Calvin Rankin (also known as the Mimic) first gained his mimicking abilities after a lab accident involving one of his father's dangerous experiments. He was a villain-turned-hero-turned-villain who joined the X-Men, and for a short time was the deputy-leader of the team. The Mimic's main quest had always been to find a way to make his abilities permanent. On this quest he battled the X-Men, the Hulk, Super-Adaptoid, Puppet Master, and Factor Three, as well as serving Onslaught and briefly joining Excalibur. He retained his powers after M-Day and was held prisoner by the Thunderbolts for his past crimes until being offered a place on Norman Osborn's X-Men. After receiving help from the Jean Grey's School X-Men, Calvin was offered a spot on their team, which he accepted.
Calvin Rankin was the son of a scientist who was working on various dangerous experiments. As a child, he was not allowed into his father's quarters where the experiments took place. However, at a young age, curiosity got the best of him. While inside his father's lab, he accidentally knocked down a beaker filled with an experimental chemical, causing the formation of a red gas which he breathed in. The experiment his father was working on altered his body. As the months and years passed, Calvin would be more frequently able to mimic the abilities of others while near them.
Calvin soon became the best at any sport, mimicking the abilities of the best players and without anyone knowing. He started to become hotheaded and arrogant as his powers grew, but soon all of his friends and classmates started to dislike and distrust him, referring to him as some kind of robot. Calvin eventually lost all of his friends, but he blamed it on their jealousy, noting that he did not need any of them and was better than all of them.
When his father found out what was going on, he knew that eventually, everyone would turn on Calvin, so he moved them into an abandoned cave in the hopes of curing his son. For months, Calvin's father worked on a machine that would remove Calvin's mimicking powers in the hope of giving him a normal life. However, he never told Calvin what the machine really did, instead telling him it would make his mimicked powers permanent. Unfortunately, the town's people eventually found out about the machine being built in an abandoned mine, and a mob set out to attack Calvin and his father in their base. To prevent them from reaching the machine, Calvin's father set off an explosion to close the mine before the mob would find their way in. But Dr. Rankin had underestimated the power of the explosives; they proved to be too strong, and he was caught and killed in the blast. Calvin managed to dig himself out of the mine and swore that he would get his revenge on the people who had forced this all to happen.
Calvin first ran into the X-Men when he was trying to get a date with Vera Cantor, who, at the time, was dating Hank McCoy. Being the hot-head that he was, he pushed Hank to attack him. The Beast, as McCoy calls himself, was quickly surprised by Calvin's Beast-like defenses. When McCoy's friend Robert "Bobby" Drake tried to help the Beast, Calvin retaliated by throwing a snowball he had created in his hand against Bobby's head. Some nearby construction workers saw the battle and quickly assumed that Calvin was a mutant who was attacking two normal teenagers. Calvin quickly used his new-found powers to escape from them with ease. He then realized that he had been fighting two of the X-Men, and became frustrated when the powers that he had picked up all began to fade. He decided to find the rest of the X-Men so that he could gain all of their powers permanently using his father's buried machine.
Sometime later, Calvin happened to run into Jean Grey by chance and followed her back to the X-Men's mansion. He returned to the institute the next day, and though Xavier correctly guessed his intentions, the X-Men did not expel him, since they had little choice but to confront him sooner or later. Calvin engaged the X-Men in combat and was able to best them all at first, but their teamwork eventually helped them get the better of him in the end. Just as he was apparently losing, Calvin managed to kidnap Jean and escape back to the mine. Hoping the others would come after him, he took the time to tell Jean his origins. As the X-Men arrived, Calvin regained all their powers and used them together to reach, excavate, and activate his father's machine. The X-Men managed to reach and attack him before he could enter the machine, but during the fight Calvin quickly took Xavier hostage. Flying into the machine after it had been activated, it stripped Calvin of his powers, and Professor X managed to short-circuit it so that it would overload. The X-Men dragged Calvin and Xavier to safety just before the whole mine exploded, and Xavier removed Calvin's memories of these events, hoping that Calvin would finally be able to live a normal life.
