Mystique (Raven Darkhölme) is a fictional character associated with the Marvel Comics‘ franchise X-Men. Originally created by artist David Cockrum and writer Chris Claremont, she first appeared in Ms. Marvel #16.
Throughout most of her history, Mystique has been a supervillain, founding her own Brotherhood of Mutants and assassinating several important people involved in mutant affairs. Mystique herself is a mutant, a shapeshifter whose natural appearance includes blue skin and yellow eyes. At one point, she mentions that she is over 100 years old. Mystique is the mother of the villain Graydon Creed, the X-Men hero Nightcrawler, and adoptive mother of the heroine Rogue. She is forced to abandon Nightcrawler, but raises Rogue for a number of years, and the two women have mixed feelings towards one another.
Despite Mystique’s history of crime, she works with the X-Men’s Professor X in a short-lived series. She is later voted straight into the X-Men.
Actress Rebecca Romijn portrayed Mystique in first three of the X-Men films. In the 2011 film, X-Men: First Class, Jennifer Lawrence plays the role of a young Mystique (with Romijn making a cameo appearance). In 2009, Mystique was ranked as IGN‘s 18th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.
Mystique was originally created by artist Dave Cockrum. Writer Chris Claremont saw Cockrum’s design, dubbed the character “Mystique”, and with Cockrum’s permission, she first appeared in Ms. Marvel No.16 (May 1978).
Former X-Men writer Claremont has stated that he originally intended Mystique and Destiny to be Nightcrawler’s biological parents (with Mystique having morphed into a man for the act of conception), but Marvel didn’t agree, because at that time the Comics Code Authority and Marvel policy prohibited the explicit portrayal of gay or bisexual characters. Much later, the two were confirmed to have been a couple.
Despite the fact that Mystique’s exact age remains unknown, her earliest meeting with her lover Destiny is stated to have occurred somewhere around “the dawn of the 20th century.”
Destiny (Irene Adler) is a Marvel Comics fictional character, known as an adversary of the X-Men. Created by writer Chris Claremont and artist/co-writer John Byrne, the character first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #141 (January 1981). She died in Uncanny X-Men #255 and was resurrected with a techno-organic virus during the 2009 Necrosha event.
Although blind, Destiny was a mutant precognitive able to accurately predict future events. She filled several diaries with the future history of mutantkind, the search for which was a main storyline in the 2000s (decade) series X-Treme X-Men, years after Destiny died.
As far back as 1981, Claremont had intended Destiny to be the lover of Brotherhood of Mutants teammate Mystique, and had originally intended for Destiny and Mystique to be Nightcrawler‘s biological parents, with Mystique taking the form of a man for the conception. However, at that time, the Comics Code Authority and Marvel policy prohibited the explicit portrayal of gay or bisexual characters. Destiny was simply referred to as the only member of the new Brotherhood that Mystique saw as a friend; all the other members being male and prone to arguing amongst each other. Much later, the two were confirmed to have been a couple.
Irene Adler was born in Salzburg, Austria. Mystique was working as a consulting detective when Destiny sought her help in understanding the precognitive visions recorded in her diaries. During this time, the two fell in love. Background details suggest that this meeting took place around 1900.
She was more accurate in predicting near-future events concerning her present environment. In a period of 12 months during her adolescence, Irene had produced 13 volumes of prophecies concerning the late 20th and early 21st centuries. When that period ended, Irene was left physically blind and haunted by disturbing images of uncertain meaning. She enlisted Raven’s services in pursuit of two goals: the deciphering of her recorded prophecies and a mission to prevent the most terrifying of them from ever being fulfilled.
The two women would soon become lifelong friends and lovers. They both discovered that their set goals were difficult to achieve. Their abilities would easily allow them to achieve personal success but to shape the future was stated to be “next to impossible” as it would require “social engineering.” Although they remained romantically involved for years to come, there were periods in which the two women were separated from one another, allowing them both to have other romantic relationships and even families.
Together, the two would later raised adopted daughter Rogue in their home in fictional Caldecott County, Mississippi. They remained together until Destiny’s death.
The Books of Truth
Years after her death it was revealed that when Destiny’s mutant power first manifested she filled several diaries called “The Books of Truth” with prophecies of the future that, when in the wrong hands, posed the greatest threat to humanity ever known. Guarded by Destiny’s companion Mystique for years, some of the volumes later came into the possession of Professor Charles Xavier. However, a team of X-Men, fearing that absolute knowledge of the future would lead their mentor to a temptation the world could not afford, exiled themselves from their home and teammates in order to hunt down the remaining Books of Truth, in the hope that they can locate the prophecies before Xavier or someone worse does.[volume & issue needed]
This team of X-Treme X-Men spent some time searching for Destiny’s diaries, and found the rest of them, yet these became apparently useless when a prediction in one of them was prevented from taking place. However, after the event known as House of M, the diaries were sought out again by Mister Sinister, who believes that one of the books contain information on the eventual fate of mutant-kind in the wake of Decimation. For that mission, he used the Acolytes to obtain Destiny’s Diaries. Exodus and his Acolytes attacked the Xavier Institute only to find forgeries of the books. The real diaries were actually hidden in Flint, Michigan by Shadowcat and Emma Frost. However, all the books were burned to ashes by Gambit before the Marauders or the X-Men could read them.[volume & issue needed]
After getting hold of the Technarch transmode virus, Selene resurrected Destiny so she could question Irene about what her future holds. After telling Selene what she wants to hear, Destiny is taken back to her cell, where she telepathically contacts Blindfold by accident when she was trying to reach her foster daughter Rogue. After showing Blindfold she means no harm and saving her life from falling rubble caused by Warpath, she gives Blindfold information about Selene. However, after breaking contact, she realizes she may have made a grave mistake.
