Little is known about Mystique's past due to the fact that she can eliminate the outward signs of aging with her shape-changing power, and it's not known exactly how old she is. She apparently learned to use her shape-changing power at a very early age, for there is no evidence known to the public or the government that Raven Darkholme ever looked like anything but a normal human being. Years ago Mystique had an affair with Victor Creed and they had a son, Graydon Creed, the recently-assassinated presidential candidate and hater of mutants. Mystique has also claimed to be the mother of Nightcrawler. At some point in recent years Mystique became the protector of the young mutant named Rogue, and looked upon Rogue as if she where her own daughter. While Rogue was under her care, she maintained the false identity of Mallory Brickman, the wife of U.S. Senator Ralph Brickman and her adopted daughter, Gloria, was a result.
Mystique had concealed her superhuman powers and criminal intentions so well over the years that, as Raven Darkholme, she was able to rise rapidly through the United States Civil Service to the trusted position of Deputy Director of the Defense Advanced Research Planning Agency (DARPA) in the United States Department of Defense, giving her access to military secrets and advanced weaponry, both of which she used for her own criminal and subversive purposes.
Mystique organized the third incarnation of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, which originally consisted of herself, Avalanche, the Blob, Destiny, and Pyro. Mystique named her group after the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, an organization founded by Magneto.
This Brotherhood first became known when it attempted to intimidate the public by assassinating Senator Robert Kelly, who was investigating what he perceived was the possible danger posed by the existence of any superhuman beings. The X-Men thwarted the assassination attempt, and the Brotherhood later clashed with the X-Men on other occasions, as well as the Avengers and other heroes. Rogue was a member of the Brotherhood for a time but finally left to join the X-Men in order to find help in learning how to deal with her superhuman powers.
Anti-mutant sentiment among normal human beings had greatly increased, and the federal government launched its own covert anti-mutant program, Project: Wideawake. Believing that the times had become too dangerous for the Brotherhood to continue its criminal activities, Mystique went to Dr. Valerie Cooper, special assistant to the head of the National Security Council, and offered the Brotherhood's services to the government. Cooper agreed to convey the offer to the President, on the condition that the Brotherhood pass a test she imposed: the capture of Magneto. The Brotherhood, now renamed Freedom Force, succeeded in bringing Magneto to the authorities (only because he voluntarily surrendered to them) and soon afterward officially entered the government's employ. In return, and as Freedom Force's leader, Mystique received a Presidential pardon for all criminal charges against her, but the pardon would be revoked if any member of Freedom Force was found committing a crime. During her time with Freedom Force, Mystique faced many new opponents such as the Grip, Avengers West Coast, and several other foes. During this stint, her team was sent to Muir Island and were confronted by the Reavers, who killed her teammate Stonewall. During the battle, Mystique charged Forge with the duty of protecting Destiny, which he did until Destiny convinced him that Mystique needed more help. After Forge left to help Mystique, Destiny was slain by a mind-controlled Legion. Afterward, Mystique swore vengeance on Forge for her friend's death, but a visit by a future version of herself convinced her to take some time off to mourn the death of Destiny. During her time off, she went on a cruise and scattered Destiny's ashes into the ocean.
Raven recently made a deal with Professor Charles Xavier. Hunted by many countries for her acts of terrorism, Xavier offered her protection from being detected by them. In exchange, she was to act as Xavier's secret operative. If she was caught, Xavier would deny ever working with her. Former lover Forge aided her by providing technology while Shortpack acted as her handler. After completing quite a few missions, Mystique ended her working relationship with Xavier and infiltrated the Xavier Institute under the guise of Foxx, a student put in Gambit's squad. Her true identity revealed by Emma Frost, Raven claimed to want to join the X-Men and have a better relationship with her foster daughter. She has since gone working with a new associate, Pulse, who she thinks is a better fit for Rogue. Mystique's true motives, and who she was communicating with while inside the Institute, remain a mystery.
Recently, Raven joined Norman Osborn's X-Men team, posing as Professor X and later as Jean Grey.