When a comic character is adapted for film, they are often changed to fit the background of a movie. The X-Men franchise has done this for years, and one of the characters who has been altered the most is Mystique. Most recently, the shapeshifting mutant has been played by Jennifer Lawrence, who’s done an admirable job with what she’s been given. But the comic version of Mystique is far more compelling, and here’s a look into her history.
How does Mystique’s origin differ in comics and film?
Raven Darkholme’s exact age is unknown, but she’s stated she’s at least over one hundred years old. This makes her much older than the film version. In X-Men: First Class, a young Charles Xavier finds a young Mystique stealing food from his family home. This begins a brother/sister relationship between the pair that isn’t present in the comics.
The films also emphasised the relationship between Mystique and Magneto. Contrary to popular belief, Mystique has rarely worked with the Master of Magnetism, preferring to stand alone as a capable and ruthless assassin.
From her earliest appearance, Mystique has been defined by her pragmatism and desire to survive no matter the cost. Her cruel nature is often juxtaposed with her role as a mother and the relationship she has with her children Graydon Creed, Nightcrawler and Rogue. Mystique has shown to care for Nightcrawler and Rogue, though she’s not been above manipulating them in the past. The only person she’s shown to genuinely love was her partner, Irene Adler, also known as Destiny.
During WW2, Mystique posed as a deceased German secret agent called Leni Zauber. She was sent on a mission to assassinate a scientist in East Berlin with Victor Creed, also known as Sabretooth. They completed the mission, became lovers and Mystique gave birth to their human son, Graydon. Mystique soon faked her death so she could leave Sabretooth.
Later, Mystique married a member of the German nobility, Baron Christian Wagner. He proved to be an insufficient lover and Mystique was seduced by fellow mutant Azazel. Their union created Nightcrawler. When her husband became suspicious, Mystique murdered him and she gave birth to a boy with blue skin. Mystique abandoned Nightcrawler after the locals saw them as demons.
Mystique went on to become the adoptive mother to a four-year-old Rogue. The girl had run away from home and Mystique found her brandishing a shotgun. Destiny had foreseen that she would be important, causing Mystique to find her. The two women raised the girl and Mystique became fiercely protective of her.
As Raven Darkholme, she rose up through the United States Civil Service and gained access to military secrets. During this time, she made an enemy of Carol Danvers, and the two of them have been at each other’s throats ever since. Mystique formed her own Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and trained Rogue to fight at her side. An altercation with Danvers leads to Rogue absorbing her powers and memories, which caused her psyche to fracture. Rogue found refuge with the X-Men and Mystique reluctantly gave Rogue up.
Since then, Mystique has been a major enemy of the X-Men, but when it’s suited her, she’s acted as a temporary ally. Her powers have given her an advantage in many situations.
Powers that are skin deep
As a shapeshifter, Mystique can copy the appearance and voice of any living being. But her powers have been enhanced over the years. Originally, she couldn’t change her overall body mass, but that has been altered.
A previous weaknesses involved her being unable to mask her scent from people with superhuman senses like Wolverine. However, when Mystique was killed and brought back by The Hand, she could hide her scent and alter her limbs to form bladed weapons.
At her core, Mystique will always remain an enigma. She fights for her own interests and it makes her a fascinating villain.