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Super Reads 130

Finishing up that ninja demon story!

Today, we check out Shadowland #5, Daredevil #512, and Blast to the Past for The X-Men #19.  Enjoy and spread the word!

Spoilers Ahead!


Super Reads 130
It's about time we got that Shadowland thing under wraps and that's the plan this time around.  I mean, besides the aftermath issue.  Special thanks to bkthomson for helping me with all my comic needs!

Looking to read up on everything from Secret Invasion to Siege and beyond?  Check no further than this link right HERE.

And now the climactic ending to Shadowland.

Shadowland #5
Writers: Andy Diggle
Penciler: Billy Tan

In this issue:

• Mayor J. Jonah Jameson reacts to the riots spreading throughout his city.

• Foggy Nelson gets a little help entering Shadowland.

• The Beast of the Hand takes full control of Matt Murdock's body and defeats all his enemies.  This includes Ghost Rider.

• White Tiger drags Foggy in by his hair.  Beast Daredevil decides to murder the former lawyer personally but can't go through with it.

• Iron Fist uses the opportunity to hit BDD with a Chi blast.  This wakes Matt Murdock back up and it's a fight for the body.

• It's a fight that Matt can't win unless he kills himself in his mind.  Or something.  Elektra helps him out mentally.

• The Beast of the Hand is defeated and the riots on the street stop.  Daredevil is dead.

• But not really.  When everyone's back is turned, Matt gets up and sneaks away.

• The Kingpin gains control of the Hand.

• Matt Murdock goes to church for one LONG confession.

The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.

All the marbles, folks.  This is the big showdown.  The last gasp.  The slobberknocker drag down final issue of Shadowland.

While there's action a plenty in the coming pages, the battle is won through a quiet internal struggle.  Let's watch it all go down.

Hell's Kitchen was a powder keg that has blown.  The violence is heading all across Manhattan.  In the office of Mayor J. Jonah Jameson, Jolly JJJ is taking in this news with annoyance.  Why do the Avengers make the city their home if they aren't here to tackle situations just like this?

Don't look for any new Avengers to hit the scene.  The only ones we'll see are the street level heroes that are already busy fighting the Beast of the Hand in Daredevil's body.  We're not going to see much of that fight in this comic but we DO replay Foggy Nelson's climb into the Shadowland fortress that happened in Daredevil #511.  What we learn here is that he got a little bit of help from Ghost Rider.  See!  I knew Foggy wouldn't be able to pull himself up on his own.

GR sets the former lawyer down on a rooftop and lets him slimb the rest of the way.

Now, we can get to that super-fight!

Oh.  It's already done and a gigantic Daredevil has won the day.  The Beast is looking for someone else to fight now that the heroes are defeated but no one is conscious enough to answer his taunts.  He's about to end some lives when Ghost Rider arrives fashionably late to the party.

The Spirit of Vengeance has more power than anyone else in this room.  Even so, he's no match for the Beast of the Hand.  Belches of hellfire have no effect.  Daredevil just laughs them off.  Johnny Blaze just doesn't know who he's fighting.  The Beast grabs Ghost Rider and sucks in all of his hellfire.  It was an intense fight but at no point did Blaze stand a chance.

We're back to the final scene from Daredevil #511.  White Tiger drags Foggy Nelson to Daredevil's throne.  All the defeated heroes lie around the Beast but it looks like he hasn't actually KILLED any of them yet.  He's just resting.  Another plus is that he no longer seems that interested in bringing Bullseye back from the dead.  Lester's corpse still lies on a stone platform.

Again, Tiger makes ready to slay the former partner of Matt Murdock and again Daredevil stops her so he can do the deed personally.  When Franklin Nelson talks to his friend, some part of the Beast that is still Matt Murdock answers back.  It looks like this fight isn't over just yet.

