Sabretooth

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Sabretooth (born Victor Creed) is a Marvel Comics supervillain created by writer Chris Claremont and artist/co-writer John Byrne. The character first appeared in Iron Fist #14 (Aug. 1977). Sabretooth is a mutant who possesses bestial superhuman physical abilities, most notably a rapid healing factor, razor-sharp fangs and claws, and hyper senses. He is a vicious assassin responsible for numerous deaths both as a paid mercenary and for his personal pleasure.

Fellow mutant Wolverine is his frequent and long-time enemy. Although the specifics of their feud are, like most aspects of Wolverine's past, hazy, it is known that he and Sabretooth were victims of the Cold War supersoldier program Weapon X and that Sabretooth saw Wolverine as competition and tried to make his life miserable. The two have been bitter adversaries ever since. While Wolverine has always tried to suppress his inner demons, Sabretooth is the exact opposite: he has long since completely and totally embraced the beast within. Sabretooth has appeared in several X-Men animated series and video games. Played by Tyler Mane, he was a henchman of Magneto in the first X-Men film and X-Men: The Official Game. In May 2008, Wizard Magazine ranked Sabretooth the 193rd of the 200 best comic book characters of all time.


Contents

Publication history

Sabretooth first appeared in Iron Fist #14 (Aug. 1977), and was created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. Initially he appeared as an enemy for Iron Fist, but some time later Claremont introduces him as an enemy for the X-Men and in particular Wolverine.

Sabretooth has had a few limited series and one shots including Sabretooth and Mystique and Sabretooth: In The Red Zone.


Origin

Chris Claremont had meant for Sabretooth to be Wolverine's father, though this was disproved by subsequent writers. Claremont, when asked what he had intended to be the relationship between Wolverine and Sabretooth, stated:

Father and son. That's why Sabretooth always considered Logan "sloppy seconds" to his "original" / "real deal." The other critical element in my presentation of their relationship was that, in their whole life, Logan has never defeated Sabretooth in a knock-down, drag-out, kill-or-be-killed berserker fight. By the same token, on every one of his birthdays, Sabretooth has always managed to find him, no matter where Logan was or what he was doing, and come within an inch of killing him. For no other reason than to remind him that he could."

In Wolverine Vol. 2 #42, tests performed by SHIELD confirmed that Sabretooth and Wolverine were not father and son.

An interviewer asked Paul Jenkins if the character Dog Logan, a character from Wolverine's early life, from the limited series Origin was Sabretooth. Paul Jenkins said he had not intended it to be him, but said he wouldn't have a problem with another writer doing it later.

character biography

Early life

Sabretooth's own memories as a child.
Sabretooth's own memories as a child.

Sabretooth's name, or what is believed to be his real name, is Victor Creed.*X-Men vol.2 #5 (Feb. 1992)* Sabretooth's memories have been tampered with by clandestine organizations such as Weapon X and so much of what appears to be his past is not of credible account. His strongest and earliest memories involve being cruelly abused on numerous occasions by his father while tied up in his parents' basement. However, whether or not these memories are accurate, or even true, is unclear.

In an early tale, Logan, the X-Men's future Wolverine, lives in a small community of Blackfoot Indians and settlers. One day, Sabretooth tracks him down in Canada, and rapes and seemingly murders his one-time teammate's lover, Silver Fox, on Logan's birthday.*Wolverine vol.2 #10* This results in the first of many battles between the two, but not before they are reunited as teammates. Creed, eventually, adopts a tradition of tracking Logan down on his birthday with the intention of fighting him.

Early history

Sabretooth vol. 1, #2 (Sept. 1993), with Mystique. Art by Mark Texeira.
Sabretooth vol. 1, #2 (Sept. 1993), with Mystique. Art by Mark Texeira.

Eventually, Creed is recruited into a top secret CIA covert ops unit known as Team X, with allies John Wraith (Kestrel), Logan (Wolverine), and David North (Maverick). On one mission, the psychopathic Sabretooth kills a crucial scientist during a battle against Russian supersoldier Omega Red. He frequently targets and kills civilians during other fights involving the loose-knit team, but he is loose friends with Logan. During this period he fathers a son, Graydon Creed, with the mutant shape-shifter Mystique, who is undercover in the guise of a spy named Leni Zauber. Graydon eventually grows up to found Friends of Humanity, an anti-mutant organization, and while running for President is assassinated by Mystique from an alternate future.

Next, Sabretooth is recruited by the Weapon X program, but it is unknown what, if any, enhancements he receives. He does receive the standard Weapon X memory tampering, and he is found to be more prone to telepathy than his counterpart, Wolverine.

