COOPER, VALERIE: Page 3 of 5

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

Biography - Page 3

During her time with X-Factor, Val's duties with the Commission on Superhuman Activity were put to the side. However, now no longer tied down with X-Factor, Val found herself busy with Commission work when Julia Carpenter – Spider-Woman – returned to her life. Julia was now with the Avengers West Coast and had become aware of a spider-team called Deathweb. Val had also heard of the group and further knew that one of the scientists responsible for the serum that Julia was injected with also injected the serum into three others. These others were putting the lives of Spider-Woman's daughter and parents in danger. Val was concerned about Deathweb's connection to the Commission being revealed and tried to have Spider-Woman detained. However, Julia managed to trap Val in some psi-webs and warned that, if Deathweb had harmed her family, she would be back to make her pay for their crimes. [Spider-Woman (2nd series) #2]

Val was soon reunited with X-Factor when she attended a lecture by a mutant named Haven, a woman who had dedicated herself to bringing about the Mahapralaya, a new peace on Earth. When she paradoxically used her mutant powers to create disasters in an attempt to usher in this new era of humanity, Forge and Havok arrived to arrest Haven for terrorism. After Haven escaped, Val later journeyed to Haven's citadel in Northern California, where she underwent a personal Pralaya, in which Val journeyed through personal oblivion – and made it out the other side. Impressed, Haven welcomed Val to her cause.

Given Val's years of working between mutants and humans, she was viewed as an invaluable asset to Haven. However, X-Factor soon arrived at Haven's citadel and were none too happy to see Valerie working with her. Havok in particular was furious with Val, and Woflsbane, whose current instability meant she fed of Havok's emotions, attacked her. Haven rescued Val and then cured Wolfsbane of her current state. Haven captured the rest of X-Factor, but Val soon freed them and revealed to her friends that she had been working undercover to infiltrate Haven's stronghold. Working together, Val and X-Factor fought Haven, until tragedy struck when Jamie Madrox died. [X-Factor (1st series) #97-100] Val afterward appeared before a sub-committee on Mutagenic Affairs to brief them on the Haven situation and update them on the Legacy Virus. Val kept to herself the possible connections between the Legacy Virus and Genosha, though, and she began to wonder what implications for mutantkind widespread knowledge of the virus would have. She also wondered whether that was Stryfe's plan all along when he had released the plague, to further divide humans and mutants. [X-Factor (1st series) #103]

By the time of Mystique’s apparent death, Val had become well aware that her old colleague Raven Darkholme and Mystique had been one and the same. Distrustful of anything regarding her old colleague, Val met with Forge and Nick Fury and together they deduced that Mystique was in fact still alive. When the trio further learned that Mystique had been accessing information on Gabrielle Haller and her son David – a.k.a. Legion, the man responsible for the death of Destiny – they deduced that she was seeking revenge for Destiny's murder. Val briefed X-Factor on the situation and together they traveled to Tel Aviv, where indeed Mystique was plotting to kill Legion. When Val and X-Factor found her, Mystique was about to inject Legion with poison to kill him. Val tried to talk Mystique down, telling her that killing Legion wouldn’t make her feel better, but Mystique told her that she simply didn’t care anymore. Seemingly conflicted, Mystique fled as Legion woke, but Val and X-Factor soon found her by tracking Avalanche, who was assisting her on this assignment. Val confronted Mystique and explained to her that she had such high hopes for the Freedom Force project and that, when it went bad, she fought hard to keep Mystique out of prison. Mystique accused Val of this all being about her ego, but Val reminded Mystique that she had to pay for her crimes and for breaking her agreement with the US government that no Freedom Force member would commit any felonies.When Avalanche created a tidal wave to distract X-Factor, enabling Mystique to make a run for it, Val was knocked aside and hit her head on the pier as she fell into the water. It wasn't Mystique's intention for Val to drown and she contemplated rescuing her, but ultimately valued her own safety more. Luckily Val was rescued by Strong Guy. [X-Factor (1st series) #108-109]

Shortly after, Val was on a busy street in Washington D.C. when she thought she saw Multiple Man, who had died some months before. She tried to chase after him, but lost him in the crowds. [X-Factor (1st series) #111]

Soon thereafter, Val donned a new team uniform as she continued to rebuild her relationship with X-Factor, whose team members had now dwindled. They spent some time tracking Mystique and eventually caught up to her at a Sentinel processing plant where she had placed a bomb. With Forge busy disarming the bomb and Havok and Polaris evacuating the workers, it was left to Val to apprehend Mystique. Val's longtime nemesis didn't put up much of a struggle though, as she had already been attacked by a mysterious Hound. [X-Men: Prime] When information about the Legacy Virus became public knowledge, Val spoke at a conference of the World Health Organization where she, under the Freedom of Information Act, revealed that she and X-Factor had traveled to Genosha and seen the infected mutates. However, she also declared that she did not believe that the Genoshan crisis had any effect on the rest of the world. In fact, the Genoshan bonding process that created the mutates was the victims’ undoing, and that right now there was not enough scientific evidence to label the Legacy Virus a worldwide threat. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #326]

Val used her considerable political influence to have the incarcerated Mystique placed with X-Factor as punishment for her crimes. Val decided that attempting to rehabilitate Mystique was futile, and that this was the best option for everyone – otherwise Mystique would simply be put in jail. An inhibitor was placed in Mystique that prevented her from shapeshifting into the members of X-Factor or the X-Men for longer than thirty seconds. Naturally, Mystique was not happy about her current predicament and threatened Val.

