Volt started off his career as a hero for hire. For a price you could hire him to help with any kind of crime problems you might have. He points out that he did this not so much out of greed, but out of necessity as his powers left him unable to touch anything that worked on electricity without shorting it out. Not far into his hero for profit phase, he ran into Plutonian for the first time. The Plutonian offered to help Volt overcome his inability to use electronics in exchange for him joining the superteam Paradigm. Volt agreed and came to somewhat idolize the Plutonian since he was first one that even offered him help. It was because of this feeling that he tried to reach out to the Plutonian after he snapped. He made the mistake of saying "You know I'd give my left arm to help you" which soon was the case as the Plutonian ripped off Volt's left arm.
Even before losing his arm Volt was a cynical character. He often commented on how racist the common man was, and complained about how cliche he was for 'being a black man with electrical powers' Mark Waid's little nod in the book to characters like Static Shock, and Black Lightning.