Monday, May 14, 2012

Return to Mimic Mountain (Issue #27)

I warn you, this is an an issue full of "agains".
As the cover reveals, we again get to see The Mimic AND, as also seen on the cover, Marvel Girl is back in her weird-o mask. (Guess which of these I am more excited about!)

So, it looks like Cal Rankin's appearance in the previous issue wasn't just a red herring, but that he's going to make a command performance as the villain that no one in the world was clamoring to see more of. Sigh. Let's just do this....

We start smack-dab in the middle of some action: The X-Men are facing off against The Mimic. As is their way, the X-Men proceed to have their asses handed to them ... in the form of their own asses (MIMIC JOKE!)

Yes, Marvel Girl, constant studying and learning
makes MENTAL POWERS weaker!

But wait, this is no fight! It was some kind of exercise, merely a test. But before we can learn how or why, we're going to jump back in time and then slowly work our way up to this point. It's out-of-order storytelling that is an homage to Pulp Fiction.

The helpful narration bar sums it up:

One can only assume, from the use of "pussycat" that the narrator is the owl.

Outside of Jean's mask and possibly the team's belts changing color from yellow to red (which looks more like a printing error than anything else), I see nothing different between the old and the new costumes. And I've been REALLY looking. But, the bigger question is: Why am I so obsessed with the clothes in these X-Men books?! Is it because I'm the son of a costumer? Is it because, deep down, I have a here-to-for unrecognized passion for clothes? Should I apply to be on Project Runway? Would I be the drama queen if I did? Would everyone snipe behind my back about how I make the same dress for every challenge? Would Tim Gunn cry when it was time for me to "pack up my things and go home"? I just couldn't make it work, people....

SO, the X-Men return from thier South American fight with Kukulcan, only to be greeted by Professor X and another "again": It's the old, "The greatest enemy we've ever faced" gag!

"Hope you enjoyed your little vacation abroad, while I've
been home all day, slaving over a hot Cerebro for you!"

Meanwhile, ex-X-man-cum-co-ed [that looks like the phonetic description of a large work, doesn't it?] is hit in the face with yet another "again": The "Big Orange Drink" date

"But it took you 2 hours to complete your last three laps!
A girl's gotta get Big Orange Drink NOW!"

On their way from the pool (smelling slightly of chlorine, fallen-off band-aids, spiders, hair, and pee, no doubt [it was a public pool]) their Big Orange Plans are interrupted by the chem lab exploding. And, boom, just like the accident that caused his mimicry in the first place, Cal Rankin is given back him mimicking powers of mimicositude. It also returns his memory of who he is AND who the X-Men are. Now, since a freak chemical explosion of a similar kind gave him his powers in the first place, I'm gonna go ahead and count this as another "again" for the issue.

Back in Westchester, Professor X is working on some machine or other when one of the X-Men comments that he's not looking so well. The Professor shrugs it off by explaining that it's nothing ... it was just someone trying to mind-control him, but that's over now. La-de-dah. But WE know that it was some dude named The Puppet Master who was attempting to take over Xavier's mind.

But since "the greatest danger the X-Men have faced" - which is apparently NOT the same threat as the mind-invader, mind you! - is still out there, Prof X decides to send out his astral projection self to try and recruit some more mutants to join the X-Men. His brain finds Quicksilver and his sister/lover Scarlet Witch, but they say they've already joined the Avengers. Since super hero law prevents a double membership (incurring losses of team privileges, parking passes, and the 10% discount in the Avenger's gift shop), they respectfully decline.

When answering an alarm in the city, Iceman and Beast find that Spider-Man has already apprehended the bad guys.

Sadly, one of them was Garfunkel, who fell back on a life
of crime after his acting career failed.

Is this a "very special episode" of the X-Men? A lot of cameos are goin' on, here. Anyway, The Prof shoots Hank and Bobby a mental fax telling them to recruit Spider-Man. He doesn't give it more than a second's thought and declines. I'm starting to get the impression that the X-Men just don't get no respect in the Marvel universe.

Since this issue is all over the place, why WOULDN'T we now jump back to campus, where some of the other X-Men have arrived to pick up Jean. At this point, The Mimic pops up and is all, "I'm still a jerk!" and Xavier's all, "Let's take him back to the mansion!" and the readers are all, "I'm not sure where you're getting your logic from, but whatever!" and The Puppet Master (viewing this all on remote villain cam, channel 727 in HD - call your cable operator to get it!) is all, "That Mimic guy seems like a way better candidate for mind-control than Xavier, the guy known for having the strongest mind on the planet!"

It is back at the mansion where Jean announces that she has made new costumes for everyone ... which  look just like the old ones.

The rest of the team, knowing her sensitivity to her colorblindness, plays along.

Maybe it's not an aesthetic upgrade? Maybe these have better wicking and less chaffing? Maybe they are HyperColor and will turn a slightly darker shade of yellow, as they sweat?

Not to be outdone in the gift-giving department, Professor Xavier then announces that his gift to them all is that he has made The Mimic the new leader of the X-Men. Not to be outdone in the gift-giving department, The Puppet Master then takes over The Mimic's mind.

And now we have caught up to where we were at the beginning of the issue. It sure took a long, long, convoluted road to get here, but I KNEW it would totally pay off.... Ugh, I hate this issue.

So, as we know, The Mimic beats the X-Men. But The Puppet Master is not interested in the X-Men, but in defeating the Fantastic Four, so he orders The Mimic to fly away to get those guys, instead. Prof X then uses his brain powers to somehow STAR-69 The Puppet Master's brain and sends the X-Men out to get him. A confrontation is about to happen, but the still-injured Angel [*see last ish - Ed.] staggers in and smashes the  puppet that The Puppet Master is using to control The Mimic.

At this point, the issue just kinda fizzles out, with someone mumbling something about The Puppet Master getting away. I still hate this issue.

Now, what I don't understand (besides why this issue is so terrible) is that when Prof X said what he said about "worst enemy we've faced", who was he talking about? It couldn't have been The Mimic, because they'd already faced him once. And it just COULDN'T have been The Puppet Master because, well, come on! That guy was a joke! Maybe there is still something "coming" and it's setting up a future issue? Maybe it's like "winter" in those damnable Song Of Fire And Ice books ... always coming, never here?

This one-off issue was pretty ... one-awful! Wordplay!

OK, OK, there was ONE nice moment:

Maybe you should mimic someone who
doesn't whine like a little baby?
The very last panel had a slightly interesting moment. Heartbreaking realization by The Mimic that he can never be anything but the shadow of others. Don't Cry For Him, Mimictina. Or do. I'm not sure, I've never seen Evita.

TOTAL NUMBER OF "AGAINS": I gave up caring a while ago. Sorry!

Want to read along? These stories are contained in:
Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men Volume 3