She’s a long-running X-villain, one of the stars of the X-Men movies; but the shapeshifter Mystique has many, many secrets. Here are five of them…
The origin of Mystique
How old is Mystique? ‘X-Men: First Class’ established that a young Mystique broke into the home of Charles Xavier, but in the comics her origin is very different. From her own timeline, her first appearance was in a clash with Wolfgang von Strucker shortly after World War II – but she was already an adult, and had already mastered her shapeshifting abilities. It seems likely that, like her son Nightcrawler, she was one of those rare mutants whose mutation was visible from birth. Likely this led to a very harsh upbringing, until her powers developed.
Other than this speculation, though, Mystique’s origin is unknown. We do know that her shapeshifting seems to prevent her aging, and she may well actually be immortal! At a time when even Sabretooth has had an Origin comic, she’s an unusual mystery.
Mystique and Destiny
When writer Chris Claremont crated Mystique’s iteration of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, he created a character called Destiny. Destiny was an elderly precog, with tremendous abilities to chart the future; and Claremont had some intense plans. He intended Destiny to be Mystique’s lover, and in fact the two were meant to be Nightcrawler’s parents; Mystique was to have made Destiny pregnant while in the form of a man! There was absolutely no way that the Comics Code Authorty would have approved such a story, and ultimately – over a decade after the main Claremont era of X-Men comics ended – Nightcrawler’s father was revealed to be the demon Azazel.
That being said, the relationship between Mystique and Destiny has subtly changed with time. Claremont did manage to get in a subtle hint, with the Shadow King referring to Destiny as Mystique’s ‘leman’ (an obscure Arabic word for ‘lover’); and, in 2001, Claremont was able to retroactively discuss the relationship in ‘X-Treme X-Men #1‘.
To this day, Destiny’s foresight continues to guide Mystique – even in the aftermath of ‘Death of Wolverine‘! But how did their relationship take shape? How did Destiny handle the many affairs of Mystique (and there were many, given how many children Mystique sired over the year!)?
In all likelihood, we’ll never know.
This, to me, is one of the greatest mysteries of the X-universe. Supposedly a nuclear plant, Alamagordo was actually the first laboratory experimenting on mutants – run by none other than Sinister! Other key figures at Alamagordo included Destiny herself, and we learned in ‘X-Men Forever’ that Mystique infiltrated the plant.
But Alamagordo’s mystery runs deeper than that; Brian Xavier and Kurt Marko both worked there, and we know that Sinister experimented upon the young Charles Xavier. What exactly happened here? What led to the death of Brian Xavier, and was Mystique somehow involved? And what twist of events led to the Alamagordo plant becoming disused?
And why was Mystique there?
Ironically, this major X-villain wasn’t introduced in an X-Men comic; she started out life as a villain for Chris Claremont’s ‘Miss Marvel’. She developed a bitter hatred of Carol Danvers, one that ultimately led to her ‘daughter’ Rogue’s absorbing her powers and psyche, but many of the reasons were never shown. The strange truth is that ‘Miss Marvel’ finished before Claremont had told the tales he planned to, but he carried on regardless, even referring to unseen clashes between the Brotherhood and Miss Marvel that apparently almost killed Rogue!
The lid was partly lifted in 1992, when the unfinished ‘Miss Marvel #25’ was published in ‘Marvel Super Heroes #11’. Destiny, it seemed, had prophesied that Miss Marvel would somehow cause Rogue harm. Still, the full tale of their bitter feud has yet to be told.
Marriage to Charles Xavier
More recently, Brian Bendis has unveiled a new secret; that, in the recent past, Mystique married Charles Xavier! How did the two begin their relationship? When did they marry?
We don’t know the answers to these questions. We do know that, a year ago in comic-book terms, Mystique gave birth to Xavier’s son. We also know that, in the wake of Xavier’s death, Mystique went off-the-rails in a big way.
So there we go! Five of Mystique’s greatest mysteries; some I think we’ll hear more of, such as the marriage to Xavier, but most of these seem lost in the mists of time…