Mom Month at Dimestore Dames continues! Say hi to your mother for me.
Publisher: Marvel Comics
First Appearance: X-Men #141 (1981)
Created By: Chris Claremont & John Byrne
Irene Adler’s precognition powers were somewhat of a curse. The more she could ‘see’ vision-wise, the less she could see, well, in a literal sense. After a year spent furiously transcribing her predictions for the next hundred years or so in a series of notebooks, she was totally blind. To make matters worse, the diaries made very little sense, because writing something like, ‘A gosling named Ryan shall be born, and lo, he will be hot’ would be way too easy. These predictions were like Nostradamus-level murky.
This being decades before Google, Irene went to the next best thing to help her make sense of the diaries: a private detective. This actually turned out to be shapeshifting Mystique in disguise, and while they didn’t really get to the bottom of Irene’s visions, they did totally fall in love. Even though they’d part a few times over the years, long enough to even have kids with other partners, Irene and Raven would undoubtedly prove to be the loves to each other’s lives. They even raised Rogue, their foster daughter, together in a little dysfunctional family unit.
Irene and Raven also served as the backbone for the Brotherhood of Mutants, a terrorist group. Even though Irene was about the age of every other members’ meemaws (except Raven, who doesn’t appear to get older) and couldn’t see, she handled herself well in battle with a badass crossbow and wasn’t afraid to show off her shapely gams. Unfortunately, it was during one of the team’s battles that she ended up getting killed by Legion.
These days, Destiny’s legacy is mostly apparent in her scattered diaries, which hold clues to the future of mutantkind. She also has been resurrected several times in the last few years, which probably freaked Rogue and Raven out a lot.
So What’s So Great About Her?
There are a lot of things I find awkward about Destiny. Like her soul-crushingly creepy alien-head mask, for one. And the fact that X-Men writers have never tried to smooth out her timeline, so she still officially met Mystique as an adult in the late nineteenth century, making her at least over a century old when she died in battle in 1989. Major props for being one of the only elderly women supervillains, though. And then there are the, ahem, ‘clever’ hints that she’s the basis for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Irene Adler character, who serves as Sherlock Holmes’s primary love interest (other than Watson, of course). Which, you know, shut up, trying-too-hard writers. Shut up forever.
What’s not awkward: that Irene serves as half of one of the longest lasting couples in the Marvel universe. The fact she and Raven are both women makes their deep, emotionally intense romance all the more poignant, considering the lengths it took to establish them as lovers. At the time, the Comics Code Authority didn’t allow overt references to homosexuality, and in response editor-in-chief Jim Shooter became a homophobic Scarlet Witch, whispering, ‘No more gay people’ and making them all disappear from Marvel. Chris Claremont went to a lot of effort to hint at the romance at just the right pitch that readers might tilt their head a little but an editor wouldn’t immediately red-pen the lines. By the time they could be officially deemed a couple, it was considered one of the worst kept secrets in comics.
So yeah, theirs is a love that even the Comics Code and editorial mandates could not kill. And speaking of killing, Raven is a total cold-blooded murderer, and Irene hasn’t been exactly reluctant to roll up her own sleeves and commence terrorist activity (though I guess you could argue that she’s passively following the whims of Raven and, to an extent, her own prophetic visions). A love story isn’t exactly what you expect to crop up in the middle of their supervillainy, so it’s kind of awesome to find it there at all.
The one person Irene loves as much as Raven is Rogue, the daughter they quasi-adopted and raised together. And okay, maybe Irene’s not the best mom ever—she did encourage Rogue to follow their footsteps into the terrorist lifestyle—but their interactions are usually tender, and she also probably had an inkling that Rogue was going to head onto a better path eventually. So she’s a good mom, sort of? Better than Raven, anyway, but it’s not hard to beat the women who threw her newborn off a cliff. It’s also interesting to note that, like Raven, she has other children—but daughter they share is the one who appears to get the bulk of her attention and affection.
Her relationships aside, one of the coolest things about Destiny is that she was technically only alive and active in comics for about a decade, but she’s one of the most important mutants to ever live. Long after her death, her predictions are still coming true in current storylines. In fact, the search for her missing diaries was the basis for the entire X-Treme (siiiigh) X-Men series. Not many relatively minor characters make that much of an impact on the universe they leave behind.
X-Men #141-142 (title switches to Uncanny X-Men with #142)
Avengers Annual #10
Dazzler #22-23; 28
Uncanny X-Men #170; 177-178; 185; 199-200
Avengers Annual #15
Uncanny X-Men #223-226
New Mutants #65; 78
Marvel Fanfare #40
Uncanny X-Men #254-255; 265
X-Factor Annual #6
Sabretooth and Mystique #1-3
X-Men Forever #4
X-Treme X-Men #1
Rogue (vol.3) #10
X-Men: Legacy #208; 231-233
X-Force (vol.3) #19
Chaos War: X-Men #1-2
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