Mystique #19

Issue Date: 
November 2004
Story Title: 

Sean McKeever (writer), Manuel Garcia (penciler), Raul Fernandez (inker), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Matt Milla (colorist), Mike Mayhew (cover artist), Stephanie Moore & Sean Ryan (Assistant Editors), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Shepard asks Mystique to help her on a mission and steal something from a local HYDRA director. Mystique refuses but joins Shepard after all. They infiltrate the HYDRA building and fight their way through to Director Richter. Although, having claimed she wouldn’t risk her life for Shepard, Mystique does just that when she impersonates Shepard before Richter. Using the confusion of having two Shepards around, Mystique and Shepard manage to obtain the object and leave. Mystique isn’t aware that this was actually a deal between Shepard and Richter. At home, Shepard reveals that the object is a fountain pen used by Oscar Wilde and is meant as a gift to her. Mystique is angry at first, but then kisses Shepard and sleeps with him. Afterwards, she agrees to killing Xavier for him, if she can meet the Quiet Man. She is granted an audience with the Quiet Man and, upon seeing his face, she is surprised. In Genosha, Shortpack insists that Xavier either hand Mystique over to the authorities or assign her another field handler. He refuses to work with her any longer.

Full Summary: 

Inside her safehouse in Brooklyn, Mystique is enjoying a shower. Suddenly, she looks up in annoyance and surprise. Wearing only a towel, she sneaks into her darkened living room, where a man is busy rifling through her books. She attacks him with a kick, which the man barely fends off. It is Shepard.

Easy there, Jet Li, he jokes. He was just checking out her old books and records. He holds up an antique copy of Oscar Wilde’s novel ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ and tells her he’s surprised she moved that stuff into the place considering Xavier owns it. Mystique pulls the book away and angrily asks if nothing is sacred to him. This is her personal property.

Changing the subject, Shepard points out that he thought with her shapechanging power she didn’t need to shower. She doesn’t, she replies. She was meditating. Shepard comments that this must be the least he has seen her wear. Actually, that towel is the most he has seen her wear, she retorts, since technically she is always naked. Which, of course, brings up an interesting point, he starts. Mystique tells him to stop and not to hound her about the mission – namely killing Xavier for his boss. Shepard asks her to simmer down and awkwardly stammers that he needs her help. There’s that HYDRA director. Mystique interrupts: is he working for that bunch of psycho fascists?

He continues that there’s the HYDRA director named Richter and he has something important to him. A mirror? Mystique asks nastily. Shepard explains that, while he may be able to break into their installation, it’s really a two-man-operation. He needs someone at his back. Mystique makes fun of him and asks why he doesn’t ask the “Quiet Man.” Because she’s suited for the task and because she is the only one he trusts. Nice try, Mystique tells him cynically, but she has more important things to do than risking her life for some bauble of his… like drying her hair.

The devastated Republic of Genosha. Within a building, the diminutive Shortpack is going through a very strange hurdle training, while discussing his current situation regarding his agent Mystique with his employer, Xavier. She can’t be trusted, he announces, as he balances over a chasm with dangerous nails beneath him and swings over a number of pencils threatening to impale him. She may be a great agent and he was really warming up to Mystique, but then she went all crazy on the mission against DermaFree: cutting up Helena Carlsson, killing Viktor… He may have had it coming but…

They don’t kill, Xavier finishes his sentence and points out that Mystique scares him. Shortpack admits it. She’s completely self-motivated and a cold-blooded killer. He avoids an avalanche of small cubes. He doesn’t believe that she can be changed. Xavier takes him up on his palm.

Shortpack’s entire course was on his desk. What should he do, Xavier asks. Turn her in? Yes, Shortpack exclaims emphatically. Barring that he wants her reassigned to another field handler. He can’t work with her again. He’ll quit first. Charles can’t ask him to trust that woman with his life.

The Bronx:

Dressed in a HYDRA outfit, Shepard nervously tries to get within a building via window. Suddenly, a HYDRA agent opens the door, kicks him down and shouts: Hail HYDRA! Die in the name of our glory! Shepard tries to explain he is one of them but the agent starts to laugh and turns into Mystique. The classics never get old she announces. Still laughing, she orders Shepard to follow her inside. The decent security measures don’t kick in for another couple of rooms.

