In the Thor: Love and Thunder post-credit scenes, Hercules makes his first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And Hercules is set to carry out Zeus’ revenge on Thor. In the comics, these two titans have had many earth-shattering battles. In the milestone issue, Thor (1988) #400, Thor and Hercules had their famous armwrestle.
This October 25th, in Marvel history, we list important comic events.
THOR AND HERCULES ARMWRESTLE
In Thor (1988) #400, Thor hit a milestone. In order to celebrate Thor, writer Tom DeFalco and writer/artist Ron Frenz collaborated on the supersized 64-page comic. What better way to celebrate the God of Thunder than with the Thor vs Hercules rivalry? In the story titled “When Warriors Clasp!”, Thor and Hercules armwrestle to settle who is the strongest. In the process, they shatter mountains and the story ends on a cliffhanger.
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ODIN VS SETH, THOR VS SURTUR
In Thor (1988) #400, the team also ran a Surtur story titled “Lest the Heavens Perish!” In the story, Thor has to battle Surtur across time and space. Also, it features a rare Odin battle against Seth. Importantly, Thor has to use the Odinpower.
In Marvel Team-Up (1977) #65, Marvel introduces a storied character that changed the status-quo. Introduced as “Marvel’s British super-hero sensation,” Captain Britain makes his first appearance as a Spider-Man team-up.1 In the 1980s, he would play a founding role in X-Factor with an alternate Kitty Pryde.
ARCADE’S FIRST APPEARANCE
In the comic, the supervillain named Arcade also makes his first appearance. In the issue, the British Maggia hire the international assassin to kill Brian Braddock whom they suspect to be Captain Britain. After, Arcade would play an important role for the X-Men moving forward.
Today, we talk about Mystique’s uncanny super power. I speak of Mystique’s metamorphing.
Mystique was once the leader of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Mystique is a mutant that is said to be over a hundred years old. Her specific mutation is the ability to metamorph, that is, Mystique can psionically alter her cells and her tissues in order to change her physical appearance. In fact, using this super power, Mystique can create perfect duplicates of any human, humanoid or semi-humanoid of any sex. Moreover, Mystique is usually naked and uses her metamorphing ability to create clothing on her duplicate physical appearance.
Metamorph: Mystique can psionically alter the formation of her biological cells at will. As a result, she can cause herself to look and sound like an exact duplicate of any human, humanoid, or semi-humanoid being of any sex, wearing virtually any kind of clothing. Her control is so exact that she can precisely duplicate another person’s retina pattern in her own eyes, finger, palm and skin-pore patterns on her own hands and skin, smell to overlap the original being, and vocal cords to match voices to the point of corresponding voice prints.
Mystique was once exposed to dangerous levels of radiation in order to save the life of Toad. The process dramatically morphed Mystique’s appearance, causing her skin to become reptilian, and boosted her powers so that she could now morph her body into taking certain desired physical traits depending on her situation at the time (note: this reptilian form was quickly discarded, whether it was because of retcon or if she simply shape-shifted back to her previous form remains to be seen).
Examples of this new ability included: night vision, wings on her back, talons in her fingers, sharp fanged teeth, natural body armor, mermaid-like tail, and she could even compress into a nearly two-dimensional state to glide on air currents (similar to Mr. Fantastic), which she used to survive an explosion.
Since her resurrection by The Hand, her powers have been enhanced to a higher level than they were before, to the degree that she could fool super-humanly acute senses such as Wolverine’s sense of smell, something she couldn’t do before her death. Other new facets of these abilities include tentacle generation, animal shifting and partial liquefaction.
Mystique is able to enhance her strength, speed, endurance, senses and agility. Mystique’s metamorphing retards her aging process enabling her to live for an extended life span and is said to be over a hundred years old.
There are limitations to Mystique’s metamorphing super power as she is not able to duplicate the powers of the person she imitates. For example, though she can metamorph into Nightcrawler’s physical appearance she cannot duplicate his teleportation ability.