Elektra, Master Izo, and Iron Fist slowly get back to their feet.  White Tiger notices this and shouts out a warning right before Izo strikes her from behind.  He tells the unconscious lieutenant of the Hand that they'll be talking about the Black Tarantula when she wakes up.

Daredevil hasn't moved.  It looks like Matt is still reaching out JUST enough to stop him from moving.  It's the perfect chance for Danny Rand to play his hand.

Or, rather, his FIST.

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The Beast is mostly unharmed by this attack and shouts a few snide comments at Iron Fist.  Rand explains that he wasn't going for the kill.  Quite the opposite, actually.  Iron Fist was using his mastery of Chi to HEAL.  That's right.  Iron Fist woke Matt Murdock back up.

It's a struggle but Matt regains full control of his body if only momentarily.  Daredevil begs Elektra to kill him before the Beast fights its way back in the driver's seat.  Elektra holds her love close and tells him that she's here to "end [his] suffering."

It's dark.  Way dark.  That's because we're inside Matt Murdock's mind and the landscape is on the barren side.  Matt is a child and gets visits from his mom (a nun) and his dad (a boxer who is living out some fabricated memories from right before his last boxing match).  Both of these parental figures tell Matt how worthless he is and how the world would be a better place without him.  Matt howls in grief, because a good part of him believes this.

Elektra shows up but this isn't a condescending half-memory.  This is the real deal.  She tells Matt that the Beast is using images of his parents to attack him.  He needs to get over this and do what needs to be done.  What is that, exactly?

Seppuku, apparently.  Elektra hands her blade to an adult Matt Murdock.  Matt asks Elektra to tell his friends that he is sorry and then his clothes change to the familiar red costume of Daredevil as he thrusts the sword into his chest.  The panels become white as Daredevil falls to the ground.

Back in what passes for reality, Foggy and Iron Fist lean over Daredevil's body.  DD is in a bad way but Danny still sense a spark of life inside of Matt Murdock.  Elektra tells Foggy that it's over and he needs to allow his friend to rest in peace.  As the other heroes start to get up, so does Foggy.  Daredevil doesn't move.

The results of this win are immediate.  The riots in the streets of New York stop in their tracks.  The people who moments earlier were killing each other now have no idea what they're doing.  People hug and apologize for their earlier rage.  The police who were trying to maintain order just scratch their heads.

Back in Shadowland, Spider-Man wakes up with a major headache and starts digging up Wolverine.  Logan got stuck under that broken pillar last issue.  Punisher and Luke Cage look at the unmoving corpse of Bullseye and are glad they don't have to deal with that resurrection.  Iron Fist looks out of the hole made when Ghost Rider made his entrance and sees that even though the riots are done, there are still fires and injured people out there.  They could use a few good heroes.

Before the hero squad can take off, Foggy looks around and sees that Daredevil's body is gone.  That gets the heroes to look around to see if Murdock is shuffling off.

He's not.  Elektra is already tracking her ex.  Down a hidden shaft, Natchios finds Daredevil's black cowl.  The Man Without Fear is gone.

Outside of Shadowland, Typhoid Mary and a group of Hand Ninjas are making themselves scarce when the Kingpin and Lady Bullseye lands in a helicopter.  Wilson Fisk has leadership of the Hand on his agenda.  Typhoid Mary isn't about to let the fat man do such a thing and declares her loyalty to Matt Murdock.  Fisk says three random words which unlock Typhoid Mary's fourth hidden personality, courtesy of the Initiative.  It seems that the Kingpin had sent Typhoid Mary in to Shadowland as his sleeper agent/spy.  The fourth personality is loyal to him.  The Hand is his.

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It's late in the night when Matt Murdock makes his way to a Catholic Church.  The Priest inside is dousing the candles and shutting up until the morning but he can feel the desperation pouring off of the former lawyer and does his job.  Matt, who's not revealing who he is, says he's here for confession.  The priest asks how long it's been.

Murdock drops to the ground and tells the holy man that it's been "too long."


