Full Name: Unknown, often goes by Raven Darkholm
Occupation: Mercenary, spy, con-artist, assassin
Advanced shape-shifting abilities that allow for major reshaping of the body in appearance and function that is very difficult to detect. Can alter voice to match any tone. Can shift body into animals in a limited capacity. Malleable body also allows for advanced healing from injuries and resistance to nearly all infectious disease.
History: As her name implies, very little is known about the life of Mystique. Being a shape-shifter and a deceiver, it isn’t even clear what her real name is. In her basil form she goes by the name Ravan Darkholme. However, this too may be an alias of sorts and Mystique’s real name may be something entirely different.
Mystique’s life and upbringing are completely unknown. The earliest records of someone by the name Mystique can be traced to shortly after World War II. During this time she appears to have mastered her shape-shifting abilities. With her powers she began impersonating and conning people. It doesn’t appear to have been out of greed or malice. Mystique was always in need of money and a stable life. She did not have that on her own so her only way was to steal it from someone else. She often took the identify of someone who had recently died of natural causes or forged identities of people from distant towns. Most of her activity was in America and Canada. However, her cons often were exposed. Sometimes others found out. Other times she got bored and sought something more.
Eventually, Mystique began employing her talents in the criminal underworld. Under the name Raven Darkholme she began her life as a spy and saboteur for various organizations. She eventually graduated to assassinations, theft, and extortion. Her skills were on par with that of military training. It isn’t clear where she received this training, but it made her a force to be reckoned with. These skills along with her shape-shifting abilities allowed her to become one of the most feared names in the criminal underworld. Her services commanded enormous sums of money. Yet despite this wealth, she was unable to forge a life for herself.
During her tour in the criminal underworld, she met up with Irene Adler. Irene was another product of crime. She was a blind mutant who could see the future and various organizations, legal and illegal, sought her foresight in numerous affairs. When she met Mystique she started having more elaborate visions. For this and other reasons, the two became close friends. For a time they disappeared together. It isn’t clear what happened, but when Mystique re-emerged she shifted her mercenary trade to Europe. It was there where she became involved with an organization known as the Azazel.
Unlike other mercenary circles, the Azazel was more accepting of Mystique and her mutant talents. They paid her well and helped her further expand her reputation. She eventually drew the eye of the leader, Adrian Wagner. At first she thought he was a mutant. Then he revealed himself to be something more than human. Mystique found herself drawn to him and the two became lovers. Within months, Mystique was pregnant with a child.
Shortly after learning of her pregnancy, Mystique found out that Azazel had deceived her. He seduced her only because his mission required that he father a child with a worthy woman. While he claimed that he genuinely fell in love with her, Mystique was embittered by the deception. She still gave birth to their son, Kurt. She also helped raise him and grew to love him. However, her bitterness lingered and she sought to distance herself from the Azazel.
Shortly after she became pregnant with Kurt, she expressed a desire to get away from the Azazel. During a mission in New York City, she and the Azazel rescued an infant girl. Azazel claimed this girl had some great significance, but wouldn’t elaborate how. So he entrusted Mystique to raise the girl, who she named Marie Anna Darkholme. Leaving Kurt primarily in the care of his father, Mystique moved to Mississippi where she and Irene set up an isolated life. They learned quickly that there were sinister forces after Marie just as there were sinister forces after Azazel. Mystique took it upon herself to protect Marie from these forces.
For the next few years Mystique spent much of her time raising Marie and visiting Kurt. From time to time she would have to go on missions to protect her children from Azazel’s enemies. The growth in anti-mutant sentiment was also making it difficult for them. As Marie and Kurt grew up she saw more dangers in an increasingly corrupt world. She started spending more and more time away from her children, trying to fight those forces. She reached a critical turning point the day Black Tom attacked and destroyed Azazel. As a result, the burden was now on her shoulders to finish Azazel’s mission. The most vital part of that mission was protecting Kurt and Marie. With her children more vulnerable than ever, she turned to someone else for help.
After ensuring Kurt was safely isolated with the Seftons, she joined forces with Magneto. He promised to provide sanctuary for her family in exchange for her services. This required that she cut ties with Marie and Kurt for a while as Magneto assembled his Brotherhood of Mutants. During this time apart, she grew distant from her children and they grew distant from her. Kurt stopped contacting her and Marie became a problem child, now going by the nickname Rogue. Before Magneto could deliver on his promise, Rogue ended up joining the X-men. It left Mystique enraged and further drove a wedge between her and her daughter.
When the time came for Magneto do deliver on his promise, the X-men thwarted them. Genosha did not become the haven for mutants that Mystique had been promised. As a result, Mystique left the Brotherhood in search of another path. That path eventually crossed with her son again. When Kurt and the Seftons were abducted by Black Tom Cassidy, she enlisted Rogue’s help to save him. While they did manage to rescue him and the Seftons, Mystique’s outrage pushed Kurt away even more and he ended up joining the X-men as well.
With both her children now beyond her control and vulnerable, Mystique is left bitter and alone. It is not clear what her mission is at this point. She continues to fight for her children, but her methods remain devious and deceptive.
Character Breakdown: Mystique’s life and personality are steeped in deception. Her character is somewhat disjointed in a ways. She spends so much time impersonating and conning others that she doesn’t have a solid identity to call her own. Since her original blue-skinned appearance is too inhuman, she has to pass for what those around her accept as human in order to survive. This inability to have her own identity drive her anti-social behavior that includes anger, bitterness, and mistrust. By contrast, her ability to easily place herself in the lives of others influences the low value she gives to human life. Sometimes this value is so low she has no problems with killing.
In addition to her anger and bitterness, Mystique’s deceptive personality has also motivated her to seek and cling to whatever limited identity she has. This powerful motivation is what led her to join the Azazel and accept Azazel as her lover. He accepted her true form and not an altered shape. Even when he revealed that he deceived her, she wasn’t bitter enough to push him aside. She found an identity in the Azazel and as a mother. Having children gave her something to cling to and that motivated her to go to such great lengths to protect them.
However, due to her anti-social personality and negative views of humanity, Mystique often crosses lines that push away her children and anyone else she cares about. In her effort to protect, she often alienates because her hatred and bitterness is so strong. Not having an identity of her own torments her and renders her unable to have the kind of humanity that allows her to trust people. She continues living in a world of deception and it has gotten to a point where she knows no other way to live. Therefore, Mystique’s persona remains stubborn and slow to mature.