SABRETOOTH: Page 6 of 12

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


Though it was Valerie Cooper’s opinion that he should be put down, Sabretooth was taken to a government scientific/medical research facility beneath Washington D.C. There he was affixed with a breakthrough restraining collar designed to hit him with an electric blast focused at his brain stem should he experience rage directed at anyone except a designated target. Much to Cooper’s surprise, Sabretooth was to be a new part of her government-sponsored X-Factor team. [X-Factor (1st series) #120-121] Unknown to Val Cooper, however, around this time Sabretooth was also secretly recruited into the government’s “Hound Program” in which he would act as a mole within X-Factor, until they outlived their usefulness.

Sabretooth was introduced to his new teammates in an inadvertent manner. Before being turned over to X-Factor, Sabretooth had one last mission: the elimination of an experimental weapon gone rogue. In a government facility near the Canadian border, researchers had mutated a mutant into an unstoppable killing machine. It failed in its first mission to kill Mystique and then killed all facility personnel upon returning to base. For the better part of a day, Sabretooth attempted to kill the Hound, but found it more than a match for him alone. It was at this point that X-Factor and Mystique (now a member of X-Factor as well) arrived, having tracked Mystique’s assailant. Together, Sabretooth and X-Factor hobbled the Hound long enough for government forces to arrive. [X-Factor (1st series) #122-123]

Now a member of X-Factor, Sabretooth’s teammates were incredulous as to their newest member, especially as several of them had personal history with him. Mystique had only recently revealed their shared history and child, Graydon Creed. Though she had been possessed by Malice at the time, Polaris had been a teammate with Sabretooth with the Marauders, while Wild Child had had some interaction with him years before, possibly in his early days with the early Alpha Flight program. In no way trusting him, the team attempted to gauge Sabretooth’s possible actions via a VR program, watching his reactions from a safe distance. After the session and between future missions, however, Sabretooth was returned to a cell. Irate at once again being a prisoner like he was with the X-Men, Sabretooth protested, claiming to be a member of the team and “working on the side of law and order.” [X-Factor (1st series) #124]

When a Sentinel used for training purposes malfunctioned and reactivated at the X-Factor’s HQ, Forge sent Mystique to release Sabretooth to back them up. Instead, Sabretooth and Mystique were whisked away by the mutant teleporter Fatale on behalf of her master, the Dark Beast. In turn the servant of the powerful Onslaught, McCoy intended to recruit the two and disabled their respective restraining devices, offering them a position if they would simply kill Forge, whom the Dark Beast had likewise captured. Despite the temptation, Sabretooth and Mystique instead attacked the Dark Beast, who teleported away to escape. Though grateful and needing their assistance in searching for the real Hank McCoy, Forge immediately reactivated Sabretooth’s restraining collar & Mystique’s inhibitor chip instead of trusting them to behave. Together with the rest of X-Factor, they searched the facility. Paired with Forge, Sabretooth found what seemed to be the real Beast, however Sabretooth’s enhanced senses not only realized it was the Dark Beast again, but lead the team to the genuine Beast’s location. [X-Factor (1st series) #125-126]

Having already uncharacteristically shown loyalty to X-Factor, Sabretooth did so again in his post-mission debriefing/interrogation by X-Factor’s new, more sinister supervisors. When asked about Shard, a secret teammate whose presence had been kept hidden by X-Factor from their handlers, Sabretooth likewise played dumb, declining to betray their trust. [X-Factor (1st series) #127]

Sabretooth was with the rest of the team when they were sent to Macon Country, Georgia to recover a group of apparent mutants before locals could literally hunt them down. When the team discovered that the group was actually Jamie Madrox and four of his dupes, Forge decided to turn in a disguised Mystique, rather than Jamie. Though not part of the decision, Sabretooth deduced the switch from “Jamie’s” scent but declined to say anything. However, when Mystique escaped custody, she did not return to X-Factor. Instead, she enacted a plot to assassinate her son, Graydon Creed, now a third party presidential candidate riding a wave of anti-mutant sentiment towards the White House. X-Factor was assigned as protection, and Sabreooth took great delight in tormenting his “baby boy” with his presence. Still, Creed could not actually threaten Graydon due to the inhibitor collar, which was reset to activate if he was within three feet of his son. Though the team succeeded in apprehending Mystique, Sabreooth and his teammates were caught unaware when Graydon Creed was still assassinated by an unknown individual. [X-Factor (1st series) #128-130]

When a date foreseen by her former lover, Destiny, came to pass, Mystique enlisted the aid of Sabretooth to take care of a mission Destiny had deemed necessary. After faking their deaths in a supposed escape attempt with a shuttle craft, the two went AWOL and broke into the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier to obtain a device secreted in the corpse of a recently deceased S.H.I.E.L.D. agent named James Hendrickson. Once at one of her safehouses, Mystique explained that the device was a holo-emitter containing a map to the island fortress of their old mutual enemy, the Hydra scientist Catalyst. Still angered by Catalyst’s torture of him from years before, Creed agreed to aid in the destruction of the now-deceased Catalyst’s life work, a program called Access, which was able to tap into and decode secure transmissions anywhere. [Sabretooth & Mystique #1]