Daredevil #512
Writers: Andy Diggle & Antony Johnston
Artist: Marco Checchetto

In this story:

• Ben Urich interviews Detective Kurtz about why Shadowland hasn't been taken down or at least raided.  Offiicial and unofficial answers vary.

• Captain Madison gives Detective Kurtz orders to arrest Daredevil.

• Franklin "Foggy" Nelson won't give up on Matt Murdock and wants to be there when Matt eventually returns.  Becky Blake disagrees and leaves.

• Kingpin begins and ends the fight to reign the Hand into his power.

• Iron Fist and Luke Cage track down Daredevil only to learn that they're actually following Black Panther. T'Chala is moving in.

• Dakota North finds Black Tarantula recovering in Night Nurse's care.  Carlos tells her that he was Master Izo's inside man but couldn't stop anything.

• Matt Murdock has grown a beard and heads on out into America to find himself.  Or to lose himself.

The previous comic in this series was covered HERE.

The aftermath is upon us!  Shadowland has reached it's ever lovin' conclusion but there are still some unanswered questions to deal with.

First on the plate is why the police haven't entered the medieval fortress or started tearing it down.  Ben Urich asks this question to the chief police officer on duty, Detective Alex Kurtz, and gets the story that Shadowland was built legally so they can't just smash it without someone above his paygrade making that decision.  When Urich turns off his recorder and asks for the off-the-record answer?  Kurtz tells him that the fortress is filled to the brim with Hand ninjas.  That answer better not show up in Frontline.

Kurtz heads inside the 18th Precinct Police Department.  Power hasn't been restored since the police retook their Hell's Kitchen HQ and that doesn't please the Police Captain, Madison.  The Captain has new orders for Detective Kurtz but has to go through the song and dance of Kurtz retiring before he can give in to the older police officer.  After everyone is convinced that Alex won't be leaving the force, Captain Madison tells the Detective that there's a warrant out for Matt Murdock's arrest.

No one is fooled that the lawyer isn't actually Daredevil.  That cat is still out of the bag and while they aren't OFFICIALLY the same person, everyone knows.  They know that the whole Shadowland affair is at the feet of Daredevil and what's more, the Man Without Fear is still going out on patrol like nothing has happened.  DD needs to be arrested to teach him a lesson for thinking all is forgiven.

While the Captain speaks, Detective Kurtz sees a black clad vigilante out one of the precinct's windows.  It sure does LOOK like Daredevil.  He even has points on the cowl that look like horns.  Kurtz says nothing about the hero sighting but agrees to bring Matt Murdock in if he can.

Before Shadowland went really, really bad, Franklin Nelson was banned from practicing law by Judge Kramer.  Kramer was being bribed by the Kingpin but that wasn't something easily proven.  Either way, Nelson and his partner, Becky Blake's offices were in Hell's Kitchen and almost everything went up in a fire.  There's nothing left to salvage.

The only good news, if you can call it "good," is that Judge Kramer committed suicide during the riots.  With a little luck, Kramer's involvement with Wilson Fisk will turn up and Foggy will be able to get the ruling against him overturned.  Nelson's imagination is up and running and he thinks that he'll be able to get Matt back in and everything will go back to normal.

That isn't something Becky Blake wants to hear.  She has NOT forgiven the Man Without Fear for everything that has happened.  She barely believes that a demon possessed Murdock and doesn't think that he deserves a free pass for all his actions.  Dakota North tries to calm the two down but it's clear that Matt Murdock is going to be a wedge between the two law partners.  Franklin isn't willing to give up on Matt.  Ever.  In fact, he credits the end of the madness to him being in the right place at the right time to help out his friend.

Like I said, neither of them is going to budge on this.  Becky wheels herself out of their former office.  She won't be waiting for Matt Murdock to return and act like nothing's happened.

