MYSTIQUE: Page 7 of 8

Publication Date: 5th Aug 2011
Written By: Ruth and Lia Brown.


Little did Mystique know that Abyss was another child of Azazel, one of many the demonic-looking mutant had fathered all over Earth. Several months after her disappearance, Azazel summoned all of his offspring together to the Isla des Demonas. He hoped that one of them would be able to free his people from their other-dimensional exile. Both Nightcrawler and Abyss were among those involved in the resulting conflict with the X-Men. When Abyss tried to use his power during battle, he “spat out” Mystique. Over dinner with Azazel, Raven revealed to Kurt that Azazel’s claims of being his father were true. The full revelations regarding Kurt's conception and parentage were at least laid bare in during their time in Azazel's dimension. Later, after the X-Men had thwarted Azazel’s plans, Mystique slipped away to reassume her life of crime. [Uncanny X-Men #431-434]

Before long, Raven was captured by the Department of Homeland Security as an enemy combatant, using a device specifically designed for locating shapeshifters. Mystique was moments away from being executed when she was saved by none other than Professor Xavier, in disguise as Magneto.  One of his mutant underground agents, a body-hopping psychic named Prudence, had been killed during a sensitive mission when a pyro-expulsive mutant arms dealer named Steinbeck burned her alive. Xavier felt that Mystique was the only person who could finish the mission, and blackmailed her into entering his employ. He vowed that as long as she undertook secret missions that related to mutant rights causes around the globe, she’d remain protected from the government. Xavier had tapped Forge to work with him and Mystique, setting up a safehouse for her in Brooklyn, New York. The Maker had devised the means to counter the government’s detector, an interference transmitter projecting a digital smokescreen to hide Mystique from their scans. However, should she try to flee or misbehave, the device would be deactivated and she would be exposed once again. [Mystique #1-3]

Having no other options, Mystique agreed to work for Xavier. She was assigned a field handler named Shortpack, a telepathic miniature man, and she began working on the mission Prudence had started. They rendezvoused in Cuba to destroy a series of black market Sentinels (using variant models Steinbeck had auctioned off from his contacts in the former Soviet Union) before Castro could get his mutant deterrence program off the ground. At the end of that mission, Mystique was contacted by a man calling himself Shepard, an agent of the mysterious Quiet Man. Shepherd asked her to become a double agent and participate in counter-missions while working for Xavier. In return, they’d eventually free her from the short leash that Xavier kept her on. He left Mystique to consider his offer. [Mystique #4-6]

On her next mission, Raven travelled to South Africa to prevent a “bigpox” virus from being released into the atmosphere. This virus would kill any humans and mutants who had been inoculated against the original smallpox virus. Shepard requested that she provide the Quiet Man with a sample of the virus before turning it over to Xavier. As it turned out, the request was merely a ruse to see if Mystique could be trusted. Raven passed Shepard’s test and their relationship continued. [Mystique #7-10]

Meanwhile, Raven also had to contend with her complicated relationship with Forge. Given their history, they did not trust each other. But their connections ran deep and their intimate knowledge of each other created a great deal of tension as both knew just how to push the other's buttons.
Shepard soon told Mystique exactly what the Quiet Man wanted from her: to kill Charles Xavier. [Mystique #13] While she weighed her options, Mystique’s next mission for Xavier took on a decidedly personal tone. DermaFree was a European cosmetics and skincare corporation that was using captive mutants as test subjects for their new products. Even worse, they had acquired genetic samples from Mystique herself and were using them to clone Raven, then harvest embryonic stem cells from her shape-shifting genes as the ultimate cosmetic cure-all. The personal nature of the mission and DermaFree’s completely inhuman treatment of their mutant guinea pigs, made Mystique far more vicious and reckless than Shortpack was used to dealing with. She gleefully tortured and killed several of Dermafree’s employees and collaborators, and left several mutant captives to die in order to pursue her own vendetta. Luckily, they survived without her aid. Raven’s behavior on the mission led Shortpack to see her for who she truly was despite his growing affection for her. Disgusted, he insisted that Xavier assign Mystique to another handler. [Mystique #14-18]

