Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente have been doing a fantastic job on Weapon X, breathing new life into some of the more villainous characters in the Marvel universe. Sabretooth is possibly the most changed as he is now a team leader and trying to be better. This volume tests the character and pushes him to places he’s never gone with results that may change him for better or worse forever.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
A fresh start for Weapon X! They were hunters who became the hunted. They were enemies forced to become allies. They were a ticking time bomb that had no choice but to fall apart! Now, out of the ashes of Team Weapon X, a new crew is born! Sabretooth is putting together a unit that is willing to do what the other X-Men won’t – willing to wade into blood and fi lth to protect mutantkind! But who will make the cut? Surely not…Deadpool?! Whatever the lineup, when a secret clan of Satanists plans to unleash hell on earth for mutants, Weapon X-Force is the only team standing in their way! Be here as Sabretooth reinvents Weapon X for a bold and dangerous new era!
Why does this matter?
Collecting Weapon X #22 through #27, this story arc has huge ramifications for Sabretooth. It opens with him trying to be a hero and making amends and spins his life out of control to the point where he may be changed forever.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
It seems if mutants aren’t fighting each other they’re fighting religious zealots. In this story arc it’s a bit of both as Weapon X first takes on a new villainous church, then fights Deadpool, and then finally meets the real supervillain behind it all: William Stryker. Yep, he’s back and probably less human than ever in more ways than one. It sets up a showdown that is taken to other realms of reality and the events push this team in new ways. Sabretooth is the most pushed and he ends up getting more of the focus throughout this arc.
Pak and Van Lente do a good job with Sabretooth, making him a well-rounded character you’ll empathize with. Considering how he’s been an animalistic beast for most of his tenure at Marvel, it’s nice to see him gain some empathy and be a better man. That is done by weaving in a softer side of character via his caring for an ex-flame only to be ridiculed by his teammates. It’s a nice way to show how even his teammates can’t believe it, but also how he’s changed. As the narrative goes from Earthly dealings to Hell, Sabretooth is tested even further and goes down a road I didn’t expect. This leads to a big change for the character some might be angry with, but when you consider Logan is back it makes a lot of sense. Resetting the status quo and all that.
The art is by Yildiray Cinar and Luca Pizzari with Roberto Di Slavo, and additional work by Alberto Alburquerque andIbraim Roberson on the last issue. This book has a darker tone one might expect from an adult line of comics and considering this team makes with the violence that makes sense. There’s plenty for them to fight including Sauron of all X-Men rogues and Stryker’s new look is quite impressive.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
Certain sections run on too slowly, like Sabretooth’s hospital bed scene. It runs 10 pages and achieves little when you consider the page count. Deadpool is put through the wringer in Hell for mediocre comedic effect right after that scene. Come to think of it, Deadpool doesn’t add much to the book beyond some fourth wall jokes (that are actually quite good) and the obvious result of inserting characters like him in books to help with sales (which he even points out).
Is it good?
I’ve dabbled with this series and have liked it at points, and straight up passed on others. This volume caught my interest immediately and made me fall for a good-hearted Sabretooth. He goes through a character arc well worth reading, even it is tragic.