Comics

Evolution Comics Brought the Classic Hero Into the Cartoon’s World

The X-Men: Evolution comic briefly introduced a classic hero into the alternate X-Men world who never had an appearance on the animated series.

As far as bold reinventions of the X-Men go, it’s hard to beat X-Men: Evolution, a cartoons series that ran from 2000 to 2003. As near and dear to many fans’ hearts as the series is, it unfortunately only had so much space to explore the mutant mythology of Marvel, and many deep-cut character never quite made it onto the hit series.

Luckily, the 2002 X-Men: Evolution comic series gave its world more room to grow. And in X-Men: Evolution #6, by Devin Grayson, UDON, Long Vo, Charles Park, Saka of Studio XD and Randy Gentile, the comic book tie-in to the show introduced a classic X-Men character sorely missing from the small screen: Mimic.

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With the original incarnation debuting in Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Jay Gavin’s X-Men #16 in 1966, there have been many iterations of Calvin Rankin’s story that make him startlingly unique. Although the question of his status as a mutant or genetic experiment has not been clearly answered in the comics, the one thing that’s stayed the same about Mimic over the years is his powers. His ability to copy all the X-Men’s abilities at once make Mimic one of the most powerful forces they have ever come across.

In the world of X-Men: Evolution the character stays true to those qualities but puts them in a much more grounded setting. With the main story centering on Spyke, the young mutant capable of releasing bony protrusions from his body, Issue #6 primarily concerns itself with the hero torn between the world of the Xavier Institute and his skater friends at Bayville High. When one of his friends, Calvin Rankin, turns out to share Spyke’s same mutant abilities he believes he may have found someone just like himself.

Upon further investigation, it turns out that Calvin is like a lot of people. He copies Xavier’s mind-reading abilities when the Professor visits him at home, and his mother explains she always thought he was a prodigy for his ability to pick up on the talents of others. When Calvin visits the Xavier Institute for the first time it quickly spells disaster as he copies the entire school’s abilities all at once, incapable of controlling them and releasing bursts of power in every direction. Luckily the team manages to gain enough distance to quell the situation, but not without disturbing Calvin deeply.

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Just as in the comics, Calvin’s haughty attitude puts him at odds with the other members, and when Xavier explains that his abilities come from artificial experimentation rather than mutation the X-Men are not so sure their team is the right place for him. When he storms off Spyke stays behind, surer than ever about his place at the Institute. But unfortunately, this would be the first and last time Mimic would be seen in the comic.

Too often left on the sidelines or entirely forgotten over the years, the mainstream Mimic rarely enjoys an opportunity to shine or consistently serve as a member for more than a handful of issues at a time. The most consistent version was an alternate reality take on the character in Exiles where Calvin was the ideal X-Man in his own universe. However, with the X-Men: Evolution comic series being reissued as a collection, perhaps Mimic can make another appearance if enough interest is sparked to warrant a return to the Evolution universe.  

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