Tommy Shepherd as Speed
Art by Jim Cheung.
|First appearance||Young Avengers #10 (February, 2006).|
|Created by||Allan Heinberg|
|Alter ego||Thomas "Tommy" Shepherd|
|Team affiliations||Young Avengers|
Superhumanly fast reflexes
Speed (Thomas "Tommy" Shepherd) is a fictional character, a superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is depicted as a member of the Young Avengers, a team of teenaged superheroes in the Marvel Universe. He is a mutant whose powers are based on those of Quicksilver, and who first appeared in the comic book Young Avengers #10. In Young Avengers #12 he adopts the costumed identity Speed and joins the Young Avengers.
Speed made his debut in Young Avengers Vol. 1 issue #10 (March 2006) when he was recruited into the team after being broken out of prison. He continued to appear in the series until its conclusion, making additional appearances alongside his team in Siege: Young Avengers, Young Avengers Presents, What If and Dark Reign: Young Avengers and co-starring with The Runaways in Civil War and Secret Invasion tie-ins.
Between 2010 and 2012, he was a part of the main cast in The Children's Crusade by Speed's original creators Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung (who had not written for the Young Avengers since the original volume 1 concluded in 2007).
Speed appeared briefly in Young Avengers Vol. 2 by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie before being seemingly killed in issue #6. He is revealed to have survived in the final issue #15 and officially re-joins the team. He also guest-starred in the Scarlet Witch ongoing series written by James Robinson.
Fictional character biography
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Thomas "Tommy" Shepherd was raised in Springfield, New Jersey as the only son of Frank and Mary Shepherd, who are divorced.
Wiccan and the other Young Avengers locate him as another teenager with ties to the Avengers using the same program devised by the Vision that Iron Lad used to locate most of the current Young Avengers, their intent being to recruit more super-powered teens who could help them rescue their abducted teammate, Hulkling.[volume & issue needed]
The Young Avengers find Tommy in a high-powered facility in Springfield that Hawkeye (Kate Bishop) initially describes as "just juvie" (juvenile hall), though the facility and its staff are equipped with advanced offensive and defensive technology such as robotic suits and power dampening containment cells.[volume & issue needed]
Vision states that Tommy is being held at the facility, presumably under court order, because he "accidentally" vaporized his school. When they release him from his cell, it is immediately noted that Tommy, a white-haired speedster, bears a striking resemblance to Billy ("twin-like") and Quicksilver, sharing the latter's hair color and similar abilities.[volume & issue needed]
The team encounters the armed officers of the facility. Tommy cynically and cruelly begins attacking the officers and fleeing doctors, stating that he had been locked up for months and that during his time there, he was tested and experimented on with the goal to make him into a living weapon. Hawkeye and Patriot manage to stop him and convince him to join them in rescuing their teammate Hulkling from Kl'rt the Super-Skrull.
Little more has been revealed about the facility or Tommy's experiences there prior to his release, nor have they been addressed by the other Young Avengers or Tommy himself.[volume & issue needed]
In Young Avengers Presents #3, Tommy joins Billy as they search for the Scarlet Witch through Genosha and Wundagore before finally encountering Master Pandemonium at a former residence of the Scarlet Witch and the Vision. Master Pandemonium decides not to fight the boys after recognizing Wiccan's magic as being the same as the Scarlet Witch's. Instead, he elaborates on their history concerning Mephisto and the Scarlet Witch and advises them that the history they search for is filled with "darkness and chaos" and that they should embrace who they are in the present.[volume & issue needed]
In Young Avengers Presents #6, he goes on a date with Kate to help relieve her tensions about losing her name and bow to Clint Barton. He then helps her break into the Secret Avengers home base and reclaim her bow. During the course of the evening, the two share a kiss, addressing the heretofore unspoken love triangle between himself, Kate, and Patriot. However, Kate decides to attempt a relationship with Patriot instead. In Young Avengers #12, Tommy decides to officially join the team and adopts the codename Speed.