Let’s look at some battles in comics where Mystique used this uncanny super power.
IN ‘UNCANNY X-MEN’ (1984) #177, MYSTIQUE DUPLICATES WOLVERINE’S PHYSICAL APPEARANCE TO KILL A DUPLICATE OF KITTY PRYDE
In ‘Uncanny X-Men’ (1984) #177, Mystique is at the time the leader of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Mystique faces X-Men duplicates created by the nefarious Arcade.
The game begins as the Wolverine duplicate faces Mystique. Mystique manages to evade Wolverine’s attack partially as he wounds her right side. Evading another attack, Mystique slices Wolverine’s throat with her blade where there is no bone to stop it. Wolverine bleeds to death.
On the following page, a Kitty Pryde duplicate finds Wolverine sitting on the ground against the wall. Kitty Pryde notes he is not bleeding and is startled. Because of her inexperience, she does not react to the attack from Wolverine. As Kitty Pryde lies in a pool of blood on the ground, Wolverine metamorphs into Mystique.
Mystique goes on to take on the rest of the X-Men.
WINNER: MYSTIQUE WINS BY DEATH
IN ‘UNCANNY X-MEN’ (1984) #178, MYSTIQUE METAMORPHS INTO ROGUE TO FOOL PROFESSOR X AND SHOOTS HIM
In ‘Uncanny X-Men’ (1984) #178, the X-Men are under attack by the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants led by Mystique. As the X-Men battle the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Mystique infiltrates the X-Mansion. The X-Men win the battle though Blob reveals the mission objective: to kill Professor X and get her adoptive daughter Rogue, back with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
Mystique uses her uncanny super power. Mystique is metamorphed as Rogue and brings Professor X some herb tea. Professor X is struggling to maintain contact with the X-Men as they face the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. He notes that there is interference scrambling his psi-scan. As he identifies the psionic scrambler used by Mystique to inhibit his psi-probes, Rogue fires a shot at Professor X. As Professor X lies on the floor, Mystique states that Professor X was able to identify her psionic scrambler and alter her shot at the last moment so that it may only wound him and not kill him.
Rogue enters the room and an argument between mother and daughter ensues. Mystique metamorphs back into her form. She reveals her mission was to get Rogue back into the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and orders her to pack her things while she finishes killing Professor X. Rogue says killing Professor X is wrong. Mystique asks her to stand aside.
WINNER: MYSTIQUE WINS BY INCAPACITATION
IN ‘SABRETOOTH AND MYSTIQUE’ (1996) #1, MYSTIQUE METAMORPHS INTO A GARGOYLE FROM THE DEFENDERS
In ‘Sabretooth and Mystique’ (1996) #1, Mystique and Sabretooth infiltrate a S.H.I.E.L.D. base. Mystique disguised as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Cameron Bisset and Sabretooth are headed to the morgue to look for an A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) called James Hedrickson. They are looking for a device implanted into his corpse. As Mystique looks away, Sabretooth dissects the man’s body and finds the device.
Suddenly, A.I.M. operatives erupt on the scene, breaking the roof. They identify the device as a capsule and engage Mystique and Sabretooth in combat. During the battle, Mystique uses her uncanny super power. Mystique metamorphs into a gargoyle. As Sabretooth engages Karl Steiner, an A.I.M. operative, Mystique holds one of the A.I.M. operatives in a choke hold and retrieves the capsule.
The A.I.M. operatives open fire while Mystique takes flight carrying Sabretooth. Mystique warns Sabretooth to not struggle and reveals the limits of her super power. She states her strength does not change with her appearance. Mystique reveals the gargoyle she duplicated is from the Defenders.
WINNER: MYSTIQUE PROLONGS THE BATTLE BY BATTLE FIELD REMOVAL
SUPER FEAT OF THE DAY: IN ‘WOLVERINE’ (2012) #302, MYSTIQUE METAMORPHS AS YUKIO TO MAKE LOVE TO WOLVERINE, FOOLING HIS SENSES