Interview with a Titan: Jesse Quick
by James Olsen, transcribed by 'rith
Archive: Ask first, please.
Disclaimer: All characters property of DC Comics. What I have done with them is mine.
Canon/Fanon: As canon, ignoring the travesty that was the last 25 issues of Titans continuity.
[Photographer's notes: Ms. Chambers only reluctantly agreed to be photographed after a great deal of encouragement by her teammates (and Arsenal's input on the matter nearly ended her willingness altogether). A formal sitting proved impossible due to her schedule, and she finally permitted me to 'stake out' her apartment for a candid shot.]
Finding time to sit down for an interview tasks the resources of even the Fastest Woman Alive. As the CEO of QuickStart Enterprises, Ms. Jesse Chambers bears the full range of corporate responsibilities. As a member of the Manhattan-based Titans, Jesse Quick is a fast-rising star in the superhero pantheon. She's a student of superheroes, herself the daughter of World War II legends Johnny Quick and Liberty Belle, and both intimately part of the heroic legacy and a keen observer of the phenomenon.
Olsen: First, let me convey the belated sympathies for myself and on behalf of the Daily Planet on the death of your father.
Jesse: ...thank you.
Olsen: I'm sorry to have started on such a somber note.
Jesse: No, that's okay. It's better that people remember. I don't want to see his legacy forgotten.
Olsen: And that's a concern, isn't it? Because neither of your parents were officially members of the Justice Society, they tend to be left out when people recall about war heroes.
Jesse: [passionately] And I don't see why that is. The All-Star Squadron was the *largest* ongoing assemblage of heroes in history. And it was led by a woman, which people who try to charge superhero teams with misogyny conveniently forget.
Olsen: Your mother, Libby Chambers, aka Liberty Belle.
Olsen: Quite a legacy to live up to, on both sides.
Jesse: [small smile] It's a challenge.
Olsen: But is that why you didn't join the reorganized JSA? Some resentment over your parents being overlooked?
Jesse: I think that's what you call a leading question, Mr. Olsen.
Olsen: I didn't mean--
Jesse: I don't have any resentment toward the JSA. Absolutely the opposite. I grew up idolizing the Justice Society. They're the model and the inspiration for all modern heroes, even those ignorant of history. Without the JSA there wouldn't *be* a heroic legacy to follow. [sudden grin] And you can read my thesis if you don't want me to talk your ear off about it.
Olsen: Fair enough! So then why--
Jesse: Didn't I join? Timing, partly: I was asked to join the Titans shortly before the JSA reorganized. There's a lot I can learn with the Titans.
Olsen: So you--I'm not trying to lead the question, I swear--you don't feel ready for the JSA? Considering how much you admire its heritage?
Jesse: That's-- I don't want it to sound like the Titans are some kind of training wheels. It's not at all true. But Nightwing, Troia, Tempest, and Arsenal are about my age, they grew up doing this kind of work. That's a valuable perspective, and I want to learn from it.
Olsen: And? I smell an 'and'.
Jesse: And...yeah. Part of me wants to find out what kind of hero I can be without the constant shadow of being 'Johnny and Libby's daughter'. Living up to their legacy *is* important to me, but it's also important that I find my own identity.
Olsen: Without the constant supervision of people who knew your parents back when.
Jesse: Something like that.
Olsen: I know people have wondered, given your background, why you weren't a member of Infinity, Inc. a few years ago. They're all about your age as well, the sons and daughters of other WWII heroes.
Jesse: Ask Lib--ask my mother.
Olsen: She didn't approve?
Jesse: [pause] She...didn't necessarily want me growing up in that life.
Olsen: Tough subject?
Jesse: I love her, but we don't always see eye-to-eye.
Olsen: Okay. Let's--
Jesse: My dad, though, he taught me the speed formula and helped me learn how to focus my powers.
Olsen: Would you say it now?
Jesse: Sure. 3x2(9yz)4a!
[It sounds like a simple string of numbers and letters, a nonsensical mathematical formula, but there's an almost-visible *snap* of power that hums around Jesse as she finishes it.]
Olsen: And if I said it....
Jesse: Go ahead.
Olsen: [after several attempts and coaching] 3x2(9yz)4a!...I don't feel anything.
Jesse: Wally [West, the Flash] and Jay [Garrick, the JSA's original Flash] have all kinds of theories about the various speedsters' connection to the 'Speed Force.' They say the formula itself is only a crutch, my way of accessing it, and that the power was intrinsic to my father and now to me.
Olsen: So in theory, you don't need to say it at all?
Jesse: In theory. But it's a useful limitation: Look at Wally, he's always 'on,' he can't slow down. I like being able to utilize the power on my terms. Wally's been pulled into some extreme situations because his connection is so strong and constant. I'm not...entirely comfortable with the idea of being connected to that much power, that great an unknown force, on a continuous basis. But I also have my mother's adrenaline-based strength, which compensates for the fact that Wally's so much faster. [smirk] And I'm the only speedster who can fly.
Olsen: Let's talk about you and your company. From the literature, QuickStart began as a self-help company, dedicated to helping people 'unlock their full potential'. But it's grown considerably from its infomercial beginnings--no offense.
Jesse: None taken. Dad.... [small laugh] My mother would say that dad didn't have an ounce of business sense. That's true enough, I guess. But I've tried to stay true to his *vision* of helping people uncover their own strengths. We fund literacy programs, scholarships, medical research. It's about finding the full potential of every human being.
Olsen: 'Be all that you can be'?
Jesse: Without the trademark infringement, right.
Olsen: It's an ambitious goal.
Jesse: It's a responsibility, both as my father's heir and as someone who grew up with considerable privilege. If anything, we've restructured our business model after Wayne Enterprises--their list of philanthropic endeavors is enormous. And more than a good tax write-off. It's a rewarding industry, both financially and emotionally.
Olsen: Does being a Titan take time away from your company responsibilities?
Jesse: Well, obviously, even as fast as I am I can't be in two places at once. But I've got excellent managers to handle things when I'm not around, and in a way the Titans are the expression of the company philosophy: *using* my powers to the best of my own ability to help people.
Olsen: So with all these responsibilities, do you ever find time for a personal life? Friends? Dating?
Jesse: [glances at watch] That took longer than I thought.
Jesse: The inevitable question to any female hero: Who are you dating? As if we're defined by our relationships. [wry] The guys don't get these questions.
Jesse: Look, it's not that I mind the question per se, it's that the moment I answer, that becomes the focus of people's interest rather than what I do with QuickStart, or with the Titans. It's irrelevant to the context.
Olsen: You'd rather be seen as a professional, both as a CEO and a superhero.
Olsen: And I should let you get back to it. Thank you for your time, Jesse.
Jesse: My pleasure.