Sabretooth is a book grappling with some pretty heavy issues. With the Krakoan age comes some frightening implications, and while we’ve had glimpses of moral, mortal, and spiritual unrest, no book has yet handled concerns about Krakoan justice.
Turns out, there are some problems.
Sabretooth has been in The Pit (the Krakoan version of jail) since waaaaay back in House of X #6 and previous issues of Sabretooth introduced a handful more prisoners. While we know that Sabretooth had been sentenced for killing humans, it hasn’t been until this issue that we’ve learned the full list of crimes.
Our supposed criminals (Melter, Madison Jeffries, Nekra, Oya, and new-for-this-series Third Eye) all appear to have been tossed into the Pit on almost laughably—and nefariously—trumped-up charges. Sure, Oya and Nekra did some killing (but in defense of their nation), put poor ex-Alpha Flight member Madison Jeffries only wanted to provide a home for his robot girlfriend, and committed light property damage (to the living land of Krakoa) in the process.
There could be a deeper, real-world commentary here about the extremely harsh laws surrounding a certain, now largely legal intoxicant, and while Third Eye does mention that briefly, this is a super-villain story. It doesn’t have space for that.
Sabretooth is one of the most compelling mini-series to have spun out of Krakoa so far—the Hell that Sabretooth created, the compelling allegory of his corruption of mutants from within the garden—but it also suffers, as others did, of being one quiet voice among the larger, louder narratives in the X-Universe. This might be by design; all revolutions have small beginnings, after all.
Issue #4 of the mini, however, suffers from yet another of the problems that seem to crop up in Krakoa-age miniseries: major pacing issues. For all the big concerns and potential ramifications of this story, this issue doesn’t do a whole lot to prepare us for next issue’s conclusions. There is a lot of sitting at tables and telling anecdotes, and not a lot of engine revving toward next month’s conclusion.
What lingers from the issue aren’t the primary characters and their concerns, but the slow conversion of characters on Krakoa’s surface. For just a handful of brief panels, we see those listening to the serpent’s whispers. Unhappy mutants in paradise such as Skin and Magma, who might be seeds for something much more exciting than our six fallen Krakoan angels.
Ultimately, Sabretooth #4 might be the calm before the storm, or it might simply be the least exciting entry of a very exciting book. Regardless, trust that major things are brewing.
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