When the Young Avengers confront the group of teenagers that have been using their name, Tommy immediately recognizes the member Coat of Arms. It is revealed that Tommy knew her from "juvie" and is implied that they used to have a relationship.
Tommy and his friends are recruited to assist in defending Asgard when it is attacked by the forces under the control of Norman Osborn. Specifically, Tommy is tasked with delivering a backup suit of armor to Iron Man, which is essential in winning the day.
When the Young Avengers disband following the events of the Children's Crusade, Tommy gets a job assembling tablet computers. He eventually meets and befriends David Alleyne, a former member of the New X-Men, and partners with the boy to catch a thief dressed as Patriot. The thief attacks Speed and dissipates his body, before leaving a horrified David behind. Once the matter was resolved, Tommy safely reappeared before his friends, embraced tightly by Wiccan.
Tommy also appears alongside the other Young Avengers in Avengers: The Children's Crusade Young Avengers, a one-shot where the Young Avengers are grown up and now the Avengers. Tommy is happily together with Kate, who is pregnant and expecting twins. The timeline is the result of Iron Lad continuing to alter the timestream in an attempt to defeat Kang the Conqueror.
In Young Avengers #11, Tommy's possible relationship to the Scarlet Witch, Vision, and Billy was revealed by the Super-Skrull and Vision. In the past, the Scarlet Witch used her reality-warping powers to create twin sons, unknowingly using two (of five) scattered fragments of the soul of the demon Mephisto that he had lost in an encounter with the powerful mutant child, Franklin Richards. When the boys' souls were reabsorbed into Mephisto, they destroyed him and the souls were reincarnated as Tommy Shepherd and Billy Kaplan.
Writer Allan Heinberg stated of the situation, "According to Billy's theory, the souls of Wanda's twins inhabited his and Tommy's bodies when they were dispersed from Mephisto. But it's only a theory."  He also stated in another interview that his plans for the new 'season' involved the two searching for Wanda, stating "If everything goes according to plan, Wanda will indeed return to Young Avengers early in Season Two, when Billy and Tommy embark on a search for the true source of their powers. Indeed, the Young Avengers Present issue from March 2008 has been solicited as involving "twin brothers" Wiccan and Speed looking for their "mother Wanda".
Much conjecture has been made as to their appearance and powers, and while Marvel's official character files state that they are, indeed, her children, in the comics the only indication thereof is K'Lrt's statements and Vision's files. Billy believes himself to be Wanda's son, however Tommy has been more skeptical about the situation.
However, in Young Avengers Presents #3, where Speed and Wiccan search for the Scarlet Witch, Tommy's skepticism appears to have entirely diminished. He refers to himself as Wiccan's "big brother" (though neither truly knows who is older) and frequently refers to the Scarlet Witch during their search as "Mom."
In the limited series Avengers: Children's Crusade, the Young Avengers set out to locate the Scarlet Witch and Speed displays his original skepticism of their link to her. As they begin their search, Magneto arrives, having noticed the twins and their similarities to Wanda and Pietro, stating that he wants Wiccan and Speed to finally know him as their grandfather. Upon hearing this, Speed immediately accepts that the relationship must be genuine, later referring to Quicksilver as his "Uncle Pietro".
In Children's Crusade #6, Scarlet Witch confirms that Billy and Tommy are the genetic reincarnations of her sons, something again reiterated in Scarlet Witch v2 #8.
Powers and abilities
Speed is a mutant with the power to move and accelerate at speeds far beyond those of normal human beings. His physiology is designed to move at high speeds which also grants him superhuman reflexes, agility, and durability. This durability is limited to impact forces, so bullets, energy blasts, and other piercing attacks are capable of harming him. It is also likely that Speed possesses a high amount of superhuman strength in his lower body, allowing him to lift around 1 ton, while his upper body is strengthened to the point where he can lift around 800 lbs. Although his top speed is unknown, he can exceed the speed of sound (about 1,225 km/h, or 761 mph) and resist the effects of friction, reduced oxygen, and kinetic impact while moving at those speeds. In Young Avengers Presents #3 he asserts that he is "Quicksilver fast", shown running from the eastern seaboard of the United States to Genosha, an island off the east coast of Africa, as well as search the entire island for anyone living there in the same amount of time it takes Wiccan to teleport the same distance. This indicates that Speed is fast enough to run across the surface tension of a body of water without sinking. In addition, his mind can operate in an accelerated state, allowing him to read in super speed and remember everything he's seen.
