BIOGRAPHY - Page 1
The man eventually known as Sabretooth was born Victor Creed, somewhere in North America in the second half of the 19th century. In many ways, Sabretooth resembles a human palimpsest. Like those scrolls from early history, which had the capability of being washed or scraped clean as to be used again, Sabretooth’s own history, both in records and in his own memory, has been rewritten so many times that none – even Sabretooth himself – can be sure what is true or a fabrication.
What is clear is that, from a very early age, Victor exhibited signs of sadistic and murderous tendencies. According to the research of Charles Xavier, Victor’s first kill came at the age of nine when he murdered his pediatrician, Dr. Eiger Harnerst. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #326] Whether Victor deliberately killed his doctor or not, his parents were unwilling to risk a repeat incident. They locked the boy in their house’s root cellar, chaining him by the neck to the wall. Deeply religious, Creed’s parents believed he was cursed by the Devil and Creed’s father attempted to exorcise the evil from his child by pulling his inhuman, canine teeth from his mouth with pliers. To his shock, however, the teeth reemerged after every extraction, an early manifestation of young Victor’s healing factor. [Sabretooth (1st series) #1]
Creed’s memory of his father’s torments changed between recollections. Although the root cellar remained a constant, sometimes Victor remembered his father encouraging his animalistic tendencies instead of discouraging them. Under telepathic probing by Charles Xavier, Creed recalled his father tossing a live rabbit into the cellar for him to catch and kill for his dinner. Supposedly, it was a lesson that only by killing would he ever be able to survive. [X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #3]
Victor continued to struggle against his father’s efforts to control him, and eventually the elder Creed had enough. He planned to put his son down like a wild dog, dragging him in chains out to the woodpile. Mrs. Creed pleaded with her husband to reconsider, and suffered for her kindness when she threw herself in the path of Creed’s axe as it descended on Victor. [Sabretooth (1st series) #2]
Decades later, Victor would tell a version of this story, openly bragging about murdering both of his parents. Some time ago, however, the leader of the Red Right Hand learned different. Victoria Creed survived the struggle at the woodpile, and Victor kept his mother alive and cared for in secret for years. Eventually reaching extreme old age, Creed kept his mother in an expensive retirement community and visited her every two weeks. [Wolverine (4th series) #11] Of course, this revelation in and of itself could have been a fabrication by the Red Right Hand’s leader, trying to influence the adherents of the group to their shared cause when they murdered her.
Freed from his parents, Victor was unleashed upon society. At age thirteen, he reportedly rampaged across three Canadian provinces and killed at least three police officers. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #326] According to Creed, he remained in Canada and, at about fifteen, worked for the railroad, laying down rail from Calgary up to the Yukon. Among the workers on the line was a belligerent older man who delighted in picking on the teenage Creed. Though the man “had a hundred pounds on him,” Creed gutted him from crotch to Adam’s apple with his claws. [X-Men (2nd series) #33]
NOTE: If true, real world events make it possible to estimate Victor’s date of birth. The Canadian Pacific Railway reached Calgary in 1883 and the route up to the Yukon was completed around 1900. If Victor was 15 while laying rails, that would place Creed’s birth between the years of 1868-1885.
Around the turn of the century, Creed left the Americas to travel abroad (although whether he wanted to see the world or merely escape from various authorities is unknown). Creed was in Tokyo, Japan when he first crossed paths with Logan, the man who would one day be the X-Man known as Wolverine. Creed had been murdering local prostitutes, a series of acts noticed by the Hand. They located Logan and forced him to hunt down Creed, using one gaijin to deal with another. Armed with a katana, Logan found Creed in the middle of his next kill, and the two men faced off for the first time. Creed’s savagery gave him an edge in the fight at first, but Logan eventually got the better of him and might have ended Creed then and there if not for the intervention of Romulus. [Wolverine (3rd series) #52-53]
A near-immortal, bestial mutant, Romulus was a shadowy power broker who commanded a vast network of agents and informants through bribery and fear. He took an early interest in both Creed and Logan, both because of their similarities to him and the “survival of the fittest” dogma to which he subscribed, pitting his agents against each other to hone their skills. It was Romulus who arranged for the Hand to send Logan after Creed to begin with. It is unknown whether Creed was a part of Romulus’s organization before his encounter with Logan in Japan, but after that night Victor was clearly Romulus’ man. Romulus was one of the few men Victor Creed both respected and feared, not to mention that Romulus offered Creed an opportunity to sate both his bloodlust and his sadistic tendencies.
