Mystique: The Shapeshifter’s Many Faces Over The Years
Raven Darkholme is true to her name—her most frequently used alias that is. Mystique. The ever-changing mutant’s past is shrouded in mystery. She claims her powers surfaced at the blossoming age of barely 12 years old. Powers that she said she had to use “just to survive” in X-Men Vol 2 #174.
But, taking this blue-skinned tricksy gal’s word has proven time and time again to be the wrong choice. As if Raven’s history didn’t have enough smoke and mirrors, the shapeshifter’s true age is anyone’s guess as her mutant abilities prevent the outward appearance of aging.
Despite her slippery past, Mystique’s powers have made her front and center to pivotal Marvel Comics plotlines. She has had many a starring role, playing crucial parts…while wearing other people’s faces. Whatever scandalous treachery you can think of, our girl Mystique has done it. We’re talking about major military intel sabotage, to steamy heartbreak betrayal, and simply ‘WTF‘ moments.
Stick around as we look through the shapeshifter’s many faces over the years:
When everyone’s favorite pro-mutant terrorist isn’t a striking blue or wearing feverish yellow eyes, she’s simply Raven, the not-so-girl-next-door. Mystique has used her real name, along with ordinary human looks, to work her way up in American government.
Here, she fought hard to attain a top-tier role as Assistant Secretary to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. She gathered top secrets from the Pentagon right under their nose while in her human guise as Raven Darkholme. This version of the shapeshifter made her first full appearance in 1978’s Ms. Marvel #18.
Professor X’s Estranged Love Interest
Professor X is the least eligible bachelor for Mystique on paper. For one, he’s more of a pacifist than a nonchalant killer. Two, he definitely does not have that certain je ne sais quoi Mystique finds in bad boys like Sabretooth or Wolverine. Plus, you wouldn’t think Xavier would go for a girl like her.
Leave it up to Mystique’s shapeshifting skills to find a way around this- She transforms into Moira MacTaggert, Xavier’s old fling. Needless to say, one thing leads to another and she eventually gives birth to Charles Xavier II.
What’s more shocking (due to another X-Men alternate reality and time-traveling twist) is that Mystique marries Charles. This comes as a surprise to everyone (even Raven’s) when Charles Xavier’s will is read aloud in Uncanny X-Men Vol. 3 #24. The X-Men find that he has left his entire estate to his wife, Mystique.
Another one of Mystique’s many faces over the years is the German spy Leni Zauber. Mystique took on this persona shortly after Logan and Victor Creed’s service together during the Cold War. Creed had one mission: to save and extract Leni Zauber. Perhaps his only fault was succeeding too well in taking care of Leni. The two struck up a very, very close relationship indeed. All the while Creed stayed completely oblivious to Mystique’s never-ending shenanigans. Roughly 9-months later Mystique gave birth to Graydon Creed.
Out of the all the shapeshifting personas, this could very well be her most dangerous mistake. The villainous Mystique was an angel compared to her human son. Graydon would go on to lead Friends of Humanity—a group propelled by his own deep-rooted hatred for mutants.
Sabretooth wasn’t the only lucky mutant to get a glimpse of Mystique’s frisky side. She also had a steamy relationship with a member of the ancient and demonic-like race, Azazel. But, while their mismatched intentions led to one of everyone’s favorite X-Men, Nightcrawler, Mystique did not use her shapeshifting powers to persuade Azazel. And Mystique hardly played the doting mother to Kurt Wagner.
It was under the guise of U.S. Senator Ralph Brickman’s wife, Mallory Brickman, that Raven adopted the mutant pariah Rogue. If this sounds too wholesome for the cunning, cold-hearted shapeshifter, it is. The mother-daughter duo may have cared for each other deeply over the years, but that didn’t stop the two from having major familial issues.
When you think of family problems, you usually think everyday issues between kids and parents. Parents grounding kids for staying out too late, not getting good enough grades, or kids wanting to rebel—but that’s not Raven and Rogue at all. We’re talking about the ice queen herself and her adopted life-draining daughter.
Let’s not forget the time Mystique took her mothering skills to unheard heights. The issue was that mama bear Mystique didn’t approve of her adopted daughter’s boyfriend. That part is a universal parental worry. What isn’t is using your shapeshifting powers to morph into a mega-hottie named Foxx, whose sole purpose was to seduce Gambit in the shower. It’s no wonder Rogue eventually clawed her mother in the back as revenge.
Miscellaneous WTF Transformations
Raven Darkholme has never been shy about using her superior mutant genes to get her way. She’s worn any and every face considered advantageous, especially during risky situations. As amazing as it is to see Raven morph into fellow X-Men and humans alike, sometimes the coolest transformations have had nothing to do with taking someone else’s identity.
Mystique’s shapeshifting power is even stranger than we usually imagine it to be. The antihero can do more than just change her outward appearance. She can push around her own organs to prevent vital ones from being shot. She’s also camouflaged herself by morphing into objects, and can even change her voice to perfectly imitate others.
In Mystique Vol 1 #7, Raven infiltrates Kim Jong-il’s headquarters, posing as a North Korean statue. Even cooler than that, in the previous issue Mystique helps kidnapped mutant kids escape a hostile Cuban bunker by growing an extra head and another pair of arms, nearly splitting her brain in the process.
No matter what face Mystique wears, we can be sure it’s going to be one hell of a disguise. Which of Mystique’s many mutant guises over the years has been your favorite? Let Your Geek Sideshow and tell us in the comments below!
Did you know that Mystique once joined the Avengers with Deadpool and Magneto? Seriously! Meet the Astonishing Avengers and learn more about the blue mutant’s time spent as a hero with some other reformed villains.