You know, I was happier to see Max Mercury return in the pages of Flash: Rebirth than I was with Barry Allen's return. In the pages of his Flash and Impulse, Mark Waid put meat on the bones of an obscure Quality Comics Golden Age feature called Quicksilver and made him completely different from all the other speedsters whizzing about the DC Universe. Max is the Yoda of the Speed Force and an agile acrobat to boot. But where did it all begin? National Comics #5, but I don't have access to that story.
But here are some bits from National #6!The label says December 1940...
The story starts with a warehouse fire in Manhattan that I suspect did not get the proper attention from New York's Finest.
It's the perfect time for our villain-du-jour, Baron Hoff, to go rob a bank. After all, the cops are bound to be busy. Baron Hoff is, by all accounts, the perfect confluence of evil Mr. Potato Head parts:
The fire continues to rage and the island is reduced to a single building. Where's our Boy Blue?
There he is. You think early heroic strips were influenced by radio at all? Max/Quicksilver "tosses a small capsule" at the fire.
And by small, they mean ENORMOUS! It wipes out the inferno immediately (though there's still some fire in later panels, gotta leave some for the proles you know, or they'll never learn self-reliance - HE WAS ALREADY A ZEN MASTA!). Max heads for the bank to stop Baron Hoff, who plans to make his getaway in a plane with the world's biggest propeller.
Of course, that's not gonna stop Quicksilver, for whom the blades are spinning at a ridiculously slow pace. It's one race to the end of the bank's impossibly deep lobby and...
The Speed Force's zen master says: "You can never have too much exercise."
SO HAVE OUR FOREFATHERS SPOKEN!