SABRETOOTH: Page 9 of 12

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


Missing and believed dead for many months, Victor Creed eventually returned to strike at Wolverine once more. During the time of Sabretooth’s supposed death, his old master, Romulus, had been captured by Wolverine and imprisoned within Cloak’s Darkforce dimension. Despite his apparent freedom, either out of loyalty or interest in future rewards, Sabretooth kidnapped Cloak’s partner, Dagger, and forced him to free Romulus. In disbelief that his old foe could have survived decapitation by the Muramasa blade, Wolverine indeed confirmed that the corpse of Sabretooth was still in the grave he had dug. However, an encounter with Romulus and his previously unseen twin Remus led Wolverine back to the Weapon X facility, where he discovered dozens of Sabretooth clones, along with the original. [Wolverine (2nd series) #310]

[Note: Although the Sabretooth decapitated by the Muramasa blade was clearly one of Romulus’ Weapon X clones, it’s unclear exactly when the switch was made. At best guess, it appears the clone was the Victor Creed that erupted from the stasis tank, killed Feral and ultimately died by the blade.]

Despite any overarching plans Romulus might have had for Wolverine, Sabretooth did his best to kill his old foe, claiming that he had been away, training and making himself smarter. At first, it seemed an even fight. However, when a dozen or so of his clones emerged and began attacking Wolverine, Sabretooth made his escape. These clones, along with all those which had not been “hatched” were killed when Wolverine and Remus destroyed the Weapon X facility. [Wolverine (2nd series) #311]

After fleeing the Weapon X facility, Sabretooth returned to Romulus’ main headquarters in Italy. In short order, Wolverine arrived with Remus. Together with Romulus, Sabretooth would have put an end to Wolverine were it not for the X-Man’s allies Remus and both Cloak and the rescued Dagger. Faced with defeat, Sabretooth demonstrated an uncharacteristic foresight and activated a previously set upon escape plan before bailing. His master, Romulus, did not fare the same and was soon incarcerated in the Raft prison. [Wolverine (2nd series) #312-313]

Soon thereafter, Sabretooth accepted employment from the head of the Tokyo branch of the Hand, a young man named Azuma Goda, who had high ambition. His ingenious plan was to instigate a war between the feared Japanese criminal organization the Yakuza and the Hand ninja clan, a conflict which was set in motion when Sabretooth assassinated the head of the Yakuza during a daring mid-flight attack. [Wolverine (4th series) #20]

Sabretooth was enticed into this particular job by not just money alone. Shortly after her recent death, Goda had purchased the corpse of Mystique and then proceeded to use the Hand’s mystic rituals to restore her to life. Not only were her powers now enhanced by the process, Mystique’s personality shifted and she uncharacteristically took Sabretooth for a lover. Together, the two reveled in the carnage of the war they instigated and, despite the interference of Wolverine and Yukio, aided Goda into killing off the heads of the Hand and the Yakuza.  However, just at Goda’s moment of victory, Sabretooth betrayed his youthful employer, who was in turn killed by Wolverine. Sabretooth and Mystique then convinced the new Silver Samurai, as well as Lady and Lord Deathstrike, to join their cause, and together the group soon took over the remnants of all criminal and ninja organizations in Japan. [Wolverine (2nd series) #300-303]

Ecstatic in their victory, Sabretooth’s group hosted a celebratory party in Madripoor. To their surprise, it was subsequently crashed by Wolverine, who wished to let his displeasure be known in light of the carnage they had created in Japan and the suffering inflicted on his adopted daughter, Amiko, during the process. Along with the rest of the group, Sabretooth was gravely hurt, though left alive, before Wolverine left. [Wolverine (2nd series) #304]

Though they were the “invisible king and queen” of criminal Japan, Sabretooth nonetheless wanted to continue an active role elsewhere. To this end, Sabretooth accepted the commission of assassination from the young Kade Kilgore, the newest Black King of the Hellfire Club. The target was the Beast and in an unusual setting for Sabretooth. Launched into orbit about the S.W.O.R.D. space station called the Peak, Sabretooth killed several agents of S.W.O.R.D. before attacking the Beast directly. However, when Sabretooth turned to the Beast’s girlfriend before finishing him off, the Beast retaliated, pushing the spacesuit clad Sabretooth further into space. Though he had been a failure in his assignment, Kilgore ordered Sabretooth retrieved, in case his serviced were needed again in the future. [Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #8] Indeed, once rescued, Sabretooth spent spare time training the young Kilgore in both hand to hand combat and with a sniper rifle. [Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #24]

