For decades, the romance between X-Men villains Mystique and Destiny was doomed to subtext, thanks to Marvel unofficial ban on openly gay characters — but now, the company is pitching a new one-shot detailing their relationship as “the greatest love story in mutant history.”
The description comes from Marvel’s official announcement of X-Men Blue: Origins #1, a November release promising “the truth behind Nightcrawler’s birth once and for all.” Given the emphasis in the announcement on the romance between Mystique and Destiny, it’s looking likely that this issue will finally make canon the original intention of longterm X-Men writer Chris Claremont, that Destiny and the shape-shifting Mystique were Nightcrawler's parents.
Unfortunately, at the time Claremont was in control of the X-franchise, it was impossible for him to state this definitively… or to even fully acknowledge the relationship between Mystique and Destiny at all. Partly, this was due to the Comics Code Authority forbidding “sexual abnormalities” — a broad term which included homosexuality until 1989, shockingly — but there was also the fact that then editor-in-chief Jim Shooter had issued an unofficial rule that there were “no homosexuals in the Marvel Universe,” according to multiple creators working for Marvel at the time. By the time that edict started to be rolled back in the early 1990s, Destiny was dead, having been killed in 1989’s Uncanny X-Men #255.
Despite the revolving door on the afterlife for most X-characters, Destiny would remain dead until 2021’s Inferno miniseries — but even during her absence, the character’s influence would be felt through the X-Men titles, whether through the hunt for her diaries in the early 2000s X-Treme X-Men series, or as a motivator for Mystique’s actions across multiple series. Nevertheless, they two wouldn’t be officially portrayed as a couple until 2019’s The History of the Marvel Universe #2, which finally, finally allowed the two to share an on-panel kiss via flashback.
Since then, the romance between the two has proven increasingly important to the X-Men mythology as a whole — and been increasingly allowed to be portrayed without coding or a need to hide — with a retcon revealing the two as being far older than expected and having been lovers for centuries. It’s a rewriting of history that offers space for them to be considered the greatest love story in mutant history, and the restoration of creator intent decades after the fact… but does this include restoring the two as Nightcrawler’s true parents?
We’ll find out November 29, when X-Men Blue: Origins #1, by Si Spurrier, Wilton Santos, and Marcus To, is released. Look at Russell Dauterman’s variant cover for the issue below.
Nightcrawler’s new origin comes as part of Fall of X, a storyline started in the apocalyptic X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1.