In 1968, Creed, using the alias Sabretooth, works as a mercenary assassin in Saigon and is responsible for the murder of several prostitutes. Because of his contacts, Creed becomes aware that an individual, the White Devil, is involved in the disappearance of soldiers and locals, which are rumored to be the victims of experimentation. Sabretooth is approached by Scalphunter, who has killed Creed's employer. Creed then receives a large sum of money as a compensation for his employer's death and because the White Devil wants to employ him as one of his own enforcers, an offer Sabretooth accepts.

Supervillain

Eventually emerging as a costumed villain, Sabretooth becomes partners with the Constrictor and the two act as enforcers for major criminal interests. Sabretooth soon battles Iron Fist for the first time.*Iron Fist #14* Sabretooth and the Constrictor then fought Iron Fist, Misty Knight, and Colleen Wing.*Power Man and Iron Fist #66* With the Constrictor, Creed begins to stalk and kill human beings for pleasure, which earns him the newspaper title of "The Slasher"; he also attacks Misty Knight again.*Power Man and Iron Fist #78* With the Constrictor, he attacked Harmony Young, but they were defeated by Power Man.*Power Man and Iron Fist #84* The Constrictor and Sabretooth soon dissolve their partnership, and Sabretooth nearly kills the Constrictor at one time.

Sabretooth battling Spider-Man on the cover of Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #116. Art by Rick Buckler.
Sabretooth battling Spider-Man on the cover of Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #116. Art by Rick Buckler.

Sabretooth is next reunited with his employer, the Foreigner, who claims to have trained the mercenary at some point. He attempted to attack the Black Cat, where he nearly bites through her leg until he encounters a crowbar hidden underneath her boot. He was defeated by Spider-Man, and defeated by the Black Cat in combat.*Spectacular Spider-Man #116, 119*

Sabretooth eventually encounters a thief by the name of Gambit, and the two fight, but find they aren't exactly enemies. Later, while recruiting for mastermind villain Mister Sinister, Gambit gathers a group of mutant criminals he has associated with who form The Marauders. Sinister clones several of the Marauders so that he has a loyal group of lackeys after the originals die, but Sabretooth cannot be cloned. Still, he stays with the Marauders for an unspecified amount of time before leaving and returning to his mercenary roots.

The Marauders participate in the "Mutant Massacre" of the Morlocks, which sets Sabretooth in another battle against Wolverine.*X-Factor #10; Thor #374; Uncanny X-Men #212-213* He recounted his first battle with Wolverine after the latter had joined the X-Men.*Classic X-Men #10* Sabretooth and the Marauders joined in an attack on Polaris, and battled Wolverine again during the Marauders' attempt to capture Madelyne Pryor. *Uncanny X-Men #219, 221-222* During the Inferno event, Sabretooth and the Marauders fought the X-Men, and Sabretooth attacked and was defeated by Psylocke.*Uncanny X-Men #240, 243* Sabretooth later hunted Wolverine in Madripoor, and recounted his alleged first battle with Wolverine after apparently murdering Wolverine's lover, Silver Fox.*Wolverine #10*

During his time as a mercenary, he establishes himself as a hero-fighting villain by taking on the likes of Ms Marvel, Luke Cage, Daredevil, Thor, Spider-Man, and the Black Cat. Also during this time, the ninja organization the Hand augments his strength. Sabretooth eventually returns to the sewers to slaughter some leftover Morlocks, Chickenwings and Mole. He killed 'Wings, hunted Mole, and then battled Archangel.*X-Factor #51-53* Caliban, a surviving Morlock who previously pledged his life to the immortal mutant Apocalypse, hunts for Sabretooth, who then attacks Rictor. In a vicious battle, the once meek Caliban breaks Sabretooth's spine, and leaves him for dead. Sabretooth's healing ability repairs this damage, but he doesn't track the augmented Caliban down. Sabretooth also clashes with Cable during these events.*New Mutants #90-91*

