MYSTIQUE: Page 5 of 12

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5th August 2011

BIOGRAPHY - Page 4

The White Queen was eager to get revenge on Firestar and secretly forwarded information about her to Freedom Force. Mystique decided the girl should be registered as a mutant, and hoped to recruit her to her team. Mystique went in disguise to Firestar, attempting to persuade her to join them. Firestar refused and Mystique brought in Spiral and Avalanche to assist. Though Mystique ordered that no one be harmed, Spiral took initiative and severely injured Firestar’s father when he tried to intervene. Firestar managed to escape and fell in with a shady, organ-selling group in order to help her father. Naturally, they planned to use her for their own ends. Firestar kidnapped Mystique for them, thinking that they only wanted a DNA sample, when in fact they intended to harvest her organs. Eventually, Firestar learned the truth and helped to free Mystique and the other captives. Angelica fought the harvesters, while Mystique got the civilians to safety. Afterward, Mystique spoke with Firestar and admitted that Spiral would kill her if she got the chance. So, Mystique faked Firestar’s death to protect her and helped her father to recover. Destiny had predicted that Firestar would one day join a team that would “make a difference to the entire world” and Mystique admitted that she wished Freedom Force had been that team. [Marvel Comics Presents (1st series) #82-87]

Some time after the incident with Firestar, Spiral left the team. Freedom Force’s membership was now down to only six members but they were still sent on missions. When there was a mass prison break at the Vault, Freedom Force and the Avengers were sent in to lock up the prisoners. The Avengers didn’t trust the former villains trusted and Mystique was also concerned that her team’s loyalties might be tested by this situation. Freedom Force went in first but were ambushed and captured. They were then threatened and forced to help trap the Avengers. The plot was foiled, but there were still conflicts between the two teams over how to handle the situation. However, they were forced to work together to disarm a bomb in the prison and then quell a huge riot. With teamwork, the entire situation was resolved successfully and the prisoners were returned to their cells. [Avengers - Deathtrap: The Vault]

Mystique still mourned Destiny who had seen matters well beyond her death. Irene had written her a letter warning Raven that Val Cooper, possessed by the Shadow King, would come to kill her. Mystique was willing to face her fate the way Irene had embraced hers, but Cooper struggled against the Shadow King’s control and at the last moment, shot herself rather than Raven. Mystique knew only one man linked to the government that she thought trustworthy – Nick Fury. She contacted him and they quickly came up with a master plan. With the help of a SHIELD hypnotist, Mystique took on Cooper’s role and appeared to the media to report Mystique’s death. In reality, it was the injured Val Cooper who was wheeled away in the ambulance to get the necessary medical attention. [Uncanny X-Men #266, 269]

The hypnosis made Mystique think and act as if she was the real Val and it was strong enough to convince even the Shadow King. When Xavier’s archenemy possessed all of the residents of Muir Island and several of the X-Men, “Val” showed her true colors during a critical moment, throwing him off guard and enabling her to kill the Shadow King’s human host. Although he found another host in Xavier’s son Legion, the Shadow King was eventually defeated. As the various mutant team assembled on Muir Island dealt with the aftermath of the Shadow King's activities, Mystique and Rogue had a heart-to heart. It was the first time they had seen each other alive after the events in Dallas when the X-Men had faked their deaths. Rogue was angry that Mystique had allowed her to think she was dead. Her mother glibly pointed out that the X-Men didn't tell anyone about their survival after Dallas either. They made up with a tearful hug. [X-Factor (1st series) #69-70]

During the time she had posed as Cooper, Freedom Force had fallen apart. Some members were killed and others lost during a failed mission in the Middle East. The new X-Factor took Freedom Force’s place as the government’s mutant team. Mystique had no part in this new team and disappeared for some time, only to resurface in an unexpected manner. While blowing off steam at a bar, Wolverine ran into a striking blonde woman. They flirted, danced and eventually went back to her motel room. Wolverine has recognized her scent and was aware from the beginning that she was actually Mystique. He sensed that she was frightened – terrified of her former teammate, Spiral. Once they spoke her name, true to form, the mad time-dancer appeared and recruited them to help combat a crisis in the time/space continuum caused by her sometime master Mojo – a crisis that may ultimately destroy the universe. She brought them to the Citadel at the End of Time, where after several fights they encountered Mojo. They realized that he was paradoxically destroying the universe by preventing the destruction of it (thereby preventing its creation in the Big Bang). With the help of Gateway and the android Elsie-Dee, they destroyed the future in order to re-create the past, though all of their memories of this future faded and left them wondering what had just happened. [Wolverine (2nd series) #51-53]

After this adventure, Mystique became a guest at the X-Men’s mansion in Westchester. It quickly became clear that she was quite troubled and possibly mentally unhinged. She ran afoul of the new X-Man, Bishop and tried to help the depressed Archangel (or so she claimed) by making him confront his old self before he was changed by Apocalypse. As a result, he attacked her. Several X-Men and Xavier himself were growing impatient with Mystique’s antics but Forge was genuinely worried about her unstable behavior. Forge had grown frustrated with his relationship with Storm, who was too busy with her general leadership duties and orienting Bishop to this timeline. He also felt partly responsible for Mystique’s mental state since he had failed to protect Destiny. He abruptly ended his relationship with Storm and left the X-Men, taking Mystique with him to Dallas to try and help her through this difficult period. [Uncanny X-Men #289-290]
NOTE: Given some of Mystique’s looks and her subsequent behavior, she may very well have been faking her mental instability as part of some larger plans.

