I've had to work harder than anyone to get where I am. You may not like it here without Cinder, but I think I'm right where I'm supposed to be.
—Mercury Black

Mercury Black[2] is an antagonist in RWBY. He is a former associate of Cinder Fall and the former partner of Emerald Sustrai. His weapons of choice are Talaria, a pair of dual ranged shotgun boots.

He made his first appearance in "Black and White" of Volume 1. In "Midnight", he becomes a member of Salem's Inner Circle.

Appearance

In Mercury's first appearance in "Black and White", he is shown to be a pale, young man with gray eyes and gray hair, partially slicked back while unkempt at the front. The World of RWBY: The Official Companion describes Mercury as a "skinny guy" and is stated to be in the age range of a Huntsman Academy student.

He has prosthetic legs that attach part-way up his thighs. These legs are usually hidden from view due to him wearing pants and a pair of shoes. Mercury possesses an athletic yet slim physique measuring 178cm tall (5'10") when he first arrives at Beacon Academy, which later on further develops to 188cm tall (6'2").

Classic Outfit (Volumes 2-6)

Mercury-V6.png

Mercury's appearance does not change much leading into Volume 2. Mercury wears a slate gray and black two-tone partial-zip jacket that covers his upper body. He also wears a single notched belt with what appears to be a sash or bandana draped over it. Protecting his arms are a set of rerebraces and vambraces.

Haven Uniform

While at Beacon Academy, Mercury wears the Haven Academy uniform, which consists of a dark gray outfit with a long-sleeved collared top, black pants, and a white armband.

Flashback

In "Beginning of the End", he was first seen wearing his signature zip jacket with the collar zipped all the way up, minus his armor. His pants were dark orange and he wore a pair of black boots.

Atlas Attire (Volumes 8-Present)

Mercury-V8.png

As of Volume 8, his attire has changed to a blue zipped up top to the neck with an orange trim, covered with a gunmetal gray, double breasted leather zippered biker jacket with his sigil across the left side of his torso. He is also wearing gray vambraces that extend up to his biceps atop black fingerless gloves. Mercury also has black pants with zipper lines along the thigh, and wears an orange keychain hanging down his belt which reads "M80-495". His hair has also received more definition, with the bangs that cover the right side of his face being proportionally smaller and more defined. He's also apparently gotten somewhat taller, going from 5'10 to 6'2.

Image Gallery

Personality

In "Best Day Ever", Mercury is shown to be rather care-free and jokes around when in the company of Emerald Sustrai, who he makes an effort to annoy. He seems to opt for excitement and action; he dislikes books without pictures and tells Emerald he finds the city boring. However, when it comes to matters at hand, Mercury displays a sense of seriousness and levelheadedness. However, his carefree attitude may occasionally slip out during combat, such as when he taunted Ruby Rose during both their encounters once he got the advantage. Based on his fight with Pyrrha Nikos, he appears to test and gauge his opponent before fully committing to an attack, showing he has a strategic mind and cunning.

Mercury also seems to derive personal enjoyment from the pain of others, showing no qualms about intimidating and killing others, even light-heartedly joking about it afterward with Emerald. Although subtle, he also speaks in a derogatory fashion about Tukson even after having murdered him in cold blood.

Despite his usual carefree demeanor, in "The Next Step", it is shown that Mercury does not take insults or disrespect well, responding to Arthur Watts' insults with an eagerness to attack him until Emerald stops him. He is usually outspoken, but when he is with Salem's Inner Circle, he refrains from speaking. This was shown again in "Lost" when he lashed out at and attacked Tyrian Callows when the latter mocked him for being a child that feels like a "big bad man" and correctly assuming all Mercury knows in life are pain and violence, condescendingly calling his life "such a tragedy". Unlike Emerald, Mercury also realizes that Cinder Fall never truly cared for him and that in the end, their relationship was purely business. Despite this, he was very compliant with her orders.

Mercury carries an immense bitterness within him due to his abusive upbringing by his assassin father, Marcus Black. This bitterness holds over due to the fact that Marcus used his Semblance to steal Mercury's, which he said would return if Mercury became strong enough, which he proved the moment he killed his father. This turned out to be a lie, and Mercury feels as though he has had to work harder than any other member of Salem's Inner Circle due to his stolen Semblance. His father abused him physically and emotionally and that he used to constantly beat him up and call it "training" while telling him that he was weak and relying on crutches, making it obvious he suffered a miserable upbringing filled with hate and misery. In the same episode, Tyrian later alludes that the only reason Mercury is on their side is because of Marcus' influence and that he is now too afraid to leave the few things he knows: pain and violence.

Despite his demeanor, Mercury does indeed possess a sense of camaraderie. This is seen in his relationship with Emerald Sustrai, where after Yang had come up with the Relic of Knowledge and assuming Cinder had perished, he had helped an emotionally distraught Emerald to get her back on her feet and escape with him and Hazel when it became apparent that the odds were no longer in their favor.

