Mystique

From Academic Kids

Template:Superherobox Mystique (Raven Darkholme) is a fictional character, a comic book supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe. She has run several incarnations of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and is a foe of the X-Men.

Contents

Character history

Destiny

Mystique with Destiny in older times. Art by Salvador Larocca.
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Mystique with Destiny in older times. Art by Salvador Larocca.

Mystique's exact age remains unknown. However her earliest meeting with her friend Destiny (Irene Adler) is stated to have occurred at "the dawn of the 20th century". At the time, Mystique posed as a man and worked as a consulting detective.

Irene was an Austrian mutant with precognitive powers. She was more accurate in predicting near-future events concerning her present environment. But 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 decipherment of her recorded prophecies and a mission to prevent the most terrifying of them from ever being fulfilled.

The two women would soon become life-long friends and lovers. But 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."

Early espionage activities and contacts

Their decades-long quest 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 Mosely of the British Fascist Party, a likely ally for Nazi Germany. Irene and Raven contacted an acquaintance of theirs, called Logan (Wolverine) 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.

Sabretooth

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Cover to Sabretooth #2. Art by Mark Texeira.

Raven would meet Victor Creed, the man known as Sabretooth. At the time she used 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 completed the mission in place of Leni. Then she and Victor had to hide in a safe location for a while. They became lovers but she soon faked her death in order to leave him.

The result of this short-lived affair was reportedly the birth of Graydon Creed, her earliest known descendant. A number of stories have reported that soon after his birth, Raven gave him up for adoption. Others depict Mystique making arrangements for him from a distance. Graydon reportedly spent most of his childhood in a boarding school. Raven kept track of his activities until he reached adolescence. Graydon was the son of two mutants and as a result likely to be a mutant himself. However, he eventually proved to be a Homo Sapiens instead of a Homo Superior (mutant). Raven was disappointed and soon abandoned him. Graydon would grow to hate his parents and eventually extend his hatred towards all mutants. He later became leader to the mutant-hating organization Friends of Humanity, and then a politician.

Nightcrawler

For several years Mystique was also reported being the mother of Nightcrawler but the exact events were uncertain. Veteran X-Men writer Chris Claremont had originally intended for Mystique and Destiny to be Nightcrawler’s biological parents (Mystique having morphed into a man for the conception), but Marvel nixed the idea (this was at a point in time where writers were even prevented from revealing a character was gay or bi). Much later another writer, Chuck Austen, eventually ‘revealed’ that the father was Azazel, a demonic-looking mutant from biblical times claiming to be the inspiration for Satan. Fans reacted poorly to the story, as they did to most of Austen's run.

At the time Raven was married to Baron Christian Wagner (older sources give his name as Count Eric Wagner), an affluent member of German nobility. He would prove to be a loving husband but rather disappointing as a lover. His infertility added to their marital problems. Raven started using her shape-shifting powers in order to secretly have sexual encounters with others. She particularly seemed to seek men who somewhat resembled Victor Creed. She was apparently both seeking sexual satisfaction and attempting to conceive another child. She was eventually seduced by another fellow mutant.

He called himself Azazel, and stated he was ruler of "an island nation of the coast of Bermuda: La Isla des Demonas" (The Island of Demons). He was apparently a fellow shape-shifter and also had the powers of teleportation. (He was later revealed to also have the power of Immortality and to be the father of an ancient race of mutants known as the Nephilim, active since at least 9000 BC). His natural form was 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 Azazel. Semihazah. Duma. Keriel. Mastema. Beliar. Gadreel. Beelzebub. And most commonly called Satan." (many of these aliases have also been claimed by several notable demons of the Marvel Universe).

Raven soon became pregnant. Her husband became suspicious and his own father suggested a blood test to verify if the child was his. Mystique used a dagger to slay him and then buried him. She eventually gave birth to a young boy with black hair, yellow eyes, blue skin and a pointed tail. The locals considered both the mother and the child to be demons and attempted to slay them. Mystique managed to escape but abandoned her second known son. He was found and raised by Gypsy sorceress Margali Szardos, and named Kurt Wagner.

Rogue and the Brotherhood

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Mystique with Rogue and Destiny.

Mystique would later become surrogate mother to the girl Rogue, who had left her home in a small town after the community learned she was a mutant. The girl was living alone in a wooded area, brandishing a shotgun and trusting no one when Mystique found her. Destiny foresaw that Rogue would be important to them and Mystique sought her out, gained her trust, and took her in. She and Destiny would raise the girl over approximately a decade, and Mystique would grow to be very protective her.

Mystique had concealed her superhuman powers and criminal intentions so well over the years that, as Darkholme, she was able to rise rapidly through the United States Civil Service to the trusted position of Deputy Director of the Defense Advanced Research Planning Agency (DARPA) in the United States Department of Defense. This position gave her access to military secrets and to advanced weaponry, both of which she used for her own criminal and subversive purposes.

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Mystique and her Brotherhood. Featured left to right are; Destiny, Avalance, Mystique, Pyro, and the Blob. Art by John Byrne.

To help her in her criminal activities, Mystique organized her own incarnation of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, which originally consisted of herself, Avalance, the Blob, Destiny, and Pyro. This incarnation of the Brotherhood first became notorious when it attempted to intimidate the public by assassinating Senator Robert Kelly, a notoriously anti-mutant politician. The X-Men thwarted the assassination attempt, and the Brotherhood later clashed with the X-Men on other occasions.

