Sabretooth In Animation - A Retrospective

Part One - Part Two - Part Three

In 2009 Marvel released Hulk Vs., a direct-to-DVD animated movie composed of two different segments: Hulk Vs. Wolverine and Hulk Vs. Thor. Sabretooth appears in the former part, voiced by Mark Acheson. The first part of the movie is basically a re-telling of Wolverine's first appearance in the comic books when he was sent to fight the Hulk. Though halfway through the movie the story changes and focuses more on Wolverine's past, as both him and the Hulk are captured by members of the Weapon X program: Sabretooth, Omega Red, Lady Deathstrike and Deadpool. The Professor wishes to control Wolverine once again, as well as turn the Hulk into a weapon too. The movie is surprisingly violent; there are a lot of fight scenes and some of them are pretty brutal. Sabretooth here looks was a little odd - his design was on par with the others in the movie but the shape of his head looked a little weird to me (though it could be just because of the headgear he was wearing). His voice was good, and he acted like a true psychotic killer: most notably the scene where he slashes the Professor for disagreeing with him about what to do with Wolverine. We learn via a flashback that he didn't trust Wolverine back in the days when they worked together on the team (back when they were wearing some cool looking stealth suits - they all looked pretty much the same as their current uniforms, only colored completely in black/dark blue) and he was trying to persuade the Professor to get rid of him since back then. In present day, Sabretooth gets a couple of cool scenes while fighting Wolverine but is ultimately defeated when Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk and punches him through the roof of the facility, landing on the top of a nearby snow covered mountain top. We get to see him once more still laying there when Wolverine is also thrown by the Hulk in that area. I doubt he was actually dead; most likely just gravely injured which made for a fun little scene. Overall, this is still my favorite animated movie from Marvel, despite its short run-time.

Sabretooth: I've been waiting for this a long time.
Wolverine: Yeah, well you can keep waiting.

Sabretooth next appears on Wolverine and the X-Men, which started airing in 2009, originally on Nicktoons. On this show he was voiced by Peter Lurie and appeared in two episodes, each time fighting Wolverine and dropping a some hints about their past lives. His first appearance was in the episode "Past Directions", where Wolverine is haunted by memories from his past like apparently murdering a man in front of his young daughter. Not managing to remember much of his past he turns to Emma Frost for help; he travels to the Canadian boarder, apparently the place where the event from his memory took place. There he finds a girl (Christy Nord) who recognizes him as the man who killed her father and attacks him, using her mutant powers of earth manipulation. Meanwhile the Weapon X scientists, including Doctor Cornelius and the Professor learn that Wolverine has returned and send Sabretooth to take care of him and make sure he won't come after them or discover the truth. Sabretooth's design here looked pretty cool; a nice mix between his classic costume and the trench coat look he had on X-Men: Evolution. The episode is filled with flashbacks which reveal what really happened in Wolverine's memory: his mission was to take out Chris Nord (this show's version of Maverick from the comics) but he wanted to abort his mission once he learned Nord had a daughter. Maverick was then attacked by Sabretooth and left inside the burning house. When Wolverine tried to save him, Christy saw him, and believed he was the one who did all this. In present day, now remembering what happened Wolverine tries fighting Sabretooth but he proves too strong for him. Sabretooth then shoots Wolverine with a taser gun (which I found a little odd, considering he could have just as easily beaten him with his own powers) but is then defeated by Christy who uses her powers to push him off a cliff, into a river. At the end of the episode we see that Sabretooth has escaped unharmed, but we also see that Chris Nord is also still alive, although brain-washed and now part of the Weapon X program.

