|First appearance||Cameo appearance: Ms. Marvel #16 (May 1978) |
Full appearance: Ms. Marvel #18 (July 1978)
|Created by||Chris Claremont (writer)|
Dave Cockrum (artist)
|Alter ego||Raven Darkhölme|
|Notable aliases||Jean Grey|
Professor Charles Xavier
Mystique (Raven Darkhölme) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, commonly in association with the X-Men. Created by artist David Cockrum and writer Chris Claremont, she first appeared in the comic book Ms. Marvel #16 (April 1978).
A member of a subspecies of humanity known as mutants who are born with superhuman abilities, she is a shapeshifter who can mimic the appearance and voice of any person with exquisite precision; her natural appearance includes blue skin, red hair and yellow eyes. Typically portrayed as a foe of the X-Men, Mystique has been both a supervillain and an antiheroine, founding her own Brotherhood of Mutants and assassinating several important people involved in mutant affairs; she has been stated to be over 100 years old. Mystique is the mother of the X-Men hero Nightcrawler and the villain Graydon Creed, and the adoptive mother of the X-Men heroine Rogue. Since her debut, Mystique has been labelled as one of Marvel's most notable and powerful female antiheroes.
Mystique appears in seven of the 20th Century Fox X-Men films: the character was portrayed by Rebecca Romijn in X-Men (2000), X2 (2003) and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), while Jennifer Lawrence portrayed a younger version in X-Men: First Class (2011), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) and Dark Phoenix (2019).
Mystique was created by David Cockrum. Chris Claremont saw Cockrum's design, dubbed the character "Mystique", and, with Cockrum's permission, set her in Ms. Marvel #16 (May 1978). The character's true appearance was revealed in Ms. Marvel #18 (June 1978) and first cover appearance in The Avengers Annual #10 (1981).
Claremont, a former X-Men writer, has said that he originally intended Mystique and Destiny to be Nightcrawler's biological parents (with Mystique having morphed into a male body for the act of conception), but Marvel didn't agree, because at that time the Comics Code Authority prohibited the explicit portrayal of gay or bisexual characters.
Mystique's origins remains unknown - her shapeshifting powers mean that her true age remains enigmatic, and her gender identity may be equally fluid. Her earliest attested appearance dates back to the years around 1900, when she lived in a male guise as a "consulting detective" who established a romantic relationship with the her reality's version of Irene Adler - biographical details which imply she is in fact Sherlock Holmes.
While in her Raven persona, Mystique adopts the identity of deceased German secret agent Leni Zauber. Both Leni and Victor Creed, a.k.a. Sabretooth, had been assigned with the assassination of a scientist in East Berlin. Mystique completes the mission in place of Leni, and then she and Victor have to hide in a safe location for a while. They become 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. A number of stories report that soon after his birth, Mystique gives him up for adoption. Others depict Mystique making arrangements for him from a distance. Raven keeps track of his activities until he reaches adolescence. Despite being the child of two mutants, Graydon is not a mutant himself. Mystique is disappointed and soon abandons him. Graydon grows to hate his parents, and eventually extends his hatred to all mutants. He becomes leader of the mutant-hating organization Friends of Humanity, and then a politician. At the height of his political ascension, Graydon is assassinated by an unknown shooter. The shooter is later revealed to be a time traveling version of Mystique as part of a convoluted time paradox involving Jean Grey, Iceman, Toad, and Juggernaut.
Still masquerading as Raven, Mystique is married to Baron Christian Wagner; older sources give his name as Count Eric Wagner, an affluent member of the German nobility. He proves to be a loving husband, but disappointing as a lover. His infertility adds to their marital problems. Mystique starts using her shapeshifting powers in order to secretly have sexual encounters with others. 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.[volume & issue needed] 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.[volume & issue needed]
Mystique becomes pregnant, but her husband becomes suspicious and his own father suggests a blood test to verify whether the child is his. Mystique uses a dagger to murder him and then buries him. She gives birth to a baby 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 escapes but abandons her son. He is found and raised by Roma sorceress Margali Szardos and named Kurt Wagner.[volume & issue needed]
Mystique becomes the adoptive mother of the fourteen-year-old girl Rogue. 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, and Mystique grows to be very protective of her.