The mistake is revealed to be Proteus who is now in possession of Blindfold. Rogue, along with a group of X-Men go to Muir Island to battle Proteus, and it is through the combined efforts of Rogue, Magneto and Psylocke that he is defeated. Afterwards Destiny explains to Blindfold that she is not her mother, as the other previously considered, but a distant relative. Destiny then takes a moment to share a final good-bye with her foster daughter, before eventually leaving in order to supposedly die at the end of the storyline.
During the Chaos War, Moira MacTaggart, Thunderbird, Banshee, Esme and Sophie of the Stepford Cuckoos, and Multiple Man‘s fallen clones are resurrected and appear on the former grounds of the X-Men school. There, Moira MacTaggart finds one of Destiny’s diaries which contains a passage depicting the events of the war and apparently the key to defeating Amatsu-Mikaboshi. It is also revealed that she is the same Irene Adler of Sherlock Holmes‘s stories. After Thunderbird prayed to the Thunderbird God to teleport the group away from the attacking Carrion Crow, Thunderbird and the group learned that Moira has been possessed by Destiny’s ghost.
Power and abilities
Destiny was a mutant that had the ability of psionic precognition, to see future probabilities and interpret them to best select or manipulate what was likely to happen. This allowed her to compensate for her blindness by seeing where objects in her path would be. The accuracy of Destiny’s ability to foresee the future decreases in direct proportion to the distance ahead in time.
She carried a small crossbow with her that she used offensively, and had good aim because she “saw” where it would land in her precognitive visions.
In Necrosha, Destiny was shown to utilize telepathic abilities as she mentally searched for Rogue (instead finding Blindfold) and then projecting her image into Blindfold’s mind. This was explained later that she had fragments of the mutant Proteus inside her.[volume & issue needed] After making physical contact with Blindfold, Proteus appeared to take full possession of Blindfold and vacate Destiny’s body. As such, she may or may not still have telepathy.
Early espionage activities and contacts
The decades-long quest[clarification needed] of Mystique and Destiny apparently required them to constantly travel. They encountered Shadowcat and Rachel Summers, who had time traveled from the future and sought to prevent a plot by Nazi agents Baron Wolfgang von Strucker and Geist, “Ghost”, a member of Nazi intelligence, and their ally Amahl Farouk, Shadow King. The three had conspired to question the rights of the British Monarch to the throne and then to replace him with Oswald Mosley of the British Fascist Party, a likely ally for Nazi Germany. Irene and Raven contacted an acquaintance of theirs, called Logan, to help the time travelers.
Irene and Raven advised Shadowcat and Logan against proceeding in their contemplated assassination of Adolf Hitler and other prominent leaders and officials of the Nazi Party. Raven was laconic in only stating: “All of us have learned to kill, Logan. But more importantly, we have learned not to kill. And to know the difference.”
At some point, Raven reportedly lost contact with Irene. She managed to locate her working as an archivist in the Alamogordo nuclear research facilities in New Mexico. Raven was uncertain of Irene’s motivation, but apparently trusted her enough not to press for answers.
Raven meets Victor Creed, the man known as Sabretooth. At the time, she uses the identity of deceased German secret agent Leni Zauber. Both Leni and Victor had been assigned with the assassination of a scientist in East Berlin. Raven completes the mission in place of Leni, and then she and Victor have to hide in a safe location for a while. They became lovers, but she soon fakes her death in order to leave him.
The result of this short-lived affair is reportedly the birth of Graydon Creed, her earliest known child. A number of stories report that soon after his birth, Raven gives him up for adoption. Others depict Mystique making arrangements for him from a distance. Graydon reportedly spends most of his childhood in a boarding school.
Raven keeps track of his activities until he reaches adolescence. Being the child of two mutants, Graydon assumes he is a mutant himself. However, he eventually proves to be a Homo Sapien instead of a Homo Superior. Raven is disappointed and soon abandons him. Graydon grows to hate his parents, and eventually extends his hatred to all mutants.
He later becomes leader of the mutant-hating organization Friends of Humanity, and then a politician. Graydon, at the height of his political ascension, was assassinated by an unknown shooter. The shooter was later revealed to be a time traveling version of Mystique, as part of a convoluted time paradox involving Jean Grey, Iceman, Toad, and Juggernaut.
For several years Mystique was also reported to be the mother of Nightcrawler, but the exact events were uncertain. Much later another writer, Chuck Austen, eventually revealed that the father was a demonic-looking mutant from biblical times called Azazel.
At that time, Raven is married to Baron Christian Wagner; older sources give his name as Count Eric Wagner, an affluent member of German nobility. He proves to be a loving husband, but rather disappointing as a lover. His infertility adds to their marital problems. Raven starts using her shapeshifting powers in order to secretly have sexual encounters with others. She is apparently both seeking sexual satisfaction and attempting to conceive another child. She is eventually seduced by fellow mutant Azazel.
Azazel states that he is ruler of “an island nation off the coast of Bermuda: La Isla des Demonas,” The Island of Demons. He is apparently able to disguise his appearence (although is not a shapeshifter like Mystique), and also has the power of teleportation. He is later revealed to also have the power of immortality and to be the father of an ancient race of mutants known as the Neyaphem, active since at least 2000 BC.
