If the Wolverine is a rock, Sabretooth is very much a hard place. God help anyone or anything that comes between them.
As nemesis’ go in the comics universe, few have been at each other longer than Wolverine and Sabretooth. Their battles have been brutal in their violence, unforgiving and yet neither has ever gained any real advantage over the other. Logan’s (Wolverine) past is a mystery to even himself, his mind a mess of half dream-like memories with little context to allow him to piece his past together. Victor Creed (Sabretooth) pertains to hold the answers whilst manipulating the situation to his own ends. But what is his ultimate goal? Wolverine struggles to maintain some semblance of morality whilst Sabretooth is ruthless and remorseless in his desire to murder.
Collecting Wolverine #50-55 and #310-313 this edition takes us down the rabbit hole of Wolverine’s mind where he must pick through lies, deceptions and attempt to find truths from a number of sources. The story takes us from the present to centuries past and back to the Weapon-X project and the Canadian Alpha-Flight initiative. Wolverine’s ultimate goal is to finish off Sabretooth once and for all yet something is different this time. There’s a guiding force behind Creed’s actions, a name from the past, one that hides in the shadows of Logan’s memory. Romulus.
An archaeological discovery in Wakanda seems to reveal that there are two distinct paths of evolution within mutant-kind. The human mutation and that from the Lupines, a wolf-like, feral strain. Much of the story is filled out by Logan’s inner monologue and reflects his inability to make sense of his own thoughts. The images he sees, are they memories or nightmares? There’s plenty of action in each page as time and time again Wolverine battles with his constant enemy, never sure whether they’re from the same blood or simply genetically mutated to be so similarly matched.
Although the primary focus of the story is on these two main characters Wolverine finds allies in The Black Panther, Storm, Cloak and Dagger, Wolfsbane, Sasquatch, Thornn and Feral whilst remaining unsure about the intentions of Romulus’ sister, Remus who bridges both sides of the battle.
Author Jeph Loeb has created a multi-layered storyline with twists and turns a-plenty. Though not always coherent, if you allow yourself to go with the flow everything falls into place in time. That said, through ten chapters I did find the constant battles between the two enemies to be rather repetitive. How many times do we need to see Wolverine and Sabretooth take chunks out of each other without any distinct resolution? And the ultimate ambitions of the evil plan is one that’s been written a hundred times before. I won’t spoil the plot, but with such a clever build-up I was hoping for something a little more intelligent at the reveal. The final panel is laughable and completely out of tune with the tone of the story arc. However, every page is beautifully illustrated and coloured. Simone Bianchi brings the characters to life in incredible detail and portrays emotions with expertise.
Most comic fans will enjoy Wolverine: Sabretooth, fans of the title characters in particular should get a lot out of this book but the few negatives I’ve highlighted have such an impact that I can’t rate it higher than three out of five despite enjoying the vast majority of the book.
Author: Jeph Loeb | Artist: Simone Bianchi | Inks Simone Bianchi / Andrea Silvestri / MarkMorales | Colours: Paul Mounts / Simone Peruzzi / Morry Hollowell / Frank D’Armata / Jason Keith | Lettering: Jimmy Betancourt / Albert Deschesne