During his internship at NYU Hospital Will Talbot was studying an experimental, mercury-based substance dubbed Mercurialite for use as a coagulating agent. One night as he was locking the Mercurialite away in the drug stores he was attacked by a junkie hoping to steal some of the drugs. During the scuffle Talbot was injected with a full vial of Mercurialite and he fell to the ground as his body went into shock. The junkie fled and when orderlies found Talbot, his heart had stopped. Rushed to Emergency, Talbot was revived and, after no side effects from the Mercurialite could be discovered, he was released. Completing his internship, Talbot was hired by S.T.A.R. Labs New York as a specialist in metahuman studies.
While in the shower one day a few weeks after the accident, Will was horrified when a silver-like substance began to exude from beneath his skin. Talbot realized the substance was Mercurialite. It seemed to have a life of its own as it swiftly coated his entire body. Overcoming the shock, Will found that with concentration he could cause the Mercurialite to vanish, and could coat himself again whenever he wanted. He discovered that while he was covered in the Mercurialite he could move at superhuman speeds. Another effect of the coating was to render the surface of Will's body nearly frictionless. Wearing a pair of specially treated gloves that would allow him to hold onto things and taking the prototypes for a pair of high-performance running shoes that S.T.A.R. Labs had developed for Wally West (the Flash), Talbot began his second career, as New York City's newest super-hero.
Quiksilver, as Talbot was calling himself, soon encountered other heroes. He found himself doing battle alongside Azure Star and Elemental against one of Darkseid's Pursuers who had followed Elemental to Earth from the Megaverse. The battle raged across New York, finally ending on the remains of Titans Island. The three heroes decided to form a team and thus Justice Inc was born.
Quiksilver took up a leadership role within the team, a role he later shared with Tarantula after the latter joined the team during Zero Hour. Quiksilver, in his civilian identity set up a corporate entity called Mercury Inc. to manage the financial aspects of the team. He purchased Titan's Island from Dayton Industries and construction began on a super-hero museum on the site of the old Titans headquarters. While the museum, called the Hall of Justice, was being built on the surface, Justice Inc was secretly restoring some of the Titans headquarters sub-basements to serve as headquarters for the team.
Over time, Quiksilver and Tarantula became good friends. The two heroes often paired as a duo for adventures outside of Justice Inc. One of these adventures would have lasting, and eventually lethal, repercussions for Quiksilver. During Zero Hour, Justice Inc found themselves being tossed around the timestream by a time-manipulating villain calling himself Futurion. They were able to return to the present with the help of the time master Rip Hunter, who was trapped some 50,000 years in the past at the time. Quiksilver got so fed up with being thrown into different time periods he ripped his watch off and through it into the timestream. Though Rip had to remain trapped in the past, Quiksilver vowed to find a way to help him return to the present. That opportunity came when the Hall of Justice featured an exhibit of items on loan from the Flash Museum in Central City, including the time traveling Cosmic Treadmill.
Joined by Hunter's friend, the Justice Leaguer Booster Gold and his teammate Blue Beetle, as well as the Blue Devil (who had been at the museum and decided to tag along for the adventure), Quiksilver and Tarantula used the Cosmic Treadmill to journey 50,000 years into the past to rescue Rip. Quiksilver was able to use the treadmill to bring others into the past thanks to some technical help from Cave Carson and friends of Rip's, the Time Masters. Once the group found Rip in the past, they used equipment they brought with them to modify Rip's time travel equipment to allow them all to return to the present. Once the equipment was ready, the group left for the present, but there was a problem. The time travel gear didn't have enough power to get them back to the proper time period. Instead, they found themselves in ancient Egypt.
In Egypt, the group joined forces with the sorcerer Nabu, the avatar of the Egyptian god Anubis and the dragon spirit Ki to battle the evil magician Kheth-Amon and his allies, including Black Adam. In the course of the battle Quiksilver's back was broken by Black Adam. His life was saved by Nabu, but not before Kheth-Amon secretly attached a portion of his own soul to Quiksilver's as a means to escape Nabu.
After Kheth-Amon was defeated, the group continued on in their attempts to return to the present. After stops in several other time periods they wound up in Nazi-occupied Europe at the start of the Second World War. Their actions in this time period resulted in the creation of an alternate timeline and when they returned to the present they appeared not in their own time but in the present of this other timeline. In this alternate timeline there were several events that had an effect on Quiksilver. He met the second Flash, Barry Allen, who had not been killed during the Crisis in this timeline. Flash helped Quiksilver learn the nature of his powers, allowing Quiksilver to use them in new, more inventive ways. In this timeline Will Talbot was not a scientist, but a billionaire industrialist who controlled the corporate assets that once belonged to Lex Luthor (who had been exposed as a villain and jailed years earlier). He was a hero in this world as well, the Champion of Metropolis, but his powers in this world were derived from Hourman's Miraclo formula, not superspeed. Nonetheless, Talbot would adapt the costume he wore in this timeline as Champion into a new costume for himself as Quiksilver. He was also engaged to Lois Lane. Since Clark Kent had never moved to Metropolis and assumed the identity of Superman in this timeline, he and Lois never met. Talbot fell in love with Lois, feelings he could never act on after he returned to his own timeline.