Mystique, as Raven Darkhölme, rises 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 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. As Destiny had predicted that Ms. Marvel was a danger to Rogue, she spied on Carol Danvers and Ms. Marvel for some time prior to beating her 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, consisting of herself, Avalanche, the Blob, Destiny, and Pyro. The Brotherhood attempts to assassinate Senator Robert Kelly, a notoriously anti-mutant politician. The X-Men thwart the assassination attempt, and all of the Brotherhood except Mystique herself are incarcerated.
Rogue is trained by Mystique and eventually joins the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Her mutant power is the ability to absorb the memories, personality, and skills or powers of whomever she touches. To free the other members of the Brotherhood, Mystique concocts a plan involving Rogue absorbing the powers of Ms. Marvel and the Avengers. Though the plan is successful, the Avengers ultimately defeat the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, capturing all of them except Rogue and Mystique. Moreover, Rogue finds that she has absorbed Ms. Marvel's memories, personality, and powers permanently. In a further humiliation, a confrontation at the Pentagon ends with Mystique being defeated and turned over to the authorities by a powerless Ms. Marvel.
The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants eventually escape, and battle against Dazzler. In an act of revenge against Mystique, Mastermind unbalances Rogue's psyche with the one she absorbed from Ms. Marvel, which prompts her to defect to the X-Men. Because Rogue left without a word, Mystique assumes that Professor X, the X-Men's mentor, brainwashed her. The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants accordingly launches an attempt to kill Professor X. Rogue stops Mystique, and explains that she joined the X-Men because Professor X, as the world's most powerful telepath, is her best hope of healing for her fragmented psyche. Mystique reluctantly relinquishes her guardianship of Rogue.
Anti-mutant sentiment 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 of Evil Mutants to continue, 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. In return for entering government service, Mystique and her team receive a presidential pardon for all criminal charges, to be revoked if any member of Freedom Force is found committing a crime. Cooper agrees to convey the offer to the President on the condition that the Brotherhood arrests their founder, Magneto. The Brotherhood, now reincarnated as Freedom Force, are defeated by Magneto and the X-Men. When Magneto learns that Freedom Force are official federal agents, he voluntarily surrenders to them.
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 witnesses her foster daughter'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.
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 so that they could blame it on mutants. 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 can uncover the truth about the conspiracy. She slowly develops a romantic relationship with team-leader Forge (though he later thought that she was just using him).
Part of the conspiracy involves Mystique's son Graydon Creed running for President, under an anti-mutant platform.
At the same time, both Graydon and Mystique learn that Destiny married and had children during one of the couple's separations. Destiny/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. Graydon's death ushers in a new wave of anti-mutant violence. Sabretooth acts on his orders to kill the members of X-Factor as "Operation Zero Tolerance" is activated. Mystique distracts Sabretooth long enough to keep him from finishing off the team. Mystique then flees the scene after arranging for X-Factor to receive 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 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. While taking the form of a blonde haired woman, Mystique is confronted by a famous photographer who proposes to make her a big fashion model.
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. There, Skrulls staying in a nearby building frame Mystique for the murder of a Japanese diplomat. With help from Shadowcat and Rogue, Mystique is cleared and leaves town. Before she leaves, Shadowcat finds one of Destiny's diaries, left there by Destiny herself before she died.
While gaining critical intelligence on the identity of those who were involved in her son's death and the attempt to kill her using Sabretooth, Mystique suddenly loses her powers while pretending to be a man in a busy office workplace.[volume & issue needed]
Mystique is arrested. The U.S. Government acts on their intelligence regarding Mystique, and destroys all of the alternate identities that she established over the years and confiscate the money she and Destiny had hidden away. The loss of her powers and her freedom causes her to lash out at everyone around her. Rogue has no sympathy for Mystique's plight. The relationship sours 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 the High Evolutionary and restore everyone's powers, allowing Mystique to escape jail.[volume & issue needed]
Mystique is 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. After some deliberation, she decides to activate the weapon to kill Graydon. Mystique's sanity is further damaged by the revelation that 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.[volume & issue needed]
This leads to Raven again going mad. 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. Mystique uses samples of the Legacy Virus to create a biological weapon that would infect humans and not mutants, and develops a cure for the Legacy Virus.[volume & issue needed]
The assassination attempt on Kelly ends in failure when Pyro betrays his teammates. 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. The X-Men confront Mystique and she is seriously wounded. 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 eradicate all humans.[volume & issue needed]
Mystique is sent to prison, but quickly escapes. She allies herself with Martinique Jason in an attempt to wrest control of 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 Jason mind-controls the other members of the organization, Mystique brings Banshee's organization down and slits his throat, leaving him in critical condition.[volume & issue needed]
Professor X is forced to make Mystique his secret agent, as his previous one, Prudence Leighton, has died and Mystique is the only one suitable 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). As long as Mystique completes the missions without killing anybody, Xavier, working with Forge, keeps her safe from the authorities, who are out to execute her.