While it looked like Wilson Fisk had gained control of the Hand in Shadowland #5, it's never as simple as walking in and taking over.  There are many Hand ninjas that are unwilling to follow the Kingpin.  In fact, the Hand leaders rejected Fisk's leadership in Daredevil #500, permanently.  Well, Kingpin doesn't think of that ruling as that permanent.  Those who deny his leadership are swiftly killed by Lady Bullseye.  The rest will bend their honor and serve him.

Luke Cage and Iron Fist have spent their time cleaning up Shadowland as best they could.  They've been looking for some sign that Daredevil is alive but haven't found a trace.  Danny wonders if he should put on the suit and give Hell's Kitchen a hero until Matt returns.  While he's musing, Luke sees a silhouette that looks very familiar.  Could it be Daredevil?

The two heroes watch as this shadowed hero takes down a group of obvious criminals.  As soon as Luke and Danny start asking questions, "Daredevil" leaps away from them.  Iron Fist and Cage follow him up to a roof but then lose his trail.

That is, until the new guardian of Hell's Kitchen makes his presence known.

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Looks like Black Panther is going to be taking up shop in DD's old stomping grounds.

Oh, our aftermathing isn't done just yet.  You might remember how Black Tarantula was supposedly killed by White Tiger in Daredevil #510.  It turns out he wasn't as dead as you'd think.  Dakota North finds the vigilante in Night Nurse's secret hospital in Chinatown.  Night Nurse isn't happy about the intrusion but North isn't giving her much of a choice.

Black Tarantula is still pretty banged up but he's alive and stable, thanks in no small part to his healing factor.  Since Dakota had no clue that he was the only voice of reason in Shadowland, Carlos tells her some thing that we already know from previous issues.  He tells North how he healed White Tiger out of the Hand's influence and how it didn't last.  Carlos reveals that he was Master Izo's inside man until Izo was "sacrificed" by Daredevil.  It was a runaway train and nothing Black Tarantula did could stop it.  His noise making made him an easy target and White Tiger ended up being the one to "kill" him.  Now, he doesn't know where she ended up.

One question remains and it's something that Black Tarantula, Dakota North, Detective Kurtz, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Foggy Nelson are all asking:  Where is Matt Murdock?

Actually, that's a question Matt would also have if he cared.  He's been on a bus for who knows how long.  Long enough for him to grow a beard, at least.  The bus stops at a gas station in the exact middle of nowhere and Murdock decides it's time to get off.  The bus driver tells him that they're just ten minutes away from something that passes for a town but the fallen hero decides to hit the streets right here.

Matt has some of the same thoughts as Becky Blake.  Sure, he was controlled by the Beast of the Hand but it was his own actions that let the Beast get a foothold.  It was Matt that killed a killer.  He stained his soul and everyone was hurt because of it.  It's something that he won't forgive himself for.

And that's that!  Shadowland isn't EXACTLY over yet.  There's still some more aftermath that we'll get to in the future but this is the end of the big event!

Now, we get to some mutant action:


The X-Men #19
Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: Jay Gavin

In this story:

• The X-Men get a vacation!  Bobby and Hank spend it on a double date with Zelda and her librarian friend, Vera.

• Vera has an obsessed stalker named Calvin Rankin.  Beast and Iceman fight him and realize that Rankin is using their own powers against them.

• Jean Grey also runs into Calvin at a food court.  He gets her powers without Jean noticing and realizes that he's just met three of the X-Men.  Rankin follows Jean back to the X-Mansion where he meets the rest of the team.

• Excusing himself, Calvin gets into his Mimic costume and returns to fight the entire team.

• After a short fight, Mimic kidnaps Marvel Girl and escapes.

• Calvin tells Jean his Secret Origin once they're safely in his mine home.

• The Mimic activates a machine that he thinks will make his powers permanent and when the X-Men all show up to face him, Calvin takes Xavier hostage.

• Knowing that the machine will actually remove Rankin's powers, Professor X orders his X-Men back so that Cal can activate it.  Yep.  It takes away his ability to mimic others.