During the following summer, Calvin began attending Metro College, which happened to be the same school Jean Grey had recently been transferred to from the Xavier Institute. They were re-introduced by their common friend Ted Roberts. Calvin claimed that he felt like he had seen her somewhere before, and while Jean tried to deny it, Calvin decided to himself that he would not rest till he remembered where he had seen Jean before.
Very soon afterward, Calvin got caught in an explosion on the school grounds, and though he was uninjured, the blast restored both his mimicry power and his memory. When Ted and Jean came to see if he was all right, they found that his old persona and powers had resurfaced, and he was again arrogant and egotistical. During this time, Professor Xavier was learning of Factor Three, and knew that the X-Men were not enough to stop them. He asked Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch as well as Spider-Man to join the X-Men to fight the new Mutant Menace, but all declined. When the X-Men had a meeting at Jean's school where Xavier was going to tell them about this new threat, Calvin interrupted the meeting with the plan to join the X-Men.
Despite only joining in hopes of somehow regaining the X-Men's powers permanently, Xavier let Calvin join as he knew that the X-Men needed all the help they could get to stop Factor Three. As Cyclops was feeling guilty for having accidentally used his powers on the Angel, he stepped down as deputy leader of the X-Men and Xavier appointed Calvin to take the position, as he was the most powerful. During their first training mission, the Puppet Master took control over Calvin in hopes of using him as his ultimate soldier. When the X-Men came to rescue Cal, he was forced to fight his new team-mates. When the Puppet Master ordered the Mimic to kill the X-Men, Cal used all of his willpower to fight the control of his new master, long enough for the very hurt Angel to enter the battle field and destroy the Puppet Master's hold on Cal. While the X-Men rejoiced in their victory against the Puppet Master, Calvin was struck by sadness, as he was finally coming to terms with the fact that he would never be anything but a man condemned to live in the shadow of other people's abilities, strengths and powers.
Still, as deputy leader of the X-Men, he did his best in order to train himself to be ready to fight Factor Three. Even though he had proven himself loyal to Xavier's cause, he did not mingle well with the rest of the team, Cyclops especially, who, as the former leader of the team, disliked Calvin's recklessness. They soon battled the Ogre and the Banshee from Factor Three, and mimicking the Banshee's sonic screams, the Mimic was able to defeat both of the new enemies. When the Ogre escaped, it was the Mimic who had to fight him and using all of the powers he could mimic at the same time, he was able to defeat the Ogre a second time.
A couple of days later, the Mimic was pushed by Xavier for his biggest exercise yet. Tired and not understanding the point of it, Calvin noted that he had not transferred to the Xavier Institute just to jump hoops for Xavier, and he began questioning Xavier's dream and why he should care if any mutants might want to take over the world. When Cyclops told Cal to back off, a brawl started with the five original X-Men and Calvin. While hoping that the six of them would work it out, Xavier did bring an end to the fight. He then told Rankin that he was unable to look past Rankin's arrogance, combativeness, and overwhelming ego, and told him that it would be best that he left the school. Rankin got the picture that he was indeed not wanted there by anyone, and decided it was time for him to leave.
He did return a couple of hours later in hopes of telling off the X-Men, but instead he noticed that the entire team had been beaten by the Super-Adaptoid. Just as soon as the Adaptoid was about to destroy the X-Men for not wanting to join him on his quest to rule the world, Rankin entered the fight, claiming that he wanted the power, in hopes of holding of the Adaptoid long enough for the X-Men to regroup. When he felt that his will was fading by the Adaptoid's beam, he attacked with all of his might, using all of the X-Men's powers at once. However, the powerful Super-Adaptoid had all the powers of the Avengers, and eventually got the upper hand. However, when the Adaptoid was attempting to make a pantographic tracing of Rankin to gain the powers of all the X-Men, the power rebounded into the Adaptoid because of Rankin's own power having been borrowed, just as he had hoped. The Super-Adaptoid weakened, his last act in the battle being to throw down Rankin, who was now too weak to fly. While the Adaptoid fell into the sea hoping to resurface, the Angel was able to save Rankin from a mighty fall. After the battle, the X-Men thanked Rankin for saving their lives and apologized for their past actions, Rankin told them that there was no need to apologize and, thinking that his powers might once again be permanently gone, he stated that it was worth it, for him to have learned the true value of the emotion called friendship, and for Calvin Rankin to have finally become a man.
