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Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #191

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Xavier's second crippling was not a crushed leg problem, but a broken spine. He's a paraplegic. [Uncanny X-Men #280] - Submitted by Ann Nichols


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X-Men (1st series) # 27

Issue Date: December 1966

Story Title: Re-enter: The Mimic!

Staff: Roy Thomas (writer), Werner Roth (penciler), Dick Ayers (inker), Sam Rosen (letterer), Stan Lee (editor

Brief Description:
The X-Men return from San Rico, with Warrenís wings badly injured. He needs to rest or heíll risk permanent damage. Cyclops blames himself for the accident and steps down as leader. When Cerebro registers a mutant menace greater than ever, Xavier tries to recruit Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch and Spider-Man, but all turn his offer down. At Metro College, Jean enjoys her friendship with Ted Roberts when, suddenly, there is an explosion in the chemical building. The blast restores Calvin Rankinís powers and memory and, being the Mimic once more, he blackmails the X-Men into letting him join or heíll reveal their secret identities. Secretly spying on these events, the Puppet Master takes control of the Mimic and intends to use him against the Fantastic Four, his archenemies. First, he tests him against the X-Men. The Mimic succeeds and defeats all of the X-men, before he departs to meets with the Puppet master. The X-Men follow him and, in the Puppet Masterís base, they encounter a giant android but, in time, overcome it. Against the Mimic, however, they seem to have no chance. Calvin Rankin tries to fight the mental influence, but itís Warren who saves the day. Still unable to fly, the Angel followed his teammates by car. He surprises the Puppet master and wrests the doll resembling the Mimic from his hand. The villain slips away in the confusion, while the Mimic realizes that, for all his powers, he is only a copy of other men.

Full Synopsis:
The Mimic is back and he confronts Marvel Girl, Iceman, Cyclops, Beast and Professor Xavier. He gloats that, last time, they only defeated him through trickery, but this wonít happen again. Iceman tells him that, although he might have imitated all their powers, the X-Men will still defeat him. The Beast, however, is not so sure, as he also has the Angelís wings. Xavier urges his students to win, for he senses there is far more at stake than mere prestige.

On Cyclopsí command, the four X-Men split up, though the Mimic, rather unimpressed, says it wonít help them. Jean notes how sure he is of himself and his powers, while Hank bounces off the walls, trying to get behind the opponent. However, the Mimic is faster and uses Icemanís power to freeze the wall. Hank slips off and Jean tries to telekinetically slow his fall, but she is too late and Hank slams headfirst into a wall, knocking him out. Jean thinks to herself that itís only because she has been busy in college so much that she didnít have the time to practice with the others.

Cyclops is the next to attack, but the Mimic, as agile as the Beast, easily leaps out of the way of the optic beams. Just as the three X-Men re-group, they hear Xavierís telepathic voice telling them to cease the fight, as the Mimic is here as a friend. Jean and Bobby hesitate, though Scott sees through the ploy; it was the Mimic himself who send the telepathic command, courtesy to the professorís telepathy that he is mimicking as well. Next, he fires an optic blast, though Cyclops manages to dodge it. However the Mimic was aiming at the statue behind Scott and, as it comes down, it knocks the X-Menís leader out as well.

As the Mimic approaches the remaining two X-Men, they decide itís time for a strategic retreat as, despite the others being unconscious, the Mimic has still access to their powers. Iceman creates a cane and uses it to swing up to the roomís chandelier, while Jean telekinetically lifts herself across the room. From above, Bobby creates hailstones the size of golf balls, something the Mimic canít duplicate as it took long practice to learn how to make them. While the opponent is distracted, Jean telekinetically places a kettle on top of his head. Itís no use, as the Mimic disintegrates it with an optic blast. Now, the Mimic gets mad. He leaps for Iceman at his lofty spot, but Jean telekinetically grabs Bobby, causing the Mimic to miss him. Acting quickly, the Mimic combines the powers of the Beast and the Angel to swing around in midair and kick Bobby in the gut, rendering him unconscious too.

