Mimic (Calvin Montgomery Rankin) is a Marvel Comics fictional character who was briefly a member of the X-Men in the 1960s. He was then the first character to be added to the team after the original line-up.
Calvin Rankin was born in Passaic, New Jersey. After an accidental mixup of chemicals from his father Ronald's experiments, he gained the ability to temporarily copy the skills, physical traits, knowledge, and superpowers of any person within close range (approximately ten feet). When his father found out about this, he retreated with Calvin into a mine where he worked on a machine which, as he claimed, would make the abilities his son absorbed permanent. But his experiments with the device caused several power outages in the vicinity; in order to hold off the mob which was tracking these disturbances, Ronald Rankin blasted the mine entrance, but he was accidentally caught and killed in the explosion, and his device sealed deep inside the mine.
Taking the name Mimic, Cal decided to seek out the X-Men in a plot to get to the machine and make their powers his permanently. Initially he gained the upper hand, but his powers were removed by Ronald Rankin's device, as Professor X had expected. Xavier then wiped his memory and let him go.
It was while attending the same college as Jean Grey that his memory returned. In another attempt to gain the X-Men's abilities, Mimic set his sights on joining their ranks, becoming deputy leader in the process when he blackmailed his way into joining the X-Men. As a member of the team, he soon began to antagonize the other X-Men with his arrogant behaviour and ended up expelled after a fight with Cyclops. He later realised his potential when he saved his team-mates from the Super-Adaptoid. This battle robbed him of his abilities, and he left powerless but a better person.
Eventually he regained his powers, but they were enhanced to also absorb people's life forces, killing them. As the Beast tried to work out a solution, Calvin seemingly perished in a self-sacrificial fight against the Hulk after absorbing the Hulk's gamma radiation. For a long time the X-Men believed him to be dead. In actuality, Mimic was in a coma which lasted for years. This ended only when the regenerative mutant Wolverine came near him. Mimic's power copied Wolverine's healing ability and he woke up.
Mimic's powers soon began to drain the life energy of those around him again. He fled to a remote Siberian village, where he soon encountered X-Force, who were investigating a distress call. X-Force arrived to find a number of dead scientists and an enraged Mimic, who illogically blamed X-Force for their deaths. During the fight, Mimic copied the power of Sunspot, and their identical charge caused a large explosion, after which Mimic was no where to be found.
Mimic was later recruited by the entity Onslaught and his powers stabilized. Along with the Blob he confronted X-Force member Warpath, but with the assistance of Risque, Warpath was able to subdue them. Soon after, Onslaught himself was defeated and imprisoned Mimic. Later, Excalibur tracked his telepathic signature and thinking that he was Professor Xavier, freed him. Mimic became friends with the entire group, and was even invited to Captain Britain's wedding.
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 superpowered and "normal" abilities, as shown when he duplicated Kitty Pryde's ninja training. He has shown the capacity to manifest numerous 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 due to the length of time spent with them, his body permanently retains the powers of the original five X-Men: Angel, The Beast, Cyclops, Iceman and Marvel Girl. (The High Evolutionary's temporary elimination of the mutant gene once erased these powers from the Mimic's genetic template, but they appear to have returned since.) Thus, he has the powers of flight (granted by angelic wings) of Angel, the increased strength and agility of Beast (complete with enlarged hands and feet), the optic blasts of Cyclops (although lacking Cyclops' brain damage, Mimic is able to control them), the temperature manipulation of Iceman, and the telekinesis of Jean Grey. He partly retains Professor X's telepathic powers, which once caused his telepathic signature to be mistaken for that of Charles Xavier, although he was not shown to be located during more recent searches for Xavier. He may also retain Wolverine's recuperative abilities. Among the characters his powers have temporarily copied are Banshee, Marrow, Gambit, Rogue, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Feron, Meggan, Kylun, Micromax, Marvel Girl (Rachel Summers), Wolfsbane, Pete Wisdom, Psylocke, Risque, Siryn, Warpath, Sunspot, Cable, Caliban, Domino, Boom-Boom, Rictor, Cannonball, Shatterstar, Post, Blob, Mystique, Toad, members of the Crazy Gang, and numerous others.