His natural form is that of a young man with black hair, yellow eyes, red skin, and a pointed tail. He later claimed to have been posing as a demon and to have used many aliases: “Because I am Semihazah, Duma, Keriel, Mastema, Beliar, Gadreel, and Beelzebub. And most commonly called Satan.” Many of these aliases have also been claimed by several notable true demons of the Marvel Universe.
Raven soon becomes pregnant. Her husband becomes suspicious and his own father suggests a blood test to verify if the child is his. Mystique uses a dagger to murder him and then buries him. She eventually gives birth to a young boy with black hair, yellow eyes, blue skin, and a pointed tail. The locals consider the mother and child to be demons, and attempt to kill them. Mystique manages to escape but abandons her second known son. He is found and raised by Gypsy sorceress Margali Szardos and named Kurt Wagner.
Mystique later becomes the adoptive mother of the girl Rogue, when she was just four years old. Rogue had run away from her home in rural Caldecott County, Mississippi. The girl was living alone in a wooded area, brandishing a shotgun and trusting no one when Mystique found her. Destiny foresees that Rogue will be important to them and Mystique seeks her out, gains her trust, and takes her in. She and Destiny raise the girl over approximately a decade, and Mystique grows to be very protective of her.
Mystique had concealed her superhuman powers and criminal intentions so well over the years that, as Raven Darkhölme, she is able to rise rapidly through the United States Civil Service to the trusted position of Deputy Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the United States Department of Defense. This position gives her access to military secrets and to advanced weaponry, both of which she uses for her own criminal and subversive purposes.
In this position, she attempts the theft of the Centurion weaponry from S.H.I.E.L.D. She also beat Ms. Marvel‘s lover Michael Barnett to death, and sought to kill Ms. Marvel.
To help her in her criminal activities, Mystique organizes her own incarnation of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, which originally consisted of herself, Avalanche, the Blob, Destiny, and Pyro. This incarnation of the Brotherhood first gains notoriety when it attempts to assassinate Senator Robert Kelly, a notoriously anti-mutant politician.
The X-Men battle the Brotherhood and thus thwart the assassination attempt, thereby averting a series of events which would have resulted in the death of most super-powered humans, and the subjugation of North America by the mutant-hunting robots, the Sentinels (as chronicled in the “Days of Future Past” storyline). The Brotherhood later clashed with the X-Men on other occasions.
Rogue is trained by Mystique and eventually joins the Brotherhood. Her mutant power is the ability to absorb the psyche, memories, personality, strengths, and any skills or powers of whomever she touches. Rogue proves to be a powerful member of the team. She goes on many missions with the Brotherhood and, with her help, the team is almost able to defeat the Avengers.
On a mission with the Avengers, Rogue fights Carol Danvers, Ms. Marvel. Rogue tries stealing Carol’s powers, but Carol fights too hard and Rogue ends up absorbing Carol’s memories and powers permanently, while Carol is left an empty shell. Professor Xavier later restores Carol’s memories, but not the emotions that went with them.
Rogue, meanwhile, feels like she is losing her mind, grappling with Danvers’ psyche and at times not knowing which memories are really hers. Feeling like she is in danger of losing control of herself, Rogue runs away from home and seeks help from the X-Men, hoping that Professor X will be able to treat her. While the other X-Men are initially hesitant in accepting their former enemy, Xavier welcomes her and gives her a spot on the team.
Worried that Rogue has left because Xavier has brainwashed her, Mystique goes to rescue her, leading an attack on the X-Men. Rogue stops her, saying that she has left of her own free will. Mystique is doubtful and hurt, but Rogue ultimately convinces her by saying that Xavier was probably the only person who could help with her powers and give her a chance at a normal life, as she feared the absorbed personality of Carol Danvers would otherwise drive her insane.
Mystique grudgingly agrees and lets Rogue stay with the X-Men. Though she remains close to Rogue, coming to help her at times, Mystique comes to resent Xavier.
Mystique is captured by Carol Danvers at the Pentagon at one point. She leads the Brotherhood in clashes with Dazzler, and leads the Brotherhood in battle with the X-Men as well. Mystique later visits Forge, and protests Henry Peter Gyrich‘s use of Forge’s neutralizer.
Later, anti-mutant sentiment among normal humans rises and the federal government launches its own covert anti-mutant program, Project Wideawake. Believing that the times have become too dangerous for the Brotherhood to continue its criminal activities, Mystique goes to Doctor Valerie Cooper, special assistant to the head of the National Security Council, and offers the Brotherhood’s services to the government.
Cooper agrees to convey the offer to the President on the condition that the Brotherhood passes a test she imposes: the capture of Magneto. The Brotherhood, now renamed Freedom Force, succeeds in bringing Magneto to the authorities, though only because he voluntarily surrenders to them so he can go on trial for his crimes and soon afterward officially enter the government’s employ.
In return for entering government service as Freedom Force’s leader, Mystique and her team receive a presidential pardon for all criminal charges against them, but the pardon would be revoked if any member of Freedom Force were found committing a crime.
Mystique leads Freedom Force in capturing the Avengers on behalf of the federal government.She clashes with X-Factor in seeking to arrest Rusty Collins. With Freedom Force, she fights the X-Men in Dallas, and is present at the X-Men’s apparent demise. With Freedom Force, she battles Cyclops and Marvel Girl.
