COOPER, VALERIE: Page 2 of 5

Publication Date: 30th Mar 2017
Written By: Daytripper.
Image Work: sixhoursoflucy.

Biography - Page 2

Val was soon forced into a temporary leadership role with the Commission when the entire situation regarding the Captain America replacement erupted in scandal. After John Walker’s identity as the new Captain America had been outted, a group called the Watchdogs kidnapped and murdered his parents. Walker in turn snapped and murdered them in return. Worse, it came to light that the chair of the Commission, Douglas Rockwell, had been influenced by none other than the Red Skull, who had manipulated the members into forcing Steven Rogers to resign in the first place. In light of this, Val joined the majority in agreeing that Steve Rogers should be reinstated as Captain America and be free to act on his own conscience. Rogers was given the Captain America identity back and Walker stepped down. [Captain America (1st series) #350]

Val continued in her role as acting Chair of the Commission and spoke at a large press conference, where the role of Captain America was officially handed back over to Steve Rogers. During the press conference, however, John Walker was shot and killed. Later that day, when Val and Walker's friend and crime-fighting partner Battlestar went to a morgue to collect his body, they found it had vanished. Val later claimed that Walker's body had simply been cremated. When Battlestar prepared to leave Washington and his employ with the Commission, Val asked him to stay on and possibly work with Freedom Force, but he turned down her offer. Val soon received a call from Battlestar, informing her that he was looking into Walker's death, as it didn't add up. She soon discovered that he might be onto something when she was called to a meeting by fellow Commissioner General Haywerth, who introduced her to the USAgent. Val immediately realized that USAgent was Walker, indeed alive. It was explained that Walker's death was a ruse and he had been given a new identity. Val seemed relieved that Walker was alive, but wondered what the country would do with him now. He was assigned to the Avengers West Coast branch, while Battlestar returned to Val's office, still seeking answers. Val confirmed to Battlestar that Walker was indeed alive, but did not elaborate further. [Captain America (1st series) #351-352, 354-355]

With the Captain America debacle behind her and John Walker no longer under her watch, Val turned her attention back to Freedom Force, ordering Mystique to take her team to Muir Island, which was under attack by the Reavers. However, that assignment cost Mystique two members, including her beloved Destiny, further straining the relationship between Val and Mystique. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #254-255]

As tensions about mutantkind around the world started to increase even further, Val was given the chance to meet with Soviet spy Alexei Vazhin, who warned Val about several emerging mutant threats – Apocalypse, Mr. Sinister and the Mutant Liberation Front. Vazhin also alerted Val to the fact that the “rules” in the superhuman community were changing and that, going forward, Homo sapiens would be the losers. On their second chance meeting, Vazhin warned Val about a fourth emerging threat, known as the Shadow King. He also told Val that, as the president's National Security Advisor for Super-Human Affairs, she was in a very important – and dangerous position in the coming times. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #263-264]

Unfortunately for Val, she was put under the thrall of the Shadow King, who planned to use her important political position to further his own malevolent schemes. The Shadow King, in the form of Jacob Reisz, acknowledged that Val was very strong-spirited, but decided she was only human and therefore no match for him. The Shadow King's first plan for Val involved her team Freedom Force, as he was specifically interested in Mystique and Destiny. Knowing from Val that Destiny was dead and that Mystique would be heart-broken and thus vulnerable, the Shadow King ordered Val to put her out of her misery. His reasoning was that, if there was any way to kill Mystique and get away with it, Val would accomplish it. When Val arrived at Freedom Force's headquarters in the dead of night, she was surprised to find Mystique posing as her. Even more surprising, the shape-shifter revealed that Destiny, before her death, had foretold that Val would come to kill her. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #265-266]

Nevertheless, Val struggled and fought against the Shadow King, resisting his instructions to shoot and kill Mystique. Unable to resist completely, she in fact shot herself, though luckily the barrel jerked and the bullet only grazed her head. Mystique immediately contacted Nick Fury of SHIELD but, as Val was taken away for treatment, Mystique was hypnotized by SHIELD to pose as Val. Mystique continued this ruse until the defeat of the Shadow King. [X-Factor (1st series) #70]

After the fall of the Shadow King, Val set about creating a new government-sponsored mutant taskforce to replace the now-defunct Freedom Force. She believed that the concept of such a group was very important and approached three of the Muir Islanders – Polaris, Madrox and Guido – about forming such a team. [X-Factor (1st series) #70] With them signed on, Val traveled to Genosha to enlist Havok to lead this new team. He took some convincing, but eventually Havok agreed to do so and with him came Wolfsbane. Val found an unexpected addition to the team in Quicksilver. She also found herself in a much more hands-on role with this team, right from the beginning dealing with various personal issues that the members had. A formal press conference was held to reveal the team as the new X-Factor, a name which was now free after the original X-Men had decided to rejoin their old group, and Val was appointed X-Factor's government liaison. [X-Factor (1st series) #71-72]

When trouble arose with Multiple Man and his dupes, Val decided that X-Factor needed the services of a polygraph expert, so she called in the best in the business – her ex-husband, Edmond Atkinson. The two worked together amicably, each claiming they didn't think about the old days. When Edmond departed, though, they shared a kiss and Val told him not to be a stranger. However, Val was not aware that this was in fact Mr. Sinister, posing as her ex-husband as part of an elaborate scheme against X-Factor. [X-Factor (1st series) #73-75]