The mission was complicated by the techno-terrorist organization AIM, which had sent Hendrickson to infiltrate Hydra in the first place. To avoid tracking by AIM’s techno-assassins, Mystique was forced to remove Sabretooth’s inhibitor collar, after which Sabretooth threatened to kill Mystique should she try to reattach it. Together, the two arrived at Catalyst’s old base on an island off Newfoundland and found it under siege by AIM forces. Infiltrating the facility, Sabretooth learned that not only was Catalyst still alive,  but he was continuing his work on Access. Bent on revenge, Sabretooth found interference in the form of super-powered AIM agent named Cypher, who intended to claim Access for herself. Faced with Sabretooth’s fury, Cypher gambled on any humanity Sabretooth might have left. She informed him that she had used Access to order a U.S. nuclear strike on Russia, which would instigate worldwide thermonuclear war. Faced with either stopping it by trashing the system or stopping her from escaping, Sabretooth opted for the former and allowed Cypher to flee. Sabretooth’s bad luck did not end there, as Catalyst was killed by Mystique, again denying him of revenge. The angry Sabretooth next intended to go his own way, but was informed by Mystique that she had exposed him to an odorless gas which would kill him unless she provided an antidote, which she would not do unless he put the inhibitor collar back on and accompanied her back to X-Factor. Unwilling to take the chance that she was lying, Sabretooth complied. [Sabretooth & Mystique #2-4]

When his old partner, the Constrictor, began killing their former criminal acquaintances, the government released Sabretooth to hunt him down. In the process, he ran into Power Man and Iron Fist, who were on the same mission. Sabretooth taunted the duo that he was now a hero, just like them, as well as being an untouchable government agent. Reluctantly, Power Man and Iron Fist accepted Sabretooth’s help, tracking his old contacts until they confronted the Constrictor himself.During the ensuing battle, one of the Constrictor’s whips electrocuted Sabretooth’s collar, disabling it. Now free to strike out as he wished,  Sabretooth’s blood lust got the better of him and he tried to kill the Constrictor, only to be stopped by Power Man. Still filled with anger at Sabretooth’s attack on his friend Harmony years before, Power Man came close to killing Sabretooth himself, but ultimately allowed him to be turned back over to X-Factor, who arrived just in time to reapply his inhibitor collar. [Marvel Fanfare (2nd series) #6]

Troubled by the team’s encounter with the Hound from months before, X-Factor team leader Forge had investigated further and learned that it was part of a larger plan of the government to replace the team with Hounds. Informing their superiors of X-Factor’s decision to sever ties with the government, Forge informed them that Sabretooth and Mystique would be staying in his custody. [X-Factor (1st series) #132]

Without any argument, Sabretooth did as instructed and even helped the team fake their deaths to throw off their government handlers. Over the next few weeks, he participated in a couple of team missions, though not without his usual griping and chastising of teammates. [X-Factor (1st series) #133-135]

Despite his apparent complacency, Sabretooth was merely biding his time for an opportunity, which came not too long after. When an old girlfriend of Wild Child’s was killed, Sabretooth recognized the MO of the killers, a pair of brothers who were former KGB, and volunteered to help track them down. Together, Sabretooth and Wild Child tracked the brothers to Vancouver Island where they ran into Lisel, the sister of Wild Child’s ex-girlfriend, who was also hunting the brothers. In an uncharacteristic moment of humanity, Sabretooth convinced Lisel that her quest for revenge would cost her her conscience, something from which she could never turn back. With Lisel dissuaded, the pair soon confronted one of the two brothers, Yuri. However, having lived in pain from injuries from their last confrontation, Yuri was so filled with painkillers that he felt little of Sabretooth’s blows. Curious as to what affect they would have on him, Sabretooth took a handful of pills, numbing his own nerves enough for him to withstand the electrical jolt from the inhibitor collar as he killed Yuri. Sabretooth quickly staged Yuri’s death to seem an accident and procured his stash of pain pills for future use. When he returned from dealing with the other brother, Wild Child was none the wiser. [Sabretooth: Back to Nature one-shot]

Soon after returning to X-Factor’s new hideout, Sabretooth used the pills to deaden the pain enough to remove the collar. Free to act, Creed prepared to carry out his secret orders as a sleeper agent for the Hound program. When brought food by Wild Child, Sabretooth tore through the team in his escape, effectively dismantling X-Factor as a threat to the Hounds’ plans. He gravely injured Forge, Polaris, Wild Child and Mystique, while causing Shard to discorporate. They only survived because Val Cooper realized what was happening and tracked the team down, getting them medical attention. [X-Factor (1st series) #136]

Now free of X-Factor, Sabretooth turned to the Hound program, which immediately ordered him to bring in a young mutant named Trevor Chase. Instead, Sabretooth opted to kill the youth, knowing that it would torment Mystique as she felt protective over the young Trevor, who was actually the grandson of her deceased lover, Destiny. However, before he could kill Trevor, Sabretooth was interrupted by the mutant called Stone, a fellow member of the Hound program. Stone reminded Sabretooth that he could either join the Hounds, or be hunted by them. Angered by once again being controlled, Sabretooth murdered Trevor’s parents out of spite instead. [X-Factor (1st series) #137]

Despite the warning, Sabretooth continued to defy the Hound administrators by killing the mutants he was supposed to be recruiting. The tables soon turned for Sabretooth when, on one mission, he was suddenly attacked by Omega Red, who had been tracking Sabretooth’s trail of corpses. He planned to trade Sabretooth to Elena Ivanova who, as a former victim of Sabretooth, might have been willing to trade the Carbonadium Synthesizer for a chance at revenge. Nevertheless, Sabretooth escaped and sought out Stone. Confronting him at a vulnerable moment while he was in human form, Sabretooth let him live, but not before effectively tendering his resignation from the Hounds. Creed made it clear that, if any Hounds came after him, he would kill them. [X-Factor (1st series) #138]