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.

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