The original Mimic as created by Stan Lee and Werner Roth was not a mutant, but received his powers after breathing in some gas during an explosion in his father's laboratory. Later X-Men writer Scott Lobdell claimed it merely awakened and enhanced Mimic's latent mutant powers, but this point is never made in the comics themselves and remains a point of discussion.
In the Age of Apocalypse, Calvin Rankin was a prisoner and test subject of the time travelling Sugar Man, who had travelled back from Earth-616 in order to create a plague. Rankin died because of the Sugar Man's experiments. It is unknown if he had the copied powers of any mutants here.
Mimic is one of the government agents (alongside Nuke and Agent Barnes) sent to Genosha to kill Magneto and as many of his followers as possible. He and Nuke served as a distraction while Agent Barnes sneaked into Magneto's headquarters. He then engaged Magneto in battle.
See main article: Exiles (Marvel Comics). Mimic's heroic counterpart from a parallel world (Earth-12) is a founding member of the multiverse-traveling superhero team called The Exiles. This Mimic has a clear mutant origin and his powers have a restriction: He can only copy a maximum of five mutant powers at a time. The copied abilities are about half as powerful as those of the original owners, and he is not able to copy knowledge or skill. For most of his appearances, he retains the powers of Wolverine, Colossus, Cyclops, and Beast. He is originally depicted with the feathered wings of Angel, but gives those up in order to briefly copy the Dark Phoenix's powers, and soon after mimics the abilities of Northstar.
In his reality, the Exiles' Rankin joined the Brotherhood and was defeated by the X-Men. Abandoned by the Brotherhood, Mimic was imprisoned and was only freed by the intervention of Professor X, who invited him to join the X-Men. Mimic became a dedicated member. His abilities raised the morale of the team, as each member knew they were not alone in their powers, as Calvin could do exactly what they could. Eventually Calvin rose to become leader of the team, and helped make his world one where mutants, along with other heroes, are respected and treated with a level of fame and celebrity. Much like Wolverine, who in Rankin's reality is one of his closest friends, Rankin is fond of beer and music and has an unrequited love for Jean Grey. Rankin owns a chain of record stores and is a published author.
Although Rankin is accustomed to leading, he defers leadership to Blink. Rankin also begins a romantic relationship with Blink. The Exiles' missions grow increasingly dangerous, and Mimic is forced to kill more than once to safeguard entire realities. Many of those he slays are alternate versions of heroes he knows as allies in his home reality and their deaths weigh heavily on his mind. After an encounter with the sorcery of a vampiric Union Jack, Mimic is trapped for four years on an Earth overrun by the Brood. On this Earth, he is implanted with a Brood egg. He returns to his teammates incubating an egg only held at bay by his acquired healing factor. The Brood egg hatches during a moment of weakness, and the possessed Rankin is forced to attack his teammates, killing Mariko Yashida (Sunfire). Devastated by his actions, Mimic swears never to kill again. During an encounter with Weapon X, Mimic is forced to mimic Deadpool's healing factor in order to survive. Unfortunately for Mimic, the healing factor also comes with Deadpool's unique skin condition; the very sight of which instigated a conflict with Blink concerning their relationship. After swearing never to kill again, his subsequent hesitation to do so, further compounded by an illusion in which Blink claims to no longer love him, allows the villain Proteus to possess him when the Exiles visit the House of M version of the regular Marvel Universe. After Proteus leaves Mimic's burnt husk of a corpse, the Exiles put his body into stasis. Blink later takes him back to his home reality for burial.
Another alternate Mimic called The Big M was his world's greatest criminal and leader of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. With his team he slaughtered his reality's X-Men and committed numerous other crimes — including mass murder — until he was finally captured by the Avengers and sent to a high security prison.
He encounters the Exiles Mimic when the latter enters his dimension. Using his telepathy, The Big M reads the Exiles Mimic's mind and realizes that the only difference between the lives they led is that while one of them accepted Xavier's offer of training and help, the other rejected it and sought a more destructive path. He reforms and reinvents the Brotherhood as his world's X-Men. He retains the powers of Magneto, Professor X, Cannonball, Blink and one unknown mutant.