Tag Archives: mystique

78 – BROTHERHOOD OF EVIL MUTANTS

25 Jul

Subject: Brotherhood of Evil Mutants
Roster: Toad (Team Leader), Sauron, Phantazia, Thornn, Masque, Blob, Pyro
First Appearance: X-Force #5, December 1991

I’m back from a whirlwind weekend at my very first San Diego Comic-Con, and since this week is a living hell of catching up with work, my recaps will have to wait til next week. Of course, little guarantee that next week will be any better as far as my free time goes, but now I’ve made a verbal contract with you.

This is without a doubt the worst incarnation of any villain team in the history of comic books. When your team leader is Toad, you’ve both hit bottom and not hopping your way out. I don’t even much have of a memory of when this lineup debuted in X-Force #5, but man it can’t possibly have lasted long.

Of course, the traditional lineup with Magneto at the helm hadn’t really existed since the 70’s, having been replaced by Mystique’s incarnation during the fantastic Days of Future Past storyline, and the movies’ lineup featuring allstars like Magneto, Mystique, and Sabretooth never existed at all (Sabretooth only became a member in the mid-90’s). Maybe even by the 90’s the concept of a group calling themselves “Evil Mutants” had become passe (I will admit there is something enticing about a group called the Mutant Liberation Front).

The art here suffers from the same lack of detail and compositional clarity that plagued many of Jim Lee’s less iconic cards in this series. The card is far too bright (seemingly from Pyro’s flames) that it’s just kind of hard to really make features out. It doesn’t help that many of these characters were those most susceptible to gross visual anatomical exaggerations. Also, team member Thornn (the sister of Feral) not only doesn’t get her own individual card, she doesn’t appear on the team card either.

62 – MYSTIQUE

17 Jun

Subject: Mystique
Real Name: Raven Darkholme
Height: 5’10” Weight: 120 lbs
First Appearance: Ms. Marvel #16, April 1978

Power Ratings:

  • Energy Projection: 1/7
  • Mental Powers: 1/7
  • Strength: 2/7
  • Fighting Ability: 4/7
  • Intelligence: 3/7

I’d agonized over whether to write a review of X-Men: First Class but given the time I had I realized that it was impossible to distill the 2 hour long after-midnight-screening conversation I had about the movie into a post I could feel proud of.

If I could really long-story-short it: I thought the movie had compelling premises and character setups but almost all of the choices they made seemed to be a weaker choice… half the time it would fall short of the characters and relationships as portrayed in the comics, and half the time as they were portrayed in the movies. All the pieces were there (though at over two hours there too many pieces), for example the training sequences with the new (first) mutants, but instead of taking a prime opportunity to have Charles and Erik teach the students together so we can see how their different backgrounds and approaches could clash while working towards the same goal (the scene with Raven and Erik at the barbells was fantastic… just imagine how much more satisfying that scene would be if Charles had been there as well… talk about love triangle). And that’s just one of many examples.

Anyway, this felt as appropriate a time as any to get that off my chest, since today’s card is Mystique, who plays very heavily into X-Men: First Class. In fact, surprisingly she basically plays the moral center between Charles and Erik, to the point where it feels incongruous given her more less-dimensional (though still powerful) portrayals in the modern movies.

What I like about Mystique (and honestly I may not have felt this as a kid, when I probably found her boring) is that her power is surprisingly one of the more grounded within the mutant universe, and certainly works as a great metaphor for the mutant identity crisis in general. The comics portrayed her as an empowered woman who actually served as leader, mentor, and mother to many mutants, and her moral ambiguity rivaled the complexity of Magneto’s.

Sadly Lee’s art for Raven doesn’t arouse much within me, and it’s for two reasons: one, I understand it’s not the easiest thing to show Mystique’s morphing powers, but showing the transition from one character to her true form would’ve been interesting. And two, not crazy about the gun, even though Mystique’s lack of offensive capabilities led to her using firearms on more than one occasion.

As such, her Power Ratings are pretty tame, though luckily they do give her a high Fighting Ability and Intelligence rating.

36 – ROGUE

18 Apr

Subject: Rogue
Real Name: Unrevealed
Height: 5’8″ Weight: 120 lbs.
Group Affiliation: X-Men (Blue Strike Force)
First Appearance: Avengers Annual #10, 1981

Power Ratings:

  • Energy Projection: 3/7
  • Mental Powers: 1/7
  • Strength: 4/7
  • Fighting Ability: 5/7
  • Intelligence: 1/7

One of the most popular 90’s X-Men gets #36 in the series? I hope Rogue’s got some Kleenex in the pockets of that big jacket of hers. Her character remains one of the most quintissential of the mutant plight (a power that both enables and dibilitates herself), so much so that she becomes a central character in the X-Men movies, and the deck’s stacked in her favor as far as being a crush object (great hair, southern accent), despite disaster striking in the event of physical contact.

As a kid entering the Marvel Universe in the early 90’s I had no idea who Ms. Marvel was, so despite the incident of Rogue (who was originally a villain, who did her foster mother, Mystique’s, bidding) getting her powers of flight, strength, and invulnerability by catastrophically absorbing it off Ms. Marvel, being retold ad nauseum, I still treated it as ancient history; a past where Rogue was bad, wasn’t strong, and couldn’t fly, was all just way too weird for me to comprehend.

I always liked Lee’s portrayals of Rogue, whom, like many of the X-women, Lee seemed to really enjoy drawing (the way he draws women, it’s no wonder why). Where Lee drew Jean Grey with intensity and concern, Psylocke with raw sex appeal, and Jubilee with naive attitude, Rogue always looked empathetic yet warm, with big round eyes. Sadly Lee’s portrayal of Rogue on this card is a little generic and flat, (and her legs are HUGE compared to her arms), and with little emphasis on her face we only see a broad glimpse of her personality.

Her Power Ratings are good enough although I don’t know if I’d count her absorption powers as “Energy Projection.” Also, tangentially, I always found references to Rogue having invulnerability weird; sure, she was super-strong, but I seem to recall her getting licked on more than one occasion (including a memorable incident with a boysenberry pie).