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 if she kills 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. The other X-Men believe that Mystique has tried killing Xavier and seek her out.
Rogue tracks her down. Distraught with rage, she attacks her foster mother. Mystique escapes 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. After a battle, Mystique kills the Quiet Man, saves her former field-handler Shortpack, and discovers the Quiet Man's interference transmitter was a fake. She tries to steal Forge's interference transmitter but is caught. 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.
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, but 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. Mystique uses Rogue's doubts about what happened between her and Gambit to sow further discord in Rogue's relationship with Gambit, but he still refuses. 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). 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. Mystique agrees and leaves. After M-Day, she joins the X-Men and brings Augustus (Pulse) along with her. Both have been crucial in the downfall of Apocalypse.[volume & issue needed]
After the Hecatomb battle on Providence, Rogue's team returns to Rogue's childhood home in Caldecott County, Mississippi, which Mystique owns, for some downtime. Mystique 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, shoots her adopted daughter, and 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 Mister Sinister in a plot involving the baby and Rogue's killing touch. She also appears to be working with Gambit, who, like her, has 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. The baby's touch purges her of the Strain 88 virus and all the residual psyches she had absorbed over her life, including Hecatomb. Rogue is sickened by Mystique's manipulations, and leaves.
Wolverine tracks Mystique to the Middle East and then into Afghanistan. It is hinted at that Mystique's recent betrayal is not the only reason Logan is out to kill her, as they have a common history of friendship, love, and ultimately, betrayal. After a heated fight, Wolverine wounds Mystique, but denies her the Coup de grâce.
Mystique shows up again, posing as Bobby Drake's ex-girlfriend Opal Tanaka. 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 after turning her body into her child form. 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 jumps off the bridge into the water. Iceman tells Cyclops and Hank McCoy that he knows that she is not dead and thanks her for what she did for him.
Mystique joins 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 leads the remaining members of the team 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.
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.[volume & issue needed] Mystique is shot by a hit-man named Lord Deathstrike. Badly wounded, Mystique patches herself and escapes on a motorcycle. Wolverine and Lord Deathstrike are in hot pursuit of Mystique throughout the San Francisco streets simultaneously.[volume & issue needed] Mystique ultimately confronts Wolverine, who stabs her with his claws, killing her.[volume & issue needed] Lord Deathstrike collects Mystique's body and auctions it off. Her corpse is sold for 5 million to group of ninjas. It is implied these are agents of The Hand.
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.[volume & issue needed] Mystique, as Sabretooth, was a faculty member of The Hellfire Academy.[volume & issue needed] When the Hand revived Mystique, her powers were enhanced and she is now capable of changing her scent to match the forms she takes.
Receiving word that the original X-Men are in the present day, Mystique seeks out young Scott Summers to manipulate him into thinking she has his and mutantkind's best interests at heart.[volume & issue needed] She uses Lady Mastermind and Sabretooth to commit robberies and frame the X-Men.[volume & issue needed] Viper shows up. Mystique explains to her that she wants to buy Madripoor from HYDRA and control the crime in the area. Before this transaction is completed, the X-Men raid the place.[volume & issue needed] Lady Mastermind and Mystique are captured,[volume & issue needed] but Mystique escapes in a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicopter.[volume & issue needed]
Mystique is attacked by Iceman, who is possessed by the Apocalypse fragment.[volume & issue needed] After Iceman is shattered into pieces by Thor, Mystique takes the Apocalypse fragment and swallows it to inherit its powers.[volume & issue needed]
In order to help move her plans along, Mystique drugs and replaces Dazzler, who's now became SHIELD's mutant liaison, allowing her to set up her New Brotherhood under Maria Hill's nose.[volume & issue needed] She sets up operations in Madripoor, allowing her to regularly visit to 'investigate' the mutant uprising there, while secretly being the one in charge of it.[volume & issue needed] She offers Magneto a place in her New Brotherhood after he leaves the Uncanny X-Men team, but he rejects it on the grounds of her financing her operation via drug money from Mutant Growth Hormone sales, attacking and defeating her Brotherhood and stealing her chopper in order to find his own place in the new world.[volume & issue needed]
Mystique appears as a member of Magneto's unnamed supervillain group during the fight against Red Skull's Red Onslaught form. When the heroes and villains present undergo a moral inversion due to a flawed spell cast by the Scarlet Witch and Doctor Doom, Mystique joins the other inverted villains in the 'Astonishing Avengers' as they go up against the inverted X-Men and Avengers, also working to prevent the inverted Nightcrawler from killing those who were involved in the riot that nearly killed him before his first meeting with Professor X. During the final fight, Mystique briefly poses as Professor X to try to get through to the 'reborn' Apocalypse (Actually the now-adult clone of Apocalypse known as Evan Sabahnur that the X-Men had been trying to raise away from his template's influence), but is converted back to her usual villainous attitude at the conclusion of the storyline.
