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Who am I? That, my dear, is an excellent question. Though not one easily answered.
~ Mystique

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.    

History

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-traveling 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 inducted 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.

Mystique was responsible for founding the Freedom Force and functioned as their leader for a time; however, she was driven into a state of depression when Destiny was killed on a mission. At one point, Mystique seemingly allied with the X-Men, but betrayed them and defected to the Marauders, injuring and abducting Rogue in the process. However, it was revealed that all of this was an attempt by Mystique to save Rogue's life after reading Destiny's diary. She kills Mister Sinister and purges Rogue of the Strain 88 virus using the Messiah baby; however, Rogue is disgusted by Mystique's actions to the point of trying to kill her, though this fails. She later joins Norman Osborn's Dark X-Men and was seemingly killed by Wolverine, though she was later revealed to have survived.

During the events of AXIS, Mystique would take on the role of hero, joining Magneto in battling the Red Skull's Red Onslaught form. Like the other heroes and villains, Mystique underwent a moral inversion due to a spell cast by Scarlet Witch and Doctor Doom and thus fought against the inverted Avengers and X-Men. During this confrontation, Mystique fought against Nightcrawler and Rogue and attempted to convince them to defect from evil, but this failed. At the conclusion of the arc, however, Mystique was restored to her original, villainous persona. 

Powers and Abilities

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Mystique's shapeshifting abilities in action

Mystique has the ability to shape-shift into anyone she chooses, even those of the opposite gender and is well versed in all manner of both armed and unarmed combat.

These powers combined serve to make her a stealthy opponent capable of tracking many, however, it is not as effective against Wolverine, as she cannot 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 extend 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 led her to become one of the more crafty Brotherhood mutants, a trait gained entirely through 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 to 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.

Alternate Versions

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Ultimate Mystique

Ultimate Comics

In the Ultimate Marvel Universe, Mystique is a member of the Brotherhood and a former lover of Charles Xavier, whom she holds a deep resentment for due to him leaving her for Emma Frost. She teams up with Forge and helps release Magneto from his imprisonment in the Triskelion building, assuming his place in the prison cell. She is later replaced by Mastermind and Stacy X and participates in the attack on the Ultimate's headquarters in order to recover the corpse of Scarlet Witch. During the battle, she impersonates Black Widow to distract Tony Stark before being knocked out by the Wasp. She later impersonated Rogue and joined Sabretooth in seeking out Jean Grey. After Sabretooth killed Jean's love interest, she attacked him while telling Mystique to leave.

Xavier has a cat whom he named after Mystique on Emma's suggestion after the cat partially wrecked his office. 

In Other Media

Television

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.

X-Men: Evolution

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. 

Film

Film series

Main article: Mystique (X-Men Movies)

Videogames

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.

Gallery

Images

Videos

Trivia

  • 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.
  • Mystique was ranked #18 on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Villains list. 

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