MYSTIQUE: Page 3 of 8

Publication Date: 5th Aug 2011
Written By: Ruth and Lia Brown.


Mystique later went to Val Cooper’s home in her true form (Cooper was unaware that the notorious terrorist Mystique was also her colleague Raven Darkholme). Mystique had a unique proposition for Val. She offered the services of her Brotherhood to the government, in exchange for a pardon. She cited the increasing anti-mutant attitudes around the world. Mystique’s team was well-trained and unlike other super-heroes, would answer tot he government without question. Cooper agreed, but only if the team could apprehend Magneto to stand trial. Renaming themselves “Freedom Force”, the former Brotherhood attacked Magneto who surrendered after a brief scuffle. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #199]

Freedom Force’s next official mission was to arrest Rusty Collins, a wanted criminal. The team was eager to go after him because of his connection with X-Factor, a group believed to be mutant-hunters (in reality, they were the original X-Men in disguise). As they prepared to hunt down Rusty, Mystique reminded her team that they were obliged to play by the rules, lest they lose their deal with the government. When they found him, they clashed with X-Factor and then faced an anti-mutant mob.

Rusty and his friend, Skids, were able to escape during the melee and Freedom Force followed him underground into the Morlock tunnels. There they encountered X-Factor and, this time, Blob recognized them as the original X-Men. Destiny warned that Freedom Force had to leave the tunnels or be killed (in what was to be the Morlock Massacre) and so they left. However, Mystique decided to get back at X-Factor by revealing to the media that Warren Worthington, formerly known as Angel and a known mutant, was the financial backer for the mutant-hunting X-Factor. [X-Factor (1st series) #8-10]

The team’s next mission was to arrest the two teams of Avengers, as one of their former members (Quicksilver) had implicated them in criminal activity. After a lengthy battle, Freedom Force succeeded in capturing both teams and handed them over to the government. Afterwards, Mystique berated their newest member, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), for her insubordinate behavior. Spider-Woman later went to where the Avengers were imprisoned and freed them, effectively abandoning the team. [Avengers Annual #15]

Although this was technically a violation of the team’s agreement and jeopardized Freedom Force’s pardon, Val Cooper realized that the inclusion of Spider-Woman was her mistake and did not penalize the rest of the group. Against Mystique’s wishes, Cooper added three new members to Freedom Force. She did not have long to dwell on that, as Destiny suddenly received a terrifying vision that the X-Men, including Rogue, were going to die. Mystique went to warn Rogue, though her daughter opted to stay with her friends, much to Mystique’s distress. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #223-224]

Mystique brought her team to Dallas to protect the X-Men by arresting them for their own good, but the X-Men did not appreciate this and the two teams clashed. However, after both sides took prisoners and temporarily retreated, bizarre things began to happen in the city due to the Adversary’s magic. The X-Men and Freedom Force joined forces to protect the civilians and discover the source of the chaos. Eventually, after they successfully worked together for some time, the X-Men decided they had to go up to Forge’s penthouse to battle the evil. Mystique wanted to bring her team too, but Wolverine forced her to stay behind and rescue civilians.

Sadly, she watched as Rogue went into the building and then the video transmission showing X-Men’s fight the Adversary and then volunteer to be sacrificed by Forge to defeat their foe. Forge survived and Mystique angrily screamed at him for killing the X-Men. Mystique and the world at large were unaware that the entire team was secretly resurrected and went underground to gain an advantage against their many foes. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #225-227]

Believing the X-Men dead, Illyana Rasputin, aka Magik of the New Mutants, sought revenge against Forge for the death of her brother Colossus. Freedom Force, who had remained in Dallas to clean up, was obliged to protect him and ended up battling Magik and the rest of the New Mutants. During the battle, Mystique impersonated Forge and when she revealed the deception, Destiny showed them a vision of the future Inferno to come. Puzzled by Freedom Force’s concern for the world, the New Mutants then spotted the real Forge and Magik clashed with him. [New Mutants (1st series) #65]

After leaving Dallas, Freedom Force continued serving the government but some of their assignments were not popular with the mutants. They had to enforce the Mutant Registration Act, in which mutants had to register with the government.  Rusty Collins refused and X-Factor only agreed to do so using their public identities. Freedom Force was also kept busy with other tasks, including reluctantly rescuing their old nemesis, Senator Kelly, from a drug lord, bringing in a team of mutant terrorists, and dealing with the aftermath of fights involving other super-powered beings. [X-Factor (1st series) #33, Captain America (1st series) #346, Marvel Comics Presents (1st series) #41, X-Factor (1st series) #40]

Freedom Force was again sent to arrest Rusty Collins when he was suspected of causing a fire in New York. They ran into the New Mutants, who intended to protect him along with their afflicted teammate, Dani Moonstar. During this encounter, Blob inadvertently revealed to Rusty and Skids that the government had captured mutant children in its possession. Mystique furiously ordered the teenagers captured, lest they spread this classified secret. While the rest of the New Mutants went to Asgard, Freedom Force brought Rusty and Skids into custody. Somewhat later, the teens escaped prison with the help of the Mutant Liberation Front, only to be recaptured by Freedom Force. Mystique interrogated the young mutants about this new terrorist group but they knew nothing about them. The MLF later showed up and freed them, recruiting them for their own organization. [New Mutants (1st series) #78, 80, 82, 87-88]

One night, Destiny had a precognitive dream that foretold her death, though she did not reveal this to Mystique. The next day, Val Cooper ordered Freedom Force to assist Forge against the Reavers on Muir Island.  Mystique, who was still furious with the man for the “death” of Rogue, refused. Cooper forced the issue and sent the team into action despite Mystique’s feelings. Destiny then predicted that Mystique’s and Forge’s futures would be “intimately intertwined,” though Mystique refused to believe it. Freedom Force flew with Forge to Muir Island. Although the initial battle seemed to go well, things quickly went downhill. Avalanche was severely wounded and Stonewall killed. Mystique had sent Forge off with Destiny to protect her but Destiny sent him away after telling him to love Mystique with all his heart. Destiny was then killed by Legion, just as she had saw in her vision. Though the Reavers were defeated, Mystique was furious with Forge and devastated by Destiny’s death. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #254-255]

Mystique took time off to grieve for Destiny. She went on a cruise to re-enact a trip they’d taken earlier and dispersed Destiny’s ashes as her lover had requested. When she returned, she found Freedom Force in disarray and angrily brought the team back together. While some of them undertook a mission to retrieve the Hulk, Mystique went on a solo trip in the guise of a federal agent, to talk to an old woman about a potential Hulk sighting. Seeing the old woman reminded Mystique of her loss, deepening her grief and depression. She was surprisingly gentle and helpful to the old woman, but it did not improve her unhappy mood. [X-Factor Annual #6, Incredible Hulk (1st series) #369]