With Freedom Force she seeks to arrest Rusty Collins again, and battles the New Mutants. She finally succeeds in capturing Collins as well as Skids. She leads Freedom Force against the Reavers on Muir Island. On this particularly disastrous mission, Freedom Force loses two of its members, Stonewall and Mystique’s lover Destiny.
The death of her lover leaves Mystique psychologically scarred, and she never truly recovers.
Mystique is later nearly killed by Dr. Valerie Cooper, who is under the Shadow King‘s mental control. She then impersonates Dr. Valerie Cooper. Mystique is eventually discovered impersonating Dr. Cooper, and saves Xavier’s life by killing the Shadow King’s human host, Jacob Reisz. She finally reconciles with Rogue.
In time, she comes to terms with Destiny’s death.She teams with Spiral and Wolverine in thwarting Mojo‘s near-destruction of the universe. Mystique later briefly stays as a guest at Xavier’s mansion. She begins going insane, and leaves the mansion under the care of Forge.
Mystique resurfaces several months later, in a failed attempt to kill Legion for his murdering of Destiny. Mystique has an implant put in her skull by Forge in order for the government to be able to keep track of her. She is then forced to become a member of the government-sponsored team X-Factor after being arrested for trying to blow up a dam.
In truth, Mystique had been trying to save the dam, which the U.S. Government wanted to destroy it so that they could blame it on mutants. She joins coincidentally to the departure of X-Factor member Wolfsbane. Her membership leads to tension with her teammates when Sabretooth is added to the team months later as a sleeper agent, for the main purpose of killing Mystique before she could uncover the truth about the conspiracy she had discovered. She slowly develops a romantic relationship with team-leader Forge (though he later thought that she was just using him).[volume & issue needed]
Part of the conspiracy involves Mystique’s son Graydon Creed running for President, under an anti-mutant platform.[volume & issue needed]
At the same time, both Graydon and Mystique learn that her lover Destiny had married and had children during one of the couple’s separations. Irene’s children are now adults with their own children, one of which is a mutant. Graydon has the mutant teen savagely beaten by members of the Friends of Humanity, as a warning towards his mother. Mystique is furious and wants to kill her son, but stops when she is given a message that Graydon’s backers want her to kill him and turn her son into a martyr.
Mystique then seeks to save her son from being betrayed by his backers, but fails miserably. Graydon dies and his death ushers in a new wave of anti-mutant violence. Ultimately, Sabretooth acts on his orders to kill the members of X-Factor as “Operation Zero Tolerance” is activated. Even though she could have left her teammates to die, Mystique attacks Sabretooth, an act of intervention that distracts Sabretooth long enough to keep him from finishing off the already injured team. Mystique then flees the scene after arranging for the members of X-Factor to receive emergency medical treatment for the wounds Sabretooth inflicted.[volume & issue needed]
Mystique goes into hiding, taking the identity of the senator’s wife Mallory Brickman, using her husband’s influence to set the FBI on Sabretooth. She prevents Rogue from giving up her mutant powers and she continues her investigation of the U.S. Government over her son’s death, leading to her aiding Toad and his most recent incarnation of the Brotherhood of Mutants on a mission to raid a government base. The mission fails thanks to Machine Man, who fights the Brotherhood and forces the team to flee. Mystique flees to Europe, at which point her life changes dramatically. While taking the form of a blonde haired woman during a trip to the beach, Mystique is confronted by a famous photographer who tells the mutant that he wants to make her the next big fashion model.[volume & issue needed]
Amused, Mystique accepts and quickly becomes the fashion industry’s newest top model. Using her money, Mystique moves back to New York and into an expensive penthouse apartment. At peace, Mystique buys a telescope and uses it to take in her penthouse’s view of New York. This proves to be a huge mistake, as a nearby building is being used by Skrulls loyal to Apocalypse to build the machinery needed for an upcoming scheme of the villains. When one of the Skrulls catches Mystique by her window with her telescope, they assume the worst and frame Mystique for the murder of a Japanese diplomat. With help from Shadowcat and Rogue, Mystique is cleared and leaves town. However, before she leaves, Shadowcat finds one of Destiny’s diaries, left there by Destiny herself before she died.[volume & issue needed]
Mystique then reaches a breakthrough regarding her investigation of the U.S. conspiracy against mutant-kind, but fate causes Mystique to suffer a massive blow. While gaining the critical intelligence on the identity of those who were involved in her son’s death and the attempt to kill her via Sabretooth, Mystique suddenly loses her powers while pretending to be a man in a busy office workplace.
Arrested, Mystique’s life is torn apart as the U.S. Government acts on their intelligence regarding Mystique, and uses it to destroy all of the alternate identities that Mystique has established over the years and arrange for Mystique to be unable to access any of the money she and Destiny had hidden away over the years.
This causes Mystique to lose any self-control she might once have had, as the loss of her powers and the loss of her freedom causes her to lash out at everyone around her. Most notably, Rogue feels the brunt of her mother’s wrath as Rogue has no sympathy for Mystique’s plight. The relationship sours most notably when Rogue refuses to tell Mystique that the X-Men are going to fight the High Evolutionary, who was responsible for depowering all mutants, in order to restore everyone’s powers. The X-Men defeat Evolutionary and restore everyone’s powers, allowing Mystique to escape jail.
Mystique is later sent back in time by the original X-Factor’s sentient ship. Raven finds that she is destined to be part of a great time paradox, where she finds herself with a time delay weapon, which she is about to program to kill Graydon. Mystique is confused, because she remembers that she set up the weapon, but never got around to programming it. After some deliberation, she decides to activate the weapon to kill Graydon.
