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By Jim Beard
On February 11 an exciting new one-shot peers deeper into the dark pool called Sabretooth than ever before. X-MEN ORIGINS: SABRETOOTH #1, by writer Kieron Gillen and artist Dan Panosian, dares to ask the hard questions about the man who's faced off against Wolverine time and time again.
Sabretooth's got the claws, he's got the healing factor and he's certainly got the attitude, but to think of him as just the "bad Wolverine" oversimplifies this wily and ferocious mutant. Wolverine's never underestimated him—and Logan certainly entered into every battle with Sabretooth knowing he'd be in for the fight of his life.
Here's a few of those fights, and they're definitely not for the faint at heart. You've been warned.
UNCANNY X-MEN #213 (1986)
In the aftermath of the Marauders' slaughter of the underground Morlocks, Sabretooth engaged Wolverine in a sprawling battle across the X-Mansion's grounds. Though the rest of the X-Men failed to recognize this new foe, a mindscan on Sabretooth by Psylocke revealed the feral mutant had fought Wolverine in the past.
SABRETOOTH #3 (1993)
The famous Eiffel Tower played host to another staring match between Sabretooth and Wolverine, this time augmented by some of the toughest trash talk ever. A scuffle broke out and as Logan steeled himself for the bite of his opponent's claws he found a moment to breathe through the intervention of an unlikely party: the shapeshifting Mystique.
WOLVERINE (1988) #90 (1995)
Sabretooth reconciled himself to rotting in an X-Mansion jail cell but slyly planted doubts as to his incarceration in Wolverine's head. Logan's nagging suspicions got the better of him and an imagined flight became reality. Though Logan tried not to use his claws, that gambit became moot when Sabretooth threatened the diminutive mutant's loved ones and Wolverine popped a claw straight through his foe's head.
WOLVERINE (1988) #145 (1999)
After being replaced by a Skrull, Logan discovered he'd been spirited off to the lair of Apocalypse, the X-Men's deadly enemy. Pitted against Sabretooth in combat to determine which of them would become Apocalypse's new Death Horseman, Wolverine put everything he had into the fight to insure his foe would never fill the role. Despite his advantages, Sabretooth once again tasted defeat.
WOLVERINE (2003) #55 (2007)
Sick of decades of strife involving Sabretooth, Wolverine wielded a mystical sword to confront the evil mutant for the final time. Sabretooth's arm became the first casualty in the battle but the sickening images of his brutality over the years burned into Logan's brain and made any clemency on his part an impossibility. Seeing the end had come, Sabretooth asked for death and Wolverine granted it—and decapitated his most diehard enemy.
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