Mystique wasn't the only new addition to X-Factor from Val's past, as Val also requested the assistance of Kyle Gibney, now known as Wild Child, after Alpha Flight's disbanding. He assisted X-Factor on an assignment when they were low on members, but it was Val's intention he would ultimately return to Canada. Wild Child didn't want to go back though and tried to talk to Val, but she refused to speak about it, their old history bringing up too many memories. [X-Factor (1st series) #114]

Following Charles Xavier's unsuccessful attempts to rehabilitate the deadly mutant Sabretooth, Val orchestrated an elaborate plan that saw the original X-Men face off against Sabretooth in a battle that resulted in Sabretooth's apparent death. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #328, Sabretooth: In The Red Zone] Valerie visited the still living Sabretooth, who had been placed in a stasis tank while his healing factor took care of his extensive injuries. During one such visit, Sabretooth broke free of the tank and lunged at Valerie. Although he grabbed her, she was unharmed thanks to several soldiers who shot at Creed. Val wanted him dead but other plans for Creed were afoot and, on another visit, Val witnessed Creed being fixed with a special collar that would send a neuro-shock to his brain and shut him down if he attacked designated persons. Val was surprised when she learned that Creed was going to be turned over to her to be part of X-Factor. Armed with that knowledge, she stormed into the Washington D.C. office of a man named Ellison, who told Valerie that the orders for Sabretooth to become part of X-Factor came from above and that she should live with it. Val, however, had other ideas.
[X-Factor (1st series) #119-120]

Val met with her superior, General Bowser, to express her reservations about the plan to have Sabretooth placed on X-Factor, specifically, concerns about Creed's past history with Mystique. Bowser wasn't particularly interested, for he simply wanted “more hounds.” Val was confused by his comment, but couldn't press the issue, as Sabretooth was re-introduced to Val and ordered by Bowser to tear her throat out. Sabretooth was pleased with this request but, as he lunged towards Val, he fell to the floor, his collar’s programming activated and preventing him from harming Val. Val was told that Sabretooth had one important mission to undertake for his country before joining X-Factor. However, Val voiced her own warning to Creed that they had some ground rules to talk about before he did so. [X-Factor (1st series) #121]

Val soon learned that Mystique was on the trail of the Hound who attacked her at the Sentinel processing plant. Val worked with X-Factor to track Mystique to a government installation near the Canadian Border. Eventually, Val, Forge, Polaris and Wild Child caught up with Mystique – only to find Sabretooth standing over Mystique's motionless body. Sabretooth announced he was to be everyone's teammate and Val explained about the collar preventing him from harming any of them. Val was surprised that she was not told about this mission and asked Creed about the facility, its purpose and why he had to kill everyone here. Creed's mission became apparent when he attacked the creature called the Hound, a genetically enhanced mutant hunter, the one that had assaulted Mystique. After Polaris defeated the Hound and Forge downloaded information about the facility, a government official arrived to clear Val and X-Factor out of the area. As they left, Val expressed her regret to X-Factor that Sabretooth was now with them, and promised to get information about this facility from her allies in Washington. Two days later, Val returned to the facility with Senator Kelly, only to find the entire facility was gone, replaced with a farm. Senator Kelly assured Valerie that this confirmed some of his own suspicions about recent activities. Returning to X-Factor's Fall's Edge headquarters, Val was ambushed by Sabretooth, who seemed to know that there was nothing at the facility up north. He also hinted to Val that she was being kept in the dark about something. He warned her to stay in line, or else she might be wearing a collar around her neck next. [X-Factor (1st series) #122-123] 

Life started to become more complicated than usual for Val when Forge asked her not to submit data about X-Factor's training session with Sabretooth to her superior at Washington. This was based on information from X-Factor's resident hologram, Shard, about a break-in at Fall's Edge, during which some of Forge's files were tampered with. Forge believed that there was a connection between the present and Shard's future, and he preferred that they were the only ones who knew about it for the moment. Val was reluctant to keep this information to herself but, when Bowser contacted her, she passed off his vague information about Shard as simply being Mystique shape-shifting into someone. She also told him that there had been trouble decoding the data for transmission, but that Forge was working on it. Having now lied to her superiors, Val began to question her beliefs in the government having oversight over superhuman activities, and her loyalty to those in X-Factor, mutants whom she now counted as friends. [X-Factor (1st series) #124]