He can also generate hyperkinetic vibrations that accelerate the molecules in matter, causing any solid object he directs his vibrations at to explode. During the Civil War: Young Avengers and Runaways crossover, when both teams invaded the Cube in order to save their friends, Speed is shown exploding a gun in his hand by using his hyperkinetic vibrations. He is also able to accelerate his molecules (or even those of small groups of people) and vibrate fast enough to pass through solid matter, such as walls.
Avengers Fairy Tales
In the one-shot Avengers Fairy Tales, Speed appears as the White Rabbit in an adaptation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. He refers to the March Hare (Wiccan) as his brother.
The Last Avengers Story
In The Last Avengers Story (which uses an alternate timeline), Billy and Tommy grew up as the children of the Vision and the Scarlet Witch. As a child, Tommy witnessed the accidental murder of his mother by his uncle, Quicksilver, which caused their father, the Vision to become emotionless and withdrawn. Tommy (known as "Tommy Maximoff") chose to become a student of Doctor Strange and learn the mystic arts. He and his brother Billy (who became a villain known as "the Grim Reaper" and sought revenge against him and their father) communicated via holograms where Tommy implored his brother to give up his villainy, stating that he was apprehensive to fight him.
Eventually the Reaper joined forces with Kang the Conqueror and Ultron-59 and their "final battle" with the Avengers. Tommy sought advice from Doctor Strange about what to do concerning his brother, stating that he was not ready to fight him. Tommy decided to assist the Avengers and tried to reach and recruit the Vision, who had become near-catatonic and enormous having apathetically allowed his molecules to diffuse, but to no avail. Angered and frustrated, Tommy left to fight his brother. Tommy and Billy were locked in battle until their father the Vision saw this and came to his senses and destroyed Ultron, ending the fight.
Unlike his Earth-616 counterpart, Tommy Maximoff inherited his mystical abilities from his mother the Scarlet Witch rather than his uncle's super speed. As a student of Doctor Strange, Tommy was able to perform various magical feats, including concussive mystical bolts and creating force fields.
In other media
- "Young Avengers" #9 - 12 (2005)
- Young Avengers Presents #6
- Young Avengers #12
- Dark Reign: Young Avengers #2
- Siege #1-4 (January 2010 - May 2010)
- Young Avengers (vol. 2) #6 (June 2013)
- Avengers: The Children's Crusade #11-15
- Avengers: The Children's Crusade Young Avengers
- Fantastic Four No. 277 (Apr. 1985)
- Byrne, John (w), Byrne, John (p), Machlan, Mike (i). "I Sing of Arms and Heroes..." Avengers West Coast 51 (Mid-November 1989)
Byrne, John (w), Byrne, John (p), Machlan, Mike (i). "Fragments of a Greater Darkness" Avengers West Coast 52 (December 1989)
- Chat Room Transcript: Heinberg, AvengersForever.org
- Ten Queeries with Allan Heinberg Archived 2006-12-12 at the Wayback Machine., Prism Comics
- Marvel Comics Solicitations For March 2008 Archived 2007-06-23 at Archive.is, Newsarama.com
- Young Avengers Presents #3
- Allan Heinberg (w), Jim Cheung (p), Mark Morales (i). Avengers: The Children's Crusade 1 (July 2010), Marvel Comics
- Allan Heinberg (w), Jim Cheung (p), Mark Morales (i). Avengers: The Children's Crusade 2 (September 2010), Marvel Comics
- The Last Avengers Story #1, 2