Sabretooth battled Wolverine, again claiming to be his father.*Wolverine #41* Believing himself to be Wolverine's father (initially the intention of Uncanny X-Men writer Chris Claremont, it was revealed by genetic testing by SHIELD that Sabretooth could not be Logan's father*Wolverine #42* (Wolverine scribe Larry Hama and editors did not like the father idea. Sabretooth attacked Wolverine again in Times Square, fought the Hunter in Darkness, and underwent a hallucination about the "Project."*Wolverine #45-46* Wolverine then experienced a memory in which he and Sabretooth were partners as CIA agents.*Wolverine #48-49* Wolverine then experienced a memory of Sabretooth killing Janice Hollenbeck during their mission to rescue her, beginning their feud; Sabretooth then allied with Fenris and Matsu'o Tsurayaba and fought the X-Men and Maverick.*X-Men Vol. 2 #5-7* Sabretooth returns to his enemy Wolverine, and the pair are reunited with Team X. Sabretooth fought the Weapon X robot Shiva, and had a flashback to missions in Vietnam and Cuba with Wolverine and John Wraith.*Wolverine #60-61* Wolverine and Sabretooth discover Silver Fox is actually alive, but she only remembers a hatred for Logan. Sabretooth, Wolverine, Maverick, Silver Fox, and John Wraith fought the telepath Aldo Ferro, the Psi-Borg. Ferro takes control of Creed and coerces him to kill Silver Fox, this time for real. Psi-Borg then apparently consumed Creed.*Wolverine #62-64*

Soon, suffering from severe bloodlust, Sabretooth hires telepathic mutant Birdy to help him keep his urges in check by providing what he calls "the glow," a psychic blast that satiates his bloodlust and numbs the pain of his suppressed memories as a youth, allowing himself control for short periods. Sabretooth is next hired by the Hand's leader, Matsuo, in an attempt to defeat the X-Men with the newly reanimated Omega Red. During the battle, the telepathic X-Woman Psylocke possesses Sabretooth to free her teammates.

Betrayal of the X-Men and brief alliance with X-Factor

A short time later, Birdy is killed by Sabretooth's grown son Graydon; Graydon now has a hatred for mutants, especially his father. Without the "glow", Sabretooth slips into a murderous killing spree. This culminates in a clash with Maverick, whom Sabretooth defeats. He escapes, claiming only Wolverine can do what needs to be done to the psychotic Creed as he leaps out a window. Maverick approaches the X-Men and in Japan, an ancient telepath, comatose since the nuclear bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, mind-links and the team discovers Creed's psychosis was rooted in his time as a CIA operative: on a mission, he slaughtered a target, his wife (a "freebie" for Creed), and a little boy. The look in the boy's eyes has followed Creed ever since. Ultimately, Sabretooth attacks Charles Xavier, leader of the X-Men. As Xavier infiltrates Creed's mind, he discovers that every victim Sabretooth has killed is remembered by the villain. Xavier is confident this means Creed values human life, and there is hope for the mutant. Sabretooth is incarcerated, as a wanted murderer, in a holographic environment because Xavier does not want him to roam on the grounds. Sabretooth is angered, but grudgingly stays with the team. During his incarceration, he assists in battles against the X-Cutioner and the Phalanx. Caliban, free of Apocalypse's control, kidnaps the X-Man Jubilee in exchange for Sabretooth. When Sabretooth arrives, he mauls Caliban's face, and Caliban flees the battle. Wolverine, who had left the team after his adamantium was removed by Magneto, returns, and the villain escapes for a fight. This leads to Wolverine stabbing one of his claws into Sabretooth's brain.

The newer, gentler Sabretooth, with brain damage and free from the need for "the glow", was frequently nursed for by X-Force member Boomer; he eventually reveals that he was feigning helplessness, and attacks Boomer. Psylocke saves the young mutant's life, and she uses her psionic knife to disable him. However, this no longer works because of his brain injury from Wolverine, and furthermore, it renders him resistant to telepathic detection and control. Retaliating by nearly killing Psylocke, he is confronted by the X-Men, who manage to incapacitate him.

He is turned over to the custody of Dr. Valerie Cooper, who fits him with an explosive restraining collar and forces him to participate as a member of the government-sponsored X-Factor team. Creed later admits he was a "sleeper" agent with the mission of executing X-Factor members the government could not control. He eventually escapes, and returns once more to mercenary work. Under unknown circumstances he gains adamantium skeleton and claws, but after his defeat to Wolverine, they are removed by Apocalypse after the long time rivals are captured and forced to fight once more, with the victor to become his new Horseman, Death. Wolverine triumphs, and Apocalypse takes the adamantium from Sabretooth and bonds it to Wolverine.

He then joins Mystique's new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, calling itself the Brotherhood, where he participates in an assassination attempt against Senator Robert Kelly.

Weapon X and the Brotherhood

Later, he is forced to become a member of a re-launched Weapon X program, where his skeleton is infused with adamantium once more. Sabretooth reveals that by means of genetic enhancement, the Weapon X program has increased his strength and accelerated his healing factor in Wolverine Vol. 2 #166. Eventually he escaped the program again, and resumed working solo. However, he sometimes worked on a team, such as when he worked with several other villains to locate Identity Disc, a record of heroes' secret identities. This ended up being a ruse.