• The X-Men takes the unconscious Calvin out of the mine as it collapses behind them.  Professor X mind whammies the former Mimic so that he has no memories of his encounter with the X-Men.

April 1966!  It was Stan Lee's last issue of X-Men before the series was handed over to Roy Thomas for the duration of the sixties.  The X-Men was always a concept that didn't seem as fully explored as many of Marvel's other titles but it had a dedicated cult following that kept it from being cancelled altogether.  It was still one of the first titles to be dropped by both Jack Kirby and Stan Lee and the first book that Roy Thomas got the write full time.  While Avengers would follow with issue 34 in December of the same year, Stan had stayed with the book long enough for readers to get hooked.  Without Stan (who was such a draw on these books that his editing credit came before the rest of the creative team), X-Men seemed to remain a cult hit until it's revival in the mid-seventies.

Not that there was one reason that the book wasn't a hit with fans but those are just a few that bear mentioning.

For his final issue, Stan Lee crafted a tale involving the villain, Mimic.  Calvin Rankin was an arrogant punk who didn't even register as a mutant on Professor Xavier's Cerebro (so the jury's out on whether he's actually a mutant or not but he sure does work with them enough).  What he did have was the ability to absorb powers from super-powered individuals and a nasty disposition to use that to his advantage.

The issue starts innocently enough:  the X-Men are training in the Danger Room under the instructions of Cyclops.  It's nothing special.  In fact, most of the team is bored of the routine.  Cyclops orders Angel to make a quick turn and everything goes a little crazy.  The manuever interrupts Iceman's target practice and Bobby takes things personally, flinging ice pellets at Warren even after the flying X-Man apologizes.  There's almost a fight between the two but Cyclops breaks it up with a well placed optic blast and a stern word.

Scott switches gears by having Beast run through a routine Danger Room course but Hank McCoy isn't taking it seriously.  Beast tries to run the course by hopping on one hand.  This messes everything up and bits of the obstacle course start flying everywhere, getting the rest of the team into the act.  Professor Xavier enters the room but instead of yelling at the teenagers for not taking their training with the right degree of seriousness, he applauds their efforts.

The reason Xavier interrupted this Danger Room session is to announce a vacation for the team.  They've recently fought against such heavy hitting threats as the Sentinels and Magneto and if their antics in the Danger Room are any indication, they could use some time off.  The team is happy to get the time off... well, all of them except Scott Summers who is in a constant state of worry.  His eyes could always accidentally kill someone, after all.  Angel asks if the overwound X-Man would be interested in double dating but Scott passes.  It's not like he could ever ask Jean Grey out.  That would be telling.

Bobby and Hank leave together because the two have become close friends in their time as X-Men.  Their destination is the a public library.  This might seem strange for Bobby if not for Hank but they have an express purpose.  Bobby's girlfriend, Zelda, is meeting them here and she's bringing a blind date for Hank.  Since she hasn't arrived yet, McCoy takes a look at the selection until a bespectacled lady tells him that he's in the preschool section.  Henry winds up for the ultimate of all retorts but is stopped by Bobby who tells him that Zelda's shown up but without an extra girl.  Aloud, Hank McCoy mentions that he's probably had enough of women anyway.

Of course, his blind date is the girl in glasses.  That's Vera!  She works part-time at the library.  Hank is a might embarrassed.

The quartet of teenagers takes a walk around town and we quickly meet our good friend Calvin Rankin.  Cal is known to Vera because he has come to the library plenty of times looking for books on mine engineering.  He's also asked her out a couple times only to be continually turned down.  When he sees Vera with Beast, he blows his top.  Hank really wants to be involved in Calvin and Vera's spat but they both take their turns first before the X-Man can try to break the two apart.  Rankin is quick to the punch but he's dealing with the bashful, bouncing Beast so it's not like it's a fair fight.

