The following contains spoilers for Immortal X-Men #8, now on sale from Marvel Comics.
The history of the Marvel Universe is always changing and evolving to accommodate new ideas, with concepts like the ancient Avengers and secret mutants playing with the origins of the entire world. Sometimes even the entire world is built on a mutant foundation, even culturally, with one notable mutant secretly acting like the Marvel Universe’s version of a classic literary hero.
The place of Mystique and Destiny in the late 19th century is further illuminated in Immortal X-Men #8 (by Kieron Gillen, Michele Bandini, David Curiel and VC’s Clayton Cowles). This includes the revelation that one of Mystique’s best disguises of that time is better known to the world as Sherlock Holmes.
Mystique is Marvel’s Sherlock Holmes
Immortal X-Men #8 is split into two time periods and focuses heavily on Mystique and Destiny’s early interactions with the villainous Mister Sinister. At the end of the 19th century, the couple moved to London and lived a comfortable life. Mystique had even found consistent work as a detective, using her powers to transform into a man’s face, to better reassure the often sweltering male clients who asked for her help. The identity involves a brown cape and a deer stalker, and her office is located at 221B Baker Street. While she is never formally named in the issue, this identity was clearly inspired by Sherlock Holmes, suggesting that Mystique was actually the Marvel Universe’s version of the literary world’s most iconic detective.
The issue shows Mystique’s reasoning for wearing the costume, as his identity as another witty man allows him to speak freely with Nathan Essex, as opposed to the dismissive and misogynistic attitude he displays towards Destiny. It also means Mystique can lure the officers into a false sense of security, trusting the helpful detective completely (and leaving themselves exposed to a knife to their throat when the shapeshifter thinks they’re a potential complication). While the DC Universe has featured Sherlock Holmes as an in-universe character and Deadpool has lived up to the literary concept, the suggestion that Mystique is the Sherlock of the Marvel Universe works on many levels.
Marvel’s mutants have long been linked to pop culture
Mutants have long been a part of the Marvel Universe, even having unseen connections to various unexpected corners of the world. Mystique’s London location fleshes out her and Destiny’s history a bit, and even allows Destiny to take on her own literary role, effectively becoming Marvel’s Watson. She even had her own collection of diaries that matched the diaries Watson kept in the original Sherlock Holmes stories. She allows a character in the present day to be aware of Mister Sinister’s machinations in the past, setting up the role of Destiny and Mystique in stories like the next one. sinister sins.
Sherlock Holmes being a mutant is a wild development, especially since it technically makes Mystique one of the most famous mutants. ever. The sheer number of adaptations and reinventions of Sherlock Holmes makes him one of the most famous fictional characters, and it turns out that he was always a mutant. It’s also not the first time a character or person not usually associated with the Marvel Universe has become a mutant, as other figures from across the world of art and history have been teased to be mutants beyond Sherlock.
X-Men ’92: House of XCII #4 (by Steve Foxe, Salva Espin, Israel Silva, and Joe Sabino) hinted that musician Prince was a mutant, and Doctor Doom spends X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1 (by Gerry Duggan, Kris Anka, Russell Dauterman, Matteo Lolli, CF Villa and VC’s Cory Petit) wondering if David Bowie was also a mutant. Exodus has even suggested in Immortal X-Men #1 (by Kieron Gillen, Lucas Weneck, David Curiel and Clayton Cowles) Jesus Christ could have been a mutant. Sherlock Holmes is just the latest example of history and culture being quietly connected to mutants, tying one of the world’s most famous literary creations to the secret history of the X-Men.