COOPER, VALERIE: Page 4 of 5

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

Biography - Page 4

Despite Val’s role in X-Factor's desertion, Val suffered no fall-out from her government superiors. Further, with X-Factor gone, Val was given a breather and an opportunity to contemplate her future. Deciding to continue to do her job as an operative of the U.S. government, Val planned to find out who killed Graydon Creed and track down his parents, Sabretooth and Mystique. Her ex-husband, who had survived his wound, was still hanging around her at this time and he offered to help her, which Val accepted. [X-Factor (1st series) #139] As they worked to put together the pieces to Graydon Creed's assassination, they were visited one night by Wild Child, who had broken away from X-Factor. Val was concerned for Wild Child, given that the government had Hounds out looking for them. Worse, Wild Child’s mutation had been playing up, causing him to fall ill. While he slept, Val revealed to Ed her part in Wild Child's origin. That night, Sabretooth, who had been tracking Wild Child, broke into Val's apartment and grabbed her, forcing her to reveal the truth about their history to Wild Child. Wild Child listened to the revelations and was given the opportunity to strike a killing blow against Val, who was still being held tight by Sabretooth. Wild Child lunged at Val, not to kill her, but to save her, just as a squad who had been monitoring her apartment burst in armed with weapons. Val apologized to Wild Child, but he told her not to worry and fled her apartment. Unfortunately, Sabretooth too escaped soon after. After everything had settled, Val found a note from Wild Child in which he told her that he understood why she did what she did all those years ago. [X-Factor (1st series) #142] 

Val had one final encounter with her friends in the now defunct X-Factor when she went up against her Commission rival, Henry Gyrich, who had arrested Havok. Val took Havok and Polaris into her jurisdiction. [X-Factor (1st series) #148]

When the Press Gang abducted Reed Richards, Val met with the Fantastic Four to brief them on the current status of Genosha, which was under embargo by the United Nations. When the Fantastic Four returned from their successful rescue mission, Val met with them again, informing them that there may be repercussions for them breaking the U.N. Embargo. Val was upset about the state of Genosha, believing that if no nation acted to sort out the situation there it would become a mutant ghetto. She thanked the Fantastic Four for their actions while in the troubled nation. [Fantastic Four (3rd series) #11-12]

Val came to the aid of the X-Men, who now considered her a staunch ally, when Dr. Peter Corbeau went missing and a dangerous missile, which Corbeau had been involved the creation of, was being prepared to launch. The missile had technology to track and kill mutants. Val was now determined to work for the rights of mutants and told the X-Men's new recruit, Marrow, who doubted Val's motives, that when humans and mutants are concerned, there is not two sides, but one. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #360]

The Commission on Superhuman Activity, of which Val was still a member, turned their attention to the Thunderbolts after the team's new leader, Hawkeye, asked the Commission to pardon the former criminals, who were now acting as heroes. The Commission, particularly Henry Gyrich, was against the idea but, when Mach-1, formerly the Beetle, voluntarily went to prison and was instrumental in quelling a prison riot, Val told her colleagues that he was perfect for a job they needed doing. That job involved Mach-1 returning to his old identity of the Beetle to act in an operation against Justin Hammer, in return for which he would earn his freedom. Mach-1 believed that Val was sincere in her part in this plan, but he feared the rest of the Commission would not let an ex-criminal like him go free and devised a plan so that he would control the Beetle armor remotely. The armor was partly destroyed in battle with the Thunderbolts and Mach-1 escaped from the Commission, re-appearing as Mach-2. When Val and Gyrich went to investigate the remains of the Beetle armor in a police station and it activated, Val was pushed to safety by Gyrich – possibly in an attempt to make himself look good. However, she didn't need his assistance and reminded him that she had been on field missions with X-Factor, whereas during his tenure with the Avengers he only had pie thrown in his face. [Thunderbolts (1st series) #21, 26-27, 29, 35-37] 

When it was decided not to rebuild the superhuman prison called the Vault, Val called on John Walker with a proposal, offering him the position of leader of the new enforcement team Superhuman Tactical Activities Response Squad – or STARS – to monitor all aspects of super-powered crime. While Walker was reluctant at first, Val believed that he was the right man for the role and convinced him to accept the position. She even stood with him when he commanded his old teammates in the Avengers during the Maximum Security crisis. In her role with the Commission on Superhuman Activities, Val continued to supervise Walker and STARS and provided assistance when the Power Broker was controlled by an alien race and sought to destroy STARS. [Maximum Security crossover, USAgent (2nd series) #1-3]