As it happened, Sabretooth and the Beast were to encounter each other quite soon thereafter. Now part of a new Brotherhood of Mutants led by Daken, Sabretooth, Mystique and several of his teammates ambushed a group of the Beast’s students while they were on a field trip to Genosha. The group’s true target was the young “Evan,” who was unaware that he was a clone of Apocalypse and whom Wolverine and the X-Men were raising to see if “nurture” could indeed triumph over “nature.” [Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #26-27]

After kidnapping him, Sabretooth and the Brotherhood took Evan across the American Midwest, killing random people and doing their best to show him that everything the X-Men had explained about his life was a lie. Though the Brotherhood met with limited success, Sabretooth continued coaxing Daken, pointing out their shared similarities, as opposed to Wolverine’s hypocritical nature. Oblivious to this, Daken ate up the attention and was unable to see that he was being manipulated by Sabretooth, who had no real interest in recreating Apocalypse. To the contrary, he wanted to coax a fatal confrontation between Daken and his father, Wolverine, which occurred when X-Force arrived to retrieve Evan. Ultimately, Sabretooth’s plan bore fruit and he clapped and smiled widely after witnessing Wolverine kill his own son. Sabretooth fled when Evan turned the power of Apocalypse on him, but the greater victory clearly belonged to Creed that day. [Uncanny X-Force (1st series) #30-34]

Secure in his position as king of the Asian underworld, Sabretooth felt free to indulge himself in smaller schemes on the side. Apparently on a lark, Creed and Mystique teamed up with Lady Mastermind to rob a large number of banks and private fortunes in an effort to buy the country of Madripoor from Hydra. With the help of Lady M, they left behind a series of illusions that convinced the authorities for a time that the X-Men were responsible. When the real X-Men intervened on their deal with Madame Hydra, Creed and Raven were defeated, but simply escaped and went back to their full-time organization. [All-New X-Men (1st series) #9-14]

Sabretooth also lent his name and presence to the Hellfire Academy established by his protégé, Kade Kilgore. In exchange for a "mountain of money,” Creed rented out his agents, Mystique, Silver Samurai and Lord Deathstrike to the Academy as they attempted to train the next generation of mutant super-villains, and then reap the rewards by selling next generation Sentinels to beleaguered companies and nations. As a mere consultant, Sabretooth shrugged it off when the X-Men destroyed Kilgore's miniature empire and recruited the remaining members of the first Hellions class for his own private tutelage. [Wolverine and the X-Men (1st series) #31-35]

When Sabretooth learned that Wolverine had lost his healing factor, he put all the resources of the Hand and his criminal empire into acting upon that information. In a matter of hours, he humbled Logan further than he had ever fallen before. Mystique entered the X-Mansion and stole a sword once bequeathed to Logan. Wolverine and Shadowcat followed her to a shopping mall built atop the old Howlett estate in Canada. Along the way, Logan was beaten by assassins in Creed’s employ, and struck by an acupuncturist named Fiber who primed his sensitivity to pain. Inside the mall, Logan was provoked into killing a Hand ninja who surrendered and lashing out at an annoying security guard. If the guard hadn’t been Mystique in disguise, Wolverine would have maimed an innocent man.

After Logan finished running this gauntlet, Creed finally appeared before him. Dressed in his finest suit as an international criminal leader, Sabretooth reduced Logan to a quivering mess at his feet. Creed savored the moment over how easily he pressed Logan into abandoning his “code of honor,” acting like a savage just because he felt pain and risk now. He ripped apart the “differences” between him and Wolverine that Logan always went on about, about how he was honest about what he was while Logan was always lying to himself and others. As Logan lay beaten at his feet, physically, mentally and emotionally, Sabretooth refused to give him the satisfaction of a quick death. Instead, he would just watch the decades pass by as Wolverine got older and older, knowing Sabretooth was his superior in every way. [Wolverine (5th series) #8-13]

Creed seemed to accept this was his final victory over Logan, but the loss struck him deeper than he realized. Without his vendetta against Logan to fuel him, Creed’s new empire felt hollow. He continued to fortify Madripoor as a new mutant homeland and deal with elements like the Goblin Army in New York and Baron Zemo’s Masters of Evil in Bagalia, but the thrill of his empire was gone. Sabretooth saw new opportunities when a mysterious sphere fell to Earth like a meteor and drew the attention of the criminal underworld. The sphere reportedly had the power to re-write reality, and Creed envisioned making himself over as a god. With the proper input, the sphere would take any vision of reality provided to it and overlay that reality on the existing universe. Creed thought to strip away all technology and civilization, returning the world to the wild veldt where only physical strength and cunning mattered.

