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Villain Overview
My dad always said... "if you need to know a city, ask the rats."
~ Mercury Black
Let's just keep this between us friends.
~ Mercury, revealing his true colors to Ruby as she fails to call for help.

Mercury Black is a major antagonist in the American web cartoon series RWBY. He is one of Cinder Fall's two right-hands alongside his partner, Emerald Sustrai.

In Volume 2, he was voiced by J.J. Castillo. He is currently voiced by Yuri Lowenthal, who also voiced Sasuke Uchiha and That Man.

Personality

In "Best Day Ever", Mercury is shown to be a rather carefree man who jokes around when in the company of Emerald, whom 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 drops this and focuses himself on the mission. However, his easygoing attitude may occasionally slip out during combat, such as when he taunted Ruby Rose during both their encounters once he got the advantage in their skirmish.

During battle, Mercury displays a sense of seriousness and levelheadedness. Based on his fight with Pyrrha Nikos, he appears to test and gauge his opponent before fully committing to an attack, implying he has a strategic mind. His cunning is later shown once more during his match against Coco Adel and Yatsuhashi Daichi in "Lessons Learned", where he takes advantage of the savanna biome to hide before launching a surprise attack on Coco. He also uses the geyser biome to his advantage, using it to create an opening on Yatsuhashi and defeat him.

Judging from the nonchalant way he talks about killing Tukson, Mercury appears to have no qualms about intimidating others and killing, 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. This is probably due to his father's tutelage as he was most likely taught in the ways of assassinations.

He also seems to derive personal enjoyment from the pain of others. Whether this is for his own self-satisfaction or to put his opponents in an unstable state of mind to take advantage of their emotions is unknown. Examples of this are seen in "A Perfect Storm" where he attempts and fails at intimidating Raven Branwen and later in "The More the Merrier" when he condescendingly asks Yang Xiao Long and Ruby if they missed their old 'friends'. Later he tells Yang she 'owes' him an apology for his leg before turning serious for their rematch. This side of his personality is also briefly seen in the same episode, as he smirks proudly when Cinder torments Jaune Arc. However, despite his sadistic streak, he is capable of caring for others. He takes on a soothing tone when convincing Emerald to retreat from battle while she grieves over losing Cinder.

In "It's Brawl in the Family", he appears to be genuinely concerned when spotting Qrow Branwen, knowing he poses as a substantial threat to Cinder's agenda and shows total cooperation in letting her know of all the details he can gather.

"Fall" and "Beginning of the End" demonstrate his acting ability, where he plays a major role in framing Yang Xiao Long; he makes it seem she initially attacks and lands a serious injury on him, when in truth, due to his prosthetic legs, the injury is not as grave as everyone else is led to believe. He is also very compliant with Cinder's orders, allowing himself to remain hidden for the immediate future so as to not jeopardize the plan.

Despite his usual carefree demeanor, in "The Next Step", it is shown that Mercury does not take insults or disrespect well, responding to Watts' insults with an eagerness to attack him until Emerald stops him. This is further shown in "A Perfect Storm", when Raven Branwen rebuffs his attempt at intimidating her. He is usually outspoken, but when he is with Salem's group, he refrains from speaking.

Powers and Abilities

Fighting Style

Going off of his fight with Pyrrha in "Extracurricular", Mercury is shown to be a very acrobatic and agile fighter who relies on quickly overpowering his opponent with complex kicks that imply a near-mastery of martial arts that resemble Tae-Kwon-Do. He's also capable of a break-dancing style, similar to Capoeira and make use of Muay Thai as well as shown in the same fight. His experience and skill with his leg-based fighting style is aggressive and effective enough to drive even a fighter of high caliber and great combat experience like Pyrrha Nikos, considered to be the strongest first-year student at Beacon Academy, into a defensive position.

Despite his focus on kicks, Mercury also uses his hands to grapple, block or redirect enemy attacks. In his fight with Coco and Yatsuhashi, he grabs them both and twisted them into an easier position for his kicks and even stretches out Coco's arm, allowing him to kick her in the head. During his battle with Yang, he shows deft skill by using his arms to weather Yang's skilled barrage of punches. His skill in utilizing his arms is shown in the same fight as he occasionally punches at Yang before following suit with a barrage of kicks.

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 during her Semblance, an ability none of Team JNPRcan stop during their brief fight against Team RWBY in "Best Day Ever".

Mercury reveals the impressive extent of skill in the doubles round of the Vytal Festival, dominating both Coco and Yatsuhashi single-handed with his impressive feats of speed and strength, being capable of evading Coco's rapid and dense barrage of bullets and swiftly counterattacking from the air.

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 Yatsuhashi. He uses certain kicks to alter the course of Yatsuhashi's sword strikes or block them altogether with his greaves. He shows quick reflexes again when he evades Yang by altering the course of her punches, using his footwork to raise her fists and kick underneath or around her attacks.

Weapons

Mercury's weapon of choice is a set of boots equipped with a firing mechanism built into them, similar to Ember Celica.

Similar to Yang's usage of her Ember Celica, Mercury is capable of firing explosive rounds from his boots whenever he kicks for moderate to long-range combat. Most of the time he's seen firing his boots are usually mid-handspring, also known as a kip/kick-up or when maneuvering his body in a manner similar to break-dancing, more specifically; "Thomas flairs" and "airflares", and is able to fluently translate from his aggressive Tae-Kwon-Do-like kicking style strikes to this Capoeira style. He is also seen using it in a more traditional manner with frontal or side kicks.