More political trouble arose for Val when her Commission nemesis Henry Peter Gyrich was involved in an extremely complex plot that dragged in everyone from Roxxon to the Thunderbolts and Nomad to the V Battalion. Roxxon, using the abilities of their former employee Windshear, had developed a nano-probe which was to be dispersed across the Earth. Via a satellite system orbiting the planet, the nano-probes would provide information to Gyrich that distinguished regular humans from metahumans – who could then, thanks to the nano-probe, be killed with the touch of a button. However, it was soon learned that Gyrich himself was being controlled by a nannite, making him act out his fantasy of killing the world's metahumans. The V Battalion and the Thunderbolts both managed to expose Gyrich and Hawkeye threatened to expose the Commission on Superhuman Activity for Gyrich's actions. Val met with those involved in Gyrich's schemes and told Hawkeye that the situation could not be revealed to the general public nor the superhuman community, as that might lead to the very war Gyrich wanted. Hawkeye agreed to keep his silence, in exchange for Val pardoning the Thunderbolts, which she did. [Thunderbolts (1st series) #49-50] 

Since her time with X-Factor, the mutant population of Earth had grown significantly. In her role as National Security Advisor with Parahuman Affairs, Val spoke before a gathering of world leaders to update them on the mutant population and explain to them that the latest response should be for the Great Powers to determine that mutants were ipso facto weapons of mass destruction and be dealt with accordingly – meaning that being a mutant would be a crime against humanity. Val and her counterparts from around the world met with Storm, who at this time was leading a splinter group of X-Men. Storm was aware of the latest mutant control proposal and offered an alternative: her team of X-Men would act as a strikeforce to police mutants, with worldwide authority. The proposal was accepted. [X-Treme X-Men (1st series) #31-33, 35]

Val's next assignment was as the deputy director of Office of National Emergency, or O*N*E. The purpose of this organization was to use Sentinels in lieu of established super hero teams such as the Avengers or Fantastic Four, when such teams were unavailable. It also meant that the government could have control over the Sentinels, these particular models having human pilots to operate them. Val had to convince a Senator to sign off on the use of human pilots inside the Sentinels, which she believed gave the robots an advantage since they now possessed a human intellect. Working alongside Val was James Rhodes, previously known as War Machine, who commanded the Sentinel Squad members. Val threw herself into her new role, bringing her dedication to the O*N*E and Sentinel Squad that she had to her other roles, despite a warning from the O*N*E's director, General Lazer, not to get attached to any recruits in the Sentinel Squad. However, on an early assignment against the Growing Man, the Sentinel Squad caused some damage to a town and one member lost their legs in combat, leaving Val to feel Lazer's wrath for both the damage and the team member's loss of their legs. She later held a meeting with the Squad members to investigate the issues that arose during the battle. [Sentinel Squad O*N*E #1-3]

When the tragedy known as M-Day struck, in which the majority of the world's mutant population found themselves de-powered, the Office of National Emergency was given the responsibility of keeping the peace during whatever fallout there may be. Val was not consulted about this new assignment of the O*N*E and was told by Lazer that if she didn't like it then she could quit. Val knew that the anti-mutant sentiments would not disappear, nor would enemies of mutantkind. She feared that the near-extinction of mutantkind would only pose more of a threat to the remaining mutants due to enemies attempting to finish the job. She informed the Sentinel Squad that their new assignment was to stand guard over the Xavier Institute and the mutants who remained there. [Decimation: House of M – the Day After #1, Sentinel Squad O*N*E #5]

Val arrived in person at the Xavier Institute to tell the X-Men about their new protectors. The first person she came in contact with was her old X-Factor friend Polaris. When she discovered that Polaris no longer had her mutant powers following M-Day, Val agreed to keep Polaris' secret from the other X-Men.