Until it is.  During the brawl, Calvin seems to gain all of Beast's abilities.  The difference being that he doesn't try to hide them.  Hank tries to maintain his cover as a normal human being but Mr. Rankin doesn't care for that tactic.  In fact, he's hardly aware of his new powers.

After Cal has beat Hank to the ground, Bobby tries to help out his buddy only to get a sudden face full of snow.

A nearby construction team has caught sight of this street fight and they aren't happy with what they see.  Now, it's possible that they'd let this go on without interfering but when one of the fighters is leaping around like a jumping bean while blasting ice from his hands... well, that screams mutant and that means fear and hate to your average human being.  The construction crew starts throwing bricks at the super-powered thug.

Calvin pops up a quick ice shield and then leaps up the nearest building to escape this attack.

It's a bit ironic that two X-Men were just "saved" by a bunch of bigots.

From the safety of the roof, Calvin realizes how much more powerful he is compared to the guys throwing bricks.  Only then does he start piecing things together.  The construction team called him a "mutant."  While he doesn't believe HE'S one of those guys, he does realize where his powers came from.  They're the powers of two X-Men and the two guys he was fighting are pretty much pegged as Iceman and Beast.

Rankin tests out his new powers but they fade in time.  It's something he should have expected because he knows he can only mimic other's powers while within a certain proximity of his target.  He's still overjoyed that he's learned the identity of two X-Men, though.  He's pretty sure he'll be able to find the rest of them now.  He'll need their powers to carry out... his PLAN!

Coincidence is a funny thing.  Jean Grey has used her time off to do what every girl in 1966 loved to do.  Shop!  Girls all love that, right?  Well, love the stereotype anyway!  After spending all of her shopping money, Marvel Girl decides to get a bite to eat before returning to the mansion.  While looking for a table, she accidentally runs into Calvin Rankin who spills his tray in the process.

Jean, being a polite soul, immediately apologizes but Rankin is a jack@$.  He yells at her and would probably hit her if they weren't in a public place.  Jean nearly takes back her apology but DOES snap back with a crack about the guy's manners.

Rankin sits down in a foul mood and looks around for the sugar.  It's on the next table over and Calvin complains to himself about how he'll have to get up and GET IT.  Instead, the sugar container floats on over to his table.  He's just found another X-Man.  That's three down.

A day later, Bobby and Hank both report in on this suspected mutant but Professor Xavier isn't getting any readings for a new mutant in the area.  The X-Men wonder if the machine could be wrong but Xavier claims it's not possible.  They're probably just dealing with another type of super-powered individual.  Like Spider-Man or the Human Torch.

To make things even more interesting, Calvin Rankin shows up at the X-Mansion.  Xavier orders the team to let the guy in.  They still don't know how his powers work, after all.  Hank answers the door and Calvin says he's sorry for his attitude the other day.  He even asks if he can join the team.  That's not something Henry can answer for so Beast leads the new guy to the Professor.

Calvin starts getting abilities from every one he's close to.  Professor X tries to prove his mind but Cal blocks the attempt by mimicking the same abilities.  When he meets Jean, he reveals that the reason he knew where the X-Men were was because he followed her home.  A handshake with Cyclops lights up his eyes even behind his dark sunglasses.  In quick succession, he gets Angel, Iceman, and Beast's abilities but doesn't let on just yet.  Most of the X-Men are hostile to him even though Xavier has told them to behave themselves until they learn what Rankin's secret is.  Calvin's no dope.  He knows that no one in the room really likes him but he doesn't give a damn.  He's just here to get some powers.

Professor X allows Calvin to head upstairs.  No one is under any illusions as to what'll happen next.  Cal is suiting up to attack them.  The X-Men do the same.  When Calvin comes back downstairs, it's in full costume as the Mimic.  Xavier realizes what the Mimic's powers are now that he has a name to go on.

