By Marc Strom
With the release of DARK AVENGERS/UNCANNY X-MEN: UTOPIA #1 on June 24, writer Matt Fraction and legendary X-artist Marc Silvestri begin one of the most eagerly anticipated stories of the summer.
As Norman Osborn continues to extend his Dark Reign, he assembles a group of Dark X-Men loyal only to him This week, Marvel.com presents the Dark X-Men Dossiers, bios on each of the team's members straight from Cyclops' personal files, along with writer Matt Fraction's thoughts and exclusive art from Terry Dodson.
Mimic's Moment in the Sun
For Fraction, Mimic's inclusion in the Dark 's lineup came down to a number of factors.
"I like the power set," the writer tells us. "He's got a diverse set of powers. I like [that], in silhouette, he's the guy with wings, so that he kind of ties [together] the Dark X-men and your classic X-Men lineup in a lot of ways. I like that he permanently has the powers of the original five [X-Men]."
Beyond his powers and symbolic links to the traditional X-Men, Mimic's character will offer a unique perspective on what Norman Osborn wants to accomplish in assembling his Dark X-Men.
"As a character, I wanted to present [Mimic] as a kind of never-ran, like a wannabe, but a guy who kind of senses that if something big is going to happen in his life, this is it, this is the time," relates Fraction. "And he's going for it; he really thinks this is his shot to be something, to be somebody. There's this sense of autumn—he's in the autumn of the year, as it were, and that's kind of what compels me, or [rather] makes him compelling to me."
As a consequence, Mimic's decision to join Osborn's team of mutants doesn't come back to any past beef he may have had with the main X-Men.
"He doesn't really have a grudge against the X-Men, per se," Fraction explains. "An important thing to remember is, [the fact] that Norman is twisted and warped is a tightly-kept secret. [Norman's team] are only 'Dark X-Men' to us. Norman doesn't put them out there as, 'Hey, these are the Dark X-Men!'
"They're Norman's X-Men in the same way that the Dark Avengers are Norman's Avengers, and at the moment [he] has a tremendous amount of political and popular capital. So as far as [Mimic is] concerned, he's part of a winning X-Men. It's not about [the idea that] these kids have made his life miserable, but rather a chance to get on a winning team."
And while Mimic could represent a strong tactical advantage for the Dark X-Men with his unique powers, Fraction notes that the character also has his limitations.
"A lot of times he'll be able to come up with uses for abilities that the actual mutant in question hasn't necessarily considered," Fraction notes. "[But] Mimic's ego is, in a sense, his biggest weakness and his lack of imagination can be his biggest failing."
Cyclops' Strike File: Mimic
Since Calvin Rankin—a.k.a. Mimic—first developed the ability to gain the knowledge and powers of anyone within his direct vicinity as the result of his father's experiments, he has periodically come into contact with the X-Men. Upon first encountering him, Professor Xavier's original students—Angel, Beast, Marvel Girl, Iceman and myself—managed to defeat him only by exposing him to the original device that empowered him; after taking away his abilities, Professor Xavier erased Calvin's memory.
This solution proved temporary, however, as Calvin's memories returned after recognizing Jean Grey in a college class the two shared. Mimic then joined the X-Men, quickly ascending to deputy leader before personal conflicts led to his expulsion from Xavier's school. He would later lose his unique skills once more during a battle with the Super Adaptoid, as their mutual ability to absorb others' power sets shorted each other out.
Calvin eventually regained his abilities, though not without a cost: He now had the power to leech the life force of those around him, leading to his apparent demise after he stopped another of the Hulk's rampages by absorbing his gamma radiation.
However, in actuality Calvin lay in a comatose state until Wolverine came within his proximity, allowing Mimic to absorb Logan's healing factor. Still unable to prevent himself from taking the life force of those nearby, Calvin fled to a remote cottage in the mountains of Siberia.
Onslaught stabilized Calvin's powers in order to better use him as an agent against X-Force, and since then the X-Men have crossed paths with Mimic during his tenure with Mystique's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in their search for Charles Xavier following his imprisonment by Bastion.
Because Mimic can adopt the ability of anyone near him, long-distance attacks generally work best against him. Mimic must be taken down as quickly and efficiently as possible, particularly in group scenarios where he would have access to numerous power sets simultaneously.
Mimic sketch by
DARK AVENGERS/UNCANNY X-MEN: UTOPIA #1 launches one of the biggest events of the summer on June 24, but be sure you check back here tomorrow for another Dark X-Men Dossier on Cloak & Dagger!
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