Though Val explained that the Sentinels were there for the mutants' protection, Cyclops did not agree and asked the Sentinel Squad to leave. Undeterred, however, Val assured him that they were there to stay. When Cyclops then noted that the X-Men and mutants' freedom would be taken away with the Sentinels standing over the Institute, Val bluntly told him that security costs a little freedom. [X-Men (2nd series) #177-179]

The Office of National Emergency continued to take great interest in the world's remaining mutant population, many of whom had gathered at the Xavier Institute seeking refuge. As the mansion itself was not large enough to house the X-Men, the students and the refugees, a camp had been set up to house the mutants seeking sanctuary. Around this and the greater estate grounds, O*N*E erected a large wall, ostensibly to protect the mutants from the outside world, which infuriated the X-Men all the more. Val found herself having to debate the merits of keeping all of the mutants safe in one place with the X-Men, some of whom could not get past the similarities between the refuge and concentration camps. When Val addressed the 198 (as the mutants living in the camp were referred to) about their situation, she offered scheduled visits into Salem Center and to provide them with emergency cellphones so that they could contact the O*N*E should they need it. However, when she informed them about electronic tags so that they can be monitored at all times, the mutants did not like this at all and, when several were in Salem Center, a small riot broke out. [X-Men: The 198 #2-3]

To their surprise, the rioting mutants were restrained by their implanted tags, which could temporarily disable a mutant. After the X-Men and the 198 objected to this, Val assured them that she didn't know about it. When she challenged her superior, General Lazer, about the disabling component of the tags, he pointed out that he didn't tell her about that aspect because he knew she would have told her friends in the X-Men. Lazer wanted all of the mutants tagged, but Val objected to this and told him she would take her concerns to the top, at which point she was told that that was from where the directive had come. When the 198 confronted the X-Men about the tagging, Val rushed to the scene so that she could maintain some order. The tagging of the mutants became moot, however, when one of the 198, Mr. M, used his power to remove the tags from those mutants who had already been implanted with them. When some of the 198 decided to leave the safety of the Xavier Institute grounds, Val urged Cyclops not to let them do so. She also warned Cyclops that her superiors thought she was losing control and that, if they pulled her out and replaced her with someone else, things would only get much worse. [X-Men: The 198 #4]

While spending the majority of her time at the Xavier Institute, Val accepted an invitation to dinner from Bishop, who was attempting to build some bridges. Val reciprocated by later joining Bishop for a game of chess. When one of Val's colleagues, Colonel Reyes, queried her about her relationship with Bishop, she assured him that it was strictly professional. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #469-470, 472]

When a civil war broke out within the superhuman community, Val was still working hard to oversee the rights of the world's remaining mutants. However, tensions continued to mount among the 198 and their inability to live freely. When the 198 broke out of the Xavier Institute, Val found herself working closely with Bishop, who was given the task by O*N*E of tracking the mutants down. Val was warned by General Lazer that she should expect a mutant to side with his own kind, implying that he believed Bishop would not bring the 198 back. Cyclops and a small team of X-Men also went to retrieve the missing mutants and Val confronted Emma about his absence. She didn't believe that one of the world's most powerful telepaths wasn't in contact with her partner. To this, Emma told Val that if she thought she would betray the man she loved, then she had joined the monsters. 

When high-profile civil rights groups began to question the legality of keeping the 198 restricted at the Xavier Institute, Val informed Bishop that the president was considering giving them a full pardon for leaving the grounds. In addition, with the Superhuman Registration Act that was being developed, mutants would be given the same status as any other superbeing who registered with the U.S. Government. General Lazer didn't want this to happen and threatened to expose the missing 198 mutants. An old boyfriend of Val's was also working at the O*N*E and was able to give her information about Lazer – that he was keeping one of the 198 hostage, Johnny Dee, and using his powers to manipulate Cyclops. Val confronted Lazer and discovered that the missing 198 mutants were holed up in a bunker where Lazer had been stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, and only he had the codes to disarm those weapons. Val warned Lazer that she would break his kneecaps one at a time to get the codes – and then kill him. She then proceeded to smash his kneecaps with a crowbar and told him that no one cared about him and that no one would care if she killed him. Lazer told Val that he had seen her drooling over Bishop, wanting to breed with a mutant. An instant later, Lazer's neck was snapped by Johnny Dee, who manipulated Lazer from afar. 

In the aftermath, the 198 mutants were freed and Val met with Bishop. She offered him a job with the O*N*E and revealed that an oversight committee had been appointed to review the issues that had been raised as a result of the O*N*E's involvement with the 198. Further, the Xavier Institute was to be established as a community for mutants, where no mutant would be forced to live, it being entirely voluntary. On a personal note, Val told Bishop what Emma had said about her and pointed out that she had to do some bad things over the last few days. Bishop assured her that she wasn't a monster. [Civil War: X-Men #1-4]