Mystique is sent in with a team of X-Men to stop the launch by the anti-mutant Orchis organization to activate Mother Mold, an incredibly powerful Master Mold made to make other Master Molds that will lead to the Nimrod generation. While they succeed, the whole team is killed in the raid, to then be resurrected on Krakoa.
Mystique is sent on a last-ditch mission to detonate a singularity bomb inside the Orchis base before Orchis leader Dr. Alia Gregor completes her own Nimrod prototype, in exchange for moving the resurrection of Destiny to the front. The mission ends in failure, with only the Nimrod containing Alia's husband's mind being destroyed. A back-up Nimrod is nevertheless still functioning. This leads to Magneto and Professor X forbidding Destiny's resurrection—it is heavily implied they had no intention of ever doing this due to her being a threat to Moira McTaggert—and Mystique remembering a promise Destiny made to burn down Krakoa if such an event occurred.
Mystique is a mutant shapeshifter with the ability to molecularly shift the formation of her biological cells at will to change her appearance and thereby assume the form of other humans and animals. 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 due 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 also 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. Whether this is a function of her powers or 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 having lived for over one hundred years.
Mystique received her first power enhancement in the X-Men Forever miniseries, in which she was exposed to dangerous levels of radiation in order to save the life of Toad. The process boosted 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 these new abilities include night vision, wings on her back, talons in her fingers or toes, and natural body armor. She can compress into nearly two-dimensions (like a sheet of paper) to glide on air currents in a fashion similar to that of Mister Fantastic. She has moved her vital organs out of place in order to survive gunshots to her torso and head, and can make herself virtually invisible via camouflage. She has even, 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 resurrection by the Hand, her powers have been further enhanced. She can now alter and conceal her scent from those with enhanced senses, and is capable of changing her shape to a greater degree, including altering her limbs to form tentacles and bladed weapons, and compressing herself into a dog.
Damage to her biological tissue is known to heal at a relatively fast rate and she can form a resistance to poisons upon contacting them. Her enhancements have allowed her to rapidly regrow severed limbs, and rapidly recover from near fatal injury. Her powers grant her immunity to diseases, enhanced agility and strength, 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 and a polyglot, being fluent in over fourteen languages. Her mind is naturally unreadable owing to changing grey matter and she wears devices to prevent telepathic intrusion. Furthermore, with over a century's experience in posing as other people she has picked up the unusual skill of being able to identify people posing as others based on body language and changes in behavioral cues.
Having lived for at least a century, Mystique has built up considerable resources, one of her aliases being the billionaire B Byron Biggs who owns a number of safehouses around the world which are often protected by sophisticated security systems. She also controls a variety of weaponry and gadgets, including the Changeling, a highly advanced stealth ship capable of cloaking and flying at very high speed.[volume & issue needed] The ship had sophisticated weapons and surveillance systems, with an on-board analysis computer and power-suppressing containment cells.
