Sunday, January 3, 2016

12 Days of X-Mas: Uncanny X-Men #328 (1996)

It is hard to admit, but clearly Scott Lobdell had a theme during this run of his X-Men comics. That theme is redemption. Joseph, Marrow, Sabretooth, and Gambit all struggled with it. Each character accepting and moving on... or not, in Sabretooth's case.

It turns out that the childlike Sabretooth who had been hanging in the Danger Room and chumming around with Boom Boom was faking. It is refreshing to see that not ever villain got "Venom'ed" into being a good guy in the 1990's. Nope, Sabretooth was faking, and as he makes clear in his dialogue this issue, he loves being bad.

He spends a long while needling Professor X about how silly it was for the Professor to think he can fix everything. This sequence includes a great bit of characterization when Cyclops talks about his code against killing. Scenes like this are the reason why I have such a disconnect from modern iterations of the character. (Hawkeye has the same problem for me in the Avengers titles.)

After the Professor, Cyclops and Jean Grey leave, Sabretooth works some manipulation magic on Boom Boom to make her blast him free of his restraints. Boom Boom comes off as a pretty stupid character here, one that it is hard to have a lot of sympathy for. She's got to be smarter than this, especially when Psylocke is the person that ends up paying the price.

Joe Madureira must have been licking his chops at the thought of drawing this issue. He's got the ninja psylocke running around in her swimsuit and the gigantic, hirsute Sabretooth locked up like Hannibal Lecter until his escape. It is very much like Silence of the Lambs, including the facial restraints Victor Creed wears for most of the issue. As for Psylocke, she has the shiniest breasts in comic book history in this one. An odd trophy, but one she deserves for a couple panels in this issue.

Mad didn't have enough time to set hte mood or to really follow up the classic Psylocke v. Sabretooth fight from Uncanny X-Men #213. Still, he does a nice job portraying Sabretooth's savage nature with both violence and facial expressions. Sabretooth is pretty much an irredeemable monster, and I can't wait to see him get what he deserves. (Unfortunately, I don't remember what book that happens in!)


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