Mystique’s sanity is further damaged by the revelation that her lover and soulmate Destiny was one of the founding members of the anti-mutant conspiracy Mystique had dedicated countless years to fighting, and had willfully withheld medical treatment to mutant children that would have resulted in them not growing up deformed due to their mutations.
This led to Raven once again going mad, due to the futility of her mission to change the world for the better. Raven becomes nihilistically obsessed with death and genocide, as she reforms the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants for another assassination attempt on Senator Kelly, and kidnaps Moira MacTaggert and impersonates her in order to access her research on the Legacy Virus.
While not the gifted scientist that Moira was, Mystique’s insanity and experience with bio-terrorism allows her not only to use samples of Moira’s Legacy Virus infected blood to create a biological weapon that would infect humans and not mutants, but most importantly, allows her to come up with a cure for the Legacy Virus after repeated readings of all of the doctor’s research which, when filtered through Mystique’s insane mind, results in her being able to pick up on insights that Moira had missed when researching.
The assassination attempt on Kelly ends in failure, when the mutant villain Pyro betrays his teammates to save Kelly’s life. Mystique blows up MacTaggert’s research facility, fatally injuring the doctor. Mystique then shoots Moira’s foster daughter Wolfsbane with a prototype of Forge’s neutralizer gun, depowering her.
Rogue arrives and confronts her mother. When Mystique reveals her plan to Rogue of using a modified form of the Legacy Virus on the humans, Rogue realizes that her mother is ill and tries to help her. Mystique pretends to accept Rogue’s help before stabbing her in the gut.
As Mystique confronts the other X-Men, Rogue’s healing factor revives her. Sneaking behind Mystique, Rogue uses the bone claws she had absorbed from Wolverine and stabs her in the back.
Mystique is hospitalized, where she tells the X-Men that Destiny had predicted a dark future for mutant-kind, and that the future Destiny foretold kept on unfolding despite all that Mystique had done to prevent it. She believes that the only way to save them is to get rid of the humans, for a planet of mutants might survive, while mutants divided against each other and with humanity shunning them as outcasts would be doomed.
Mystique is sent to prison, but quickly escapes. She then allies herself with Martinique Jason, the daughter of the original Mastermind, in an attempt to wrest control of the military organization known as the X-Corps from its founder, Banshee. Outfitted with a device that gives her the ability to generate an electrical charge, Mystique creates the identity of a supervillain named Surge and joins the X-Corps. While Mastermind’s daughter mind-controls the other members of the organization, Mystique brings Banshee’s organization down and slits his throat, leaving him in critical condition.
Charles Xavier is later forced to make Mystique his secret agent, as his previous one, Prudence Leighton, has died and Mystique is the only one suitable enough to complete the missions. Xavier poses as Magneto to rescue Mystique from the Department of Homeland Security and from execution at the hands of Johny Kitano, Special Magistrate for Homo Superior crimes against humanity, and a mutant himself.
At this time, Mystique claims that there is an imposter out to frame her, taking control over the Brotherhood and sending them on their recent missions (the assassination of Moira and the infiltration of X-Corps). Whether she is speaking the truth has not been revealed.
The two never truly trust each other, but as long as Mystique completes the missions without killing anybody, Xavier keeps her safe from the authorities, who are out to execute her. Working with Xavier is Forge, with whom Mystique had a brief romance while she was in X-Factor.
One of Xavier’s enemies, the Quiet Man, who is actually Prudence Leighton inhabiting the body of her assassin, contacts Mystique and offers to give her an interference transmitter which would keep her safe from the authorities, the same type of device Xavier is using, if she killed Xavier. Creating a plan that would free her from both men, Mystique pretends to try killing Xavier while secretly working with the mutant thief Fantomex, after alerting Forge to stop her at the last moment.
Her plan is to have the Quiet Man see this and believe that she really has attempted to kill Xavier and is still working for him. However, the other X-Men also believe that Mystique has tried killing Xavier and seek her out.
Rogue manages to track her down. She disowns her adoptive mother, saying she has tried to forgive Mystique for stabbing her, but that this is too much. She goes on to say that Mystique isn’t her mother, that she is a monster. Mystique tries apologizing to Rogue for how she has hurt her, but Rogue is distraught with rage and attacks her foster mother. Mystique manages to escape by blowing up the house and going through the window, changing her form to shield her fall.
Mystique goes to the Quiet Man, who is planning on having her killed due to outliving her usefulness. After a battle, Mystique kills the Quiet Man, saves her former field-handler Shortpack, and discovers the Quiet Man’s interference transmitter has been a fake all along. Later, Forge catches Mystique trying to steal his interference transmitter. After some angry words, he smashes it and tells her he never wants to see her again. The two share a sad goodbye kiss and Mystique leaves. After Mystique is gone, Forge realizes that she had already switched his transmitter for the fake one.
Joining the X-Men
Mystique later infiltrates the X-Men, posing as a young girl named Foxx and joining Gambit‘s training squad, the Chevaliers. She attempts to seduce Rogue’s boyfriend Gambit to break them up so she can set her daughter up with a young mutant named Augustus, a man with whom she believes Rogue could be the happiest.
