X-Men #19 (last issue | next issue)

"Lo! Now Shall Appear--The Mimic!"

Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jay Gavin (A pseudonym for artist Werner Roth taken from the first names of his sons. He would be credited under his real name starting with X-Men #23)
Inker: Dick Ayers
Letterer: Artie Simek
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Cover date: April 1966
Cover price: 12 cents

The X-Men are training in the Danger Room and it looks like everything is back to normal after a tumultuous couple of months. Now that the X-Men are back up to the peak of their powers, Professor X has decided that they deserve a vacation. Of course, the last time the Professor gave them a vacation back in X-Men #14, the Sentinels attacked. So we know that trouble is coming.

Apparently Iceman has made up with Zelda, the waitress at Coffee A-Go-Go he asked out and then had to ditch in X-Men #14. Now he and the Beast are planning on going on a double date with Zelda and a friend of hers named Vera. They go the New York Public Library to meet Zelda and Beast promptly finds himself in a mild argument with a librarian, then Zelda arrives to reveal that very same librarian is Vera. Oh, the embarrassment.

Heading out for their double date, they meet Calvin Rankin, a hot-tempered chap who reads up on mine engineering and really wants to go out with Vera. He confronts Vera and turns literally beet red with anger. Then he turns his anger on the Beast, and Calvin reveals astonishing powers of strength and agility. But the Beast can't use his own powers for fear of revealing his secret identity, so Calvin quickly triumphs. Then Iceman prepares to attack Calvin, but gets a facefull of ice. Calvin is run off by some nearby construction workers who see what they think is a mutant attacking some helpless kids, so ironically two of the X-Men are saved by anti-mutant prejudice.

As Calvin revels in his newfound powers, he realizes that the two teenagers he accosted must have been two of the X-Men. With that knowledge, he can discover the identities of the rest of the X-Men and destroy them all. I guess this all seems like a logical response to a hot-tempered fellow like Calvin. The powers Calvin is mimicking soon wear off, and so he must gain more to carry out his new plan. Jean Grey, laden with packages from her day of shopping, stops by a cafeteria where she accidentally jostles a guy who responds by threatening her and storming off. Yes, it's Calvin again. In a city teeming with millions of people, Calvin Rankin has accidentally managed to run into three of the five X-Men on two separate occasions in the same day. They should call him Coincidence Boy instead of the Mimic.

Calvin finds he can now levitate the sugar and realizes that the young woman he threatened was Marvel Girl. So he follows her home to learn where the X-Men's headquarters is. The next day, the Professor is expressing surprise that Cerebro did not detect Calvin's presence. (If Magneto destroyed it last issue, and the Professor is seen installing a new one next issue, why is he talking about it here as if it's in perfect working order?) Speak of the devil, the doorbell rings and it's Calvin himself.

Calvin is all politeness and charm, but he has come prepared. He even brought a pair of glasses to block the optic ray power he would mimic from Cyclops, though it's unexplained how he knew he'd need them or how he knew what to make them out of. Calvin steps upstairs for a moment and everyone drops the pretense. The X-Men change into their costumes and Mimic comes downstairs outfitted in his own costume. And so the fight begins. Mimic is able to counter the attacks of the team now that he possesses all of their powers, and confuses them by mentally calling out false commands to them as if her were Professor X. But the tide of battle turns against him, and just when it looks like he's beaten, Mimic grabs Marvel Girl and runs away. The Professor orders them to let him go so they can follow him in the X-helicopter to find out what he's up to, and Mimic kidnapped Marvel Girl so they would follow him. It's all part of his plan. The Mimic's destination is a deserted mine, and inside are his living quarters and secret headquarters. While they wait for the X-Men to show up, he tells her his story.

He was the son of a scientist, and as a nosy young boy, Calvin knocked over some beakers and was engulfed in a strange green gas. (Since he wasn't born with his powers, he's not a mutant, and thus the mutant-detecting Cerebro didn't find him.) He found he was able to get straight As in every subject and exceed at every sport without trying by absorbing everyone's abilities. Concerned for his son, Dr. Rankin moves himself and his son to this deserted mine, where he works on a machine which will alter the boy's powers, making the abilities he absorbs permanent. But the machine drains so much electricity the power goes out all over the county. So an angry mob converges on the cave, which is what always happens during a blackout. Dr. Rankin sets some explosives to seal off the cave, but accidentally kills himself in the explosion. A distraught Calvin swears vengeance on no one in particular.

The Mimic regains the powers of the X-Men so he knows that the team is near. Leaving Marvel Girl behind, the Mimic heads for the cave-in and blasts it away with Cyclops' optic blast. He has now regained entry into his father's lab. The X-Men are right on his tail, and when they enter, Mimic grabs the Professor, flies over to his father's machine, and activates it. But instead of making his powers permanent, the machine causes Mimic to slump to the ground.

The Professor orders them to pick up Calvin and flee the lab because the machine will soon blow up. The Professor knows that machines in secret laboratories often blew up when you activated them. Outside, the Professor reveals that Dr. Rankin's machine was designed to remove Calvin's powers, not make them permanent. How he learned that fact is unexplained, and it seems a risky hunch given the circumstances. Well, the Professor "sensed it", so that's okay, I guess. Calvin gets a mindwipe, and now that he's powerless, he's free to lead a normal life.

But no one leads a normal life in the Marvel Universe. He actually joined the team in X-Men #27, but left two issues later. He showed up again with his powers out of control, and then died after absorbing lethal radiation from the Hulk in Incredible Hulk #161. Then it turned out he didn't die, and became a villain again. An alternate universe version of the Mimic was a member of the team of universe hopping Exiles.