Shoshana Kessock of Tor.com called Mystique "one of the most impactful mutant villains in the comics," writing, "With several independent movies suggested for the ongoing X-Men franchise, we’ll just have to wait and see if our favorite blue shapeshifter appears beside Gambit and Magneto as a possibility. Fox would really be losing out if they overlooked their opportunity for a kick-ass, sexy, heartfelt and powerful action movie with Mystique." Peter Eckhardt of CBR.com stated, "The shape-shifting Mystique is one of the X-Men's most compelling characters. Mystique is primarily motivated by self-interest and is capable enough to get what she wants, be it through espionage, combat, or manipulation. One of the most dynamic figures in the Marvel Universe, Mystique has remained a central player since her introduction." Richard Chachiwski of Screen Rant wrote, "One of the most recognizable villains in all of X-Men comics, Mystique is a blue-skinned, red-haired mutant shapeshifter able to take any physical form she wishes. A frequent adversary to the X-Men, she has also been portrayed as an unlikely anti-heroine in later years. The founding member of her own Brotherhood of Mutants, Mystique is characterized not only by her memorable physical appearance, but also by the various personal relationships she maintains with several X-Men team members." IGN asserted, "Not every great villain has to be a world-conquering, war-mongering, super-powered bad ass. Some of them are simply great at manipulating events to their liking, bending the world to their desire and getting away with it. Mystique is one of those villains, and is absolutely one of the greatest female villains ever created. [...] In essence, over the years X-fans have been treated to a kick ass femme fatale who has found herself at several key turning points in the history of the mutant race. Princess Weekes of The Mary Sue said, "One of my biggest issues with the X-Men film franchise is how they have underserved their actresses/female characters. Despite Mystique being known for her pragmatism, spy-craft, intelligence, queerness, and complex family history, all of that, in adaptation, gets chiseled down to spy-craft and that’s it. The character has a lot more to offer audiences, and considering we, as comic fans, have been denied the entire majesty of Mystique, and how amazing Romijn was in delivering the very basic bones and elevating it to a masterclass, with writers who care, she could be the amazing antagonist we deserve." Evan Valentine of Comicbook.com stated, "Marvel's Mystique is about to play a major role in Marvel's comics with the upcoming comic book event, Inferno, acting as one of the biggest story arcs of Jonathan Hickman's X-Men run. While no one knows when the Marvel Cinematic Universe will introduce the blue-skinned villain to its roster, she was definitely a fan-favorite mutant within Fox's X-Men titles."
Benjamin Riley of Special Broadcasting Service referred to Mystique as one of the "queer superheroes who changed the face of comics," writing, "You could argue that shapeshifting, femme-fatale Mystique’s bisexuality makes her another negative example of the “bisexual villain” trope in popular culture, but given she’s one of comics’ most interesting superhero characters I think she pulls it off. Brutally intelligent and morally opaque, Raven Darkholme has a prominent X-Men villain, and occasional ally, for decades. Her co-creator Chris Claremont has said Mystique was always meant to have been in a romantic, same-sex relationship with her long-time partner Destiny, but Marvel Comics’ then-edict on same-sex romance meant this had to be revealed in hindsight, years after Destiny’s character had been killed off." Matthew Kang of MovieWeb described Mystique an "allegory for the LGBTQ+ experience," saying, "Some mutants choose to hide that they are a mutant. Others publicly embrace that aspect of themselves. While the Marvel universe is not the most welcoming towards mutants, Raven Darkholme (Mystique) chooses to accept herself and declares that she is "mutant and proud." In the real world, allies and members of the LGBTQ+ community wave the rainbow flag. June is Pride Month, a time when people celebrate the freedom to be themselves." Samantha Puc of Newsarama called Mystique and Destiny's relationship one of the "most iconic LGBTQIA+ comics romances," writing, "Though it remains to be seen whether it's a good thing or a bad thing, longtime villains-turned-Krakoan politicians Mystique and Destiny are mutantkind's current power couple, following Destiny's resurrection and their upending of the Quiet Council's status quo in the recent Inferno limited series. And they've certainly earned their place as mutant matriarchs." Sara Century of Syfy said, "Mystique has been a hypersexualized seducer of men in many of her comic book appearances since Destiny’s death, and while that isn’t inherently a bad thing, it has a tendency to distract writers and readers away from other interesting aspects of her character. Her stories have distanced her from the discussion of her queerness and her potential status as a non-binary character so much as to render it non-existent. Mystique has seldom been given the deeper focus she deserves, even after years of stories in which she appeared as a prominent character. Her relationship with Destiny is still referred to in the context of close friendship in most stories." Mark Young of BuzzFeed wrote, "The shapeshifting mutant not only has a strong history of being with any and all people, she also defies gender on a daily basis. Her onscreen portrayals have been very straight and as a sort of lackey/underling figure, but her comic history shows the queer woman has very much been her own amazing figure." Beat Staff of ComicsBeat stated, "Mystique and Destiny have been written as lovers from the beginning. From their first appearances, the love and loyalty they felt for each other was so palpable that it has to date inspired fanfiction and critical commentary that takes their status as one of comics’ most epic love stories as text. Wherever their story might go, Mystique and Destiny have always had the kind of love that transcends the thoughts, desires, and expectations of the outside world." Jude Dry of IndieWire asserted, "While she’s only been depicted in her many movie appearances as being interested in men such as Charles Xavier or Magneto, Mystique has been canonically bisexual since 1981. The character has been romantically connected to her companion Destiny ever since their first appearance in X-Men together. The characters are shown dancing together, and the ancient power known as the Shadow King refers to Destiny as Mystique’s “leman,” an archaic term for “lover.” The antiquated word was likely a ruse to slip past the comic sensors of the time. Mystique is one of the most famous and beloved X-Men, and making her bisexual would certainly be a boon for the MCU."
