Could Mystique Really Have Been Nightcrawler’s Father

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March 9, 2016 by NowhereButPop

by Andrew Doscas

mystique

 

Along with the original ending to The Dark Phoenix Saga, the most well known unused X-Men plotline was the original parentage of Nightcrawler.  If not for the ridiculous, archaic, and completely unnecessary Comic Code Authority, an institution that made themselves the so-called expert on what was suitable for comics, Nightcrawler’s parents would have been revealed as Mystique (father) and Destiny (mother).  Instead his true parents were revealed as Mystique (mother) and some Bavarian aristocrat (father) who dressed like he was living in the times prior to German Unification.  And then Chuck Austen took an entire shit on Nightcrawler and revealed that said Bavarian aristocrat wasn’t Kurt Wagner’s father, but that in reality his father was actually some mutant, demon, monster, pirate thing that’s like 12,000 years old and that Nightcrawler is in reality part demon as well.

The whole mystery involving who Nightcrawler’s parents are (and which parent they in fact are) is pretty much identical to the mystery behind who Cartman’s parents are and which person is which parent.  We knew one of their parents, but we didn’t know if that parent was the mother or father.  Although it wasn’t stated outright until the 1990s, Mystique being Nightcrawler’s parent was a pretty well-known secret.  Under Chris Claremont’s original outline, Mystique would have turned into a man, and then impregnate Destiny, thus making Mystique the father, and Destiny the mother of Kurt Wagner.  While this is an incredibly interesting idea, it also would have been one of the most controversial moves in American comic books.

The Comic Code Authority had a strict gag rule on homosexuality and transgendered issues, so there was no way the truth behind Nightcrawler’s parents was going to be revealed.  Even the romantic relationship between Mystique and Destiny had to be toned down and implied; although it’s pretty obvious to see they’re in love with each other.  But, looking at it from a purely scientific standpoint, could Mystique actually, as in biologically be Nightcrawler’s father?

Let’s take Mystique’s blue female body to be her default state, the body she was born with.  This would make her genotype 46 XX, a healthy female.[1]  Now, Mystique is a shapeshifter, which means she can turn into other people, including people of the opposite sex.  But, we also know that it’s very difficult for her to assume the shape of someone who is not roughly her size.  She can’t add or subtract body mass; more importantly, she cannot replicate the powers or abilities of the person she turns into.  If she turned into Professor X, she couldn’t duplicate his telepathy, nor would she be paralyzed.  This then suggest that she cannot alter her body on the genetic level, but only on the surface.

mystique-as-man-of-mystery-eric-raven3

When Mystique turns into somebody else then, it’s just a phenotypical (physical) appearance, without mimicking that person on a genetic level (genotype).  If she could do this, then she should be able to replicate powers as well.  This must then mean that despite altering her voice, fingerprints, and retina scans, the blood pumping in her veins still remains her own.  Her blood type shouldn’t change, and if a blood sample were obtained while she was impersonating someone else, the test would expose Mystique.

So if she can’t impersonate someone on a genetic level, and she is 46 XX, then even if she turned into a man she still would be unable to impregnate anyone since she cannot make sperm.  The genes for sperm creation rest only on the Y chromosome, something that Mystique presumably lacks.  Assuming that she can’t alter herself on a genetic level it would then be impossible for her to have the gene for sperm production as it’s not already encoded in her DNA.  But even if she could alter herself on a genetic level, taking into consideration that she is a 46 XX, she still could not create a Y chromosome or sperm cells because the human body can’t make things that aren’t already in the instructions of our DNA.  Mystique would onlybe able to alter the cells and genes that she’s given, not make up new ones entirely.  If she only has two X chromosomes, then her body wouldn’t know how to make a Y chromosome as it’s only passed down from fathers to sons.

It’s for this reason that even if Mystique was able to father a child while assuming the form of a man, that child would irrevocably be female.  Because the body can’t conjure up something it doesn’t have, Mystique would have no way of producing a Y chromosome and thus, fathering a son.  Even if Mystique could be Nightcrawler’s father, Nightcrawler would have been born a girl.

It’s sci-fi, yes; but it’s always interesting to look at the science behind the fiction.  If would have been very interesting for comics and society, had Chris Claremont had his way with Nightcrawler’s origins.  Even though the science behind it wouldn’t exactly work, it’s just another example of the X-Men franchise pushing the boundaries of expectations.


[1] Or she may have Triple XXX syndrome in which she has three X chromosomes…and then turns into Vin Diesel on their 28th birthday.

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