Immortal X-Men’s exploration of Mystique and Destiny’s romance — and tease of what could come of it — is one of Marvel’s great tragic romances.
The following contains spoilers for Immortal X-Men #3, now on sale from Marvel Comics.
One of the most endearing elements of the X-Men franchise has always been the way the series is effectively a super-powered soap opera, with the interpersonal romances and various dramas being as much of a draw as the action. This extends to a newly fleshed-out love story that might be one of the Marvel’s best versions of a romantic tragedy.
Immortal X-Men #3 (by Kieron Gillen, Lucas Werneck, Dijjo Lima, and VC’s Clayton Cowles) highlights what makes Mystique and Destiny such a compelling romantic epic, and reveals what makes it so tragic. Immortal X-Men #3 splits its attention between two stories — and while the majority of the story is focused on Destiny’s visions of possible futures for Krakoa, it also serves as a bittersweet exploration of her own past
Irene Adler, born to a different time when women were browbeaten into the kind of domestic life she had no desire for, ended up rebelling by finding a woman she knew she’d fall in love with — Mystique, the mysterious and dangerous shape-shifter who has quietly always been one of Marvel’s most important mutants. The two became lovers for decades, protecting each other and traveling across the world. But by the present era, the two had been reunited — adopting the young runaway Rogue as their daughter, and forming a new version of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
Seeing her death at the hands of Legion during the “Muir Island Saga” before it happened, Irene accepted it as a necessity for mutants to reach a point where Krakoa could be forged. But thanks to Mystique’s undying love for her wife, Destiny was eventually resurrected despite the best efforts of Moira X, Xavier, and Magneto. While this has been a unique advantage for the X-Men, Destiny is driven more by her love for her wife — between all the futures she’s glimpsed Mystique isn’t alive in any of them. This leaves her to write one of her diaries, seemingly leaving a final message for Mystique. Making Mystique promise to not read it until the right time, the issue ends with Destiny crying silently over the dawning horror she’ll lose her love — again.
It’s a brutal revelation, and helps cement the idea that Mystique and Destiny are one of Marvel’s best tragic romances. Destiny and Mystique truly love each other, and have for over a century. Even death couldn’t stop them, as the Krakoa era gave Mystique a chance to save the love of her life. But Destiny knowing the future — and knowing that Mystique might not have much time left even in a world of resurrection and second chances — is heartbreaking. What further complicates the story is that Mystique and Destiny are unrepentant about their villainous pasts, giving their romance a selfish but understandable edge. Both characters have committed horrible acts in previous years, with Mystique more or less committing treason against the Quiet Council in her desperate final bid to restore Moira.
At the end of the day, Mystique is a ruthless villain, even if she’s one who is so often defined by love and ambition to protect the ones she cares about. One day, Mystique will have to face the consequences for her actions — which as Destiny foretells, involve being either permanently killed or removed from the board in a manner that separates her from the woman she committed so many crimes to be reunited with. Mystique and Destiny are a true tragic romance, spanning centuries and crossing traditional gender roles to become a genuine epic. The tragic aspect of the story makes it all the more engrossing, helping elevate everything that came before. Mystique and Destiny’s romance is one of the best love stories coming out of Marvel, and it is also easily the saddest.
Brandon Zachary is an Associate Writer with Comic Book Resources and has written for CBR since 2018. He covers breakouts on comics, film, television, video games, and anime. He also conducts industry interviews, is a Rotten Tomatoes certified film critic, and knows SO MUCH about the X-Men. For requests, comments, or to hear his pitch for a third Avatar series that incorporates robots, you can contact him through firstname.lastname@example.org.