The Bisexual Mystique

Sadly, Destiny was later killed during an especially tragic mission of the Freedom Force (the renamed Brotherhood). The cover of The Uncanny X-Men #255 shows Mystique cradling a dead Destiny in her arms in a display that is anything but platonic.

Afterwards, Mystique fell into a devastating depression stemming from Destiny’s death which left her vulnerable to her enemies, including her abandoned human son who had since grown up to become a powerful mutant opponent. While she overcame her obstacles (eventually becoming an X-Man herself) and forged new relationships, it was clear that no one would ever replace Destiny in her heart.

Mystique’s character was not revealed as bisexual until The Uncanny X-Men #265, almost thirteen years after she originally debuted. This was due largely to the mandate by then Marvel Comics’ editor-in-chief that there would be no GLBT characters in the Marvel Universe. Some comic book creators were able to get around that rule by implications which often sailed over the heads of higher ups. For instance, before Mystique’s outing, a character known as the Shadow King referred to Destiny as her leman, a primitive term for “lover.”

The couple is also seen dancing romantically in Marvel Fanfare #40, with Mystique in the form of a man. Although this caught the untrained eye unawares, queer readers used to scanning between the lines and relishing in every double entendre they could find saw this as Mystique’s only way to show open affection to her lover.

X-Men writer and Mystique co-creator Chris Claremont has also since stated in interviews that it was his original intention that Mystique and Destiny be Nightcrawler’s biological parents by way of Mystique having transformed into a man for conception. However, given Marvel’s attitude at the time, the idea was considered entirely too controversial.

It is hard not to wonder what this decades-old relationship could have been if it had been allowed to openly flourish without having to rely on ancient words, connotations, and readers’ imaginations. Thankfully those days are gone now and we are seeing an emergence of openly gay and bisexual mainstream comic book characters, more than a few of whom have graced the pages of an X-Men comic book.

The character of Mystique is by far the most popular bisexual character in the Marvel Universe today, perhaps as well as all comics in general. Her relationship with Destiny was not a brief experimental fling typical of so many bisexual plot devices, but rather a longstanding partnership to which her relationships with men paled in comparison.

As with any long-running comic book series, various tales and retellings have kept this relationship alive in the minds of comic book readers. For example, it wasn’t until X-Treme X-Men #1 that readers were told how Mystique initially came to work for Destiny as a detective, an issue released three years after Destiny’s death.

It remains to be seen, however, if Marvel writers will introduce a new female love interest for Mystique or if Destiny herself will be resurrected, as her spirit continued making appearances in some subsequent issues after her passing.

Check your local comic bookstore for back and current issues of The Uncanny X-Men and Mystique, as well as other books in the X-Men series that feature Mystique and Destiny.

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