Though severely tempted by “Foxx’s” advances, Gambit resists. Mystique ultimately reveals herself to him, telling him that she is trying to relieve the tension between him and Rogue (because of the two being unable to touch due to her ability to absorb someone’s essence upon skin-to-skin contact). Mystique then metamorphoses into Rogue and tells Gambit that he would not be cheating on Rogue if he had sex with her in Rogue’s form.
When the telepath Emma Frost discovers who Foxx really is, the X-Men confront Mystique. Mystique tells them that she had been lonely and wants to join the X-Men. Emma also discovers that Gambit had known who Foxx really was all along, and a furious Rogue believes the two have been having an affair. Mystique would not reveal if she and Gambit did anything, but tells Rogue that if he truly loves her he would not have been tempted, and that she deserves better than him. Gambit denies anything had happened.
Later, the X-Men vote and decide to have Mystique join them on a probationary status (though Rogue is one of the ones who vote against her joining). Meanwhile, Nightcrawler asks her to leave for a while regardless of the vote, saying that he needs more time adjusting to the idea of her being a member first. Mystique ultimately agrees and leaves. However, after M-Day, she joins the X-Men and brings Augustus (Pulse) along with her. Both have been crucial in the latest downfall of Apocalypse. Rogue believes that Mystique’s transformation is yet another act.[volume & issue needed]
Mystique is a great assistance in the battle against the Children of the Vault, killing Sangre by pumping thermite bullets into his aquatic body. After the Hecatomb battle on Providence, Rogue’s team (sans Cable) return to Rogue’s former childhood home in Caldecott County, Mississippi, which Mystique owns for some downtime. Mystique consummates her flirtation with Iceman, and even alerts the X-Men, who come to treat Rogue’s illness, that there are intruders in the area. Only after Lady Mastermind drops her illusions do the X-Men realize that it is an all-out attack, and that both Lady Mastermind and Omega Sentinel (the latter being possessed by Malice) have defected sides. During the Marauders’ initial ambush, Mystique prevents Scalphunter from shooting Rogue. She then reveals herself as a traitor as well when she shoots her adopted daughter and, standing over her body, orders the remaining Marauders to kill the X-Men.
Mystique remains with the Marauders during the hunt for the first new mutant baby, but is revealed to have murdered Sinister in a plot involving the baby and Rogue’s killing touch. She also appears to be working with Gambit, who, like her, has plenty of ulterior motives to want to betray Mister Sinister.
When Sinister approaches Mystique as she is with the comatose Rogue, Mystique shoves Sinister onto Rogue, killing him through fatal skin-to-skin contact. Then, in keeping with the words of the Destiny Diaries, she touches the baby’s face to Rogue’s, believing that this will heal her foster daughter. While the baby is not affected by Rogue’s power, to Mystique’s surprise, Rogue does not awaken as the Destiny Diaries predicted. Believing their plan to have failed, Mystique and Gambit cry at Rogue’s bedside.
As they grieve, Rogue finally awakens. After hearing all that Mystique has done, and sick of her manipulations, Rogue says she’s tired of people getting hurt whenever Mystique is around, and tries to kill her with her touch. When Mystique is merely rendered unconscious, Rogue discovers that the baby’s powers have restored her own to normal.
The baby’s touch has purged her of the Strain 88 virus and all the residual psyches she had absorbed over her life, including Hecatomb. However, she now has the consciousness and the memories of the one person she wants nothing more to do with: Mystique. Sickened by what she has absorbed, Rogue tells Gambit that she needs to be alone, and leaves.
Mystique is the focus of the next Wolverine story arc, appropriately titled “Get Mystique.” The story begins with a brief flashback revealing that Logan and Mystique first met in Mexico in 1921. Back in the present day, Wolverine is in the Middle East tracking Mystique, presumably to kill her for betraying the X-Men in Messiah Complex.
Mystique evades Logan by blowing up a Mosque in Tehran, then travels over the border to Afghanistan. There she impersonates Wolverine and kills a local village girl, tricking the villagers into going after Wolverine.
Mystique does not appear to be suffering from any lasting effects from being touched by Rogue. It is hinted at that Mystique’s recent betrayal is not the only reason Logan is out to kill her, as they apparently have a common history of friendship, love, and ultimately, betrayal.After a heated fight, Wolverine manages to wound Mystique, but he chooses to deny her the mercy blow. Instead, he drops a gun and leaves in the sunset, leaving Mystique to scream and curse behind him.
Mystique shows up again, posing as Bobby Drake’s ex-girlfriend Opal Tanaka. It is not explained how she survived her battle with Wolverine. She sets off a bomb inside of Bobby’s Blackbird before shooting him and kicking him out of the plane. Later, she follows Iceman to the hospital and injects him with a fatal dose of a toxin created by Mister Sinister. Hospital staff try to get to Iceman, but they are held back by Mystique while Iceman expels the toxin from his system. Afterward, Mystique attacks Iceman in a truck and sets the truck ablaze with Iceman in it.
Iceman steps out of the fire unharmed and disarms and immobilizes Mystique, but she escapes moments later after turning her body into her child form. In the final issue of Manifest Destiny, Mystique impersonates Iceman and stands on top of the Golden Gate bridge threatening to blow it up. Iceman arrives and discovers the reason for Mystique doing this is Wolverine telling her that she will die alone. After a heated conversation, Iceman freezes the bomb, Mystique punches him and jumps off the bridge into the water. Her body is not found, but Iceman tells Cyclops and Hank McCoy that he knows that she is not dead and thanks her for what she did for him.
