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Wolverine's archenemy Sabretooth first appeared not in Marvel Comics' X-Men but in Iron Fist #14 (1977), battling the title character, a martial-arts superhero. But Sabretooth's creators, writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne, already had his X-Men connection in mind. Sabretooth looks like a bigger, even more ferocious version of Wolverine, but with blond hair. In contrast with Wolverine's claws that emerge from the back of his hands, Sabretooth's fingernails are like razor-sharp talons. Sabretooth proved to have the same mutant powers as Wolverine, including superhumanly acute senses and a “fast healing” ability that enables him to recover with superhuman quickness from virtually any injury. Though they never made it explicit in a story, in a 2004 interview for BACK ISSUE magazine Byrne and Claremont stated that they intended Sabretooth to be Wolverine's father; however, the Wolverine: Origin series (2001–2002) seems to disprove this. Nevertheless, Wolverine and Sabretooth have a long-standing personal enmity, which seems appropriate for two characters that are simultaneously so much alike and so very different. Each of them has a bestial side to his psyche, capable of berserker madness and savage violence. But, as Claremont has stated in interviews, Wolverine aspires to humanity and self-control, whereas Sabretooth has abandoned his humanity to surrender to the beast within himself. In 2004 Claremont told BACK ISSUE, “The difference between him [Wolverine, aka Logan] and Sabretooth is that Logan is governed by a moral center and Sabretooth is not. Sabretooth is a creature solely and completely of appetite: he wants something, he takes it. There's no regret, no redemption, no mercy, no nothing. It is a total amorality, almost animal amorality.” Wolverine and Sabretooth see within each other that which each despises about himself. Sabretooth's healing ability also greatly slows his aging so, like Wolverine, he may be over a century old. Sabretooth's real name appears to be Victor Creed. Even as a child he possessed fang-like teeth and claws. Sabretooth recalls being locked in a basement by his father, who considered him a “freak.” In the 1960s Creed, code-named Sabretooth, was a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) special operative partnered with Logan, alias Wolverine. It was in this period that Creed had a sexual liaison with the German spy Leni Zauber, who was actually the mutant Mystique. (Their son was Graydon Creed, the anti-mutant politician, now deceased.) Sometime later, the CIA's Weapon X program altered Victor Creed's memories in an attempt to turn him into a “super-soldier.” Sabretooth first clashed with the X-Men when, as a member of the Marauders, he helped carry out the massacre of the Morlocks, an underground community of mutants. He continually battles Wolverine, both with and without the latter's X-Men allies. Once, the X-Men's founder, Charles Xavier, held Sabretooth prisoner, seeking in vain to cure his madness. The U.S. government forcibly inducted Sabretooth into its official team of mutant operatives, X-Factor, but he rebelled and escaped. Subsequently, Sabretooth's skeleton was laced with molecules of adamantium, a (fictional) nearly indestructible steel alloy, just as Wolverine's was. The mutant Apocalypse drew the adamantium out of Sabretooth's body. However, the revived Weapon X project captured Sabretooth and again bonded adamantium to his skeleton, making it virtually unbreakable. In addition to appearing in X-Men: The Animated Series (1992–1997) and the animated TV series X-Men: Evolution (2000–2003) Sabretooth appeared in the first X-Men movie (2000) as a member of Magneto's mutant Brotherhood, and was played by former wrestler Tyler Mane. With the merchandising might of the X-Men, Sabretooth has appeared in three-dimensional form as action figures and collectible mini-busts.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.