Mystique #12

Issue Date: 
May 2004
Story Title: 
Maker’s Mark - part 2

Brian K. Vaughan (writer), Manuel Garcia (penciler), Raul Fernandez (inker), Virtual Calligraphy’s Russ Wooton (letterer), Matt Milla (colorist), Mike Mayhew (cover artist), Cory Sedlmeier ( Editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Mindcontrolled by young Spencer Bronson, Forge tries his best to kill Mystique. She, on the other hand, tries all her tricks, among them turning into Xavier and Storm to snap him out of it. She finally succeeds when she first tells him she loves him and that she appreciates him for his belief she can be something better. Mystique then tries to kill the boy but Forge, instead, takes him out with a device he whipped up. Later on, Mystique denies everything she said before and states that she is proud of her decisions. Forge shows her that she cannot stand the sight of her reflection and asks her to ponder if she is happy with who she is why can’t she stand the sight of her face.

Full Summary: 

Brooklyn, New York

11:01 P.M. [EST]

Under the mental control of twelve-year-old mutant, Spencer Bronson, Forge is trying to kill Mystique. He hits her in the face with his metal hand. Mystique reciprocates by headbutting him.

Spencer’s father begs her to get out. His son has psychic control over any man he lays eyes on. He made him kidnap him from his mom’s place. He hates her because he can’t control women. Spencer orders the man to shut up and, at once, he obeys. Mystique shouts at the boy to let her friend go and she’ll promise not to kill him. She can’t hurt him, the boy boasts. Women are tough in stuff like Virtual Fighter but, in real, life they’re all weaker than men.

Forge grabs Mystique by the neck and throws her through a window. Angrily, she urges him to snap out of it. He’s letting some twelve-year old work him like a sock puppet. No reaction. Mystique apologizes in advance and kicks the kneecap of his leg prosthesis with all her strength. The prosthesis snaps and, as Forge lies on the ground, Mystique tells him that, over the years, she has learned his weaknesses, like the stress points of his prosthetics. She grabs the prosthesis, tears it away from his body and warns him to stay down. She hasn’t beaten a man to death with his own leg since the Carter administration. But she still remembers how …

That’s not fair, Spencer protests and absurdly orders Forge to use his finishing move. Annoyed, Mystique tells him to shut up. In the center of Forge’s artificial hand, a light appears and Mystique asks if he is gong to try some of his pathetic knockout gas on her. Instead, she is hit by an electric charge.

Mystique falls to the ground and, as she does so, takes on the looks of Professor Xavier. Forge is taken aback and she asks he wouldn’t hurt a helpless cripple, would he? Spencer protests that it’s a trick. She can change shape like the boggarts in Harry Potter.

Still playing, Xavier Mystique tells Forge she’s sorry about his leg. He knows what it’s like.
Forge manages to pull himself up with the help of a cane that comes out of his hand prosthesis. “Xavier” reminds Forge that he is his friend, but Forge hits her in the face with the claw-like end of the “cane. Without missing a beat, Mystique transforms into Storm, telling him she’s his heart.. As Forge touches her hair, she reminds him that she’s the only woman he ever truly loved. A moment later, he brutally grabs her by the neck. “Knew I should have gone with her old-school look,” Mystique swears, as she transforms into the Punk Storm Forge first fell in love with, but to no avail. Yawning, Spencer tells Forge to just kill her and Forge, not letting go of Mystique’s throat, smashes her into the wall.

Turning into her true self, Mystique tells him that it’s all right. When he comes to, he’ll feel lousy, but he shouldn’t. This isn’t his fault and she wants him to know that she loved him. Forge hesitates but still doesn’t let go. She adds with a weaker voice that he’s the only man who ever believed she could be something better. He was wrong, but she always appreciated the sentiment. Spencer orders him to go on. He can crush her. But not tonight, Forge replies, having finally come back to his senses as he lets her go.