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The battle doesn't go well because the X-Men try to attack him one-on-one instead of acting like a team.  Even when they do try the team-up work, Mimic seems to have such control over their powers that he still maintains control of the fight.  When the team finally does attack together, Calvin uses Xavier's mental ability to confuse the team.  This keeps him in charge of the fight for just a bit longer but the odds are still against him.

The X-Men finally get their acts together and the Mimic goes down... but not for the count.  When the team surrounds him, Calvin grabs Marvel Girl and makes his getaway.  Xavier orders Cyclops not to attack for fear of hitting Jean.

Yep.  Jean's a hostage.  It sucked being a girl comic character in the sixties.  Guaranteed.

Mimic starts losing his extra powers pretty quickly now that he's out of range of the X-Men.  All he keeps is Marvel Girl's telekenesis.  When Jean tells him that the others will follow him, Calvin laughs.  That's what he's hoping for.

The rest of the X-Men do follow in their own way.  This is years before the team would get a Blackbird.  For something like this, they use a specially designed X-Helicopter.  Xavier tells his students that he was able to scan Mimic's mind just a bit and learned that Jean was in no real danger.  You know, except for the mental anguish that comes from being a hostage.  Cyclops is nearly mad with concern.  He's really taken with Ms. Grey.

The Mimic drives Marvel Girl to a mine.  Jean wonders what the significance behind the mine is but she also remarks to herself how physically damaging it must be for Calvin's body to keep changing the way it's been doing.  Rankin brings her inside the mine where she finds herself with all the comforts of home.  This is a very nice living quarters even though it's located inside a mine.  Calvin decides he'll tell her his Secret Origin while they wait for the rest of the mutant team to arrive.

Calvin's father was a scientist who worked on any number of dangerous experiments in the comfort of his own home.  With a young kid around and no locks on the doors, it was no wonder that an accident would happen given time.  Cal went into the lab when his dad was out and knocked over some vials, creating a cloud of science that he inhaled deeply.  To keep his father unaware of what had happened, the young Rankin cleaned up the mess and left the scene spotless.

The effects weren't noticed right away but after a while, Calvin realized that he gained the strength, skill, and intelligence of anyone he was near.  He won fights.  He aced tests.  He was as good as the best athletes in any sport as long as those athletes were nearby.  Think about that for a moment.  It's not like he was as good as the best person in the room.  He was absorbing EVERYONE in the room so he could draw from all of their knowledge, skills, and strength.  Naturally, he grew up to be a major dick and the other began to notice just how unaturally good at everything he was.

His father finally figured out what was going on and realized that someone would kill his son unless he fixed his powers.  Calvin thinks that meant giving him permanent mimicking abilities but he should have thought it through.  His dad was trying to return him to normal.  Before that could happen, an angry mob arrived at their mine home and looked intent on killing anyone that wasn't just like them.  To stave them off, the elder Rankin set off some explosives at the mine entrance but was caught up in the explosion.  This also collapsed the entrance of the cave so the mob had no one to poke with their pitchforks.  They left.

Calvin eventually dug himself out of the mine and buried his dad, swearing revenge on those that threatened them.  His best bet for doing that was using his dad's invention to "gain powers permanently" but that invention was still buried further into the mine.  That's where the X-Men come in.  The Mimic intends to use the X-Men's abilities to unbury his father's invention.  Rankin finishes his story just as the X-Men arrive.  He's already getting their powers so they must be getting close.

Mimic doesn't wait around to face the X-Men.  It's enough that he has their powers.  Calvin heads deeper into the mine and uses the combined powers of the X-Men to blast his way through the collapsed area of the mine.

The X-Men are getting closer to the mine but the notice that the Mimic wasn't even hiding his destination.  They know he planned for them to follow but there's nothing for it.  They couldn't well leave Jean as his prisoner.  The team frees Marvel Girl at the same time Calvin breaks into the room containing his dad's invention.  Even better, the thing appears undamaged.  Soon, he'll have the X-Men's powers permanently!  Heck, any super-powered character he comes in contact with will be added to the list!  No one will be stronger than him!

