When we last saw the mutant villain Sabretooth, he was exiled from Krakoa. And by exiled, I mean he was swallowed up by the ground and sentenced to life in The Pit. What has Sabretooth been up to since being sent to The Pit? Has he learned his lesson? Will he ever escape? Some of these questions are answered, while many other questions remain in Sabretooth #1.
The first few pages of Sabretooth #1 take us back to the faithful day that Victor Creed was sentenced to The Pit. This time we get to see the events from Creed’s perspective. His inner thoughts of all the quiet council members provide a unique perspective. The last words of Creed promise that he will escape from the pit and haunt mutants for eternity. What comes next is a trippy and surreal story that finds Sabretooth living out his most violent fantasies–that is, until he does some soul searching and creates a hell that no one knew that Krakoa needed.
Writer Victor Lavalle presents an unexpected story. Lavalle wastes no time jumping into the psyche of Sabretooth, and, honestly, it is a place most people would not want to be. Sabretooth is presented as the ruthless, homicidal killing machine that old school fans will remember. He is cold and calculated as he tears through his victims. One particular scene has him not only easily dispatching Cyclops’s attack but doing so in a way that is one of the goriest panels in recent Marvel books. Lavalle does not leave the story at a parade of violent acts. Instead, as Creed works his way through the bowels of Krakoa, he begins to create his own home, much like the Mutants on the surface have. In the end, Sabretooth #1 introduces us to perhaps the most sadistic and powerful version of the character that has been seen.
Where Lavalle’s dialogue and plot bring back the vicious version of Sabretooth, it is artist Leonard Kirk who drives the violent nature of Sabretooth home. Somewhere along the line, Kirk must have been permitted to take the gloves off as the graphic gore and violence is early and often. When was the last time that a heart was ripped from a body in a Marvel book? While Sabretooth #1 is violent, it feels as if it was necessary for what Lavalle was trying to accomplish with the storytelling. Had they been forced to tone it down, the psychological part of the plot may have been muted.
In the end, Sabretooth #1 hits on all the right notes. We get to see Victor Creed at his worst: angry and bitter, with no reason to hold back any longer. Creed is a man on a mission. Just how far will he go to get revenge is the question that the rest of the series looks to answer.