The group were eventually able to return to their proper timeline with the help of Waverider and the Liner Men. Rip was again left stranded in the past, his future self told the group they weren't destined to rescue him. Once back in the present, a new roster of heroes joined Justice Inc as the team entered one of the darkest periods in its existence. Tarantula was killed, apparently by his future self shortly after the team managed to free New York from the other- dimensional conqueror Overlord. In the wake of this loss the team began a series of adventures which would culminate in the near death of Quiksilver.
The team thwarted a plan by Vandal Savage to control the powers of Earth's Avatars, but in the process Quiksilver became host to the Avatar of Death (it had been attracted to him because of the sliver of Kheth-Amon's soul in Quiksilver). The presence of the Death Avatar within him caused Quiksilver to enter a depressed state. It also activated the latent carcinogenic properties of the Mercurialite, creating a form of airborne cancer spread by Quiksilver. Soon after, Kheth-Amon was able to return from the Land of the Dead. Thanks to the portion of his soul hidden in Quiksilver he could not be stopped, or so he thought. Confronting Kheth-Amon in his other-dimensional fortress, Cat was able to destroy the portion of his soul in Quiksilver, thus stopping Kheth-Amon. The price, though, was the death of Quiksilver. His body was killed but Cat, using a mystic amulet given to her by her mother (the goddess Bast), was able to save Quiksilver's soul by transferring it into the body of a silver-gray kitten.
Through the team's various contacts Justice Inc were able to arrange for Project: Cadmus to create a clone body for Quiksilver. Once the clone was ready Cat was able to transfer his soul into it. However, since it was a clone, Quiksilver's new body had not been exposed to the Mercurialite and thus had no powers. Talbot decided he still wanted to be a hero so he turned to his best friend's grandfather, the original Tarantula and asked for help. After a month of intensive training Will Talbot was ready to go into action as the new Tarantula!
Though Talbot had a renewed sense of purpose, the rest of Justice Inc was falling apart. Most of the other team members had gone off on their own, putting personal agendas ahead of the team. Despite a burgeoning romance with Jessie Quick, Talbot decided he'd had enough of his teammates and left New York, teaming with Manhunter in an effort to find his original body, which had been stolen from Cadmus shortly after the clone body was made, and the Mercurialite it still contained. The two became separated in Hub City and Manhunter believed that Talbot had been killed. It had been close, but Talbot had survived the attack and learned who had taken his body: Vandal Savage.
Over the next month Talbot tried to locate the body but was unsuccessful (he didn't know that it had been stolen by Death Spider). What he did find out was that Savage had been using the mercurialite from the body to create a new version of his superspeed drug Velocity 9. Talbot was able to find out that the V-9 was being shipped out of Central City so went there to stop it. In Central City Talbot met up with the Guardians who were also after Savage. Paladin, who had just returned from an extended trip through time gave Talbot two objects: a watch (the same one Talbot had thrown into the timestream years earlier) and a letter. The letter was from Talbot himself, written sometime in his own future, and instructed his past self how to use the costume stored in the watch to regain his superspeed. Talbot put on the costume and with a boost of electricity from the Guardian named Tazer he regained his superspeed powers. Quiksilver was back just in time, too. With the Mercurialite gone, Savage had constructed a machine to tap the Speed Force directly to create his new drug. The machine, however, was unstable and threatened to destroy Central City. To save the city, Quiksilver used his newly re-acquired speed to enter the Speed Force and sever the machines link. He was successful, but never emerged from the Speed Force.
Evidence from Paladin's trip through time seems to indicate that Quiksilver bounced from the Speed Force into the timestream, and that he would one day return and rejoin Justice Inc. On the other hand, Paladin has used his knowledge of the future to change things, most notably to stop OMEGA from carrying out its plan. This means the future he saw where Quiksilver had returned may not come to pass. It has also been suggested that Death Spider is in fact not Jonathan Law Jr. from the future but a speed-less Will Talbot from the future, but there is only circumstantial evidence to support this, not hard facts. The truth is that the final fate of Will Talbot remains a mystery.
Powers and Abilities:
Originally Will Talbot could cover himself with a layer of Mercurialite. Once covered, Quiksilver could move at superhuman speeds. The coating was also frictionless so it was nearly impossible to hit him with any kind of physical attack, though energy-based attacks could harm him. As time went by Quiksilver began to try new things with his powers, including molding the coating into useful shapes and was also learning how to get the Mercurialite to deflect energy-based attacks as easily as it did physical ones. It is not known how many of these powers Quiksilver possessed when he regained his superspeed in his clone body since the new body had superspeed without the Mercurialite. During the short time he used the Tarantula identity Talbot had special gloves and boots that would allow him to climb walls and a gun that contained a grappling hook and swingline and could fire a web-like substance for trapping foes.