|“||Who am I? That, my dear, is an excellent question. Though not one easily answered.||„|
Raven Darkholme, (also known as Mystique), is the major villainess from the X-Men comics and media. She is a somewhat cruel and treacherous ally of Magneto who has worked as part of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants but has also taken over - being capable of even more radical thinking than Magneto at times.
She is one of the X-Men's most deceptive and cunning opponents, happy to do what it takes to get the upper-hand and ensure mutant supremacy - this ruthlessness has been displayed when she attempted to kill her own adoptive daughter Rogue and son Nightcrawler on numerous occasions.
Mystique is also quite happy to switch sides if it is in her interests and this combined with her formidable shapeshifting abilities serves to make her a very dangerous opponent.
Much of Mystique's past is a mystery, though it is known that she is over a century old and her earliest meeting with her lover, Irene Adler (also known as Destiny) occurred around "the dawn of the 20th century". During the 1920s, Mystique met Wolverine, who joined her mutant crew. The two became lovers for a short time, but Mystique eventually betrayed him and the rest of her crew. Wolverine later confronted her over her betrayal, and she kicked him out of the train due to not trusting him.
Mystique would later encounter Victor Creed, also known as Sabretooth, while the two were out to assassinate a scientist in East Berlin. The two became lovers, but Mystique soon faked her death to leave him. However, their brief union led to the conception of a child, Graydon Creed, whom Mystique soon gave up for adoption. She continued to monitor him as he grew up until he reached adolescence, when Mystique learned that he was not a mutant, and thus abandoned him. Graydon would grow to despise his parents and mutant-kind in general, and later became the head of the anti-mutant organization Friends of Humanity. However, he met his end when he was assassinated by a time-travelling Mystique.
Mystique later married a German noble, Baron Christian Wagner under her true name, Raven Darkholme. Learning of her husband's infertility, Mystique took several other lovers in an attempt to conceive another child; eventually, she was seduced by the demon Azazel and became pregnant with his child. Her husband became suspicious and her father-in-law suggested a blood test to verify whether the child was his, leading Mystique to murder him. Upon giving birth to her mutant child, the locals accused Mystique and the infant to be demons and attempted to kill them both, forcing Mystique to flee and abandon her son. The infant was found and raised by a Gypsy sorceress named Margali Szardos and named Kurt Wagner.
During her time as friend and lover to Destiny, Mystique would gain a final child when she adopted a runaway mutant child named Anna Marie. Mystique and Destiny would raise the girl, during which Mystique would become the Deputy Director of the DARPA in the United States Department of Defense. She later formed her own Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and indicted Anna Marie, now under the name Rogue, into the group. However, during a battle against the Avengers, Rogue used her absorption powers against Ms. Marvel and ended up permanently absorbing her psyche and powers. Rogue eventually abandoned the Brotherhood and joined the X-Men in the hopes that Charles Xavier could assist her. Mystique, believing her adopted daughter had been brainwashed, launched a rescue attempt, but Rogue stopped her and explained that she had joined the X-Men due to believing Xavier could help heal her psyche. Though reluctant, Mystique allowed Rogue to remain with the X-Men. However, she would continue to oppose the X-Men as one of their greatest enemies.
However, things changed after the events of Axis where Mystique would take the roll of a true hero to try to stop the now evil X-Men and Avengers from wreaking havoc. She desperately fought Nightcrawler to turn him back to his true self and ultimately, she along with her comrades would take the fall for the Avengers and X-Men so their reputation wouldn't be ruined in the eyes of the world.
Powers and Abilities
These powers combined serve to make her a stealthy opponent capable of tricking many, however it is not as effective against Wolverine, as she can not disguise her scent without aid - she also suffers from the limit that she can not transform into non-humanoid forms.
In the comic book canon it is stated that Mystique's brand of shape-shifting is far more advanced than most, in that she can alter herself on a genetic level, leading to the additional powers of regeneration and immunity to age. Her control over her own biology even allows her to copy certain powers tied to physical stature such as physical fortitude. Mystique's physical changes extends to her being functionally male while in a male form and able to get others pregnant or having children who are born inheriting whatever looks one of her aliases had at the time of conception.
Mystique's age and experience have lead her to become one of the more crafty Brotherhood mutants, a trait gained entirely though time and effort and not through a mutated brain of any kind. Mystique's power-set combined with her cunning and need to assume new persona's to infiltrate high-security areas has lead to a well maintained charisma Mystique uses to endear herself to and manipulate others. With just a few exceptions, nearly all her "friends" and family are easily traded in-and-out of familiarity to her based entirely on how useful they are to her. Her need to remain as socially adaptable as she is physically adaptable has lead even Mystique to become lost in her own cons occasionally.
In Other Media
X-Men: The Animated Series
Mystique is a recurring antagonist in X-Men: The Animated Series. She is the mother of Graydon Creed and Nightcrawler, both of whom she abandoned. She is also Rogue's foster mother, having taken her in as a teenager when she was disowned by her father for her mutant abilities. She trained her in how to use her mutant abilities and instructed her to steal Ms. Marvel's powers, an event that later caused Rogue to defect to the X-Men. Mystique functions as the leader of the Brotherhood of Mutants and served Apocalypse for a time. At one point, she attempted to assassinate Senator Robert Kelly, but was foiled by Gambit.
In X-Men: Evolution, Mystique is Magneto's ally and the leader of the Brotherhood. In the past, Mystique accidentally lost her infant son, Kurt Wagner, after attempting to flee from Magneto with him. She adopted Rogue and attempted to recruit her into the Brotherhood by turning her against the X-Men, but this failed. She also took on a human form and became the principal of Bayville High School under the name Raven Darkholme in order to monitor Xavier's students. She later gained an altered appearance and abilities after being exposed to Magneto's power enhancing machine. She helps bring Apocalypse back, but was turned to stone, and seemingly destroyed when Rogue shoved her off a cliff. However, she later returned as one of Apocalypse's Horsemen before being restored to normal.
Wolverine and the X-Men
Mystique appears in Wolverine and the X-Men as one of Magneto's Acolytes. She has a romantic past with Wolverine, with Wolverine having saved her from being enhanced by the Weapon X program. Wolverine slowly recalls these memories while working with Mystique to free Maverick's daughter, Christie Nord.
- Main article: Mystique (X-Men Movies)
Mystique has made appearances in various X-Men video games. She is a boss villain in the X-Men arcade game, and disguises herself as various characters throughout the game.
- Prior to her prominent position in the X-Men's rogue gallery, Mystique was the main foe of super-heroine, Miss Marvel and a serious foe of Nick Fury, commander of S.H.I.E.L.D..
- In the original Miss Marvel comics, Mystique was called by her real name, Raven Darkholme.
- Writer Chris Claremont, co-creator of Mystique and main-stay writer for X-Men comics originally envisioned Mystique in an open lesbian relationship with her team-mate Destiny. Marvel however did not want the subject mentioned and so Mystique and Destiny were never openly shown as being in a romantic relationship. None the less, most fans still caught onto Claremont's undertones and he has canonically confirmed to fans that the two were an item.