As the Mimic turns to Marvel Girl, Xavier cries out not to harm her. After all, this is merely a test of strength. However, the Mimic is intent on showing that he can defeat the entire team, though he calms the professor, saying that he wonít injure Jean. The female X-Man says sheíll never surrender but, suddenly, she gets weaker. The Mimic uses his telepathy to make her and, once she blacks out and sinks to the ground, he triumphantly raises his fist Ė from now on, nothing and nobody in the world will stop the Mimic!

(the day before)
The X-Men return from their mission in San Rico. The badly injured Angel is carried on a stretcher and Xavier advises Cyclops, Iceman and the Beast to make no sudden moves, as that might do irreparable harm to his damaged wings. While Warren is brought to Xavierís study for proper examination, he tells Scott not to blame himself, it was his own fault and he was delirious when he accused him before. Easier said than done since, right after the door of the study closes behind Xavier and the wounded X-Man, Scott is lost in his inner doubts and feelings of guilt. He is the X-Menís leader, so he knows that he is responsible for Warrenís condition. Also he had planned to tell Jean of his love for her, but as long as he canít be sure whether he subconsciously tried to eliminate a rival for her affection, he doesnít dare to do that.

Iceman and Beast wonder if they can somehow help Scott, but they realize that this is something he has to face alone. Somewhat later, Xavier has finished his examination and joins his students in front of his study with good news Ė the Angel will recover. But there is more, the tendons and ligaments, which control Warrenís wings, were severely jolted by the optic blast and, unless he receives a complete rest, he might lose the power of flight forever. On top of it, while the X-Men were in San Rico, Cerebro picked up a new mutant menace, one which may be the greatest they ever encountered and it comes at a time when the teamís fighting strength is at its lowest ebb.

Meanwhile, Jean Grey is enjoying a track training session at Metro College. Her fellow student, Ted Roberts, is among the contestants and she cheers for him. Ted wins the run and also scores well in other events of the day. In pole-vaulting, Ted even sets a new school record. Amazed by his performance, Jean thinks that she doesnít miss being Marvel Girl as much since she met Ted, so maybe she wasnít cut out to be a super-heroine after all. She turns to him, asking if he doesnít ever get tired. Ted asks how can he, with a girl like Jean rooting for him? He wants to do a few more lapses in the pool but, afterwards, invites Jean for a drink.

Not much later, the young couple strolls across the campus. Jean canít help but mention that she noticed how hard he drives himself in his athletics and she wonders if there is a special reason. Ted answers that there is and that Jean is the first to ever notice this. Generally, he doesnít like to talk about it but he senses that she is someone special, so he lets her in on his secret. It concerns his older brother Ralph. No matter what he does or where he goes, Ted always feels like he is in Ralphís shadow.

He doesnít get to finish his story as, suddenly, an explosion is heard from the chemistry building. Ted and Jean run over and they see Calvin Rankin being carried out of the destroyed lab. Thankfully, he is unharmed. He only inhaled a little too much smoke. The couple tends to Calvin, who starts coming around, with his memory fully intact. Somehow, the blast restored it and his powers. He quickly gets up and dismisses the friendly people that were just trying to help. As he walks away, he tells them that he doesnít need help from anybody ever again. From the look in his eyes, Jean can tell that Calvin regained his powers.

In a secret lab not too far away, the Puppet Master, wearing a protective suit, is molding some of his radioactive clay into a puppet. Too often he has been the pawn of men of greater physical strength than he, but that time is past. The one thing he desires most is revenge on the Fantastic Four and, now, he has come up with a great idea, as he molds the little puppet in the image of the X-Menís secret mentor. He doesnít know his name but, thanks to the Mad Thinker, he knows what he looks like. Once he is under his control, he can order the X-Men to battle the Fantastic Four in his name. However, as he tries to use his mental control on the little doll, the Puppet Master is hit by some feedback. The Puppet Master realizes that the X-Menís mentor must have erected a psychic shield to never fall under his spell again. He destroys the useless puppet, but he will seek another to serve him.

