Wolverine’s mysterious doppelganger reveals to the Hulk that he is really Calvin Rankin AKA The Mimic. The Hulk is surprised as he was present when the Mimic died. Rankin explains that he almost died and that his survival is a long story. He decides to start at the beginning and recounts his origin.
Mimic’s father was a scientist named Ronald Rankin who was involved in dangerous experiments that his son did not fully understand. One day while his father was away, young Calvin entered his father’s lab which was forbidden. His curiosity got the best of him. While in the lab, he knocked over a beaker and breathed in the gas that filled the room. He left the lab seemingly unaffected. Over the next few months, strange things began to happen to Calvin. He got into a fighting with the captain of the boxing team and won, he became the best player in every sport and his grades improved dramatically as he suddenly knew as much as his teachers. When his father learned what had happened, he moved them into seclusion in a cave where he tried in vain to cure his son. Rankin explains to the Hulk that this was the same cave where they met for the first time. His father died in the explosion set to seal the cave off.
His father’s death filled Rankin with a desire for vengeance. He briefly dated a woman named Vera Cantor and flew into a rage when she began seeing Hank McCoy. Rankin fought both McCoy and his friend, Bobby Drake in a jealous fit. He found himself accessing their mutant powers and recognized them as members of the mutant X-Men.
He then absorbed the powers of Jean Grey who was attending the same college as him. He sought to prove his power by destroying the X-Men. When he was defeated, he kidnapped Marvel Girl and fled to the cave where he had lived with his father. The cave contained a device that Rankin’s father designed to strip him of his powers. When the X-Men caught up with him, Xavier erased the Mimic’s memories of his encounter with the X-Men.
A subsequent lab accident at school restored the Mimic’s powers and he became the pawn of the Puppet Master who forced him to battle the X-Men once more. After this encounter, the Mimic joined the X-Men and served briefly as the team’s leader. But a battle against the Super-Adaptoid once again negated Rankin’s powers and he left the group.
After leaving the X-Men, Calvin began to realize that his powers must be inherent. He reveals to the Hulk that his father had been involved in the Weapon Alpha/Weapon Omega project funded by the Canadian government. Ronald Rankin had experimented on himself as part of his research. This is why he felt so deeply responsible for his son’s mutation. Realizing this, the Mimic sought help. He found it from Dr. Henry McCoy AKA the Beast who had traveled to Canada with Rankin’s old flame, Vera Cantor.
He explained to McCoy how unstable his powers had become and that their potency seemed to be increasing each time they reappeared. The range was increasing as well. The Mimic feared that his power would expand and potentially harm others. The Beast devised a way to remove the Mimic’s powers but as Rankin was undergoing the treatment, the Hulk came within range of his power and was weakened by the Mimic’s absorption powers. The brutish Hulk sought out the source and tried to destroy it. The Beast kept the Hulk at bay until the Mimic stepped in. His powers had changed once more and he used them to absorb enough of the Hulk’s gamma radiation to kill himself. The Hulk, Beast and Vera all believed that Rankin had perished as a result of radiation poisoning.
Shortly after Mimic’s “death”, Wolverine came into range of his absorption field. Rankin began to heal himself as he copied Logan’s powers, though he did not understand where they come from initially. Rankin recovered and found that all his other powers had faded. He soon realized that his powers had evolved once more. In addition to mimicking Wolverine’s abilities, he was also taking on his appearance as well. This was a completely new dynamic to his mimicry powers!
Calvin believed that his reaction to Wolverine’s powers was related to his father’s early experiments. He discovered notes on his father’s work that indicated that he was experimenting with Adamantium and had even infused his own body with the nigh-indestructible substance prior to Calvin’s birth. Rankin theorized that this connection with Wolverine might be due to his father’s experiments, perhaps enhanced by the gamma radiation he had absorbed from the Hulk just prior to his initial contact with Wolverine.
The Hulk realizes that none of what the Mimic has done recently is truly his fault. A voice from the shadows agrees whole-heartedly. As Logan steps from the shadows, he says that it sounds like they’re the ones to blame, or he is at the very least. The Hulk is surprised to see that Wolverine is alive as well and asks how he managed it. Before Logan can answer, Mimic realizes who this is and tenses up. Logan says he came back to help him, but the Mimic has popped his claws and threatens to help Wolverine “right into your grave!” He blames Wolverine for screwing up his entire life and vows to make him pay for it with his own.