Later, in Canada, he encountered Sasquatch and the newest Wendigo. Sasquatch believes Creed may be responsible for some of the human deaths occurring there. Creed is seen setting traps and acting mysteriously. Sasquatch discovers Sabretooth is playing a twisted mind-game with the Wendigo before attempting to kill it. Sabretooth and the Wendigo fall into the Arctic Sea with Sabretooth biting the Wendigo's neck, and both are presumed dead by Sasquatch. After a fearsome battle in the Arctic Waters, Sabretooth emerged victorious with the hide of the Wendigo.

Sabretooth would later attack the Xavier Institute, in a revamped Brotherhood consisting of leader Black Tom Cassidy, Mammomax, Avalanche, Exodus, and undercover heroes Nocturne and Juggernaut. Wolverine claims to have killed Sabretooth, spreading him "all over the grass", although Black Tom's plant abilities probably contributed to Sabretooth's survival; he next comes back in "X-Men: The 198 Files".

Reluctant alliance with the X-Men

Promotional art for X-Men vol. 2, #189 (Sept. 2006). Art by Chris Bachalo and Tim Townsend.
Promotional art for X-Men vol. 2, #189 (Sept. 2006). Art by Chris Bachalo and Tim Townsend.

In X-Men vol. 2 #188 (Aug. 2006), he was spotted fleeing a mysterious group of superhumans collectively known as The Children. Their reasons for pursuing him remained unknown, but two of them ā€” Sangre and Serafina ā€” were tracking him. Sangre activated a singularity generator that annihilated most of the town and killed all its citizens, except for a little girl whom Serafina deliberately shielded from the destruction so there would be a witness to what had happened. He later encountered two more of the Children ā€” Aguja and Fuego. They attacked him and temporarily neutralized his healing factor, but he managed to escape regardless, only to end up at the Xavier Institute later that night seeking sanctuary.

It is revealed that the Children are after Creed because he has seen them and knows who they are, while the public believed the X-Men destroyed the town. It is only when Rogue, the leader of the team, injected Nano-Sentinels into Sabretooth's blood that they take him along with their fight against the Children, a factor that one of the Children exploited. At one point, Cannonball saved his life during the battle. Sabretooth rewards him with some inside information: "The first time you turn your back, you're dead." Following the incident on Providence, Creed escaped the X-Men, but was hurled into the middle of the Pacific Ocean by Cable.

Mike Carey on Sabretooth's team role

Writer Mike Carey noted he has no plans on redeeming Sabretooth, saying, "I'm not going to try and show a heroic side to Sabretooth's nature; Iā€™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 and there are reasons within the first storyline as to why he ends up fighting alongside the X-Men against another enemy. And there are reasons why it's not so easy to simply shake him off again afterwards. There are things that are going on that will sort of unfold during the first year of my run which explain his being there and explain his being accepted with very, very grave misgivings into the team."

Evolution

Sabretooth renews his rivalry with Wolverine following the latter's return to the X-Mansion. A fight soon breaks out with Wolverine tossing Sabretooth through a window. During the fight, Wolverine thinks back to the time when Sabretooth had, supposedly, killed Silver Fox. He remembers Sabretooth saying "quod sum eris" and asks what it means. Sabretooth explains that it means "I am what you will be." Wolverine loses control and calls Sabretooth insane before placing his fist against Sabretooth's throat. Creed tells him if he extracts his claws, he will rip his heart out. Wolverine replies "Let 'er rip" and pops his claws into Sabretooth's throat.*Wolverine vol.3 #50* Wolverine regains consciousness and finds himself chained to the roof of the Blackbird. He quickly breaks free of the chains and is surprised to find Sabretooth piloting the jet. Wolverine breaks into the cockpit and begins choking Sabretooth with one of the chains and causes him to crash.