At the same time in Westchester, one of the X-Men is concerned over Xavier getting pale. However, the professor says itís nothing. For a fragment of a second, some outside force tried to control him, but the danger has passed. Besides, they have more pressing matters at hand, as he has Iceman cool some plastisthene tubing, reducing it in size, so that he can install it in a cylinder shaped device more easily. The Beast holds a second cylinder in place, while Cyclops works on some controls that join the two objects and lift it upwards. The three teenagers wonder about the purpose of the device, until the professor tells them that itís a multi-frequency booster, designed to increase Cerebroís power so that the new menace can be better pinpointed. Xavier believes that he has found the reason why itís been quite some time since the X-Men discovered a new mutant thread, but he needs further proof before he will tell his students. He then asks to be left alone and tells the X-Men that they may spend the next few hours as they wish.

All by himself, Xavier concentrates and, then, his astral self departs on a journey across the Atlantic to a small valley somewhere in central Europe, where two former foes of the X-Men are honing their recently restored powers Ė Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. Pietro tests his speed by chasing a trained falcon, as suddenly the siblings hear Xavierís voice inside their heads. He tells them that he means no harm despite their earlier enmity and asks them to join the X-Men against a common threat. However, Wanda says itís impossible and Pietro agrees. Although once they might have wanted to join the X-Men, they are full-fledged Avengers now. Xavier politely thanks the twins for their time and returns home, though the Scarlet Witch wonders if they have made the right choice.

In midtown New York, Hank and bobby are spending some time with their girlfriends. They offer to buy them a hot dog and cherry soda, kind of to make up for their abrupt departure during their last date. After girls get their food, Bobby realizes that he didnít bring any money and asks Zelda to pay, who surprisingly doesnít mind. After all, she is a working girl. At the same time, Vera demands to know the reasons for Hankís walkouts but, with his usual wordiness, Hank tries to talk himself out of the question. Suddenly, Hank is saved by an alarm bell going off. Zelda sees two men running away; apparently itís a bank robbery. The Beast wonders how he and Bobby can lend a hand without the girls, but the problem solves itself, as Zelda and Vera are so excited that they run to the scene of crime, leaving their men behind.

Thirty seconds later, Iceman and Beast have changed into their costumes and they hope to catch the thieves before the girls will even notice that they are gone. Otherwise, theyíll have to come up with super-hero excuse number eight, ďWe got lost in the crowd.Ē However, before they even have a chance to catch the robbers, Spider-Man has already finished the job and is taking pictures of the crooks caught in his webbing. The two X-Men are about to head back, as they receive a message from Xavier to ask Spider-Man to join them. However, he is really busy at the moment and he already almost joined the Avengers, but it didnít work out. Spider-Man swings away, thinking that it might have been nice to be with people of his own age, but fate seems to have meant him to be a loner. Iceman wonders why he was taking pictures of the crooks, but Hank urges him that they need to get back to the girls. Speaking of which, Zelda and Vera are quite annoyed that their men have once more vanished without explanation during a date.

(the next afternoon)
A Rolls Royce approaches the girlsí dormitory of Metro College, carrying Xavier, Scott, Hank and Bobby. The professor explains that he wanted to enlist Spider-man in their imminent struggle, but maybe theyíll run into the Human Torch somewhere on the campus while they pick up Jean. The groupís arrival is observed by Calvin Rankin and, although he doesnít count the Angel among Jeanís visitors, he chooses to confront them now. While Hank and Bobby get Jeanís bags and suitcases in the car, Scott returns with the Professor; they have discussed something in private, but also have learned that the Human Torch is still absent. Right as they are ready to leave, Rankin makes his presence known, asking if he can ride along.

