Characters Appearing: Banshee, Beast, Cyclops, Gambit, Jean Grey, Jubilee, Moira MacTaggert, Professor X, Psylocke, Revanche, Rogue, Sabretooth, Storm
Issue(s): X-Men #28
Sabretooth's status feels like it has regressed since the end of X-Men Unlimited #3. In that issue, Sabretooth was definitely a prisoner, but he had a degree of dignity (at least based on the virtual reality scene at the end). Here he's locked in a room and fed on the floor.
He's also treated like he's an unimaginably dangerous monster, instead of a brawnier version of Wolverine that most of the X-Men should be able to handle with relative ease. Compared to, say, the time that Rogue joined the X-Men, everyone seems to be overreacting here.
The focus on Jean also allows for a discussion of her one-time attraction to Wolverine now that she and Cyclops are getting married.
And her confrontation with Sabretooth is all in the context of Wolverine.
For what it's worth, there are vague hints about a relationship between Sabretooth and Gambit. Rogue notes that Sabretooth gets under Gambit's skin very easily. And Sabretooth talks like he knows things about Gambit ("maybe one day, I'll tell your little filly about Paris"). Sabretooth also tells Rogue to ask her "mother", Mystique, about "your long-lost 'brother'".
I think part of my problem with this issue is the decompression. Back in the day there was room in a comic for the X-Men to express their discomfort with Rogue being welcomed, including a big fight with Binary, and still develop a number of other subplots. Rogue and Sabretooth aren't apple-to-apple comparisons, of course, but that brings us to another point: the quasi-prisoner status that Sabretooth has is quite weird. He ultimately agreed to get treated by the X-Men, but what we see here is that he's resisting their help and the treatment seems pretty unpleasant. I may be allowing my knowledge of what develops out of this to affect my judgement, too; basically nothing will come of all of this. On the other hand, it's with that hindsight that i can see how much the X-books were being written on the fly, with developments and revelations that didn't have clear ends in mind.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Jean and Scott are engaged, placing this after Uncanny X-Men #304.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Allow me to disagree about nothing coming Out of sabretooths prisoner stint at the mansion. I understand that If the expectations were of him turning good then they were absolutely failed. However, there were some ramifications envolving his enprisonment such as:
- Psylocke powers change after getting almost killed by him
I think that's it. Quite a bit in my opinion
Posted by: Bibs | September 22, 2017 1:42 PM
You managed to miss the most important: Xavier's failure to help Sabretooth is the thing that tips him over the edge into becoming Onslaught.
Posted by: AF | September 22, 2017 4:42 PM
Fabian claimed that the problem with the Sabretooth story was that Fabian felt that it was possible for Sabretooth to redeem himself while Scott and Bob felt Sabretooth had passed the point of redemption. So his plots kept running into opposition.
Posted by: Michael | September 22, 2017 6:55 PM
I see no point of having Sabertooth with the X-Men. Wolverine, despite his violent urges, was essentially a soldier of the Canadian government. Sabertooth, on the other hand, is a mass murderer. He killed the Morlocks. He's the guy who has fun killing those two Morlocks in that late X-Factor issue (the one he fights Archangel in the city). There is nothing here to redeem him. The X-Men can't have a murderer like him around. Rogue was a criminal, indeed, but as far as I recall, she never killed anyone. She never murdered dozens like Sabertooth did. Having him with the X-Men is just an example of proto-"Let's have multiple Wolverines around" idea that became the norm in Marvel beginning in the 2000's. Wolverine was highly popular at the time; nothing better than to have a second Wolverine with the X-Men. A darker and edgier... an extreeeeeme Wolverine like Sabertooth. If Xavier became evil later because he was unable to redeem Sabertooth, then it's because he's just an idiot.
Posted by: Lecen | September 24, 2017 8:48 AM
I think the idea of exploring if Sabretooth could reform is good - but running with the idea that he actually can is not. And, to be fair, we never really got that here, so I think it's okay.
