Mystique is one of the most well-known characters of the X-Men core, having many years of history and adaptations for many media.
The mutant is known for her shape-shifting powers, being able to copy other people’s appearance regardless of size, gender, or even if the person is not fully human.
Furthermore, her ability is such that even minute details such as retinal and digital patterns are precisely copied, allowing her to impersonate anyone she wishes.
The limits of this power, however, may seem complex at first. Since Mystique copies someone else’s form by altering her own cells, how does this work concerning these people’s capabilities?
The answer to this is somewhat complex. It depends on which character’s version is under discussion and the powers in question.
Which are The Mystique’s Powers?
First of all, it is necessary to establish what abilities she already possesses. For example, she can transform herself into someone else down to the smallest detail, copying even the pores and retina of people.
But, although being a shapeshifter is her most well-known ability, this is not her only power in the comics. After being exposed to high radiation levels, she goes through some changes, receiving some additional skills.
The first of these is a Metamorphic Adaptation, through which Mystique can physically adapt to whatever situation she needs to, whether it be cloaking herself, healing herself from multiple injuries in minutes, moving organs around, or copying textures of various materials, such as metal.
Therefore, she wears no clothes, using her powers to make them her own, visually and in touch. Her shapeshifter abilities also diminish the effects of aging, making the mutant look much younger than she is.
In addition, the character has enhanced physical attributes, increasing her strength, speed, agility, reflexes, and senses in general.
She can also regenerate from any injury in a short time, whether her injuries are minor or severe. Her body also has resistance or even immunity to many toxins and diseases. Mystique also has a natural defense against psychic powers.
Her powers, however, have limits. Initially, the comics stated that she could only copy people’s appearances, thus being limited regarding copying capabilities or adapting her body to different situations.
Even after having her powers enhanced, Mystique cannot simply reproduce what any superpowered person can do.
Another limitation would be that she cannot change her body mass. This means that even after transforming into a person much larger than herself, her weight remains the same.
Keeping the shape of someone physically different is exhausting and demanding. This limitation, however, differs depending on the story and who is writing it.
Can Mystique Copy People’s Powers?
As explained, Mystique has limitations, although her ability as a shapeshifter is quite complete. The simple answer to this question would be no, but this is not that simple.
Even though she cannot copy powers, she can use her own abilities to imitate other’s strengths.
This means that if she transforms into Sabretooth, the mutant could use her powers to improve her strength, speed, senses, and healing, which would pass for abilities that the other character possesses, but actually comes from Mystique‘s own powers.
Similarly, by transforming into Nightcrawler, she would not blend in with the shadows or teleport. However, it is debatable whether she could replicate his other abilities, such as attaching herself to walls.
In the films, this is slightly altered since some have shown Mystique copying powers. In the X-Men (2000) movie, she transforms into Wolverine, using the character’s distinctive claws.
The two end up facing each other, and when their claws collide, Mystique’s claws are destroyed.
This happens because, even though she can use a power similar to Wolverine’s, she can’t copy the Adamantium in his skeleton or the natural resistance that the X-Men possess.
So even in other media, it is clear that she can’t copy powers or reproduce any material. Even though visually or touch-wise, she can replicate fabric and metals.
But, this does not give her the ability to copy the strength of something like Adamantium. As a result, her version of Wolverine‘s claws is still made of human cells, probably more similar to bones or nails than real metal.