Often accompanying X-Factor on missions, Val was with the team when their assistance was requested by Farnoq Dahn, the ruler of the Middle Eastern nation of Trans-Sabal. Farnoq was having some “difficulties” with a rebel faction consisting of the Hulk and the Pantheon, who were in fact fighting for the nation's oppressed people. Val monitored X-Factor's battle against the Hulk and the Pantheon from Farnoq Dahn's palace, where she found herself at odds with Farnoq, who objectified her. Val's dislike of the monarch caused trouble for her, as she was drugged to become subservient and was placed in a skimpy outfit, the complete opposite of what Val would usually wear. Val did not get a chance to respond to her humiliation. Just as the drugs were wearing off, Farnoq Dahn was shot by an ally of the Hulk, ending his oppressive regime. [Incredible Hulk (2nd series) #390-392]

To better equip herself on X-Factor missions, Val soon began to wear her own version of the X-Factor team costume. [X-Factor (1st series) #78]

The sins of Val's past began to catch up with her in the form of old Freedom Force member, Spiral, who was on a rampage to kill Arize, whom she held responsible for her current state. Val accompanied X-Factor on this mission and, during the combat with Spiral, Val managed to get a clear shot. Determined to prevent Spiral from killing others, she fired at Spiral, who teleported away at the last second. Val next tried to speak with Spiral, who quickly realized that Val was there to atone for her past dealings with Freedom Force. Nevertheless, Spiral wasn't interested in talking. X-Factor eventually defeated Spiral, who was allowed a shot at redemption by teaming up with Arize and departing for Mojoworld. In this manner, Val believed some of her own sins, in part, had been redeemed. [X-Factor Annual #7]Val and X-Factor worked well together in the team's early days. Nevertheless, tensions started to mount with Havok, who felt that he, as team leader, had ultimate authority over the members of X-Factor and didn't appreciate Val reprimanding Multiple Man for inappropriate actions. [X-Factor (1st series) #82] The tension continued to mount when Havok invited the Genoshan renegades called the X-Patriots to New York and extorted Val, telling her that if she refused entry to New York for the X-Patriots then he would quit X-Factor. Val reluctantly agreed but warned Havok to keep the X-Patriots under control. [X-Factor (1st series) #83]

When an assassination attempt was carried out on Professor Charles Xavier's life, Val rushed to the hospital, determined to supervise his treatment as she viewed Xavier as a valued government consult. As the X-Men and X-Factor worked together to track down Cable, the apparent assassin, Val remained at the Xavier Institute to oversee events from a management perspective. When Sinister attacked the mansion, bent on finishing off Xavier, Val was taken as his hostage, but was rescued by the X-Man called Bishop. Fortunately, Val soon learned that Sinister had a clue as to Xavier's attempted assassin and was surprised to learn who it was when Sinister dropped a note in front of her, naming the assassin as Stryfe. When the X-teams regrouped, Val led the briefing to inform the X-teams about their mysterious new foe and continued to oversee events for the X-teams during this tense period. [X-Cutioner's Song crossover]

Following the attempted assassination of Charles Xavier, Val arranged for X-Factor to undergo individual counseling sessions with Doctor Leonard Samson. 

At the conclusion of the individual sessions, Val was invited by Doc Samson to give her private views of her team, which did not match up with what the individual members had said about themselves. Val stormed out of Doc Samson's office after he suggested to her that her team were quite normal and that she should attend “awareness training.” Val was considering resigning her role as X-Factor's liaison when suddenly a many-tentacled creature appeared and pulled her away, unseen by Doc Samson who stepped out to talk to Val seconds after. [X-Factor (1st series) #87]

Val appeared none-the-worse-for-wear when she and X-Factor had further dealings with the troublesome X-Patriots, though her team did think that she was acting a little strangely. When Havok became frustrated with her for giving Quicksilver a leave of absence, Val surprised him when she agreed that the team could return to Genosha with the X-Patriots. While accompanying them on their mission, Val was in contact with Quicksilver and encouraged him to stay on leave. When Multiple Man tried to speak with Quicksilver, wanting him to come to join the mission, Val responded irrationally, beating Multiple Man and slamming his body against a wall over and over. Quite out of character, she warned him that if he ever contradicted her, questioned her authority or mocked her, then he would be history. 

When Quicksilver nevertheless arrived on Genosha, Val went to meet him by herself. Quicksilver thought this was unusual, while Val continued to act strangely. [X-Factor (1st series) #88-91]

Tensions continued to brew between Val and Havok, culminating when X-Factor were called in to interrogate the Acolyte called Spoor. Havok appeared to want to destroy Spoor, but Val warned Havok to stand down. When Quicksilver arrived, Spoor revealed to X-Factor that the Acolytes were planning an attack on a military installation at Camp Hayden. Val took Quicksilver and Random and went to investigate, infuriating Havok. Arriving at Camp Hayden, it became clear that Val knew more than she was letting on, as she revealed that several months ago the Senate held a closed door meeting with several committees concerned with “the mutant problem” and that they agreed to fund Project: Wideawake, which merged classic Sentinels with the futuristic Nimrod. Havok and X-Factor arrived in time to hear Val's startling revelation. A battle with the Acolytes followed and the Sentinels disappeared.

X-Factor regrouped in time to discover Val vomiting up some gunk. Once purged of the substance, Val immediately remembered being kidnapped and informed X-Factor that it was the Acolytes who implanted this gunk in her and controlled her. Val was in tears and begged X-Factor to forgive her. However, when she revealed that she had known about Project: Wideawake for some time, even before she was being controlled, Havok did not take too kindly to the news. Val tried explaining that Wideawake was only a fail-safe in case X-Factor didn't work and that she was following orders, but this did not make the team change their newfound view of her. Distraught, Val told X-Factor that they weren't just hired help, but her friends. Again, X-Factor weren't convinced and walked away from her. [X-Factor (1st series) #92]

With relations between Val and X-Factor at complete odds, Val stepped down as the team's government liaison and handed the job over to Forge. Despite how it ended, Val was proud of her time with X-Factor and of the work they did together. [X-Factor (1st series) #93]