The X-Men are about to spring into action, but Xavier tells them to listen to what Calvin has to say first. Putting on a pair of special ruby-glass shades - Calvin learned of them through Xavierís telepathy months ago - the Mimic says he feels his body changing, adapting to Beastís and Icemanís powers. If the X-Men donít want him to reveal their secret identities, they should take him along, he demands. Having no other choice they accept.

In his secret lab, the Puppet Master has spied on the entire exchange on a monitor. Actually, he was spying on Metro College because of the Human Torch but, accidentally, he came across the X-Men. This new super-being, the Puppet Master realizes, although not a mutant, combines all the X-Menís abilities within himself. The Puppet Master thinks that, by the time the team reaches their headquarters, he will have finished a radioactive puppet of the Mimic. First, heíll make him test his worth by battling the X-Men.

Not much later, Professor Xavier and his charges arrive at the school in Westchester. Calvin quickly gets out of the car, as he feels Warrenís wings sprouting on his back. No sooner does he step inside the building than his wings erupt, tearing through his shirt. He now once more possesses all of the X-Menís powers and intends to keep them this time.

While the Mimic changes into his own costume, the X-Men do the same, only they are new costumes, slightly redesigned versions of their old ones, a gift from Jean. They now have red belts and the shirts are not fully yellow anymore, but only on the front and backs. Additionally, Marvel Girl now only wears a face mask instead one that covered her entire head. The Mimic and Xavier join them, with an important announcement. Cyclops has asked to be relieved of his command of the X-Men and, instead, the Mimic will become deputy leader. Calvin thinks to himself that Xavier told him of the impending mutant menace and so he needs him. Also, as he never would take orders from the others, he had to make him team leader.

Right then, the Puppet Master has finished the doll resembling the Mimic and starts to use his strange power on it. In the school, Xavier is just about to suggest that the Mimic trains together with the other X-Men, as the Mimic falls prey to the Puppet Master. Xavier notes the change, as Calvin acts even more aggressive than before and hopes that the X-Men can stop him.

(present)
On his video screen, the Puppet Master watched the Mimic defeat the X-Men and is sure that even Professor X is unable to stop him, as the Mimic has the same amount of telepathy at his dismay. He only needs to locate the Fantastic Four and vengeance will finally be his. He orders the Mimic to depart. At the school, Xavier tries to convince Calvin that an outside force is controlling him, but he doesnít believe the professor and, claiming to just need a breath of fresh air, he leaves.

Soon, as the X-Men come around, Xavier reveals that he influenced them, to subconsciously hold their punches, as he wanted whoever controls the Mimic to believe they were defeated and would no longer monitor their actions. By now, he has even has deduced the identity of the villain; it has to be the Puppet Master. Also, Xavier has been able to track his base by his radioactive brainwaves to a location not too far away. He needs to be stopped, quickly. Within minutes, the X-Men board their jetcopter and depart. Xavier remains behind, scanning mentally for the Mimic.

However, Calvin has erected a mental shield that avoids detection and he secretly follows the X-Menís copter. He is not sure if his powers are permanent yet, so he wants to keep close to them X-Men. While doing so, he begins to wonder why he even fought with the team.

Another unexpected element enters the scene, as Warren has gotten up and put on his costume. Xavier begs him not to go, but Warren feels that he must. Still too weak to fly, he takes his mustang from the garage, which, fortunately, is equipped with a device to follow the X-copter. As he looks after him, Xavier realizes that, up till now, they all thought Warren was just a spoiled rich kid, but now he is possibly the bravest X-Man of all.

The other X-Men have already landed and approach a half-hidden viaduct, the Puppet masterís secret hideout. Once they enter the base, an alarm goes off and the Puppet Master turns on his video screen, only to see the intruders entering. For in finding him, the X-Men have sealed their doom, as he activates his biggest puppet ever, something he designed after he met the Mad Thinker.