In the meantime, Mystique finally met with the Quiet Man in person to finalize their plans against Xavier and learned that her mysterious benefactor was actually Steinbeck, the mutant who killed Xavier’s last agent. [Mystique #19] The Quiet Man agreed to provide Raven with a device to permanently neutralize the shape-shifter tracking technology developed for the DHS, in exchange for her help in assassinating the professor. Their plot was temporarily interrupted when Xavier pulled Mystique off of her active missions to locate Shortpack, who had gone AWOL in search of Prudence’s killer. Despite herself, Raven had grown fond of her handler during their time together. When Shepard and the Quiet Man captured Shortpack they threatened to kill him in order to force Mystique into assassinating Xavier immediately. [Mystique #22]

Despite being constantly monitored by the Quiet Man, Raven managed to pull a bait-and-switch with the mutant thief Fantomex to make sure Forge arrived just in time to stop her from murdering Xavier. Unable to let them in on her full plans, Mystique was cut loose and found herself on the run from both the X-Men and the world governments once Forge’s interference transmitter was turned off. While trying to retrieve her belongings from the safehouse in Brooklyn, Mystique was forced to fight Rogue and Wolverine. After this latest round of heinous acts, Rogue openly denounced Mystique as her mother and nearly killed Raven before she managed to escape. [Mystique #23]

Finally, Mystique managed to infiltrate the Quiet Man’s lair, only to discover that his copy of Forge’s interference transmitter was a fake. Surprisingly, the Quiet Man was revealed to be both Steinbeck and Prudence. Xavier’s late operative had mentally survived by projecting herself into the body of her killer but had been driven mad by the process. She developed a twisted desire for revenge against Xavier and Shortpack for letting her die. Mystique managed to rescue Shortpack and end the Quiet Man’s threat. In the chaos that followed over the next few days, Mystique managed to retrieve the interference transmitter from Forge’s townhouse and finally cut her ties with Xavier and his missions completely. [Mystique #24]

Realizing how badly her relationship with Rogue had disintegrated over time, Mystique decided to take action towards ensuring her daughter’s happiness. As she never thought Gambit was a suitable match for her daughter, Mystique went looking for a better man for Rogue. She found Augustus, a high-society thief and cat burglar also known as Pulse. He was uniquely suited for Rogue, because the “pulsing power” in his eyes could neutralize Rogue’s powers and allow the two to touch. Before introducing Pulse to Rogue, Mystique plotted to get Gambit out of the picture.

She assumed the form of a beautiful young mutant on the run named Foxx seeking asylum at Xavier’s School. Once there, she got herself assigned to Gambit’s training squad and immediately began coming on to him, trying to entice him into cheating on Rogue.  Raven couldn’t have picked a worse time to intervene, as Rogue and Gambit were in the middle of a rough patch in their romance due to their inability to touch. Remy held strong, however, and told “Foxx” he would be transferring her to another squad. Impressed, Mystique revealed her true self to Gambit and was essentially frank about her intentions for Rogue’s well-being. Of course, she then shape-changed into Rogue and offered herself to Gambit for a “little release.” [X-Men (2nd series) #171-172]

Whether or not Gambit gave in to temptation is unclear. The next day, the scrambling pulse that Augustus had given Mystique to allow her to avoid telepathic detection wore out. She was captured by the X-Men and her plans revealed to Rogue. Still, Raven kept the X-Men guessing by claiming her real purpose for being there was to join the team full time. The X-Men decided to take her request seriously and put it to a vote of all the active members. With all the focus she had placed on her daughter’s happiness, Mystique had lost sight of the effect she was having on her son, Nightcrawler. Kurt visited her in her cell while the other’s debated her sincerity and asked Mystique to stay away for a while, regardless of the outcome of the vote, to give him time to get used to her being around and in his life. Although she would never admit it, Raven understood her son’s plea and was already gone from her cell when the X-Men came down to tell her she had been accepted into the team. [X-Men (2nd series) #173-174]