Mystique stayed with Forge in his Dallas penthouse for the next few weeks. Although she was using that time to secretly dig through his files, they nevertheless formed a close friendship … and possibly more. Forge tried to help Mystique and suggested she seek out psychiatric help from the superhero’s psychiatrist of choice, Leonard Samson. He asked her to open up about her life prior to meeting Destiny, as he suspected that her early life may be the source of her troubles. Raven changed the subject when pressed. Eventually, Forge’s home was attacked by the time-displaced mutant, Trevor Fitzroy, who was intent on killing Forge as part of the Upstarts’ competition. Drawing Fitzroy’s fire on himself, Forge asked Mystique to call help, which she did. She then returned to aid Forge by impersonating Fitzroy’s arch-enemy Bishop and taunting him. In response, he slashed her through the torso with his claws, grievously injuring her. The X-Men intervened in time to help against Fitzroy, while Forge tended to Mystique. Mystique survived what should have been a lethal injury, which led Bishop to speculate that her shape-shifting power included something akin to a healing factor. [Uncanny X-Men #301-302, X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #4]

Mystique recovered and disappeared again, resurfacing in France, where she decided to put her self-doubts behind her. Why bother worrying about who she really was, when she could be anyone she wanted to be? Living the good life in Paris, she prepared for a rendezvous with Wolverine, unaware that a mysterious man calling himself the Tribune had blackmailed Sabretooth (by transplanting a bomb into his chest) into assassinating her. Thanks to the brainwashing he had undergone in the Weapon X Project, Sabretooth didn’t remember his shared past with Mystique, although she seemed familiar to him when he caught her scent. Mystique had no reason not to remember and taunted him with glimpses of his past until she lured him to the place where Wolverine was waiting for her. She interrupted the men’s ensuing battle by morphing into Leni Zauber and revealing that she and Victor had had a relationship with each other during the Cold War. Mystique explained that she was the Leni he knew and that her morphing powers continually revitalized her body cells and DNA memory, giving her a permanently, youthful appearance and body. Despite her story, he didn’t believe her and was about to kill her when she mentioned their son, Graydon Creed, whom she had abandoned during childhood under unclear circumstances. She correctly surmised that it was their son who had implanted the bomb in Sabretooth and had sent him to kill her for revenge. After Sabretooth left, Wolverine saw a photo of Graydon and recognized him as the leader of the Friends of Humanity. Logan suggested that he could have used some love from his mother, before leaving in disgust. [Sabretooth #1-4]

Mystique had no intention of letting her estranged son get away with trying to murder her and decided to respond in kind. First she “sent him a message” by murdering General Armond Guadier, who was secretly providing the Friends of Humanity with illegal weapons. Then, she crashed the man’s funeral, where she tried to implicate Graydon Creed in these crimes. Running into Rogue and Nightcrawler at the funeral, Mystique gave Nightcrawler a few clues about their similar appearance. In the meantime Graydon had learned of his brother, Nightcrawler’s, existence. Forge, who was apparently aware of this link between Kurt and Mystique, asked Nightcrawler and Rogue to bring her back to stand trial for Gaudier’s murder before a harsher group tried to apprehend her. Secretly followed by Creed and his men, they left for Caldecott County, where Rogue had grown up. A showdown followed, where Mystique inadvertently admitted to Kurt (who was disguised as Graydon via an image-inducer) that she had tried to kill him as a newborn. After an attack by Creed’s men, Mystique and the injured Nightcrawler were left hanging from a cliff, while Rogue fought Graydon’s goons. As Rogue agonized over which of the two to save, Mystique let go and apparently fell to her death to save her from that decision and ensure Kurt’s survival. [X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #4]

Not everyone was convinced that Mystique had perished in the fall. X-Factor’s government liaisons Forge and Val Cooper started to suspect that she had faked both her mental instability and her death. Their theory was substantiated by proof from Nick Fury that showed that she was alive and hatching some plan with Avalanche. X-Factor learned that Mystique had been accessing information on Gabrielle Haller and her comatose son, Legion. They concluded that she probably wanted revenge on Legion for killing Destiny. In Israel, X-Factor confronted Mystique just as she was about to inject poison into the comatose boy. While their attempts at persuasion failed, she nevertheless was unable to kill David, as the immensely powerful mutant awoke from his coma at that very moment. X-Factor pursued Raven leading to a violent scuffle with Wolfsbane and Forge. During the fight, Mystique made it clear that she still blamed Forge for his role in Destiny’s death. Mystique was confronted by Legion, who telepathically took her into his mind to give her a message from Destiny. David told Mystique that "she made me promise to tell you that she loves you". Legion then released her, teleported X-Factor away to Madripoor and left whilst announcing that he was going to make things 'better'. His actions led into the Legion Quest, and the subsequent creation of the Age of Apocalypse. [X-Factor (1st series) #108-109]