Rogue was trained by Mystique and eventually joined her Brotherhood team. Her mutant power was the ability to absorb the psyche, memories, personality, strengths, and any skills or powers of whoever she touched. Rogue proved to be a powerful member of the team. She went on many missions with the Brotherhood, and with her help the team was almost able to defeat the Avengers.

On said mission with the Avengers Rogue fought the superhero named Carol "Ms. Marvel" Danvers. Rogue tried stealing Carol's powers, but Carol fought too hard and Rogue ended up absorbing Carol's memories and powers, while Carol was left an empty shell. Professor Xavier would later be able to restore Carol's memories, but not the emotions that went with them. Rogue, meanwhile, felt like she was losing her mind, grappling with Danver's psyche and at times not knowing which memories were really hers. Feeling like she was in danger of losing control of herself, Rogue ran away from home and sought help from the X-Men, hoping that Professor X would be able to treat her. While the other X-Men were very hesitant of accepting their former enemy at first, Xavier welcomed her and gave her a spot on the team.

Worried that Rogue had left because Xavier had brainwashed her, Mystique went to rescue her, leading an attack on the X-Men. Rogue stopped her, saying how she had left on her own free will. Mystique was doubtful and hurt, but Rogue ultimately convinced 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 agreed and let Rogue stay with X-Men. Though she would remain close to Rogue, coming to help her at times, she came to resent Xavier.

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Destiny is killed. Cover to Uncanny X-Men #255. Art by Marc Silvestri.

Freedom Force

Later, anti-mutant sentiment among normal human beings greatly increased, and the federal government launched its own covert anti-mutant program, Project Wide-awake. Believing that the times had thus become too dangerous for the Brotherhood to continue its criminal activities, Mystique went to Doctor Valerie Cooper, special assistant to the head of the National Security Council, and offered the Brotherhood's services to the government. Cooper agreed to convey the offer to the President, on the condition that the Brotherhood pass a test she imposed: the capture of Magneto. The Brotherhood, now renamed Freedom Force, succeeded in bringing Magneto to the authorities (though only because he voluntarily surrendered to them so he could go on trial for his crimes), and soon afterwards officially entered the government's employ.

In return for entering government service as Freedom Force's leader, Mystique and her team received 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.

After several disastrous missions, including the death of Destiny and several other members, Freedom Force disbanded. The death of her lover left Mystique psychologically scarred, and she never truly recovered.

Breakdown

Mentally unstable, Mystique led another assassination attempt on Senator Kelly and stabbed Rogue in an ensuing battle. If it weren’t for Rogue having absorbed Wolverine’s healing factor she would have most likely died. This caused a rift between the mother and daughter. During this time Mystique also blew up Moira McTaggart’s research facility, fatally injuring the doctor.

Mystique then allied herself with 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 gave her the ability to generate an electrical charge, Mystique created the identity of a super-villain and joined the X-Corps. Whilst Mastermind's daughter mind-controlled the other members of the organization, Mystique brought Banshee’s organization down and slit his throat, leaving him in critical condition.

Double agent

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Cover to Mystique #15. Art by Mike Mayhew.

Charles Xavier was later was forced to make Mystique his double agent, as his previous one had died and Mystique was the only one suitable enough to complete the missions. The two never truly trusted each other, but as long as Mystique completed the missions Xavier would keep her safe from the authorities, who were out to execute her.

Mystique chafed at the control and secretly plotted with one of Xavier’s enemies, the ‘Quiet Man’, to betray him. The Quiet Man promised Mystique to give her a device that would keep her safe from the authorities (the same type of device Xavier was using) if she killed Xavier. Mystique tried to kill Xavier, but was stopped by the X-Men and forced to flee.

Rogue managed to track her down. She disowned her surrogate mother, saying she had tried to forgive Mystique for stabbing her, but that this was too much. She went on to say that Mystique wasn’t her mother, that she was a monster. Mystique tried apologizing to Rogue for how she had hurt her, but Rogue was distraught with rage and attacked her foster mother. Mystique managed to escape by blowing up the house and going through the window, changing her form to shield her fall.

Powers and abilities

Mystique is a mutant, a shape-shifter able to alter the formation of her biological cells at will, and thereby assume the form of other humanoids as well as adapting certain desired genetic traits. In the past, Mystique has also demonstrated night vision, wings on her back, talons in her fingers and natural body armour. However, she cannot adapt the superhuman powers of others. In addition, damages to her biological tissue are known to heal at a relatively fast rate and she can form a resistance to poisons upon contacting them. Mystique's aging process is very slow and seems to have ceased at some point of her early adulthood. Her natural form is that of a young woman with red hair, yellow eyes and dark blue skin.

(It should be noted that in the X-Men movie Mystique was shown changing shape into a statue, and the animated X-Men: Evolution TV series Mystique could change shape into animals - particularly ravens - eventually turning into multiple animals when her powers were enhanced by Apocalypse.)

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Rebecca Romijn-Stamos as Mystique in X2.

Appearances in other media

The televised X-Men and X-Men: Evolution animated series and the movies X-Men and X2 depicted Mystique primarily as a close ally and sometime lieutenant of the powerful mutant Magneto and a key figure in the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

In the movies X-Men and X2, Mystique was played by Rebecca Romijn-Stamos.

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