SABRETOOTH: Page 3 of 12

Publication Date: 27th Jul 2023
Written By: Douglas Mangum and Monolith.
Image Work: Tanwer and Binaryan (Ryan Jones).


Though back in custody, Sabretooth soon escaped, possibly with the help of the Constrictor, who became his partner for some time thereafter. Together they were hired by a ring of art thieves to guard a hidden cache of “Objets D’Art,” which in turn had been the object of investigation by private investigators Colleen Wing and Misty Knight. Clearly outmatched, Colleen only barely managed to escape and enlist the aid of their friend, Iron Fist, who at this point had formed a partnership with Power Man, doing business together as the for-profit Heroes for Hire. Once again, using his martial skill over brute force, Iron Fist managed to get the better of Sabretooth. [Power Man and Iron Fist (1st series) #66]

Though defeated, Sabretooth and Constrictor managed to escape before the authorities arrived and fled town. Weeks later, however, they returned in secret for a special job for Montenegro, which necessitated their absolute secrecy about being in town. Nevertheless, Sabretooth’s bloodlust got the better of him and he found himself drawn to the streets to commit murders, resulting in the local papers nicknaming him “the Slasher.” Despite the uncontrollable urge, Sabretooth had the presence of mind to disguise himself, so when he accidentally came into conflict again with Power Man, Iron Fist and Misty Knight, he was unrecognized. It was only by the timely intervention of the Constrictor in his civilian identity that Sabretooth managed to escape without being captured. Unfortunately for them, the incident ruined their plans for the job and the two left town again before taking it. [Power Man and Iron Fist (1st series) #78]

The entire incident enraged Sabretooth, especially since he felt cheated in the fight, having been unaware that Misty Knight’s arm had been robotic. Itching for revenge, Sabretooth positioned himself outside Misty’s apartment, waiting for her to return. However, despite his advanced senses, Sabretooth initially mistook Power Man’s girlfriend Harmony for Misty, but realized his mistake before killing her. Instead, he merely disfigured her face and departed. The personal attack enraged Power Man and Iron Fist, who spent the next few days chasing leads until they heard of a particular jazz club which Sabretooth seemed to like to frequent when a particular entertainer was playing. So cornered, Sabretooth and the Constrictor were confronted in short order. Despite his fury over Harmony’s injuries, Luke Cage refrained from killing Sabretooth, and turned him over to the police. [Power Man and Iron Fist (1st series) #84]

Though incarcerated, prison again was not enough to hold Sabretooth and he eventually escaped. However, it seemed his partnership with the Constrictor did not survive their mutual incarceration and the two never operated as partners again. Possibly seeking new allies, Sabretooth began looking for the mysterious master assassin known as the Foreigner, who at some point had been a teacher of sorts for Sabretooth. When the Foreigner did not seem inclined to provide him with employment, Sabretooth became desperate to prove his ability and vowed to track down whoever had stolen property from the Foreigner. The thief in question was actually the Black Cat, the recently ex-girlfriend of Spider-Man.  Tracking the Cat’s scent, Sabretooth assaulted Spider-Man and the Black Cat. During the fight, Spider-Man webbed Sabretooth in the face, and Sabretooth tried to rip the adhesive webbing off of him. Though his intention had been to demonstrate his abilities, Sabretooth did the opposite and was reduced to quivering agony after tearing the flesh off of his face. [Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1st series) #116]

After some time in the hospital, Sabretooth was well enough to escape and immediately began making up for lost time, killing those who stood in his way, including doctors and hospital security. Still wishing to prove his ability to the Foreigner, Sabretooth sought revenge against Spider-Man for defeating him. Tracking Spider-Man’s scent across town, Sabretooth was closing in on Spider-Man’s civilian apartment when he was intercepted by the Black Cat, who had noticed Sabretooth’s hunt and tracked him. Still not having recovered from his injuries, Sabretooth suffered another humiliating defeat and once again returned to the hospital, this time under heavy guard. [Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1st series) #119]

[Note: Both of these stories predate Sabretooth’s connection to Wolverine, being a mutant or even having a healing factor. His injuries in the story should not have required hospitalization, and especially not a prolonged stay. The simple fact is that Peter David, who wrote the story at the time, could not have foreseen aspects subsequent writers would create for the character.]