The two emerge from the flaming wreckage and, while healing from the injuries sustained in the crash, begin fighting once again until separated by a lightning bolt, courtesy of Wolverine's former teammate and current Queen of Wakanda, Storm.*Wolverine vol.3 #51* A short time later Sabretooth is chained up in the royal palace of Wakanda and complains to Wolverine, Storm, and the Black Panther. Sabretooth snaps the chains and escapes into the jungle, with the Panther quickly giving chase. The Panther catches up to Sabretooth and the two begin to fight, with Sabretooth quickly gaining the upper hand. He holds the Panther off the ground by the neck, preparing to strike a killing blow, when Wolverine suddenly appears and slices off Sabretooth's right hand.*Wolverine vol.3 #53*


Death

Recently, a clandestine operation, under the command of the mysterious being known as Romulus, regresses Sabretooth's intelligence to little more than a wild animal with almost no ability to reason or use language.*'Wolverine vol.3 #54 (Aug. 2007)* After Sabretooth kills Feral, Wolverine tracks him down and attacks him with the Muramasa Blade, a sword forged with part of Wolverine's own soul. The sword, aside from being highly durable, has the supernatural property of creating wounds that greatly nullify the efficiency of an accelerated healing factor.*Wolverine vol.3 #55 (Sept. 2007)* Sabretooth resists at first, then breaks through Romulus' alterations enough to ask Wolverine to kill him, to which Logan gladly obliges, decapitating Creed and leaving his body in the snow.


Powers and abilities

Sabretooth is a mutant with a number of natural mutant powers and artificial improvements to his physiology. His primary mutant power is an accelerated healing ability that allows him to regenerate damaged or destroyed areas of his body and cellular structure far beyond the capabilities of an ordinary human. He can regenerate organs such as missing eyes and large portions of flesh. Sabretooth's natural mutant attributes stem from, at least partially, his accelerated healing factor. This "healing factor" also grants him virtual immunity to poisons, most drugs, toxins and diseases, and limited immunity to the fatigue poisons generated by his own body. The unique regenerative qualities of his healing powers and "age suppression factor" Sabretooth's natural aging process, causing him to age at an unusually slow rate. While he is of an unknown advanced age, Sabretooth has the appearance and vitality of a man in his physical prime.

Sabretooth possesses superhumanly acute senses that are comparable to those possessed by certain animals. Sabretooth is able to see objects with greater clarity and at much greater distances than an ordinary human. His sight is enhanced to the point that he can see with this same level of clarity in almost complete darkness, just like a nocturnal cat. This may be in part a result of being able to see into the infrared and ultraviolet portions of the spectrum. His sense of hearing is enhanced in a similar manner, allowing him to hear sounds that humans cannot. Sabretooth is able to use his highly developed sense of smell to track targets by scent. He is able to track targets with an impressive degree of success, even if the scent has been eroded by natural factors such as weather conditions. His sense of taste is also developed to superhuman levels.

Many of Sabretooth's natural physical attributes are beyond human levels. He possesses some degree of superhuman strength, the exact limits of which are unknown. Originally, he could crush an iron barbell with ease. Sabretooth's physical strength has been artificially enhanced at least twice. Sabretooth receives his first strength enhancement from his now deceased son, Graydon Creed Sabretooth's strength is further enhanced later after joining the latest incarnation of the Weapon X Program. His mutant healing factor grants him superhuman stamina. He can push himself at peak capacity for several days before fatigue begins to affect him. His agility and reflexes are enhanced beyond the human body's natural limits.

Sabretooth's physical appearance also displays animal-like mutations, including sharper-than-normal teeth with two pronounced canines and retractable claws where ordinary humans have fingernails and toenails. His eyes are supposed to be depicted as amber without visible pupils, as this was noted by the Foreigner as something that caused him to stand out. However, colorists have also depicted his eyes with red, blue, grey, brown, or hazel irises. Ordinarily, his teeth and claws, even before being laced with adamantium, are strong enough to rend substances as durable as human bone.

At times, Sabretooth's skeleton and claws have been molecularly laced with the indestructible metal adamantium by Apocalypse,[issue # needed] who later removed it and bonded it to Wolverine's bones.[issue # needed] Later the Weapon X program bonds adamantium to his bones once more.[issue # needed] However, Sabretooth does not have adamantium connective tissues in his joints and wrists, only adamantium bones, therefore his limbs can be severed as can be seen in a recent confrontation with the Black Panther in which Wolverine intervened and cut off one of Sabretooth's hands at the area where the wrist bends. According to the Official Marvel website, Sabretooth still possesses an adamantium skeleton. Even without the adamantium enhanced edge, Sabretooth's claws are capable of cutting most conventional materials including flesh, bone, wood, stone, and some types of metals.


Skills

Sabretooth is an excellent hand to hand combatant, having been trained by various organizations such as the CIA, Weapon X, the Foreigner, and HYDRA. He is also an expert hunter and tracker, even without the use of his heightened senses. Sabretooth also has developed a high resistance to telepathic probing and manipulation. Although his extreme arrogance and bestial nature give him the appearance of stupidity, he is actually quite intelligent. He routinely hacks into government databases to steal classified information, and has escaped the highest levels of incarceration.

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