Related: Can Mystique create objects?

Spoilers ahead.

In the first movie, when Mystique impersonates Wolverine, she was able to cut the chain holding the door in place with her "claws". Then, in Apocalypse, she impersonates Psylocke and cuts Nur's throat with her "energy sword" thingie.

What is the extent of this ability?

As far as I can tell, she's not manufacturing adamantium claws in her body. Or she doesn't have the power to conjure energy blade from her palms. So how can she maintain physical attributes of transformed mutant appendages while they are entirely organic?

  • 6
    This is what's referred to as a plot-hole.
    – Valorum
    Sep 27 '16 at 20:09
  • 3
    Maybe she can transform into something that looks similar to an object, and has similar but not identical properties? So she can create claws that are very sharp and hard (as hard as she can make from the materials in her body, perhaps?), and even put enough force behind them to cut through a chain, but they will not be nearly as strong as real adamantium.
    – Adamant
    Sep 27 '16 at 20:16
  • @Adamant - Yup. Either that or the writers forgot/didn't care that she can't emulate abilities, just forms
    – Valorum
    Sep 27 '16 at 20:17
  • 4
    Jubilee doesn't have an "energy sword thingie". Perhaps you're thinking of Psylocke.
    – phantom42
    Sep 27 '16 at 21:41
  • 1
    Yeah, it was Psylocke. Also, she didn't use the "energy sword thingie", but a regular blade.
    – Erik
    Sep 28 '16 at 12:01

As mentioned in the earlier post, Mystique's powers are intentionally nebulous, allowing writers to use her abilities to create the result they need. If she needs to break a chain, she can emulate Wolverine's claws. They won't be adamantium, but any good, strong metal should be able to do the job. If she can emulate metals, she should be able to break said chain and trick people into thinking she's Wolverine, to boot.

  • Mystique was once limited to changing the appearance of her cellular structure so she could resemble a person's physical makeup and appearance up to and including clothing. She also had perfect pitch and could imitate the sound of a person's voice as well.
  • She made her body into the material she needed to appear as. This would let her imitate small detachable objects such as purses, or metallic objects such as zippers or clasps aiding in the authenticity of the objects appearance.
  • The problem was her powers were poorly defined and poorly explained. I suspect this had more to do with the character's origin and popularity requiring writers to "make it up as they went along." When you started thinking about HOW the character did what she did, inconsistencies were starting to show up.
  • If writers need her to be able to get by a chain, she can emulate Wolverine and using her ability to transform matter on a minor scale, create a claw strong enough to do so. Or if they were willing to be creative, she could simply alter her physiology until she was strong enough to break that lock.

  • It is conceivable she could increase her strength to the peak of human norms, but it may not have occurred to writers to do so, or they have not explained it being done in a comic.

  • Depending on whether a writer cares about her previously established limits he may allow her to add small weapons such as a sword to her ability, which seems perfectly reasonable since any transformation she makes has to withstand being touched or tools being used to be a successful infiltrator.

  • I suspect such major material transformations, such as creating a usable sword, require either more energy or more concentration to be maintained, but don't seem beyond any other kind of effort she has made in the past.

Out of Universe

  • I am always surprised by the lack of belief in her ability to shapechange and create minor objects. Given the diverse range of powers of the X-men in general, her minor matter transformations are barely worth the attention.

  • As a rule, mutant powers defy reasonable laws of physics and while she supposedly doesn't gain any mass during transformations, the physics of that would make less sense than you might think. I suspect this is one of those "we didn't really think this through when we designed the character" kind of moments.

  • There are mutants whose flesh can be converted into "living metal", mutants whose psychokinetic abilities can move massive objects, or project beams of force capable of destroying a suspension bridge. Making herself into metal objects shouldn't warrant a second look.

  • This is probably the reason Mystique got the power upgrade she has in the comics to put her more in line with the rest of the X-men. The movie versions of the character don't even try to reconcile with the comic versions of the character at all.

  • 3
    I love this answer, especially the out-of-universe thoughts! :-)
    – Praxis
    Sep 28 '16 at 20:09
  • In her earliest appearances (MS. MARVEL (1977) 17-18), she was limited to her actual physical mass; when appearing as Nick Fury, she couldn't let anyone see her body close enough to realize how gaunt she was. I think that mostly fell by the wayside years ago, but she doesn't often change into someone whose body is dramatically larger than her own (e.g., the Hulk).
    – RDFozz
    Mar 7 '18 at 20:02

In the first Xmen film Wolverine cut through Mystiques claws in one blow indicating that she can approximate images on an external basis but not an exact replica as she doesn't have the correct materials

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