Shepard intends to ask why she changed her mind but, as they enter an elevator, she curtly tells him not to make a Broadway musical of it. She changed her mind but she is not here to babysit him. She is not taking a bullet for him.

They end up in front of a mess hall full of unmasked HYDRA agents. Shepard informs Mystique that it’s the path of least resistance to the director’s chamber. Mystique points out that they’ll be suspicious for wearing masks. Shepard tells her to act casually. They’ll do fine.

Moments later, an agent jumps up, asking Mystique where she got her gun. It isn’t HYDRA issue. Why are they packing in mess hall? And why are they wearing masks? He demands they take them off. He wants to know who they are. Shepard head-butts him, replying this is who he is. Smooth, Mystique comments wryly as the other agents get up and a fight begins. This doohicky of his? It had better be worth this!

In Director Richter’s sumptuous quarters, the elderly man is torn out of some reading, as the alarm goes off. Shepard storms in, pointing a gun at him and announcing he isn’t going anywhere. Richter smirks, recognizing him. And here he thought he alarm was for an actual threat. Richter knows what he wants, Shepard insists, and demands he hand it over. Richter slowly reaches for a small slender wooden casket. A shame he can’t hand it over, he suddenly announces, as Shepard finds himself surrounded by armed HYDRA guards. It really was good to see him again, Richter insists cheerfully and he’d love to keep Shepard long enough to join him for Scotch, but he’s afraid HYDRA has become increasingly concerned with maintaining their ruthless image. No quarter and all that… Shoot him somewhere painful, he tells his men.

Don’t you dare shoot that man! another voice shouts. He’s just too darn sexy to kill. Another Shepard! The HYDRA guards hesitate in surprise even as Richter shouts it’s a trick. Boo! the first Shepard shouts as he turns into Mystique.

Using their surprise, Mystique and Shepard make short work of the HYDRA men. Mystique makes Richter stumble before he can flee. She grabs the box and threatens him with her knife. She never did like HYDRA… Shepard stops her telling her they have to go. He’s no fun, she pouts, as she joins him. The HYDRA gents intend to follow, but Richter orders them to stop and let them go. He’s fine, he replies when his men inquire. Quietly, he adds that this is the last time he is playing the villain for Shepard. He’s done him quite enough favors.

Later back at Mystique’s safehouse.

What? Mystique breaks an uncomfortable silence. Does he think she’s in his pocket now because he thinks he saved her life? He did save her life, Shepard insists, but no, she’d have done the same for him. Think again, junior, she scoffs. Why then did she pretend to be him? he asks. Why take the risk for him? She wanted to see what the big whoop about the mystery object was, she rationalizes the deed.

He tells her to take a look and hands her the box. With a nasty joke on her lips, she opens the box and is surprised. It’s an antique fountain pen. It’s Oscar Wilde’s, Shepard explains. The pen he used to write Lady Windermere’s Fan. It’s for her.

Not knowing what to say, Mystique looks at him, looks at the pen and finally slaps him. Calling him a child and pulling him closer, she angrily demands he never try to manipulate her emotions like that again. A moment later, she kisses him.

Much later, Mystique gets up from the bed they share and looks at the pen on her nightstand. She turns to Shepard and announces she’ll do it. She’ll kill Xavier. But first, she wants to meet the Quiet Man.

Later again, Shepard leads Mystique through the teleportation portal into an old-fashioned stone hall. Sitting on a throne the robed, hooded Quiet Man welcomes her as Raven Darkholme. He removes his hood.
Huh. Gotta say I didn’t see that coming, Mystique admits.

Characters Involved: 



Charles Xavier


The Quiet Man
HYDRA director Richter

HYDRA agents

Story Notes: 

The title of the book Shepard holds up is “the Portrait of Dorian Gray’. Actually, though, the book is called ‘the Picture of Dorian Gray’.

Jet Li: a famous Chinese martial arts movie star.

Mystique claims to usually not wear any clothes, yet there are clothes lying beside the shower. Artistic mistake?

Issue Information: 
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