Utopia and Dark X-Men
Mystique is later revealed to be a part of Norman Osborn‘s Dark X-Men, posing as Professor Charles Xavier for P.R. purposes. Osborn has her injected with nanites and kept on a short leash; should she try anything, Osborn would turn her into a human bomb. After the defection of Emma Frost, Namor, and Cloak and Dagger, Mystique begins leading the remaining members of the team (Mimic, Dark Beast, and Omega) under the public guise of Jean Grey, as no one could prove Jean had actually died, but mainly to hurt those who had caused her great harm. A mission arranged by Osborn has Mystique (in her Jean Grey guise) facing a resurrected Nate Grey.
Wolverine, having returned from hell and retrieved his possessed body from a demonic force, targets Mystique after finding out she was responsible for sending his soul there at the behest of The Red Right Hand. Having tracked down Mystique’s black market surgeon in San Francisco, Wolverine interrogates him about Mystique’s whereabouts, to which he replies that Mystique was expecting him to show up and didn’t think Wolverine would be inclined to listen. The surgeon states that he doesn’t know where Mystique is, but that she claimed she was going to call him.
On cue, the phone beside Wolverine begins to ring. When he picks up the phone, Mystique orders him to not go after The Red Right Hand, warning that he is being set up. Wolverine cuts the conversation short and says that Mystique has set him up for the last time before briskly hanging up.[volume & issue needed]
Mystique is then shot by a hit-man named Lord Deathstrike. Despite being shot, and badly wounded, Mystique manages to patch herself and escape on a motorcycle before Lord Deathstrike can finish the task. Wolverine & Lord Deathstrike are in hot pursuit of Mystique throughout the San Francisco streets simultaneously.
As she is involved in a shootout with Lord Deathstrike, Mystique is impaled from behind by Wolverine who demands she tell him where he can find The Red Right Hand. Mystique pulls the pin out of a grenade, places it on Wolverine and moves out of the way just before it explodes then further warns him of the Red Right Hand’s setup in Mexico as he heals from the blast.[volume & issue needed]
Lord Deathstrike shoots Mystique in her right shoulder as they continue to face off while Wolverine heals. Yet, before Deathstrike can finish her off, Wolverine cuts the telephone pole that Lord Deathstrike was standing on which sends him crashing into a windshield of an automobile. Wolverine then gets a call from his ally Maverick stating The Red Right Hand can be found in Mexico. Mystique, riddled with bullets, shoots Lord Deathstrike in the head but it doesn’t affect him as he is in a ghost-like, non-corporeal state and phases into the solid ground beneath them.[volume & issue needed]
Mystique then confronts Wolverine and claims that her role in his recent exile to hell was something she doesn’t regret. She then continues to disparage him, stating that his own pursuit of her for her crimes is hypocritical seeing as how he’s killed and betrayed many in his years. She claims the only reason she is helping him is in honor of her deceased son Nightcrawler and his devotion to Wolverine, nothing else. Mystique insists that he for once listen to what she has to say but he states that he’s heard enough and walks toward her with his claws popped. Perturbed, Mystique draws a pistol and curses him out then is quickly gutted by Wolverine and finally killed, her body lying in a pool of blood.[volume & issue needed]
Lord Deathstrike collects Mystique’s body and auctions it off to the highest bidder. Her corpse is sold for 5 million to group of ninjas. It is implied these are possibly agents of league of assassins known as “The Hand” given their reputation for restoring fallen warriors. They are not in the traditional red garb but “The Hand” has on occasion been shown to wear black or white uniforms.
Back In Japan
Mystique is seen alive again posing as Sabretooth at Los Angeles International Airport. In the form of Sabretooth she has agreed to assist the Hellfire Club in their destruction of the Jean Grey School, presumably as a way of getting revenge on Wolverine as he is the schools headmaster. It is revealed that when the Hand revived Mystique, her powers were enhanced and she is now capable of changing her scent to match the forms she takes.
Powers and abilities
Mystique is a mutant shapeshifter with the ability to psionically shift the formation of her biological cells at will to change her appearance and thereby assume the form of other humans. She can also alter her voice to duplicate exactly that of another person. Originally, it was clearly stated that Mystique’s powers were limited to appearances only; she could not assume the powers of the people she morphed into or alter her body to adapt to different situations. Additionally she could not change her overall body mass when taking on the appearance of a person larger or smaller, but thanks to subsequent enhancements she has stated that her body mass is not fixed and can change when she does.
Her body is not limited to purely organic appearances: She has the ability to create the appearance of clothes and other materials out of her own body, including items such as glasses, zippers, identity cards, handbags and even test tubes. Mystique is shown in at least one instance transforming a metallic part of her costume into a functioning blaster pistol.[volume & issue needed] Whether this is a function of her powers or of the costume piece itself is unclear.
As a shape-shifter, Mystique is able to constantly alter and rejuvenate her body’s cells and thereby retain her youthful appearance despite being alive for over one hundred years.
This changes in 2001′s X-Men Forever miniseries, in which Mystique is exposed to dangerous levels of radiation in order to save the life of Toad. The process morphs Mystique’s appearance to match her more reptilian physique from the 2000s film trilogy, and boosts her powers so that she can now morph her body into taking certain desired physical traits depending on her situation at the time. Examples of this new ability include night vision, wings on her back, talons in her fingers, and natural body armor. She can even compress nearly two-dimensional like a sheet of paper to glide on air currents, similar to Mister Fantastic, which she uses to survive an explosion. She has moved her vital organs out of place in order to survive gunshots to her torso and head.