Unfortunately, Rankin's powers resurfaced again, this time, more powerful than ever. His mimicking powers were in fact, draining people and killing them. As the Beast was trying to find a way to cure him, Rankin, Cantor, and McCoy were attacked by the Hulk, Calvin was rendered comatose absorbing the Hulk's energy in order to protect the people around him.
McCoy and Cantor believed him to have perished due to the radiation he absorbed from the Hulk, but days later, Rankin recovered by duplicating the healing factor of James "Logan" Howlett, the Wolverine. Unfortunately, he duplicated the looks, claws and even Adamantium of Wolverine as well. With his powers seeming to be permanent, and the pain of having claws being unbearable, Rankin crossed the country breaking into pharmacies to try to calm his rage.
Eventually he ran into the Hulk again (now in his Mr. Fixit form), and explained why he looked exactly like Wolverine. The real Wolverine eventually located Rankin, hoping he (the Hulk as Mr. Fixit) could help Rankin because he felt partially responsible for his pain. Calvin and Logan jumped onto the Hulk and found themselves back at the cave where Calvin's father had died. Apparently the machinery continued to work long after its initial overload, and used its last remaining power to bring all three of them there and explain that it had been putting out a pulse that kept Calvin's powers at bay. Then, with the last of its power used up, it was destroyed. With the machine gone, Logan taught Calvin some Asian Zen meditation techniques that would continue to help him suppress his powers.
Although the mediation helped calm Calvin, his powers remained uncontrollable, bringing back all of the original X-Men's powers permanently. He relocated to a small research station in Siberia where friends of his late father and Charles Xavier tried to analyze his powers. While Rankin was away, the Psychic Entity called Onslaught sent agents to attack the base. X-Force responded to the distress call that the station had sent out, but all they found were bodies and the furious Calvin Rankin, who blamed X-Force for the deaths of other researchers. After causing an explosion while mimicking Sunspot's powers, he was kidnapped by Onslaught.
After helping him stabilize his powers and helping him reform his mind, the Mimic became one of the few servants of Onslaught, not knowing that it had been Onslaught who had wrought the chaos in Siberia. Members of X-Force later encountered the Mimic again, along with his comrade, the Blob, who had also joined Onslaught's ranks.
One of his missions was to protect the Mutant Risque from Mr. Sinister and make sure that she complied on a mission to have Warpath join them. However during the mission, Onslaught was taken down by a combination of Avengers and X-Men while Mimic and Risque were captured and imprisoned by Operation: Zero Tolerance for their terrorist activities with Onslaught. Locked in a secret Peruvian S.H.I.E.L.D. base, Rankin was regularly tortured and beaten.
Because he retained Professor X's telepathic signature, he was detected by Excalibur. They traveled to his location hoping to find Xavier, but found and freed Rankin instead. He briefly joined Excalibur, and even attended Captain Britain's wedding.
While he was a member of Excalibur, he became good friends with Dr. Moira MacTaggert, who was interested in his behavior. In her study, they made the discovery that many of Rankin's anger issues were the result of a bipolar disorder from which he had not known he had suffered. He stayed with the team until they disbanded and Rankin left on good terms.
Brotherhood of Mutants
With Professor Xavier still in jail for his crimes as Onslaught, the Mimic joined Mystique's Brotherhood of Mutants to assist them in freeing him alongside members of the X-Men. After Xavier had been saved, Calvin decided to remain with the team in San Francisco, aiding them in their fight for Mutant rights. During one of their missions, the Mimic was captured and taken into custody by the Commission on Superhuman Activities, but he was pardoned by Valerie Cooper.