Mike Carey later toys with Sabretooth on the team from a similar angle in his run and I think his comments are quite well thought-out and could also sort of apply here: "I'm not going to try and show a heroic side to Sabretooth's nature; I’m not going to retcon him so that there are reasons for his actions that make him forgivable. The things he's done are not forgivable and he can't be redeemed. I'm not making him into a hero; I'm making him into a team member."
Posted by: AF | September 25, 2017 11:45 AM
I vaguely followed the the plot of Sabretooth being on the X-Men through Wizard and even then thought it was a weak attempt to repeat the "success" of over-exposing Venom. Well, so did they.
Posted by: iLegion | September 25, 2017 12:07 PM
Sabretooth: "Ask Mystique about your long-lost 'brother'."
I think the Graydon connection has just been revealed & the Nightcrawler is about to be. My knowledge of post-Claremont/pre-Morrison X-Men is pretty spotty, so I don't know if they ever make anything much of Rogue's step-sibling-relationship to Graydon or Kurt, or if this is just further pointless connections being made between various characters.
Good points made in the review & in everyone's comments.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | September 25, 2017 4:47 PM
There's nothing in Sabretooth that can be reformed. He's always been a psychotic murder. And he's part of the kill-and-clone mafia Mister Sinister has established. If this guy ever finds a chance at redemption, he'll kill himself on the spot so that he'll never again fall from that state of grace. That's the whole point of finding redemption.
Wolverine killed one person, a guard in the Savage Land. There were a few times where he ambiguously attacked people [the Hellfire guards] he was willing to kill Jean but didn't have the strength, he ripped through sleazoids, a few more through implication "Wolverine... took care of them" but really didn't start racking up a body count until his first miniseries. Adding a Wolverine-like character with a much higher on-screen body count on the specious reasoning that he can be saved is just ridiculous.
Posted by: ChrisW | September 25, 2017 10:18 PM
But we never do get any actual thing that Creed is reforming or reformed.
Posted by: AF | September 26, 2017 9:01 AM
Michael, I'm not sure if it's bad writing on Fabian's part in this instance or editorial interference but how Scott is written here is inconsistent with other stories written by Fabian where he's not a yes-man.
For example, a few issues earlier (I think it's #25) Scott expresses doubt about the viability of Xavier's Dream in the modern world whilst in the Sabretooth Special a couple of years after this he's very sceptical and unsympathetic towards Creed.
Posted by: Garuda | September 26, 2017 1:43 PM
Garuda, by the time of the Sabretooth Special, Charles had admitted trying to reform Sabretooth was a mistake, so that's not really an example of Scott going against Charles.
Posted by: Michael | September 26, 2017 8:58 PM
In addition to the points made by Bib and AF, I think the other notable thing this storyline does is introduce the idea of Sabretooth as, if not a full-fledged member of the X-Men, than at least a consistent presence amongst the main characters, for better and worse (mostly worse, frankly). After his stint as a prisoner here (which included Sabretooth working with Banshee during "Phalanx Covenant" and was interrupted by "Age of Apocalypse", which featured him in full-fledged Sabretooth-as-Wolverine mode, which probably wouldn't have happened without this storyline being in play), he'll become a regular over in Howard Mackie's terrible X-FACTOR, and later, he'll become an official member of the team under Mike Carey and then again post-"Axis".
Again, I wouldn't say those are all *good* developments, but I don't think they happen without this "Sabretooth as a prisoner of the X-Men" storyline, which shifted the character from just being an out-and-out villain to something a little bit different, opening the door for the later interpretations.
Posted by: Austin Gorton | October 2, 2017 3:49 PM
But isn't Sabertooth on the current X-men team right now? (a quick surface read of the books indicate that he's being treated more favorably than Cyclops.)
Posted by: Jon Dubya | October 10, 2017 9:33 AM
Fnord you also ignore some interesting (continuing) developments for Jubilee and her transition to Generation X.kinda a big change from the brash "spunky" overconfident girl we saw just a year or two ago ('93 has been rough on ol' Jubes) I'm also enjoying the kinda big sister/little sister camaraderie between Jean and Jubilee. It's a pairing you wouldn't imagine would go well together but their scenes together has been surprisingly tender and compassionate and has given new perspectives of the characters.
Posted by: Jon Dubya | November 21, 2017 4:43 PM
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