Years later, Romulus sent Creed to interact with Logan again. Logan had returned to Canada and settled in the Yukon with his lover, a local Blackfoot woman named Silver Fox. Having already experienced repeated memory loss early in his life, Logan did not recognize his old foe. Settling into the mining town of Mount Logan, Creed preferred to go by the nickname “Sabretooth,” a moniker that would stick with him from then onwards. Joining the town’s workforce, Sabretooth routinely goaded Logan, continuously trying to get a rise out of him. On Logan’s birthday, Sabretooth came to Silver Fox’s cabin while Logan was out and she was preparing for his party. Sabretooth forced himself on Silver Fox and, although she fought back fiercely, he ultimately violated and murdered her in her home. When Logan stumbled into the town saloon in a state of shock, carrying Silver Fox’s body, Sabretooth was there. He was waiting for Logan with a piece of his birthday cake, and fiendishly remarked on how sweet it was.
At that, Sabretooth finally got the fight he was looking for. Unlike Japan, this time Creed was ready for Logan, and beat the man severely. Even in his rage, Logan realized he was outmatched and attempted to flee into the wilderness, but Sabretooth tracked and caught him with ease. They finally confronted each other again atop a mountain peak. It ended with both men plummeting off the mountain top, and Logan lay broken and beaten as Sabretooth dragged him off and tossed him into a pit. [Wolverine (2nd series) #10]
It was here that Romulus became directly involved, and his plan with Sabretooth became clear. They overwhelmed Logan’s mind as he lay in that pit, eventually brainwashing him into killing the town of Mount Logan on Romulus’ behalf. Romulus made Sabretooth responsible for maintaining Logan’s conditioning in the years to come. Every year on his birthday, Creed would track down Logan and administer another beating, using the physical pain as a means of reinforcing the work done on his mind. The death of a woman close to him, typically a lover or someone for whom he was responsible, could also be used as a trigger to reactivate Logan’s conditioning if he ever tried to slip his leash. This was a major responsibility Romulus gave to Creed, as he put considerable value on Logan’s services as a weapon. It appears Sabretooth was conditioned to reinforce Logan’s conditioning, as he apparently remembered to deliver Logan’s “birthday present” when his own memory implants in later years altered their relationship or even removed his conscious awareness of Romulus. [Wolverine: Origins #5]
Logan was not the only operative Romulus had Creed recruit. In the spring of 1912, Creed was directed to free a man named Silas Burr from prison in Sioux City, Iowa. Previously a Pinkerton agent who had been convicted for particularly heinous crimes, Creed took Burr to a military camp in Canada where he became a training officer. Principle among Burr’s trainees was Logan, whom Burr rode hard. When Burr’s nigh-sociopathic behavior drove Logan to flee, Creed accompanied Burr in retrieving him and reinforcing his conditioning before sending Logan off for further training elsewhere.
As part of his mutant healing factor, Sabretooth found that, much like Romulus and Logan, the passing decades did not affect his body. Much of his activities in the first half of the 20th century remain undocumented, although he apparently joined the military at some point. In 1959, when the president of the United States directed Nick Fury to assemble a team to track down the Red Skull, Fury located Sabretooth in Madripoor, offering him full clearance and a challenging assignment. Though still dangerous, Sabretooth seemed capable of controlling his bloodlust enough to follow Fury’s orders. Possibly more out of interest than any payment, Sabretooth accepted.