Calvin turns everything on and gets ready to stand in the machine's transmitting area to get the results.  That's when the X-Men reach him, intent on stopping him.  Mimic blocks the team off with an ice shield.  Flying over the rest of the X-Men, Mimic takes another hostage.  This time, it's not the lady.  Instead, it's the handicapped man.  Professor X.  The team is stopped in their tracks.

Xavier orders them not to attack.  He's not worried about his own safety.  He's just certain that everything is going to work out for the best if Calvin uses this machine.  Calvin Rankin stands underneath the machine's transmitting unit and cackles about how he'll dominate humanity.

Instead of doing that, he collapses in the chamber and loses all of the X-Men's power.  Professor X orders Beast to grab the fallen villain.  They all need to get out of this mine before the machine explodes.  Xavier himself set it to detonate.  It's a mad race for the entrance but the team makes it with time to spare.  The X-Men wonder why Mimic has lost his powers.  Xavier explains that the machine that Calvin's father invented wasn't made to make his mimicked abilities permanent.  It was made to take away his ability to mimic others all together.  His father could see what was happening to his son and knew the only way to stop all the attacking mobs was to make his son normal again.

Now, Xavier can use his own powers to mindwipe the young Rankin and send the man out with no knowledge of who the X-Men are or where they live.  The X-Men's secret is safe for a time.  On their way home, the X-Men wonder what would have happened if the machine HAD made Calvin's mimicking ability permanent and are happy they don't have to find out.

Eventually, the Mimic returned with his abilities restored and even forced his way onto the X-Men team as their leader.  It wouldn't last long because the rest of the team still didn't like him very much.  Calvin Rankin would be in comic limbo for the bulk of the next twenty years except for a random appearance here and there just to remind people that he was still around.  Eventually, he was believed dead but we all know that death is a lot less permanent in comics than real life.  Rankin returned to the X-Universe with the powers of the original X-Men permanently added to his abilities in the mid-nineties in X-Force after breaking out of a facility that was supposedly set up to help him deal with his abilities.  Mimic was still all over the map as to what side of the war he was fighting for, even joining the Brotherhood for a time.

It turns out that Calvin suffered from bipolar disorder among other psychological disorders.  When properly medicated, Calvin can pretty much handle the world with a good level of sanity but still has a fatalistic bent to his personality.  While not joining the "good guys," Mimic found himself working for Norman Osborn's X-Men team following the Utopia crossover.  After an adventure with that team (from the awesome Dark X-Men mini-series), Calvin Rankin again finds himself in comic limbo, waiting for someone to remember he exists.

And that's all Super wrote, people!  Short, sweet, and fun for the whole family!

Until next time:  Excelsior!

Written or Contributed by: SuperginraiX
The Outhouse is sponsored this week by Late Nite Draw. Recently featured on ComicsAlliances' Best Art Ever, he is a Chicago-based commissioned artist with a self-published Digital+Print one-shot coming out in October about the abominable snowman called ABOBAMANIMABBLE, and is also available for commissions. Check out some amazing art by clicking here or by clicking the banner at the top, and support the people who support The Outhouse.


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About the Author - SuperginraiX


SuperginraiX is the biggest sap on The Outhousers' payroll (wait, we get paid?). He reads every issue of every crappy Marvel crossover so you don't have to. Whats worse is that he pays for his books, thus condoning Marvel's behavior. If The Outhouse cared for his well being at all, they'd try and get him into some sort of rehab center. But, alas, none of us even know how to say his name. For a good time, ask Super why Captian America jumped off the Helicarrier in Fear Itself. Super lives in the frozen wastland that is Minnesota with 15% of the state's population living under his roof: a wife he makes wear an Optimus Prime mask, two gremlins, and his mother-in-law.

 


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