Contributed by Ronald Byrd
Mystique’s modern career began as an opponent of the first Ms. Marvel, but she later formed the second Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, which she led with the counsel of Destiny (Irene Adler). Eventually Mystique (Raven Darkholme) arranged a pardon for the Brotherhood, which was redefined as the government super-team Freedom Force; the group clashed with the X-Men and the Avengers in both incarnations. Following Destiny’s death at the hands of the cyborg Reavers, Mystique’s activities became more erratic, leading her to both lead Freedom Force back into crime and to ally herself with the X-Men and X-Factor, but she is at present active in the field of mutant terrorism once more.
Despite an unseemly amount of sidestepping around the matter, there is virtually no doubt that Mystique and Destiny were lovers; the two are seen dancing romantically in Marvel Fanfare #40 (with Mystique, suggestively, in the form of a man of about the same physical age as Destiny), and on one occasion the ancient power known as the Shadow King refers to Destiny as Mystique’s “leman,” an archaic term for “lover” (The word’s antiquity is probably what enabled writer Chris Claremont to slip it in). Mystique’s mourning for Destiny bears far more similarity to that for the loss of a mate than that of even the closest friend, and both women raised Rogue, formerly of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and now a veteran X-Man, from childhood as loving parents (The fact that Rogue is thus eligible to join COLAGE, Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere) has, needless to add, not been addressed.). The two were spouses; that is how Chris Claremont created them; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
It is known that Mystique and Destiny first met while the former was posing as a private detective; Destiny appears to be significantly older than Mystique, but given the latter’s shapechanging ability, that is hardly conclusive. As seen in the miniseries X-Men: True Friends, Mystique and Destiny’s relationship dates back to at least the 1930s, where Mystique exists in the masculine identity of “Mr. Raven” (see The Unofficial Wolverine Chronology for more details). Although one might assume that Mystique takes on male form in order to more freely show affection for Destiny in the presence of others, it is possible that, despite having given birth to at least two children (the X-Man Nightcrawler and the mutant-hating Graydon Creed), Mystique is in fact a man who simply assumes female form as the ultimate in transvestism; the notion of a man shapechanging into a woman to the extent that he is capable of bearing children is, after all, really no more outrageous than the notion of a woman shapechanging into a man in the first place. Either way, Mystique is clearly bisexual, although her liaisons with men were evidently only means to unspecified ends (She was apparently attempting to specifically conceive mutant children for some reason.) and lacked the emotional content of her relationship with Destiny.
Mystique also has a history with the sorceress Margali Szardos, who raised Nightcrawler from infancy, but there is no reason to believe their relationship was a romantic one; various minor details of Mystique’s activities over the decades (including service as a government operative many years prior to modern times) have been revealed over the last several years, but the full tale of her past, both with Destiny and alone, has yet to be told.
Mystique has the ability to change her form into that of any other person. Destiny had the mutant power to foresee the future, with the potential to perceive several alternate timelines; at last report she apparently existed on some level of the Astral Plane, where her capabilities are unknown. Both had access to various weapons and other paraphernalia as both terrorists and government agents.
The pair are arguably outed in Uncanny X-Men #265. Marvel’s Destiny entry notes that the pair are lovers.
Chris Claremont and John Byrne are the creators.
Art by Samantha Dodge and Brittany Peer from Marvel’s Voices: Pride anthology published as part of Marvel’s Pride Month celebration in 2021,
All rights reserved Marvel Comics.