Carefully touching her shoulder, Forge apologizes. He couldn’t stop his body from lashing out. She knows the feeling Mystique replies and decks him. She now turns to father and son Bronson. Boys are all the same, she announces. No self-control. Panicked, Spencer orders his father to stop her, but Mystique easily dispatches of him with a kick. Does he have any idea how many hours of her life she wasted searching for him, she asks.

Suddenly, she notices the sound of sirens coming closer. The neighbors must have called the cops. And if Spencer is still alive when they enter, he’ll control them. Spencer swears he’ll give up but Mystique tells him he only has one way out of this. She promises to make it quick.

Suddenly, Forge tells her to step aside and lifts up a device made of his bionic leg. The next moment the boy is caught in a cryogenic field. One of his gadgets actually worked? Mystique mocks. Forge tells her to get out. He has his government credentials, but they can’t explain her. As he looks up, she’s already one. “Leaving me. The one thing she was always good at, he whispers.

Forty minutes later, Forge walks outside the building where Mystique, in one of her disguises, is waiting for him. He explains that they are waiting for an all-female unit to pick Spencer up. He is to be enrolled in a special program up at Westchester. In Xavier’s cult, Mystique scoffs. Xavier’s school isn’t a cult, Forge corrects her. It’s an institute for gifted and, sometimes, troubled children. Xavier will teach Spencer the responsible use of his powers.

And the next thing you know he will be forced to join the X-Men, Mystique mocks. Professor X has never made anyone fight for his dream, Forge points out. Except for her, he means? Mystique replies. What would she have done, he demands. Murdered the boy? A mercy killing Mystique corrects. A mutant kid like that is going to suffer in the world. Especially after how much his human parents screwed him up. Forge points out that that’s rubbish. She just hates to admit she was wrong and mutants aren’t always the victims of “evil humans”. He’s right, Mystique states as she walks away. She does hate to admit she’s wrong. Good thing she never is …

Mystique’s safehouse, three hours later

Mystique finds Forge in the lab working on some device, apparently as restless as she. He had his dream about the perpetual motion machine again, he tells her. What’s her excuse? The toxic coffee he forced on her a few hours ago. Why is he really up? Forge asks whether she meant any of the things she said when she tried to break the boy’s hold over him. About loving him? Mystique asks ironically. He’s not really that gullible, is he? No, he knows that wasn’t true, he tells her calmly. He meant the part about appreciating him, because he thinks she can be something better.

Oh, that was definitely a lie, Mystique replies. Making quote signs in the air she adds that his unshakeable belief that she can “improve” is his most annoying quality. She can’t be any better, because she already is the best. She’s proud of the hard decisions she’s strong enough to make. Proud of what she has done for people like them. She’s perfectly happy with who she is. Everything else was just a yarn she spun to beat him.

She didn’t beat him, Forge points out; she beat a mind-controlled zombie. Is he looking for a rematch? Mystique smirks. He could take her in one move, he replies. With one of his inventions? No, with his old shaving mirror. He holds the mirror in front of her face and Mystique violently jerks aside, unable to stand the sight. Forge continues that, over the years, he’s noticed a few of her weaknesses, too… like the fact that she never looks at her true reflection. She can’t stand the sight of he own face. If she’s so happy with who she is, why can’t she look herself in the eye? He leaves, while Mystique is just slumped on the chair, lost in thought.

Characters Involved: 



Spencer Bronson

Anthony Bronson

Story Notes: 

Mystique and Forge had a complicated relationship over the years, most notable between Uncanny X-Men #289-302 and their time together in X-Factor #108-137.

Forge originally fell in love with Storm during her “punk phase” [Uncanny X-Men #185-188].

While the idea that Mystique cannot face her own reflection is an interesting one, it doesn’t hold up to past issues where she displayed several photos of herself in her true form in her home.

In the Harry Potter series, boggarts are magical beings that take the shape of what one fears most.

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