Alongside his teammates, the Mimic lost his templated powers due to the High Evolutionary's use of a device that halted the use of all mutant powers. When that device was halted and mutants regained their powers, the Mimic did as well. This version of the Brotherhood would later disband and everyone in the group went their separate ways.
Calvin Rankin decided to stay in San Francisco and continued his vigilantism. Because of his activities and past history, he was captured by Baron Zemo and Songbird alongside his old comrade, the Blob, who put them in the Folding Castle's Detention Quadrant. After this incarnation of the Thunderbolts was disbanded and the events of Civil War, Calvin was freed alongside other prisoners and registered as a super human working out of San Francisco.
While chasing down some criminals, Calvin's powers again went haywire and he accidentally killed a pedestrian with his optic blast. Instead of facing time in prison, he was offered a new position by Norman Osborn, who had recently taken over as the new head of H.A.M.M.E.R. as a member of his own personal X-Men. Rankin eventually agreed.
After joining Osborn's X-Men, Calvin Rankin, the Mimic, received a new regular outfit and had his long hair cut and his beard, his mustache, and his sideburns all shaven off to look good for the public image. Being seen on various television screens and being praised by the public aided Rankin in his belief that he was finally becoming the hero that he was always meant to be, but that made it no easier to work with his other teammates. While trying to interrogate a former human who had been transferred to a nano-sentinel by Simon Trask, the creature was smashed by Weapon Omega, who yelled at Calvin, telling him that this was their own personal hell.
Though most of his teammates were unstable, many of them were able to get along with the Mimic, who did not see things as clearly as his enemies did and was sure that he was doing the right thing. After a week of protecting San Francisco from various dangers, Osborn's team of X-Men were attacked by the actual members of the X-Men. When members Dark Beast and Weapon Omega were down for the count, Emma Frost revealed to everyone that she was a traitor by knocking out Daken. When the Mimic began to question what was going on, obviously confused over everything that was happening, he too was knocked out by Namor McKenzie, the Sub-Mariner, who also betrayed Osborn. While he was unconscious, two of his other teammates, Cloak and Dagger, joined the X-Men. It was speculated that Namor felt that the Mimic was too far gone into Osborn's lies to be able to be convinced on the short time they had and was too powerful to fight against while Cloak and Dagger were already unhappy with their decision of joining the team.
When the X-Men left for Asteroid M, now known as Utopia, the Mimic joined the rest of Osborn's group to take them down. The Mimic was outmatched by the sheer number of mutants, and was beaten down by a group of them. Osborn later retreated with his team after it became clear that he could not win without murdering them in cold blood on live television. However, Osborn and America took this as a victory as the 'mutant terrorists' had left US soil. Osborn re-presented his X-Men team that were going to stay on, and the Mimic was still a member, smiling to the public and working for the government to take down any possible threats.
Under the power of Norman Osborn, and the leadership of Mystique once again, the Mimic remained a member of the "X-Men," but his depression was becoming a problem.
During one of their missions, the team was sent to a small town in California and eventually found X-Man, who was trapped in various different consciousnesses. During their conflict, the Mimic copied his abilities by accident, and was able to see a vision of his own future where he killed his wife, Vera and their newborn child with his optic blasts. His teammate, Omega, was also overpowered by X-Man's telekinetic energy, and the Mimic had to take him down. Despite the damage done to the town, Osborn's people were able to make it look more like a victory, and the town erected statues of both Rankin and Omega.
But these events turned the depressive Calvin into even more of an unstable mess, and even though X-Man attempted to show him how to use his new precognitive ability, Cal was still unable to tame his demons. During X-Man's attack on Osborn and his Avengers, Rankin found himself unable to move, as he was given his recent life choices some serious thought, mumbling the words "I was an X-Man once..." to himself. In the end, Cal's ability was used by Osborn to duplicate Omega's, and together, they drained X-Man till he could be taken into custody. They immediately regretted their cooperation, since X-Man could have given them exactly what they had sought.