Mercury can also control the rounds through Dust use. During his tournament fight, he gathered multiple rounds that spun around him in a manner similar to that of a cyclone surrounding him before the rounds were later unleashed in a devastating flurry. He also possesses, at the very least, capable marksmanship skills, being able to fire his Dust rounds efficiently despite the barrels being located near the soles of his boots, as shown when he fired a round at Yang before using his cyclone technique during their fight and when he shot Ruby's Scroll out of her hands during their confrontation.

He can also use the boots to jump in midair by bringing his legs together and firing his boots simultaneously, boosting him forward and allowing him to achieve temporary flight. This is likely a reference to the Roman god Mercury, known for his speed and ability to fly with his winged sandals.

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. He usually keeps them concealed under his pants. These robotic legs appear to give him enhanced performance in battle, such as being able to withstand blasts of fire without taking damage. He is also able to very easily repair "injuries" to his legs that would otherwise put a normal human out of commission or require medical attention.

His prosthetics are also quite durable, being able to withstand significant attacks that would otherwise severely reduce Mercury's Aura. His prosthetic limbs have so far protected Mercury against a nearly point-blank firestorm, a storm of frozen leaves and a direct point-blank blast from one of Yang's Ember Celica's shells. He used his legs to block a massive strike from Yatsuhashi's sword that was powerful enough to cause the geyser field biome they were in to erupt; he did this while lying on his back where he had no leverage at all, and he took little damage to his Aura.

His kick-based fighting style, as well as his choice of weapon, are likely intended to take advantage of his prosthetic legs. His prosthetic limbs are capable of firing blasts of air, which he makes great use of in combat.

RWBY Chibi

Main article: Mercury Black (RWBY Chibi)

Quotes

Ooh, Emerald! Master thief! Please don't take my money! I barely have enough to get by!
~ Mercury, mocking Emerald Sustrai's confidence in her pick-pocketing.
It's false advertising!
~ Mercury, regarding Tukson's store catchphrase.
You're an inspiration to every punk with a gun and a ski mask.
~ Mercury, mocking Roman Torckwick's work.
Learning is SO MUCH fun.
~ Mercury, to Emerald.
I HATE waiting.
~ Mercury, after being told to stay put by Cinder.
Wouldn't miss it for the world.
~ Mercury, to Yang, about the Beacon Dance.
I guess the general's had enough fun for one night. Should we intervene?
~ Mercury, to Cinder Fall.
So, how are the new friends?
~ Mercury to Emerald about Team RWBY.
There's not going to be a next time, Blondie!
~ Mercury to Yang in her hallucination.
Why'd she do that? Why'd she attack me?!
~ Mercury, after Yang attacks him.
Oh doc, tell me, will I ever walk again?
~ Mercury, joking with Emerald.
Oh, I'm getting all of it.
~ Mercury to Cinder, as he records the downfall of Beacon.
We're the guys you should be afraid of.
~ Mercury, to Raven.
C’mon guys, is that any way to greet your old friends?
~ Mercury, to everyone.
Hey there, blondie. I’m thinking you owe me an apology for my leg, don’t ya think?
~ Mercury, to Yang.
You’ve gotta be kidding me…
~ Mercury, as Leonardo flees the battle.

Trivia

  • Mercury alludes to the Roman god Mercury, whose Greek equivalent is Hermes.
    • Mercury's symbol, a winged boot, as well as his weapons, may be an allusion to the winged sandals of the mythological Mercury.
  • His colors are black, gray, and silver, likely to give off the tones of the element mercury.
  • Both Mercury and Emerald lacked 3D models in Volume One, using 2D still image sprites instead.
  • Mercury's last name, Black, was originally suggested by his previous voice actor J.J. Castillo.
  • Mercury's appearance, his facial features in particular, is similar to that of Sasuke Uchiha. They also share the same English voice actor, Yuri Lowenthal.
  • In the Japanese dub, Mercury is voiced by Hikaru Midorikawa, who also voiced Vidaldus Taka and Baldren Gassenral.

External Links

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           RWBY Villains

Cinder's Faction
Cinder Fall | Roman Torchwick | Mercury Black | Emerald Sustrai | Neopolitan

Salem's Faction
Salem | Arthur Watts | Tyrian Callows | Cinder Fall | Hazel Rainart | Leonardo Lionheart

White Fang
Adam Taurus | Sienna Khan | White Fang Lieutenant | Corsac & Fennec Albain | Ilia Amitola | Yuma | Trifa | Perry | Deery | Associate

The Club
Junior Xiong | Malachite Sisters | Junior's Henchmen | DJ

Branwen Tribe
Raven Branwen | Vernal | Shay D. Mann

Schnee Dust Company
Jacques Schnee | Whitley Schnee

Merlot Industries
Dr. Merlot | Androids | Mutant Beowolves | Mutant Creeps | Mutant Death Stalker

Grimm
Beowolves | Beringels | Boarbatusks | Creeps | Death Stalkers | Geist | Giant Armor | Goliaths | Griffons | Grimm Dragon | King Taijitu | Lancers | Nevermore | Nuckelavee Grimm | Parasite Grimm | Rapier Wasps | Sea Feilong | Seers | Ursai

Other
God of Darkness

Chibi
Cinder Fall | Emerald Sustrai | Mercury Black | Roman Torchwick | Neopolitan | Trouble Clef | Cardin Winchester