Who’s blue, beautiful, and this week’s Crush? It’s Mystique and this brazen babe is the highlight of All-New X-Men #7.
For those not following, All-New X-Men is a story written by Brian Michael Bendis featuring the original five X-Men. Like, for real the original five X-Men, pulled from the past by a Dr. Hank McCoy (another blue hunk) to see what kind of monster Cyclops has become. His hope is that young Scott Summers will see what he is in the future and, when he goes back to his original time, will never become that. Ah, time travel.
The X-kids are pretty appalled at how the future has turned out but instead of helping Hank cure his self-inflicted mutant cancer, they decide to stick around and see what good they can do in this horrifying future. They know that when they do go back, Charles Xavier will likely erase their memories anyway, so they might as well make the most of their trip.
It’s actually been a pretty poignant series so far. Jean Grey’s realization that she’s dead but easily one of the most admired mutants since Charlie X is quite heartbreaking and the reveal at the end of issue 7 actually hurt my heart a little.
But that’s not the point of today’s blog. Don’t you worry, though, I have some opinions on Marvel Girl’s story that I’ll be sharing before too long. Today, I want to talk about how badass Mystique is.
Raven Darkholme has always been one of my favorite villains in the X-Men franchise. She walks the line between good and evil with such finesse that you never, ever know which side she’s truly on. For all the good she’s done in the world, like raising Rogue (who would go on to be one of the most liked female X-Men in the history of the series), she’s also done some quite terrible things, mostly killing a lot of innocent people. In this issue, it seems like she’s there for the former but the reveal toward the end hits home as possibly one of the most evil things in her reign of terror.
She shows up to find young Scott Summers being accused of bank robbery, because apparently after being an avatar of the Phoenix Force means that he’s not above petty thievery, and saves him by disguising herself (rather convincingly) as Wolverine. She’s a shape-shifter and a quite good one. One of the reasons that she’s a crush is the fact that she takes shape-changing to an entirely untouchable level than anyone else in the comics. She literally embodies the characteristics, mannerisms, and habits of those she’s mimicking, making it damn near impossible to tell who she is at any given moment. That dedication to her power is just incredible and worthy of admiration there.
After saving Scott, Mystique reveals herself and plays the young X-Man like a fiddle. Everyone knows Scott Summers at this point but only Mystique knows how to use her knowledge of both the young and current versions of the hero to make this journey all about him. She plays on his dedication to mutant equality, his love of his friends, and his desire to be the best mutant he can be. As such, by the time she ends her carefully woven monologue and the real Wolverine shows up to take him back to the school, Scott’s purpose is clear: he must find and kill his older self because no one else dares to. And, if nothing else, Cyclops is always the one person who will do what no one else can, if it means that he’s a step closer to the greater good.
Of course, Mystique does not give a damn about the greater good. She is picked up by her crew and reveals that with young Scott’s new motivation in life, the X-Men will be too busy dealing with him to be able to stop whatever nefarious scheme she’s got cooked up.
I wouldn’t want to play a game of chess against this master manipulator. But it’s Mystique’s tenacity that makes her my Crush of the Week. There aren’t many villains out there who would dare mess with the X-Men legacy the way she has. It is clear that, on some level, she really does respect the heroes but that respect only goes so far. The only person Mystique truly respects is Mystique and it shows with every single machination she devises.