Sabretooth In Animation - A Retrospective
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Part Two -
Sabretooth (real name Victor Creed) was created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne and first appeared in 1977, in Iron Fist #14. Originally just an antagonist for both Iron Fist and Power Man Luke Cage, following his introduction in the X-Men comic books in 1986, he would soon become Wolverine's arch-nemesis. Possessing a healing factor and enhanced senses which rival Wolverine's, as well as some super-human strength, Sabretooth has proven himself to be more than a match for most of his adversaries on various occasions. While his origin has been presented in various ways depending on the writer of the comic book over the years, the fact remains that he was part of the Weapon X program and shares a long history with Wolverine.
On the X-Men animated series that aired on Fox Kids between 1992 and 1997, Sabretooth was voiced by Don Francks. He was a recurring character on the show, appearing in about ten episodes, and was often pitted against Wolverine. His first appearance is in the series premiere, "Night of the Sentinels, Part One" (he's actually the first character to appear on the show!), where he is seen on a news report going on a rampage through the city and destroying some police cars. A pretty cool introduction to the character, showing how threatening he can be and possibly foreshadowing his next appearances.
Sabretooth next appears in the episode titled "Enter Magneto". Here he is shown attacking the people inside the courtroom where Beast's trial was being held, as soon as the judge denies Beast's bail. You can tell from the start that Wolverine hates him; he couldn't care less if the guards actually kill Sabretooth while trying to stop him. Cyclops on the other hand obviously won't let that happen, so the two save the injured mutant and take him back to the X-Mansion's infirmary. Once there, Wolverine tries to get rid of him but is stopped by Xavier. Wolverine mentions how much of a threat Sabretooth really is, and that none of the other X-Men know him as well as he does. He thinks Sabretooth is too dangerous to remain there, which is apparently what many of the other X-Men thought about Wolverine when he first joined the team. Jubilee even mentioned earlier that something about Sabretooth reminds her of Wolverine. Sabretooth doesn't really get to do that much in this episode, but it is a great set-up for his next appearance.
In the following episode, "Deadly Reunions", we get to see some pretty cool scenes featuring Professor Xavier probing Sabretooth's mind, trying to help him in the same way he helped Wolverine in the past, by alleviating his rages. Once Sabretooth sees Wolverine he starts to taunt him, knowing this would only make him angrier. He mentions that both him and Wolverine used to work together on a team, but had some "little misunderstandings", as he calls them. Wolverine clarifies that these misunderstandings were caused by Sabretooth killing his teammates for no reason. Angered that Xavier won't listen to him and still insists on helping Sabretooth, Wolverine decides to leave. Towards the end of the episode though, he comes back, and just in time to save Jubilee from Sabretooth. He tricked her into releasing him (and I thought it was a little too easy to fool her) but luckily Wolverine didn't go too far away to cool off. It is revealed that Sabretooth is now working for Magneto, and he was sent on this mission only to find the X-Mansion's location. We finally get to see a fight between Wolverine and Sabretooth, and albeit short it was pretty awesome. Sabretooth manages to injure Wolverine in the fight, and apparently pretty badly even considering his healing factor. The fight ends however when Jubilee uses her powers to blast Sabretooth through a wall. Sabretooth escapes, but it's obvious this won't be his last confrontation with Wolverine on this show.
The episode titled "Cold Vengeance" marks Sabretooth's next appearance on the show. Here, Wolverine has once again left the X-Men and tries to find a place where he could live a quiet, peaceful life and won't be forced to fight anyone ever again. He arrives somewhere in the Baffin Island region of Canada. There he is included into an Inuit Eskimo tribe, and finally finds the peaceful life he has yearned for. But a member of the tribe, jealous of Wolverine's strength and skills, wants to get rid of him and he gets his chance once he encounters Sabretooth, who has tracked Wolverine there. The young Eskimo makes a deal with Sabretooth, thinking he can trust the "snow demon", as he calls him. It's not much of a surprise that Sabretooth would go back on his word, and not only plans to fight Wolverine, but also attack the camp site where the Eskimos lived. Wolverine now must leave behind the peaceful life he has just discovered and return to the battlefield. The fight between Wolverine and Sabretooth was also pretty cool. I thought their rivalry was presented in a great way throughout the series, and even though the story for this episode wasn't really anything special I liked it. It's one of those rare occasions where Sabretooth takes center stage and is the villain for the entire episode.