In his search for the sphere, Sabretooth naturally ran across Wolverine. Logan had gone undercover for S.H.I.E.L.D. with a criminal organization run by the Offer, a man with an intuitive ability to fashion compelling deals. The Offer wanted to merge his group with Creed’s empire (before a hostile takeover inevitably happened), and Logan was using the Offer to get to Creed. Logan and the Offer got the sphere first, but Creed was a step ahead and captured the daughter of the Offer’s operative, Pinch. She had the sphere, but Creed had the girl. While Pinch stalled for time, Wolverine gathered S.H.I.E.L.D. and his allies to attack Creed’s base. As Sabretooth prepared to unleash his new reality, Wolverine got to him for a rematch. He challenged Creed over whether his new reality would be perfect with Logan in it, and provoked Sabretooth into one last fight. Now accustomed to his new vulnerability and fear of dying, Logan beat Creed in single combat. The sphere was acquired by the authorities, and Sabretooth’s organization was dramatically dismantled. [Wolverine (6th series) #1-12]

Before he could get back on his feet, Sabretooth was bought out of prison by Viper, who was interested in reasserting her claim on Madripoor. She poisoned Creed with a toxin that would be lethal (even to him) and literally kept him on a leash while she rebuilt her power base. Wolverine came looking for Viper on unrelated business and she turned “her dog” on him. Lady Deathstrike saved the ailing Logan from Creed, but Viper made her escape in the meantime. Sabretooth walked away in order to deal with the poison, unaware that this would be the last time he saw Logan alive. [Death of Wolverine #1-2] Doctor Cornelius of the Weapon X Program had joined the Arcadia Foundation to produce new superhumans, and Logan finally died trying to stop him. Creed fell apart after that, fixating on the idea that he wasn’t the one to end Logan’s life. He threw himself into mercenary work, killing in Somalia. Creed also began kidnapping soldiers and dressing them as Logan before killing them, to alleviate his resentment. It was probably during this tumultuous period that Sabretooth, too, was tracked down by the Arcadia Foundation. [Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #3]

A group of Arcadia test subjects escaped during the chaos of Logan’s final skirmish with Cornelius. Shogun and his associates hacked Arcadia’s files and learned they were only prototypes, “proof-of-concept” altered humans who were engineered to die off quickly so their abilities could be finalized in Arcadia’s real products. They also discovered files on Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike, Mystique, Daken, Elixir and X-23, indicating Arcadia had performed catch-and-release modification on these subjects. Their healing abilities were sampled for reverse-engineering, and the subjects were implanted with trigger words for future use. Creed and the others were each psycho-programmed to respond to a different set of four words causing them to Sleep, Obey, even a word to Kill them instantly. The last word would Erase all the programming, leaving them free.

Shogun’s team reached out to Creed and the others and (after making Deathstrike sleep and Sabretooth obey), they proved the veracity of their story. They wanted these “Wolverines” to aid in fixing their own finite lifespans and used the Erase words as collateral to force their cooperation. Sabretooth could barely be kept in check but Mystique recognized that, if Shogun’s crew knew the words, others could as well. Worse, there were other escapees from Arcadia in the wild, like the bestial Syphon who devoured healing factors with a touch. Raven agreed to lend the support of her resources to their quest, and Creed and the others reluctantly agreed as well. [Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #1-7]

Before that mission could get under way, however, Sabretooth and Mystique were summoned to Genosha by Magneto. The Red Skull had stolen the telepathic brain of Charles Xavier to augment his mind, and now evolved into a Red Onslaught. He telepathically tricked Iron Man into building Stark Sentinels, programmed with Civil War files to counter and contain all the heroes. To overcome this, Magneto recruited villains who would not appear in Stark’s hero files. Therefore, Creed was present when Doctor Doom and Scarlet Witch concocted an inversion spell to release the “Xavier” within the Skull’s mind and suppress the Nazi. The inversion went out of control and affected everyone on the island. The Red Onslaught was defeated, but heroes and villains alike soon realized they had their natural axis inverted, turning good into evil and vice versa.

In the aftermath, the newly inverted Avengers incarcerated their unaffected roster and began carrying forward their own selfish schemes. Meanwhile, the inverted X-Men fell under the dominion of Genesis, as Evan gave way to his inversion and became the new Apocalypse. Steve Rogers ended up recruiting Sabretooth and the other inverted villains for a new “astonishing Avengers” roster to deal with the X-Men’s gene bomb and the Avengers’ unchecked antics. Even an inverted Tony Stark was still a genius, however. When a spell for reversing the inversion was unleashed, Iron Man was prepared with a counteracting field. He remained his new self and, by happenstance, Sabretooth and Havok were also in its radius and continued to be inverted. [Avengers & X-Men: AXIS crossover]