Comics
Published August 17, 2023

Meet Gimmick, the Dark X-Men's New Recruit

Who is Gimmick? Meet Carmen Maria Cruz, a shapeshifting mutant who graduated from the Children of the Atom to the Dark X-Men just in time for 'Fall of X.'

Following the tumultuous events of the third annual Hellfire Gala, the FALL OF X is fully underway. Thanks to the dark machinations of Orchis, the X-Men have fallen, and mutantkind is now scattered to the winds. But despite the death of the X-Men, mutants still have champions—even if they come from the unlikeliest of places. 

Stepping up to fill the void, Madelyne Pryor—ruler of Limbo and clone of the late Jean Grey—has assembled a brand new team: the Dark X-Men. The team consists of Madelyne herself and plenty of morally questionable figures from the X-Men's past, including Emplate, Azazel, and even the former turncoat Zero

While the slate of returning characters provides plenty of fun, a surprising newcomer has also joined the Limbo Queen's team: a young mutant called Gimmick. Here's everything you need to know about this Puerto Rican teenager before she takes a walk on the dark side in DARK X-MEN (2023) #1 by Steve Foxe, Jonas Scharf, Frank Martin, and VC's Clayton Cowles.

GIMMICK'S HEROIC ASPIRATIONS

Carmen Maria Cruz, who also goes by Gimmick, only recently came into her own as a mutant. Before meeting Pryor's team, Carmen was a member of the Children of the Atom, a human vigilante group she formed with her friends. As ultra-fans of the X-Men, the teens styled themselves directly after them, with the five members taking on the names Cherub, Gimmick, Cyclops-Lass, Marvel Guy, and Daycrawler in obvious homage. 

Led by Cyclops-Lass, AKA Buddy Bartholemew, the group used alien technology and mutant paraphernalia sourced from the internet to pose as mutants and fight crime. Carmen herself closely imitated Gambit, creating a costume that mirrored his and using tools that replicated his powers. 

The group's ultimate goal was to join Krakoa—despite the fact none of them were actual mutants. The peak of their vigilante careers came when they defeated the Hell's Belles, a criminal cell of depowered mutants who once faced X-Factor. While this adventure had to be cut short to avoid running afoul of Kamala's Law—which outlawed teen heroes—it also saw the team finally meeting the real X-Men. 

However, after helping the X-Men defeat the mutant-harvesting U-Men in a later encounter, the veteran heroes learned that the Children of the Atom weren't mutants. As a result, the X-Men essentially told them to quit and go home.

GIMMICK'S MUTANT ORIGIN STORY

Demoralized, the group fractured even further when Storm herself came to visit, bearing an invite to the annual Hellfire Gala. As she revealed, the Children of the Atom actually did have a mutant on their team: Carmen. Carmen had been aware of her psionic shapeshifting power for some time, but didn't tell them because she was too scared of how her teammates would react. 

This initially drove a rift of distrust between them, but Carmen eventually reconciled with her friends, even getting a love confession from Buddy. The two girls became a couple right before Carmen left to begin her training on Krakoa. From then on, Carmen split her time between school during the week and the mutant island on weekends, joining the newest class of Bishop's War College. 

Grouped with other mutant trainees Greymalkin, Specter, D-Cel, and Kafka—who, combined, couldn't even scratch Transonic—it quickly dawned on Carmen that she was on a team of misfit D-listers. Still, in an effort to prove herself, Carmen came up with a plan to stop mutant delinquents Infestation and Snot when they turned up in New York City to terrorize humans with their powers. 

A natural leader, Carmen directed her teammates on how best to combine their powers, even giving herself a boost by finally upgrading her costume from "Gambit cosplay." Under her guidance, the trainees forced Infestation and Snot on the run—but, unfortunately, they ran straight into the sovereign territory of the Limbo embassy, marking Gimmick's first encounter with Pryor's domain.

GIMMICK ENTERS THE FALL OF X

After Orchis forced mutantkind to flee the Earth during this year's Hellfire Gala, Carmen was among those left behind. She managed to avoid the massacre thanks to her back-and-forth training schedule, meaning she wasn't on the island at the time. Unfortunately, this also means she is now subject to the full strength of Orchis' mutant crackdown, which has forced her to couch surf with her former teammates while disguised to stay safe. 

When Carmen arrived to hide at Buddy's house, her girlfriend's father saw her transform and called Orchis' Mutant Tipline, resulting in Gimmick's detainment. En route to an Orchis "re-education camp," Carmen was rescued by a small team consisting of Archangel, Gambit, and Maggott—almost. Her kidnappers quickly received reinforcements, and the group was soon overrun by Orchis foot soldiers, including a Wolverine android and a massive Stark Sentinel

Thankfully, Gimmick received a cavalry of her own in the form of Madelyne Pryor, Havok, Azazel, Zero, and Emplate. Combined, the group dispatched the Orchis forces and escaped, although Havok was severely wounded and Archangel was left behind in the process. Now Gimmick finds herself in league with the X-Men just like she always dreamed—although this probably isn't the particular team she imagined joining, especially during a time as desperate as the FALL OF X.

Catch Gimmick's terrifying first encounter with Orchis and Madelyne Pryor's X-Men in DARK X-MEN #1, on sale now!

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