According to Diamond Comic Distributors, X-Men: Black - Mystique #1 was the 42th best selling comic book in October 2017. X-Men: Black - Mystique #1 was the 400th best selling comic book in 2018.
Mike Fugere of CBR.com described X-Men: Black - Mystique #1 as a"great villain spotlight," writing, "Other than that one quibble, from a narrative standpoint the issue is fun and gives a strong voice to Raven. Her inner monologue reads like a character screed written for new readers, telling you everything you need to know about Mystique while still keeping everyone at arm’s length, which plays to the character's strengths brilliantly. If Mystique were to get her own miniseries, or even an ongoing series, we would love to see McGuire take the reins. She has a wonderful understanding of the character, and conveys this fact in a single issue. The artwork is solid as well. Marco Failla (Ms. Marvel) is a talent to watch. His panel layout and story beat transitions are smooth and easy to follow (which makes those pesky character tags even more frustrating), and his line work is crisp and reminds us of the works of Oscar Bazaldua. And while the coloring in this issue isn't exactly next level, Jesus Aburtov brings enough to the table to keep things aesthetically pleasing. Next to the Mojo issue, this is the best offering from X-Men: Black so far. It's fast-paced and leaves you wanting more of Mystique, and reminds us that Raven is more than just Jennifer Lawrence in blue makeup. Mystique is a powerhouse of a character, one who, when in the right hands, can drive noir and espionage narratives with ease. Just like the previous entries in X-Men: Black this is one to add to your stack if you have even the slightest interest in the character." Peyton Hinckle of ComicsVerse gave X-Men: Black - Mystique #1 a score of 91%, saying, "In X-Men: Black - Mystique #1, McGuire finally gives Mystique some definitive titles that go beyond “villain” or “X-Man.” We see her not just as a thief but as someone who truly feels as though stealing and committing crimes is a form of art. Her ease and calm demeanor show us a master at work. Her willingness to release the young captured mutant shows what may be the beginning of morals. Of course, the senseless slaughter of an entire office building full of people shows us the exact opposite. Mystique doesn’t learn some grand lesson or show true emotion, like in Magneto and Mojo’s X-MEN BLACK issues. But, someone who’s been around for as long as Mystique has doesn’t need those things. She just needs the things that make her who she is. [...] X-Men: Black - Mystique #1 is the kind of issue that is undoubtedly a good read but definitely could have said more. A few hints about Mystique’s future could have gone a long way and would’ve given readers something to look forward to. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Mystique’s personal motives and identity. If you’re not a fan of Mystique, this issue probably isn’t for you, since it’s absolutely focused on her character. If you are a fan, or perhaps used to be a fan, this one is definitely worth a buy."
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.
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.
Mystique's future is shown, where she is revealed to be the mother of Charlie Xavier II, the son of Charles Xavier, possessing his father's powers and appearance. While disguised as Moira MacTaggert she gives birth to Charlie, but upon birth she tearfully abandons her child. Later she raised her son Raze (conceived by Wolverine, with his mother's shape-shifting skills and his father's healing ability), who eventually killed her and took her appearance to rule Madripoor.
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. He adds 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 Darkhölme (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]
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.[volume & issue needed]
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. 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.
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.
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.[volume & issue needed]
During the Infinity Wars storyline where the universe was folded in half, Mystique was fused with Lady Deathstrike creating Deathstrique. She was hired by Dragon King (fusion between Shadow King and Dragoness) to assassinate Diamond Patch (fusion between Wolverine and Emma Frost), but was instead slashed and thrown from the roof by Diamond Patch.
She was then hired by Red Dormmamu (fusion of Red Skull and Dormammu) to masquerade as Madame Hel (fusion between Madame Masque and Hela) and start a conflict between Soldier Supreme (fusion between Captain America and Doctor Strange) and Iron Hammer (fusion between Thor and Iron Man).
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