She has, once with strain, given herself two heads and four arms to facilitate a gun fight on two fronts, as well as shapeshifted into herself as a small child.She is also now able to hold a shape when knocked unconscious and can conceal items in shapeshifted pouches under her skin.
Following her death and revival by the Hand, her powers have been further enhanced.
Damage to her biological tissue is known to heal at a relatively fast rate and she can form a resistance to poisons upon contracting them. While she retains her advanced powers, she now appears in her old form without scales. Her powers grant her immunity to diseases, enhanced agility, and agelessness.
Mystique is a cunning strategist in terrorist and commando operations, and adept at martial arts and information technology. She has a talent for finding, stealing, and understanding cutting edge weaponry. She is a talented actress. She has some natural resistance to telepathic intrusion and wears devices to prevent her mind from being read by telepathy. Furthermore, with over a century’s experience in posing as other people she has picked up the uncanny skill of being able to identify people posing as others based on body language and changes in behavioral cues.
Absorbed by Rogue
A copy of Mystique’s mind, including her memories and personality, exists within the mind of Rogue ever since the events of “X-Men: Messiah Complex“. She converses with Rogue. She also requests that Rogue turn over control of their body. Eventually she is erased by Professor Xavier.
Age of Apocalypse
In the Age of Apocalypse timeline, she gave up her adopted daughter Rogue to Magneto and his X-Men. Years later, Mystique is the ferrywoman to Avalon. It is her task to meet the refugees and make sure they meet the guide to Avalon, Cain. Though she works against Apocalypse, she is not much of a hero. She charges a heavy tariff to ferry the refugees to Avalon, taking all of their valuables.
This plagues her conscience and she is reluctant to go to Avalon, as she feels that she is not fit to enter. Ultimately, she gets past her guilt to guide her son, Nightcrawler, to Avalon and find Destiny. She and her son form X-Calibre to defeat Apocalypse‘s agents, the Pale Riders and the Shadow King.[volume & issue needed]
Mystique inquires of Cable “How does [history] judge the part we play here and now in protecting the remnants of mutant-kind?” He says “History is short on specifics” and that it only remembers broad movements, not individuals. She hints at wanting to know how she is remembered, and he comments that her name did survive in a database of his time. Her name is synonymous with traitor, comparing her name to Judas Iscariot. However, he does add that the information from his time is part of his history, as it was 2,000 years old.
In the Earth-797 reality, Mystique is apparently a man and goes by the name of Raphael-Raven Darkholme (and his alias is Mystiq). Much like the main Mystique, he has a relationship with Destiny but due to his gender has a child with her (Claremont’s original plan for Nightcrawler’s origin). They are both killed in unknown circumstances and Raphael often goes to their grave sites. On such an occasion, he is about to be attacked by soldiers when the Exiles’ Sabretooth, who had been stranded on this Earth, saves his life. Saying he is in his debt, he joins the Exiles when they come to pick up their teammate.[volume & issue needed]
House of M
In the House of M, Mystique is an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and a member of its elite unit, the Red Guard, alongside Jessica Drew, Toad, and her children Rogue and Nightcrawler. She’s also involved in an affair with Wolverine, the Red Guard’s leader. When this unit, in pursuit of their former leader, attacks the heroes ‘awakened’ by Layla Miller, the entire squad is restored. With all of reality against them, any personal history is set aside, and Mystique fights alongside the rest of the ‘awakened’ without incident.
In X-Men Mangaverse, Mystique teams up with Nightcrawler and other Brotherhood members. Storm later kills her with a lightning bolt.[volume & issue needed]
Mystique appears as a zombie twice in the Marvel Zombies universe. She is first shown disguised as Scarlet Witch, in order to get close to and bite Quicksilver, thus becoming directly responsible for the fast spread of the zombie virus throughout the world. She is also shown fighting alongside zombie versions of Avalanche, Blob, and Pyro taking a direct blast from Cyclops right to the face.[volume & issue needed]
In the Ultimate Marvel Universe, Mystique is the former lover of Charles Xavier. However, during their stay in the Savage Land with Magneto, the young Emma Frost comes under the tutelage of Xavier, and shortly thereafter he dumps Mystique for Frost. Ever since then, Mystique has held great resentment toward Xavier, which in turn makes her loyal to Magneto. She teams up with Forge and helps Magneto escape the Triskelion by taking his place in the prison cell, before she is replaced by Mastermind and Stacy X and given a new assignment.
She is hinted to be one of the few who actually knows how Xavier’s darker side operates, stating “We all bought into Xavier’s dream until we got a look at the sick brain behind it.” It is later revealed that Emma Frost named Xavier’s cat after Mystique, after the feline partially destroyed the decor of his office. She briefly appears in Ultimates 3, impersonating the Black Widow to distract Tony Stark until knocked out by the Wasp. She is later seen with the few surviving Brotherhood members still stationed in Wundagore.
X-Men: The End
In the trilogy book series X-Men: The End Mystique is posing as Dark Beast and pretending to work with Mister Sinister. When Sinister murders Rogue she kills him. Gambit later asks her to look after his and Rogue’s children when he goes off into space.
X-Men Fairy Tales
Mystique appears briefly in the X-Men Fairy Tales limited series’ first issue. She is leading a group of thieves who attack the old monk/Professor X. They are scared away by Hitome/Cyclops. The other thieves are Avalanche and Pyro. In the fourth issue, she appears as Anna/Rogue‘s mother, a voodoo priestess.