Welcome back to the X-Files! This feature on my blog is all about the Marvel characters who were born with the X-gene and are called mutants (Click here to read Children of the Atom #1). Today's entry is dedicated to the secret agent, lover, fighter, mother, and one of the best masters of disguise, Raven Darkhölme a.k.a. Mystique.
She is one of my favorite villains and I affectionately call her the ‘nosey trouble making old lady’. I love her for a number of reasons mostly because she’s a strong, complicated, amazing character. I was introduced to her in the pages of the X-Men Classic comic books and became an instant fan.
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 in May 1978. Mystique is a mutant (a shapeshifter to be exact) who in her natural appearance has blue skin, yellow eyes, and red hair. Because she’s a shape-shifter, Mystique has the ability to constantly alter and rejuvenate her body's cells and thereby retain her youthful appearance, though she’s at least 100 years old.
Mystique has had many lovers in her lifetime. Prominent among them was Irene Alder a.k.a. Destiny. They met in 1900 and became life-long friends and lovers. The couple later adopted and raised Rogue. They also formed the second Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Mystique and Destiny stayed together until her death in Uncanny X-Men #255. Though they were a life long couple, there were periods throughout the years when they were separated from each other which allowed for each of them to have other relationships and have families.
Mystique went on to have relationships with Sabertooth, Wolverine, Azazel, Iceman, Forge, Gambit and a few other folks.
Aside from Rogue, Mystique gave birth to two children. With Azazel, she gave birth to Kurt Wagner aka Nightcrawler, and with Sabertooth she gave birth to Graydon Creed. Mystique's relationship with her children is complicated.
She abandoned Graydon when she discovered he wasn't a mutant and he grew up to hate mutants and became a major adversary. Later on, a time traveling Mystique kills Graydon. Rogue and Mystique's relationship changed when Rogue joined the X-Men, and Nightcrawler never really had a relationship with his mother due to her abandoning him a few hours after she gave birth. It also didn't help that Kurt and Rogue have had to battle their mother with their fellow X-men.
Out of the three, it appears that Mystique genuinely cares about Kurt and Rogue, especially Kurt. In the recent Marvel AXIS event in Amazing X-men #14, after Mystique became good and Nightcrawler became evil,, Mystique tried to prevent him from hurting people and revealed to her son that she loved him.
Fighter & Secret Agent
Mystique is a cunning strategist when it comes to terrorist and commando operations, and is proficient in martial arts and information technology. She also is extremely talented in finding, stealing, and understanding cutting edge weaponry.
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. She is a talented actress and has an astonishing skill of being able to identify people posing as others based on body language and changes in behavioral cues due to her historic experience imitating other people.
Mystique had her own miniseries in which she acted as a double agent for Professor Xavier. The series was written by by Brian K. Vaughan (Saga) and illustrated by Jorge Lucas. Mystique has had many adventures in her lifetime.
Here are a few story lines that are must reads:
Xtreme X-men #1
- When Mystique first meets Irene Alder aka Destiny
Ms. Marvel #18
- Her first appearance in her true form.
Wolverine: Get Mystique
- This 4 part miniseries gives readers the background on Mystique and Wolverine's history of being friends, lovers, and enemies.
Mystique by Brian K. Vaughan Ultimate Collection Paperback and Mystique by Sean McKeever Ultimate Collection Paperback
- This is the miniseries that I mentioned the first volume collects issues #1-#13 while the second collects issues #14-#24.
To see a complete list visit UncannyXmen.net.
Finally, a few more mysterious facts about Mystique:
- Chris Claremont has said that originally he wanted Mystique and Destiny to be Nightcrawler's biological parents (with Mystique having morphed into a male body for the act of conception), but Marvel said no because at that time the Comics Code Authority prohibited the explicit portrayal of gay or bisexual characters.
- She can also alter her voice to perfectly replicate that of another person. She just needs to hear a person speak for at least ten seconds.
- Mystique is also one of Marvel’s LGBTQ+ characters as she is bisexual.
- In 2009, she was voted the 18th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time by IGN.
- Her powers grant her a healing factor, immunity to diseases, enhanced agility, and agelessness.
- Mystique has been featured in various forms of media, from the 1992 animated X-Men series (where she was voiced first by Randall Carpenter in the first two seasons, and by Jennifer Dale for the rest of the show's run) and other cartoons throughout the years, as well as in various video games, and live action films (Rebecca Romijn portrayed her in the original X-men trilogy followed by Jennifer Lawrence in the current X-men films)
Mystique is an awesome character who always surprises me with what she does and how she does it. I hoped you enjoyed this second entry, until next time!