Also on the team was Sergei Kravinoff, better known as “Kraven the Hunter,” whose path Sabretooth had apparently crossed in Africa some time before. Despite their animosity, the two worked together in the squad, which attacked the Skull’s base of operations in Helsingborg, Sweden. The team made short work of the Skull’s men and captured the Skull himself, only to learn that he was not the original, but simply another post-Reich Nazi holdout using the famous identity. Though the Skull was in custody and no longer a threat, Sabretooth’s impulsiveness got the better of him and he summarily decapitated the Nazi before he could be fully interrogated, much to the annoyance of Fury. [New Avengers (2nd series) #10-13]
Despite the deviation of the plan, Fury kept Sabretooth as a member of the Avengers, as the team was named after the initial plan’s codename, “the Avengers Initiative.” Over the months that followed, the team continued their mission against Nazi remnants, including General Skul and his super powered ubermenschen. After routing the remains of General Skul’s forces in the South Pacific, Fury disbanded the team on good terms, at which point Sabretooth departed with two of his teammates, the mercenary Dominic Fortune and the adventurer known as the Blonde Phantom. [Avengers 1959 #1-5]
Perhaps because of his success with Fury’s unit, Sabretooth came to the attention the CIA in the early 1960’s. Impressed with his résumé of deniable operations, the company recruited Sabretooth into a new black ops unit called “Team X.” Although technically an “off the books” collaboration between the American and Canadian intelligence services, Team X was also under the subtle guidance of Romulus. He ensured the now well-trained and programmed Logan was part of Team X, and Sabretooth was added as well to keep Logan in line. They were teamed with other recruits, including David North, John Wraith, Mastodon and (inexplicably) Silver Fox. The government employed newly developed memory implant technology to establish false recollections and cover stories for their agents for different missions. They also occasionally reused prepared sets and soundstages to provide realistic backdrops for the false memories before implantation. [Wolverine (2nd series) #50]
[Silver Fox of Team X seemed, for all intents and purposes, to be the same woman Sabretooth murdered half a century before. The best explanation appears to be that Logan and Creed were fitted with false memories that edited out Silver Fox’s murder from their minds, easing the antagonism between them so they could work together. Agent Silver Fox was apparently a body double of the original woman, likely outfitted with matching memory implants, to further assist Logan and Creed in accepting the deception.]
Active during the 1960's and the Cold War, Team X was frequently called in to deal with anti-Communist operations, including alleged expeditions into Cuba, Vietnam, East Germany and the greater Soviet Union. It was on one such mission at the Soviet space center in Tyuratam that Creed and Logan encountered Epsilon Red, the super-cosmonaut. Logan was ordered to sanction Epsilon Red, who eagerly accepted his fate out of self-hatred due to what the cybernetic experiments had done to him. Creed intervened at the last minute, however, giving Logan new orders to call off the mission. As Logan was extracted, Epsilon Red begged Creed to kill him anyway. The sadistic Creed refused to do Red any favors. Instead, he shot Epsilon Red’s pregnant wife, who was also on the scene, leaving her to die in childbirth. [Wolverine (2nd series) #68]
On one mission, Team X was deployed behind the Iron Curtain to East Berlin. Logan, Creed and North had a mission to extract a deep cover operative named Janice Hollenbeck and steal the Carbonadium Synthesizer, a key element in the Russians' super-soldier program. Creed sent North after the agent and Logan after the C-Synth device, while he went personally to check on the super-soldier in development. Creed had a secret, secondary mission provided for him by Romulus to ensure the super-soldier, Omega Red, was prepared as an asset for Romulus to exploit in the future. Whatever Creed intended to do, however, Omega Red activated early, sending Creed into a running firefight back to the rendezvous with Logan and North.
Creed wasn't so distracted that he didn't realize something was off about Logan, however.
Unknown to his handlers, Logan avoided his last round of memory implants and was in control of his own mind on the mission. Suspecting something was wrong, Creed murdered their rescued mole Janice in cold blood. For North’s benefit, Creed claimed he did it to lose the “excess baggage" in their escape, but more importantly it spiked Logan's conditioning “trigger,” reactivating the implanted programming that kept Logan under Romulus' thumb. Even re-brainwashed, though, Logan still hated Creed for killing the woman so callously. The three of them barely survived a ten story drop to the streets below, where Wraith was waiting to help them escape. The debriefing with Barrington was scathing, and the group dynamic of Team X was seriously shaken after that. [X-Men (2nd series) #5-7, Wolverine: Origins #7-8]