During the Siege of Asgard, Calvin escaped with Omega, who had become his only friend. Feeding off his powers, Omega had become weak. Carrying his friend, Rankin decided to seek out Hank McCoy for aid, as McCoy had helped him in the past. He met McCoy, and Bobby Drake, at Wolverine's new school, accompanied by a troubled Omega.
Omega had been unsuccessfully trying to wean himself from leeching mutant/mutate powers, and he was on the verge of death when Cal brought him to the X-Men for help. Many methods were tried to cure him, including having the Mimic and Rogue absorb the energy from Omega in an effort to reduce it. But these backfired; the result was instead that all of them became living bombs, ready to go off at any second. After making one last attempt to cure themselves by absorbing each other's powers, Omega reabsorbed the energy from them with the plans to sacrifice himself for the greater good. Calvin would not allow Omega to do so, asking him to live on for him (Rankin) if not for himself. Omega volunteered to be placed in an artificial coma to prevent him from exploding. Mimicking Rachel Grey's telepathic powers, the Mimic put his best friend to sleep so the energy could gradually leave his body.
The Mimic contemplated that all his happiest memories were of the School and, wanting to keep an eye on Omega, asked to stay. Rogue agreed, convinced he would be a great teacher, and Calvin Rankin joined the X-Men. The Beast continued to work on finding a cure for Weapon Omega's problem.
Avengers vs. X-Men
Now among the X-Men, the Mimic unfortunately found himself instantly thrust into the ongoing war with the Avengers. Without hesitation, he sided with his new friends in the X-Men, considering that he knew none of the Avengers. The Mimic offered to attempt to absorb the She-Hulk's powers, even though his last absorption of Hulk powers had nearly killed him. He ultimately wound up fighting against the Falcon instead.
The Mimic was next seen with Omega, whose condition was improving after the Phoenix restored the mutant race, in Montana; they were there helping with the cleanup of the destruction which a hurricane had wrought. They were approached by X-Man ForgetMeNot who wanted Omega to remove his powers so that people would be able to know that he existed. While they tried to explain to him that there was a risk he could be killed, they were interrupted by Cyclops' X-Men group, who had tracked down Omega and the Mimic to see if they would join their cause.
The Mimic and Omega rejected the offer, and a battle erupted between them till ForgetMeNot made himself noticed and asked Omega and the Mimic to copy his powers so they would become unseen and then unforgettable to Cyclops and the others. They teleported away without remembering their entire encounter. Omega then explained to ForgetMeNot that he could have taken his (ForgetMeNot's) powers away, but that doing so would simply make him a regular person with no history. Convinced by their speech, he decided not to go through with his plan as he turned around, which made the Mimic and Omega forget about it. He then watched as they flew off into the sky.
When a younger version of Cable set out to return the time-displaced Young X-Men to the past, he abducted Calvin for his wings, since they were genetic copies of Angel's. Ever since his arrival to the present, young Angel had undergone enhancements that replaced his normal wings, and 'Kid Cable' wanted to restore them to normalcy before sending him back in time, by means of severing them and replacing them with Mimic's wings. As a group of X-Men tried to figure out Kid Cable's plans by storming his base, they discovered Rankin as a prisoner, and brought him along with them to fight Ahab.
When Ahab reached what was left of the X-Men, he impaled the young Cyclops through the chest. This turned out to really be Mimic in disguise, preventing the future that 'Kid Cable' was trying to avoid. Calvin was later mentioned to have survived the attack. Having moved to the new mutant nation of Krakoa, Calvin was a stand-in for The Five, a group of mutants involved in a resurrection process that kept the inhabitants of Krakoa from staying dead if killed.
