentering the Speed Force, Barry encounters both Johnny Quick and Max Mercury. Johnny is obliterated right after touching Barry like Lady Flash and Savitar before him and it is then revealed to Barry and Max that it is the returned Professor Zoom who is causing the speedsters who encounter Barry to be destroyed. Professor Zoom exits the Speed Force intending to hurt those close to Barry. Barry sets off in pursuit and asks Max to return with him. Max explains that he is too tired and will never be able to make the trip out. Barry refuses to let Max stay and responds by offering him a helping hand telling him he still has a long race to run. Barry and Max escape the Speed Force and arrive just in time to save Kid Flash from the clutches of Professor Zoom.
Flashpoint: Kid Flash Lost
For More Information: Kid Flash Lost
During the events of Flashpoint Kid Flash, Bart Allen, is sent to the year 3011 where he finds out that the future is ruled by Brainiac and that Brainiac has all the citizens of Earth put into a virtual reality environment inside pods. Kid Flash escapes with the help of Hot Pursuit, Patty Spivot. Patty helped Bart by unleashing the power in the speed force power cell from her speed force motorcycle. Bart like Max before him found himself spiralling through time. Bart appears before Max when Max was in Texas in 1889 helping to reduce casualties between Native Americans and the US army. Max was stationed at a US army fortress when a soldier saw something strange in the distance. Max runs out to investigate only to find Bart Allen. Max did not recognize him and was surprised when Bart knew his name. Bart seemed troubled but asked Max not to touch him, to stay away, but Max wanted to help the boy so he tries to grab him and help him only to be struck down by a bolt of lightning. All that remained after was the burnt remains of his costume and the skeleton of Max Crandall.
Powers & Abilities
- Speed Force Connection: Max was gifted with the power of Super Speed by the Shaman of the Blackfoot Clan who invoked the ancient tribal magic, whispering the prayer to the god of storm and wind and giving Max super speed, although it is not fully known how this ritual gave Max the ability to move at super speed. Max approached the Speed of Light more than once and even surpassed it and tapped into the Speed Force. Every time Max taps into the Speed Force he moves forward through time. It is unknown how he always came out of the Speed Force as mostly the "lightning rod" is required to get out of it or you get stuck and pass away, becoming part of it. Was Max always as fast as he is or he reached new level of power after getting out of the Speed Force is unknown and for unknown reason, Max never shown the ability to phase through solid matter (it is possible he knows or at least at some point was able to do so because he was teaching Bart how to phase through matter). Max's connection to the speed force is not as great as Wally's or Bart's (as the Flash) and he does not have the same abilities like Speed Force and Negative Speed Force Generators like Barry Allen and Eobard Thawne but he can manipulate the speed force in a way other speedsters can't. After his connection with the Speed Force, Max showed the following abilities:
- Superhuman Speed/Reflexes: Like all speedsters, Max has the ability to move, run, react and think at Superhuman Speed. He is not as nearly as fast as Barry Allen or Wally West but is faster than Jesse Quick and is certainly faster than Johnny Quick. His speed and reflexes are comparable to that of Impulse (Bart Allen) and The Flash (Johnny Quick). Wally West claimed Max is very fast (although he said it at the time he was way weaker, he still had perception on the same level as Superman). Max was able to catch various falling metro tokens with pure reflexes even tho he wanted to hide his speed, saying "damn reflexes".He can vibrate at speed high enough to free himself from chains and take down two Savitar acolytes despite the fact that he was almost beaten to death, outrun the explosion, save Wally West from the attack of the Black Flash, and move at light speed with Wally without any effort (for a time). Max can travel faster than light which allows him to tap into the Speed Force.
- Superhuman Agility: Max has agility superior to that of any other speedster in the DC Universe. He was able to catch falling Bart using his agility even tho he was few feet away from him moving at equal speed. Max was also able to dance around Eobard Thawne using superior agility alone despite the fact that Thawne is superior to him in speed.
- Speed Force Aura: The Speed Force manifests an aura around Max, protecting him from getting hurt or killed because of effects of their speed, such a friction with the air, heat, sonic booms...
- Superhuman Durability: Speed Force Aura gives Max superhuman durability. Max was able to survive a beating from Savitar, a speedster with super strength. He was able to tank consistent blitzes from Eobard Thawne without getting KO'd.
- Accelerated Healing: All Speedsters have the ability to heal extremely fast. Max's healing ability is superior to all speedsters (besides Barry and Savitar) because of his ability to manipulate it.
- Decelerated Aging : Max's connection to the Speed Force decreased the effectiveness of time and age on his body, keeping him in almost perfect physical condition despite the fact that Max is almost 100 years old.
- Vortex Creation: Max can create vortex by either running in circles or rotating his arm at Super Speed. They can be used for a variety of effects. One effect is pulling the air away from the center in order to suffocate an enemy. Another effect is levitating whoever and whatever was in the center. With Wally's help, Max was able to create a giant tornado by running in circles and could create the air cushion to slow down the falling car (with Bart's help).
- Vibration: Max can vibrate at Super Speed. He was able to free himself from chains fast enough before Savitar's acolytes were able to kill him. He also amplified seismic activity in the ground of Keystone City to create a large fissure in the ground.
- Time Travel: When Max taps into the Speed Force, he moves forward through time. However, he does not have the ability to travel back in time and he can't control his ability to travel forward through time, meaning he can't decide at what place and what time he will travel in.
- Speed Force Manipulation: Max is extremely knowledgeable and skilled with the Speed Force and he was able to find out how to manipulate it for various purposes. Max can give others his speed. However, he does not give objects his momentum and speed like Wally does. Instead he just gives others his speed force like he did to Johnny Quick who was depowered (he is also capable of taking it back). Max also has the ability to accelerate and improve his healing, as he was able to heal his body after getting almost beaten to death by Savitar and metabolize his injuries. When he gained back his speed after he gave it to Johnny, he healed instantly. Max also has the ability to store the speed force in himself and stop others from absorbing/stealing it like Savitar did (Savitar was able to absorb the speed force from Jay, Jesse, Johnny, Bart and Jenne Ognats at the same time even tho they were thousand miles away from them). Max also has enhanced senses. He could sense seismic activities and found out the strongest activities in Keystone City and sense sense the broken barriers of the Speed Force. Max has the ability of probing the speed field which allows him to detect people inside the speed force and find out when they come out of it.
- Speed Force Tracking: Max has the ability to track down people connected to the Speed Force, like he did with Savitar.
- Speed Force Empathy: Max's connection to the Speed Force allows him to sense and locate other Speedsters when they are troubled, just like he did with Barry Allen when he was thinking about his mother in his old house.
- "Zen Master of Speed": Max is referred by many as Zen Master of Speed. He is complimented by almost all Speedsters and was called the speed force expert and great teacher by Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, Wally West, Bart Allen and even Johnny Quick. Savitar respects Max, claiming he "showed him the way". In most if not all of situations involving speed, Max knew what to do and has experience with velocity, time travel, speed force connection and control... Even Eobard Thawne, who is extremely intelligent and knows a lot about the Speed Force (to the point of actually creating his own, "Negative" Speed Force) congratulated Max for being able to create the field of science for the Speed Force. However, Max's admission is more in the form of Zen school and lectures from guru and a coach than an actual scientist like Thawne. Max knew how to stop Thawne and his Negative Speed Force consuming theirs, he knew about the Black Flash and had a planet how to stop him, knew all about Savitar's plan, taught Wally how to reach his full potential, explaining how the Speed Force works, fixing the timeline and being mentor to Bart Allen.