While Sabretooth doesn't appear outside of a hologram, the episode "Beauty and the Beast" reveals more about his past. We learn that his name has been changed from the comics; here he is known as Graydon Creed, Sr. and is the biological father of Graydon Creed the leader of the Friends of Humanity, a group dedicated to opposing all mutants, regardless if they are peaceful or harmless. More revelations concerning Sabretooth's family tree would be presented in a later episode, making things even more confusing.
In "Weapon X, Lies and Video Tape", Wolverine sees himself forced to fight alongside Sabretooth in order to defeat the robot Talos. This episode features via a flashback what happened to the Weapon X team (consisting of Wolverine, Sabretooth, Silver Fox and Maverick); while on a mission, they were attacked by Omega Red and only Sabretooth and Wolverine managed to escape. Despite Wolverine wanting to go back and help the others, Sabretooth mentions that their teammates are "expendable" and leaves. In present time, all four former members of the Weapon X program reunite at an abandoned facility, apparently the place where Wolverine received his adamantium skeleton. While there, they all learn that their memories were all created for them by the Professor in an attempt to control them. We also get a short scene where some of Sabretooth's past is revealed; as a young boy he was beaten by his father Jebediah Creed for being a "wicked" mutant. It is also revealed that the initial plans of Weapon X was to bond adamntium to the skeletons of both Wolverine and Sabretooth, because their healing factors would allow only them to survive the process; if the process would work on Wolverine, then Sabretooth would be next. Of course, the process works on Wolverine, but once he awakens he destroys the laboratory and escapes. This was about all that would be revealed about Sabretooth's past and origin throughout the show. I think it works pretty well, while still leaving some mystery surrounding his past encounters with Wolverine. And I loved Wolverine's response when Beast asks him where Sabretooth is: "Don't know, and don't care".
Sabretooth is next seen in the "Beyond Good and Evil" four-part story. He only appears in parts 2 and 3, though. Here he was sent by Apocalypse to capture Psylocke, another mutant with psychic abilities, after Jean Grey was similarly captured by Mr. Sinister. Realizing all mutant telepaths are being targeted by Apocalypse, the X-Men spread out and try to protect as many mutants as they can. Not surprising, Wolverine is the one who has to stop Sabretooth from capturing Psylocke. He manages to defeat him, but both Magneto and Mystique arrive and capture Psylocke instead. Not knowing what Apocalypse is trying to accomplish, the X-Men believe they can get that information from Sabretooth. Wolverine is the one who "interrogates" Sabretooth. It's a shame we neevr actually see how their meeting occured, but the result is great; seeing Wolverine carrying a beaten Sabretooth, and mentioning he changed his mind and decided to talk. Other than these short but great scenes, Sabretooth doesn't do anything else in these episodes, which is too bad since this would be his last major appearance on the show.
His next appearances aren't as great as the ones so far, but still pretty cool. In the episode "Xavier Remembers", all of the X-Men must face their worst nightmares. Wolverine obviously has to battle Sabretooth again, but this fight isn't as great as some of the others the show offered before. In "The Phalanx Covenant, Part One" the alien life-form known as the Phalanx takes the form of Sabretooth and allows itself to get captured only to infiltrate the X-Mansion. I did like that it was Wolverine the one who realized it wasn't the real Sabretooth they captured, though.
And Sabretooth's final appearance on this show was in the episode "Bloodlines". His biological son, Graydon Creed returns in this episode and it is revealed that Mystique is his mother. Other than that, Nightcrawler is also revealed to be Mystique's son (though his father is never mentioned on the show), and we've known Mystique was Rogue's adoptive mother for a while now. So basically the mutant-hating leader of the Friends of Humanity comes from a family of mutants. Learning this, the High Council of the Friends of Humanity sends Creed to kill his entire family in order to regain his position as leader of the group and to prove his loyalty to the anti-mutant cause. Sabretooth doesn't appear in this episode until the very end, but his short scene was one of the best this episode had to offer; after Creed fails his mission, he is parachuted to the house of his father.
Sabretooth: Well, well, well. If it isn't my son, the famous slayer of mutants. What do you say, boy? Come to Papa.
Overall, I really enjoyed how this show portrayed Sabretooth. His design wasn't the greatest, but it worked rather well in contrast to the others. And his voice actor was great.