As seen in the answer to the question question Can Mystique replicate a person by just looking at a photograph?, Mystique's shape-changing ability seems to be based on what she knows about a person. Meaning that she can replicate what she has seen of somebody, and also probably "create" a person by imagining them.

In Days of Future Past, Mystique opens a safe belonging to Trask by transforming her thumb into his and pressing it on what appears to be a fingerprint scanner. How can she replicate Trask's fingerprint? It's doubtful she could have seen his thumb up close and she'd also need perfect memory to re-create it.

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    thumbs have oils. When you touch things, they are deposited. This applies to fingerprint scanners. Perhaps she "felt" the oil, and shaped her finger to fit it. If she can adjust so that vision (with accuracy down into nanometers) is fooled, then she can fool a thumbprint that measures on 100 micrometer scale. Commented Jul 13, 2015 at 18:00
  • @EngrStudent Also, if there were oils from the last time the safe was opened still on the scanner, wouldn't she be able to create a blank fingerprint, which the scanner would read as valid because of the left over oils? Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 13:21
  • She's maxed out her 'Bluff' and 'Disguise' skills.
    – Jeff
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 13:46
  • Because mutant.
    – JohnP
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 14:51
  • This was already answered: "If she can touch a person, she can even replicate their fingerprints and other biometric information such as retina patterns. Her body's mimicry powers sample their DNA and reproduce every aspect of them except their cultural and social programming. If she has seen them live and interacting with other people, she can create a near-perfect replica, lacking only their memories to draw from." Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 19:04

2 Answers 2


According to the comics (as reference by Wikipedia) Mystique's abilities are psionic.

A photograph will give her enough to look like the person. She's trained and practiced enough to mimic people well - she can adopt their common behaviors and verbal/physical tics quite easily, given reference.

Once Mystique is in areas where her subject has been in the past, it's likely that she picks up more details on them. To a trained observer, the way one's personal areas are laid out and organized (or not) can give insight into their mental state. It's guesswork, but it's educated guesswork.

The fact that her abilities are psionic probably helps - 'psionic' is a catch-all term that Marvel tends to use for 'freaky things that shouldn't work, but do, but aren't magic or technology'.

We have evidence (in comics and on-screen) that Mystique CAN duplicate a person well enough to copy their fingerprints and retinal scans. 'How' is a difficult question, but I expect the likely explanation you would get from a writer (as there is no canon answer I can find) is that she either absorbs their DNA from physical contact (either with them or shed skin/hair in the vicinity) or better mimics them by absorbing their psionic imprint on the areas they frequent.

Neither of these really make sense, but then again Mystique's mimicry is pretty nonsensical in and of itself.

  • How exactly is 'psionic' not magic? Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 15:04
  • @user2813274: it's a different word, with different implications. Psionic is freaky brain stuff, magic is freaky spiritual/energy/chanting stuff. Both can do similar things, usually, but they're different because comics say so.
    – Jeff
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 15:37
  • Fingerprints are not determined by DNA but by womb environment during gestation. Identical twins still have unique fingerprints. Somehow being able to "read" DNA still wouldn't lead to a correct fingerprint so the explanation would ultimately be "psionic" which is basically "magic".
    – user45485
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 0:45

TL;DR: We don't know what contact Mystique has had with Trask up to this point, but at the very least she has access to government records that would include Trask's fingerprint.

Photographic Memory

Mystique has demonstrated the ability to mimic a person's face near-perfectly after a single glance at either them in person or a photograph of them. This strongly indicates that she possesses eidetic memory, usually referred to as a "photographic memory" - the ability to memorize details after only brief exposure. This would also explain how she is able to memorize so many codes & passwords.

Access to Fingerprints

As for Trask's fingerprint, there are a few explanations that would make sense. Mystique is a natural at infiltration, so it's not difficult to believe she found a way of getting near Trask or accessing government records. It's possible that just a handshake would give her what she needs, but if not, it's probably a given that Trask's fingerprints would be on record somewhere.


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