|Mystique (Joint Venture)|
|Alias(es)||Eric Raven, Raven Darkholme, Mallory Brickman, Raven Wagner, Ronnie Lake, "Surge", "Foxx", Rebecca Lawrence, Sherlock Holmes|
|Relatives||Amanda Mueller (presumed mother), Irene Adler (wife), Victor Creed (former lover), Anna-Marie Raven Darkholme (adopted daughter), Kurt Wagner (son), Graydon Creed (son)|
|Affiliation||Clan Darkholme (leader)|
|Base Of Operations||Destiny Manor, New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Universe||Joint Venture Universe|
|Gender||Fluid (currently presents as female)|
|Unusual Features||Blue skin in her default form|
Older Than She Looks
Fittingly enough, Mystique's early life and childhood are shrouded in mystery. She is believed to be the only surviving child of Amanda Mueller, the ill-fated "Black Womb" of British urban legend, born sometime in the early 19th century. Neither Mystique nor Mueller speak of her parentage, either to prove or disprove the claim of her being Black Womb's only surviving offspring.
Unsurprisingly, next to nothing is known of Mystique's true childhood, or even her given birth name; true to her nature, she has used many aliases and identities over the years. Her ability to shapeshift, combined with a singular talent for observation, espionage, and personal reinvention, have ensured that the only things that are known about her are things she allows to be known.
What IS known, however, are several of her past aliases, some of whom are known historical figures in their own right.
"Elementary, My Dear Raven"
One of Mystique's most famous identities is that of late 19th-century British detective Sherlock Holmes. For reasons as yet unknown (presumably because of "Holmes" legendary aid in peacekeeping and intelligence-gathering), the British Parliament gave him a fabricated backstory, and even assigned one of their best agents to pose as "Mycroft Holmes", Sherlock's elder brother. His true name remains a mystery. Mystique and "Mycroft" never truly got along, which in fact aided their ruse as estranged siblings.
During her time as Sherlock, Mystique solved many baffling cases and made many connections that made their way into future chronicles of the legendary, fictitious detective. Holmes hired John Watson, a former doctor in the British Army, as a live-in assistant, and the two formed a long-lasting friendship, based on their immense respect for each other's intelligence. It is unknown if Mystique ever revealed her true identity to Watson, but whether she did or did not, Watson remained steadfastly loyal to Holmes throughout "his" entire career.
Even more impactful on Sherlock's life, and Mystique's, was the meeting between the detective and Irene Adler, an American opera singer and adventuress. Unlike Watson, it is known that Mystique revealed her true self to Irene, also a mutant; in the case of the latter woman, the power to see an infinity of possible futures. This is how she managed, during one infamous case, to outwit even Sherlock Holmes himself, and therefore win Mystique's heart.
Reichenbach Falls and Destiny's Diaries
Eventually, Sherlock Holmes "died" at Reichenbach Falls, Taking with him long-time nemesis James Moriarty. Mystique, of course, survived the fall and absconded with Irene Adler to parts unknown, where she, in the guise of "Eric Raven" watched over Adler as the wrote "The Diaries of Destiny", a 13-volume chronicle of several key events in the future (as foreseen by Adler). Eventually, Irene took the moniker of "Destiny" for herself. In writing these chronicles, Adler tragically lost her eyesight, but retained her ability to "see" future events, and compensated for her handicap thusly. It was during this period that Eric Raven married Irene Adler, the first of many marriages between Destiny and the myriad identities of Mystique.
"Baron Wagner" and Nightcrawler
Mystique and Destiny faded into obscurity after the thirteenth and final volume of Destiny's Diaries was written. only reappearing in the 20th century. Mystique's "Eric Raven" identity had recently appeared to die, leaving Destiny a widow, and the two women made their way to the Bavarian Alps, where Irene held an estate. There, they faced a new problem; while Mystique did not age unless she wished to, Irene had no such longevity, and was growing old. Eventually, she would die, leaving Mystique alone in the world once more. In search of a solution, the two women (Mystique now adopting her "Raven Darkholme" identity for the first of several times) were approached by a man named Azazel, a mutant like them on the surface, but with considerably more to him than met the eye. Azazel offered the women a Faustian bargain; he would give Destiny a secret, mystical potion, the Elixir Vitae, in return for Mystique becoming his consort. Destiny took Raven aside and advised her to take the offer, as certain future events would only transpire with Azazel's aid. Having never cared much for "traditional" family values, Mystique agreed, and she entered a polyamorous relationship with both Destiny, now rejuvenated thanks to the Elixir, and Azazel. Destiny and Azazel consolidated their fortunes into a single estate, the Wagner estate, and "Wagner" became one of the most powerful names in Bavaria.
This partnership of convenience, however, could not last, as eventually Azazel impregnated Mystique. Due to Azazel's mutation carrying a specific genetic strain - the Neyaphem strain - his and Raven's son, Kurt, was born with features that resembled his parents' - he possessed Raven's blue skin and yellow eyes and Azazel's pointed ears, fangs, demonic features, and prehensile tail. The Bavarian people, including the staff of the Wagner household, turned against all three of them, and Mystique was separated from both Destiny and Azazel, fleeing for her life with her infant son in tow. She ended up falling over a waterfall, dropping Kurt as she fell, and while she survived, it would be almost two decades before Raven saw her son again.