Calvin admitted to believing that he had had some latent powers since birth, due to his father having experimented on himself before Cal's birth. Caliban could sense Cal "like a mutant." Later, he was confirmed to be a mutant by Professor X.
- Power Mimicry: The Mimic is able to copy the knowledge, skills, and powers (if any) of every individual within a certain range of him; different sources list this as anywhere from several feet to a mile radius. This applies to both super-humanoid and "normal" abilities, as shown when he duplicated athletic skill on the football field in high school. He has shown the capacity to manifest numerous "normal" abilities and/or super-humanoid powers at the same time, and since he also absorbs knowledge, he can immediately use copied powers with the same skill level as the original owner. However, he occasionally shows difficulty in juggling multiple powers, and his body can be overloaded by absorbing too many at once. Usually the Mimic loses his duplicated abilities once out of range of the owner, but theoretically due to the length of time spent with them, his body will permanently retain the powers he mimics.
Over time, he permanently gained the ability to use the powers of the original X-Men:
- Angel's wings (possibly formerly) (his wings were cut off during the Extermination event for the sake of giving them to a younger version of Warren Worthington III)
- Beast's physiology including enhanced strength and agility
- Cyclops' optic blasts
- Iceman's cryokinesis
- Jean Grey's telekinesis (NOTE: At the time when she was known as "Marvel Girl," Grey possessed only limited psychokinetic abilities.)
When interacting with normal humans, the Mimic was able to duplicate their skills, personality traits, and intelligence. Thus, whenever he was in the vicinity of athletes, he gained superior athletic ability, and when in the presence of a scholar, not only did his knowledge expand, but also so did his potential to learn.
Calvin Rankin is a self-taught biochemist.
Calvin Rankin suffers from a bipolar disorder.
Usually wings, under his own power.
- This version of the Mimic is not to be confused with the slightly more popular Exiles's version of him.
Mutant or Mutate
Whether the Mimic is a mutant is controversial in many ways, and has been stated to be or not many times.
- The original Mimic as created by Stan Lee and Werner Roth was not a mutant, but received his powers after breathing gas in his father's laboratory.
- Later, it was suggested that the accident had merely awakened the Mimic's latent mutant powers, but this was never confirmed.
- Calvin Rankin admitted to believing he had had some latent powers since birth, due to his father experimenting on himself before Cal's birth.
- Caliban could sense Cal as "Like a mutant, but not."
- He was stated to be able to "mimic other mutants's abilities."
- Steve Rogers considered him as a mutate.
- While Calvin Rankin and Beast were running tests on Michael Pointer and himself, it was determined that Calvin wasn't a mutant but had absorption abilities, and said abilities copied mutant powers, Beast stated those powers were "artificial." Albeit Emma Frost highlighted the fact that there was some doubt about that theory.
- He was stated to be a "Non-mutant" in Marvel Fact Files #1, and a "super-powered man who can copy mutant powers" in Marvel Fact Files #19.
- In House of X #5 he was mentioned in Xavier's files to be a mutant. Since Xavier possessed a copy of the essence (soul) of every mutant, it's likely he has known Calvin's mutant status for quite a while.
- When the Mimic copied X-Man's powers, he saw a vision of his own future with his wife, Vera and their newborn child.
- Mimic can copy powers in the genetic level, seeing as he "donated" his wings to a time-displaced Angel, and were a perfect match.
- 52 appearance(s) of Calvin Rankin (Earth-616)
- 12 appearance(s) in handbook(s) of Calvin Rankin (Earth-616)
- 5 minor appearance(s) of Calvin Rankin (Earth-616)
- 11 mention(s) of Calvin Rankin (Earth-616)
- 5 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Calvin Rankin (Earth-616)
- 102 image(s) of Calvin Rankin (Earth-616)
- 2 quotation(s) by or about Calvin Rankin (Earth-616)
Links and References
- Calvin Rankin (Earth-616) on Marvel.com
- Calvin Rankin (Earth-616) on Wikipedia.org
- uncannyxmen.net Spotlight On... Mimic