Moments later, amidst they many corridors of the villainís lair, the X-Men find themselves face to face with the Defender, a giant android. Cyclops tries his optic beam on the creature, but it absorbs the blast and then redirects it at the mutants through his chest plate. The X-Men scatter and leaps out of the way. Bouncing off the wall, the Beast aims for the Defender, but its skin is of such fabric, that he simply is repelled, as if he jumped onto a trampoline. The android is also too heavy for Jeanís telekinesis and when Bobby uses his ice, it simply gets absorbed and then hurled back at them once more through the Defenderís chest plate.

Cyclops finally comes up with an efficient solution, as he blasts a hole beneath the Defender and, once the android plunges from sight, the X-Men proceed further into the base. Bobby wonders what the villain needs the Mimic for when he such an android at his disposal but Cyclops guesses that itís because the Defender was too unmaneuverable. The Puppet master congratulates him on this astute deduction, though itís the last one heíll ever make. Holding up the puppet of the Mimic, the Puppet Master once more controls the newest X-Man, who immediately joins the assembled group. He approaches the X-Men stating that now heíll finish them off for good. The four mutants try to reason with him, while Scott wonders how he can still have the Angelís wings.

Outside, Warren too has reached the base. He is nearly fainting, but a few seconds ago he saw the Mimic enter, so he too has to, praying that he isnít too late. Inside, Calvin is struggling with himself. The voice tells him to destroy the X-men but he hesitates and tries to fight back. When the Angel silently arrives, he sees the Puppet Master holding up his little doll and, with a swift leap, wrests it from him and smashes it. Warren passes out, while the Mimic is fully released from the mental hold. He realizes that he almost became a murderer, if not for the Angel. The Puppet Master slips away while the X-Men tend to their unconscious friend. The Mimic, however, stands silently apart, well aware that he will always live in the shadow of other men, as none of his powers is truly his own.

Characters:
Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl, Professor Charles Xavier (all X-Men)

Mimic / Calvin Rankin
Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch (both former Avengers)
Spider-Man

Zelda, Bobbyís girlfriend
Vera Cantor, Hankís girlfriend
Ted Roberts
other students at Metro College

Puppet Master
The Defender

Notes:
Cyclops accidentally hit the Angel with one of his optic blasts while the X-Men were fighting Kukulcan in San Rico last issue.

The mystery regarding Tedís brother Ralph is solved in X-Men (1st series) #31.

The X-Men encountered the Calvin Rankin, aka the Mimic, in X-Men (1st series) #19. In the end, his powers were taken away by a machine and Xavier erased his memory of the incident.

The Puppet Master learned what the X-Menís leader looks like from the Mad Thinker in Fantastic Four (1st series) #28.

The great mutant menace that Xavier was talking about, no doubt, is Factor Three, who will bother the X-Men over the next issues.

As members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch battled the X-Men several times in X-Men (1st series) #4-7 & 11. They later joined the Avengers but, when their powers started to wane, they left the team and returned to their native Transia in Avengers (1st series) #30. Some sort of ray therapy restored their abilities in Avengers (1st series) #32.

The last double date of Hank and Bobby with Vera and Zelda occurred in X-Men (1st series) #22.

In his civilian identity, Spider-Man, aka Peter Parker, works as a photographer for the Daily Bugle.

Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, enrolled at Metro College in Fantastic Four (1st series) #50, though currently he is in the Himalayas, trying to rescue his love Crystal who, among the other Inhumans, is trapped within their city that is surrounded by an impenetrable force shield.

This Issue has been reprinted in:
X-Men Omnibus Vol. 1 (Trade Paperback)
Essential Classic X-Men Vol. 2 (Trade Paperback)
Marvel Masterworks: X-Men Vol. 3 (HC) (Trade Paperback)

Giant Size X-Men #3
X-Men (1st series) #75

Issue Summary written by: Peter Luzifer


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