Though the police seemed not to underestimate him again, Sabretooth did not stay captive for very long. He was out of custody when he was approached some weeks later by his old adversary, Remy LeBeau, who was now going by the name of Gambit. Gambit was working for Mister Sinister, who remembered Sabretooth from the brief time when their paths almost crossed in Vietnam, and wanted to employ his services. Killers all, Sabretooth and LeBeau’s other recruits were dubbed “Marauders.” They followed Gambit into the massive tunnels far beneath Manhattan called “the Alley,” where a colony of hundreds of mutants had been living for years in their own insular society. Having decided for his own reasons that the Morlocks must be destroyed, Sinister ordered Sabretooth and the Marauders to kill everyone they found. Completely unaware of the team’s purpose, Gambit was horrified and attempted to stop them. However, Gambit’s rebellion was quickly put down by Sabretooth, who didn’t even bother to finish the job of killing him. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #350]

Over the hours that followed, Sabretooth and his fellow Marauders murdered hundreds of mutants, few of which could have hoped to match the powers or ferocity of their attackers. The extermination would have been total had not several groups of well trained mutants and heroes independently made their way into the tunnels. One such group, the original X-Factor, had just recently entered the tunnels, looking for a wayward ward, and came across the massacre. At best, though, they were a setback for Sabretooth, who continued his murderous work. [X-Factor (1st series) #10, Mutant Massacre crossover]

Working independently, X-Factor and the X-Men managed to save a few dozen Morlocks from the Marauders. With all of their quarry either dead or escaped, the Marauders left, leaving behind Sabretooth to backtrack and finish off any who might have escaped. One such mutant was the Morlock called the Healer, whom Sabretooth was on the verge of killing when he crossed paths with his old foe, Wolverine. After the X-Men’s escape with a group of surviving Morlocks, Wolverine had been sent back by team leader Storm, who directed him to capture a Marauder prisoner for questioning. However, with so many wounded back at the mansion, Wolverine changed his orders to save the Healer from Sabretooth, who had no clue how valuable a prisoner he currently possessed. Gleeful at a rematch after so long, Sabretooth challenged Wolverine, who seemed to accept at first. However, at his first opportunity, Wolverine used his claws against the ceiling, causing a cave in and thus separating Sabretooth from his prey. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #212]

Incensed at the unsportsmanlike behavior, Sabretooth tracked Wolverine to the X-Men’s mansion. After managing to take out an unaware and unprepared Rogue, Sabretooth went into the mansion itself and located the Cerebro room, from where the visiting telepath Psylocke had detected Sabretooth’s presence. Though he prevented her from sounding an alarm, Psylocke managed to avoid Sabretooth’s claws and gave him chase through the mansion. Though Sabretooth managed eventually to catch her, it was the timely intervention of Wolverine who prevented him from finishing the job. Through the mansion and its grounds the two fought, but Sabretooth soon realized that he had been suckered. While his concentration had been on Wolverine, his psychic defenses had been at their lowest, allowing Psylocke to use her telepathy to gather information about the Marauders and their mysterious master. Impressed, but refusing to be captured by Magneto, Sabretooth leapt into the lake and disappeared into the night. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #213]

It seems Sabretooth immediately rejoined the Marauders, as he was among the three sent by Sinister to kill the former X-Man Polaris. However, when the trio failed, they learned that Polaris had actually already been possessed by one of their teammates, the disembodied Malice, who wished to use the confrontation as a test of Polaris’ suitability as a permanent host. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #219] Possibly as a result of being played the fool in this instance, Sabretooth was riled to anger enough to challenge Sinister himself, when the team’s employer berated them openly about a failed assassination of Madelyne Pryor. Almost effortlessly, Sinister rebuffed Sabretooth’s attack, nearly killing him in the process. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #221]

To rectify their mistake, Sinister dispatched the Marauders to a hospital in San Francisco where Madelyne was recovering to finish the job. However, Madelyne had reached out for help from the X-Men, who arrived on the scene just as the Marauders did. Unlike their previous encounter, the X-Men were much more prepared and not only held their own against the Marauders but decisively defeated them. Among those felled was Sabretooth , who grew overconfident when Scrambler temporarily neutralized Wolverine’s powers.  As his Adamantium claws were not part of his inborn powers, Wolverine was able to use them against Sabretooth, stabbing him in the heart. Thanks to his healing factor, Sabretooth survived and escaped along with the rest of the Marauders. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #221-222]

Shortly after their confrontation, the Marauders learned that the X-Men had apparently died in Dallas, TX, facing against a mystical foe called the Adversary. So, it was much to their collective surprise when the X-Men attacked the Marauders, just as they were setting up a new base of operations in what was once the Morlock Tunnels. Sabretooth was the first to identify their attackers, but this time the X-Men put the Marauders on the defensive. Seeing that they were outmatched and their opponents were out for blood, the Marauders fled. The group was soon reunited with Sinister, who rallied the team together for an ambush against the X-Men & X-Factor at the Xavier estate’s mansion. During the ambush, Sabretooth attempted to settle an old score against Psylocke, but found that his speed and strength meant nothing against someone who could attack his mind.  However, it wasn’t until his confrontation with Wolverine that put Sabretooth out of the fight. Possibly still groggy from his encounter with Psylocke, Sabretooth again allowed Wolverine to get the drop on him, impaling Sabretooth’s heart with his Adamantium claws. The other X-Men were sure that Sabretooth was dead this time, though Wolverine had his doubts. [Inferno crossover]