The Founding of Clan Darkholme
Alone for the first time since the dawn of the 20th century, Raven searched for Irene for years, tracking her all the way to New Orleans, where the precognitive had managed to obtain a mansion formerly belonging to the local Thieves Guild. However, the two women had little time to enjoy their reunion before a new crisis arose; this time, the nation-wide panic over the revealed existence of homo sapiens mutatis mutandis, or mutantkind. This news was revelatory for Mystique, who had never had a name for what she or those like her were beyond the archaic term "witchbreed". Destiny, of course, had foreseen it, and had already formulated a plan of response.
Several privately anti-mutant organizations had cropped up, especially in the highly prejudicial American South. One such organization, the Church of Humanity, had captured several mutants, among them a warrior monk from China (by way of Canada) named Victor Creed, and a teenage girl named Clarice Ferguson. Destiny instructed Mystique that she was to free as many mutants as she could from the Church, but specifically to find these two. Raven did so, and in the process recruited both Creed, who also answered to Sabretooth, and Clarice, now calling herself Blink.
With the two new additions, Raven and Destiny began referring to their makeshift family as Clan Darkholme, Raven's self-chosen surname, after a manor house that was the first home she ever remembered having. The family pledged themselves to rescuing mutants from persecution by baseline humans, as well as shaping the course of future events, using Destiny's Diaries as a guide. From the outside, the group looked chaotic and unpredictable, sometimes fighting alongside mutants, sometimes seeming to act against them, seeming to follow no specific code but their own.
In time, Clan Darkholme would grow, recruiting the young runaway called Rogue in San Francisco, Thieves' Guild alumnus Gambit in New Orleans, and during a return trip to the Bavarian Alps, even reuniting Raven with her son Kurt, now going by his circus nom de guerre of Nightcrawler.
Now consisting of seven members, possessed of vast amounts of wealth, and the leader of Clan Darkholme, Mystique is an agent of change and utterly committed to the goals of her clan...whatever they might be.
Mystique is a mutant, possessed of a highly malleable physiology that allows her the power to shapeshift at will.
Shapeshifting: Mystique can alter the structure of her biological cells at will. On its most basic level, this ability enables her to completely alter her appearance and clothing on an almost molecular level.
Mimicry: Mystique primarily uses her metamorphosis powers to mimic other people; she can look and sound like an any human, humanoid, or semi-humanoid entity of either sex. Her abilities work on such a precise scale that she can precisely duplicate another person's retinas, fingerprints, pores, and even their scent and voice.
Bio-manipulation: As part of her ability to shapeshift, Mystique can control her own biology nearly absolutely. Among the abilities this afford her are:
- Accelerated healing: While it is a conscious act, as opposed to Wolverine or Sabretooth's autonomic healing factors. Mystique can heal and recover from any injury, no matter how grievous, provided she does not lose consciousness.
- Advanced longevity: Mystique is well over a century old, yet her default, "unmorphed" form retains the appearance of a woman in her late twenties to early thirties, albeit with blue skin and yellow eyes. Even under the influence of power dampeners, she retains her youthfulness.
- Biological Functionality: Whether posing as male or female, Mystique's body and reproductive organs function as perfectly as a those of a member of either gender.
- Environmental adaptability: Mystique can physically transform her body in a myriad of ways to help compensate for harsh or hostile environments. She can harden her skin into an armored, scale-like substance to protect from bullets, piercing weapons, and blunt-force trauma, or increase her resistance to extreme heat and cold by morphing her clothing into various protective suits of her own design.
- Physical/sensory enhancement: By altering the distribution of her muscle mass, Mystique can increase her strength, speed, or agility, and with a few changes to her sensory organs, can greatly enhance her senses of sight, smell, hearing, or taste. She can also grow natural weapons, such as fangs or claws, and even fly by sprouting a pair of wings and hollowing out her bones. These feats take a toll on her, however, and so she cannot perform them for long.
Skillset: Mystique possesses many skills that she has acquired over the years, mostly to do with spying and espionage.
- Martial arts
- Hand-to-hand combat
- Melee weapons training (knives, swords, blunt weapons)
- Intelligence gathering
- Computer programming
- Technology & electronics
- Critical thinking
Polyglot: Mystique speaks fluent English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, and Polish.
Powers: Mystique can mimic the physical appearance of a superhuman being to the last detail, but while she can mimic physical mutations, like wings or claws, any abilities that are not physical in nature, such as telepathy, telekinesis, or energy projection, is beyond her ability to duplicate. Similarly, if she mimics someone with highly enhanced physical attributes, she will only be able to increase her own strength a certain level, and even then for short periods of time.
Inorganic materials: While she can cause parts of her body to take on the appearance and properties of various inorganic substances, Mystique cannot mimic advanced metals or compounds, like adamantium or Vibranium.
Mass: Mystique's mass remains constant in all her forms. She can alter the distribution of her mass to give herself superhuman physical abilities, but her mass and weight will always remain a constant regardless of the form she takes. For this reason, she prefers to keep her shifting within a certain size parameter, namely the average size range of human adults.
Reversion: While Mystique can retain any form she takes indefinitely, so long as she remains conscious, or even when she falls asleep normally, if she is ever rendered unconscious abruptly (i.e. knocked out), she will revert to her default form.