In the wake of the Onslaught disaster, Val was forced to put her relationship with X-Factor to one side when she arrived at the X-Men's home with the responsibility of taking Charles Xavier into custody. Val was opposed by several members of the X-Men, but others understood the reasoning behind the arrest order. In the end, Xavier himself left with Val voluntarily. [X-Men (2nd series) #57]

Val once again found herself caught between loyalties when she started working alongside the man called Bastion. He viewed X-Factor as his personal “mutant militia” and sent them to hunt down Jamie Madrox, who was very much alive and well. When Forge confronted Val about this, she was met with hostility by him and Polaris. They told Val that, if she thought X-Factor would agree to hunt down their friends for the government, then she thought wrong. X-Factor also confronted her about arresting Xavier. Valerie told X-Factor that she saw Madrox on the street months ago, and warned her friends about the government soldiers waiting outside Fall's Edge to storm in unless X-Factor handed over Madrox. [X-Factor (1st series) #127, 129] 

Shortly before his final pre-election speech, Val visited presidential candidate Graydon Creed to urge him to accept additional security or cancel his event. Already reluctant to do so, Graydon was even less impressed by the offer when his additional security team showed up, composed of Forge, Polaris and Sabretooth. However, there was indeed a threat, as Creed’s mother, Mystique, was planning to assassinate her own son and had taken the form of Val to enable her easier access at the high security-event. By happenstance, Val caught up with and confronted Mystique, who revealed that she had been able to bypass the inhibitor which prevented her from shifting into Val and others. Mystique then gave Val the slip and disappeared into the busy crowd, but Val alerted X-Factor to Mystique's presence and the team soon caught her. When Graydon then threatened his mother, ordering his security to shoot X-Factor if they interfered, Val gave Graydon a piece of her mind and told Forge to watch her back as she escorted Mystique into a waiting, secure vehicle. Mystique cryptically told Val that there were government levels which she has no idea of, but Val stood her ground. To the surprise of all, Graydon Creed was assassinated moments later by an unseen assailant. [X-Factor (1st series) #130]

Val was in shock when Forge, Polaris and Mystique showed up at the office of General Bowser to inform him that X-Factor was quitting their role as the government’s pet mutant team. Val raced after the trio following the tense meeting with Bowser, demanding to know why they didn't talk with her about this. Forge told Val that it was a mutant issue and that, no matter how much she wants to be one of them, she was not. Val's meeting with X-Factor was observed by Bowser on a monitor. [X-Factor (1st series) #132]

In truth, this was part of an elaborate scheme leading to X-Factor going underground so that the government truly couldn't control them. Forge and Mystique faked their deaths in an automobile accident, while Polaris and the other members of X-Factor seemingly died in an explosion. Bowser forced his way into the Fall's Edge compound to retrieve Forge's data. However, Val and X-Factor had arranged several booby traps that made it appear that the guards accompanying Val and Bowser were being killed off during the recovery mission. These guards in fact were the members of X-Factor and Forge's data was kept out of Bowser's hands. [X-Factor (1st series) #133]

When Operation: Zero Tolerance was in full swing, Val received a warning from a colleague called Gray, who informed her that some government officials knew X-Factor faked their deaths. Worse, she was told that Sabretooth was a plant, a Hound in case anything went wrong with X-Factor. Val tried to warn Forge via telephone, but the lines at Fall's Edge were cut. After Val raced to deliver the message in person, she found Mystique holding the motionless body of Forge. Polaris and Wild Child were also not moving and Mystique blamed this on Val for letting Sabretooth be placed on X-Factor in the first place. Val phoned in assistance in the form of her ex-husband, Major Edmond Atkinson, who helped Val get X-Factor to a hospital. Val was in a bad state, worried about her friends and blaming herself for following orders and letting Sabretooth be placed on X-Factor. Val knew that government officials would learn X-Factor remained alive and would attempt to change that. She was relieved when Edmond offered to have his team stay at the hospital to keep watch. 

Mystique remained at the hospital as well, leading to an argument between she and Val. Words turned violent when Mystique lashed out and attacked Val, though luckily Edmond was on hand to stop things. Nevertheless, Mystique's hatred of Val grew and she warned Val that she would pay for every indignity she had done to her. Val's ex remained at the hospital after Val sent his team of soldiers away, not wanting them to be in danger because of her actions. Mystique snuck out soon thereafter, leaving Val to worry about her friends. She promised them that, though she had failed them too many times, she wouldn't again. During this time of reflection, Val and Edmond spent more time together and Edmond confessed to Val that he made a mistake letting her out of his life. Moments later, Ed was shot by an approaching agent, just as Havok and his teleporter, Fatale, arrived. Havok offered for Val to come with him as he took his teammates to safety, but she told him that she needed to stay and stop the insanity before it went any further. Her best method of doing that, she felt, was from the inside where she worked best. Havok departed, telling Val that she had always been a blind optimist. Val reminded him that she was only human and sat with Ed to await the government agents coming after X-Factor. [X-Factor (1st series) #136-137]