In "Midnight", Mercury again attempted to get Emerald to understand Cinder's selfishness and lack of genuine care for her after the two returned from disobeying Salem's orders, implying that he was worried for her being potentially dragged down with Cinder and punished by Salem or killed.

In "War", after Emerald goes to Mercury about what she learned concerning Salem's true goal, Mercury tries to dissuade her from going against Salem in order to prevent herself from getting killed. However, after hearing Tyrian casually confirm that Salem's goals are indeed to destroy all of Remnant, he is shown to visibly unnerved. Later upon leaving to Vacuo, he returns her worry by nodding his head to her in goodbye.

Powers and Abilities

Mercury's kick-based fighting style

As seen in his fight with Pyrrha Nikos in "Extracurricular", Mercury is shown to be a very acrobatic and agile fighter who relies upon quickly overpowering his opponent with complex kicks that imply a near-mastery of martial arts that resemble Tae-Kwon-Do. He is also capable of a break-dancing style, similar to Capoeira and makes use of Muay Thai as well as shown in the same fight. Despite his focus on kicks, Mercury also uses his hands to grapple, block or redirect enemy attacks.

His experience and skill are aggressive and effective enough to drive even fighters of a high caliber, like Pyrrha, into a defensive position. He possesses great speed which allowed him to outrun and evade the rapid-fire bullets from Coco Adel's weapon Gianduja even at point-blank range. His strength is seen when he makes Yatsuhashi Daichi stagger on his feet and later knocks him out with ease despite the other's towering size and heavy build. Due to his fighting style, Mercury relies on his swift and quick reflexes to counter and block his opponent's attacks as first demonstrated during his fight with Yang Xiao Long, altering the course of her punches and using his footwork to raise her fists and kick underneath or around her attacks.

Mercury is also known to be observant, tactical, and analytical; he notices and deduces the capabilities and limits of Pyrrha's Polarity Semblance after she uses it once during their brief fight. He demonstrates his observational skills once more when he tracks down and counters Ruby Rose's movements when using her Semblance in their encounter, an ability so fast none of Team JNPR could stop during their food fight against Team RWBY in "Best Day Ever".

Weapons

Main article: Talaria

Mercury's weapon of choice is Talaria, a set of boots that are equipped with a firing mechanism built into them similar to Yang Xiao Long's Ember Celica.

Prosthetic Legs

Mercury, repairing one of his prosthetic legs

Mercury has a pair of robotic legs, which he acquired at some currently unknown point in time. His prosthetics make up most of his leg, including a portion of his thigh and everything below the knee. His prosthetics are also quite durable, being able to withstand significant attacks such as the powers of a Maiden.

Mercury's legs emit the faint sound of servos when he walks.[3]

Espionage

Among Mercury's skills, his talents at information gathering and subterfuge would appear to stem from his training as an assassin. While undercover at Beacon Academy, he strategically spars with Pyrrha Nikos in order to gather information on students' Semblances to aid in the initiation of the Fall of Beacon, being able to put on the convincing facade of a well-meaning - if somewhat cocky - student of Haven Academy.

Semblance

In "Lost", Mercury reveals that his father stole his Semblance when he unlocked it. His father used his own Semblance to steal Mercury's and claimed that he would give it back when Mercury became stronger. However, Mercury never got his Semblance back despite getting stronger and after killing his father, Mercury still has possibly no chance of regaining it. Not much is known about Mercury's Semblance otherwise.

Trivia

Allusion

  • Mercury alludes to Mercury from Roman mythology. For more information on this allusion, as well as other choices the creators made for this character, see Mercury Black/Behind the Scenes.

Color Naming Rule

  • Black is a color.
  • Mercury is a heavy silver-colored metal that is liquid at room temperature and is also known as "quicksilver".

Story

  • In an interview with AfterBuzz TV, J.J. claims that if Mercury were going all-out, he would have been able to defeat Pyrrha, though he admits this claim is biased. When describing his voice acting for the character, he says that it is basically him doing a bad impression of Jack Nicholson.[4]
  • Mercury, like Roman Torchwick, and Arthur Watts, are notable for being some of the rare active fighters that succeeded without ever discovering their Semblance.
    • Unlike the other examples, however, Mercury originally did have a Semblance, but it was stolen from him by his father.
  • Mercury commits the first on-screen murder in the show.
    • According to Volume 2 commentary, this was something J.J. liked to mention.

Character&Design

  • Gray and Miles described Mercury to J.J. as "a hipster douchebag, but he's cool."[5]
  • Mercury's flight tag, "M80-495", plays on his name. 80 is the atomic number for the element of Mercury, and the year 495 is the date of the foundation of the Temple of Mercury, the Roman god, playing to his allusion.
    • His new design also features small, winglike shapes on his boots. His namesake, the god Mercury, was famous for having winged sandals.

References

Characters
Other
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