The episode "Stolen Lives" is basically a direct sequel to the aforementioned episode, continuing Maverick's story arc and giving it somewhat of a happy ending: Wolverine manages to rescue him and reunite him with his daughter. Mystique is also present in this episode, and we learn she also shares a history with Wolverine although he doesn't remember much about her. As for Sabretooth, he gets to fight with Wolverine again, but only for a short scene until Mystique stops him (taking the form of the Professor). Once again the episode has a fair share of flashbacks which reveal more of Wolverine's past: it turns out he was a member of the Weapon X program alongside Sabretooth and Mystique, until the Professor decided to enhance them. Wolverine managed to save Mystique and tried to escape together (they apparently were in love) but Sabretooth intervened and only Mystique managed to get away. Overall, this show's version of Sabretooth was pretty cool but I thought he wasn't really used enough on the show. Considering the next season was supposed to be based on the Age of Apocalypse story from the comics, I'm pretty sure we would have gotten a chance to see him more often. Sadly the show was cancelled due to financial problems after just one season.

The Super Hero Squad Show premiered in 2009, and originally aired on the Cartoon Network. It was based on the Marvel Super Hero Squad action figure line from Hasbro, which portrays all the characters in the Marvel Universe in a super-deformed-style, and was aimed at a younger generation. The show featured a lot of characters from the Marvel Universe, but primarily focused on a team of heroes including members of the Avengers and the X-Men. It was mostly a parody of super hero shows, and I doubt it ever wanted to be taken too seriously. Sabretooth here was voiced by Charlie Adler (also the voice of Doctor Doom and a few others on the show) and appeared in a few episodes, as a member of Doom's Lethal Legion. In the episode "Enter: Dormammu!" he is seen fighting the Super Hero Squad alongside the Juggernaut but is defeated when Doctor Strange arrives on the scene. In "Stranger From a Savage Land!" he is part of the team of super-villains Doctor Doom sends to capture Ka-Zar's pet saber-toothed tiger Zabu, to take his Star Quartz collar. In the end he is defeated by a real saber-toothed tiger - and apparently Wolverine is the only one who sees the irony in that. Later in the episode "Oh Brother!" Sabretooth is one of the villains sabretooth recruits for his attack on Asgard (despite already having an army of Frost Giants) in a plot to keep the Squaddies busy while he was searching for a fractal of the Infinity Sword. The image below comes from this episode. Sabretooth's design on this show was pretty good; the fang belt he wore made him look more "savage" than some other versions. He might have appeared in some other episodes or at least have cameos but since I never really followed the show that closely I think I managed to track down his most notable appearances.

Most recently Sabretooth has appeared on the Ultimate Spider-man animated series which currently airs on Disney XD. The show sees Spider-man as a hero-in-training for SHIELD, working alongside a group of other teenage heroes (Nova, Power Man, Iron Fist and White Tiger). Supposedly aimed at a younger audience and focusing more on comedy than action or drama the show has some good moments but most of the time isn't anything special. Here Sabretooth is voiced once again by Peter Lurie (reprising his role from Wolverine and the X-Men) and he first appears in the episode titled "Freaky", where because of Mesmero, Spider-man and Wolverine switch bodies with each other. This results in some pretty amusing moments, and overall this was one of the better episodes this show offered so far. Sabretooth doesn't really get to do anything that memorable; he's basically just there so the heroes can have someone to fight. His design here looked pretty good but what I liked the most design-wise was that they used Wolverine's old-school uniform.

Sabretooth is seen once more on the show in the episode "Beetle Mania", in a short cutaway gag (the show is filled with them!), showing him and Wolverine in an anger management class with Spidey caught in the middle. To make things funnier, the class was being held by Doc Samson - I'd say this was one of the better gags on the show... which says a lot about the quality of the other ones.

Sabretooth unfortunately didn't appear in the Wolverine anime series Marvel co-produced with Madhouse. I guess there wouldn't have been any room for him in the story but considering Omega Red got a chance to appear in a couple of episodes it's a shame Sabretooth didn't pop-up in an episode or two. Nor did he appear in the X-Men anime series produced by the same companies - although here there really wouldn't have been any room for him considering the story-line. looking back over all his appearances in animation by this point, I'd say my favorite is still the X-Men: TAS version. Every other version had some good stuff going on but I don't think any of them really reached the same level as X-Men: TAS did. Since he's basically Wolverine's arch-nemesis these days I wouldn't be surprised if he'll appear in every future X-Men animated series - and I'm pretty sure we'll get a new show sometime soon.