Sabretooth (1st series) #3

Issue Date: 
October 1993
Story Title: 
Death Hunt - part 3: City of Light, City of Night

Larry Hama (Writer), Mark Texeira (Artist), Steve Bioccelate (Colorist), Richard Starkings (Letterer), Bob Harras (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Chief)

Brief Description: 

Sabretooth and Wolverine argue inside of the Eiffel Tower about who could win a fight. But, as the argument starts to escalate, Mystique steps in and breaks them up. She changes into Leni Zauber, a German spy that Creed had a past relationship with. Creed thinks she is a fake but, over dinner, Mystique explains about how they met in West Berlin, years ago, and their subsequent escape to East Berlin. Wolverine confirms the timeframe she mentions but Creed is still skeptical. He saw Leni’s body in the morgue. So she couldn’t be alive. Mystique explains how she copied her body and killed her when she needed to escape. Sabretooth is about to kill her when she asks him about their son. This revelation surprises everybody and implicates their son in Creed’s mission to kill her. She drops a grenade, causing everybody to scatter. This gives Creed and Birdy a chance to escape. Wolverine picks up Mystique’s photo of her son and recognizes him and leaves Mystique alone in the restaurant. On their way back to the States, Creed thinks about what Mystique told him about his son but decides to let it be until he finds Tribune. Birdy then goes inside Creeds’ mind, to his meeting with Tribune, looking for clues to his whereabouts. She relives the meeting, and, during Tribune’s conversation with his assistant, Ellie, recognizes the New York skyline. And with further inspection of the office, sees a plaque on the wall with the name ‘Gee Cee Group’, the location of Tribunes’ headquarters. As soon as she can get to a computer, she can break in to his security system and they’ll have Tribune, hook, line and sinker.

Full Summary: 

(Inside the Eiffel Tower)
Sabretooth and Wolverine argue on the balcony. Creed wonders why Logan came to Paris just to take a beating. Logan tells him he’s not taking anything he’s ‘handin’ it out. Creed says he’s all talk, but he has other business to take care of: Mystique. Logan wants to know what business he has with her but Creed tells him that she is on the wrong end of a contract. “She’s the snuffee and I’m the snuffer!”

Sabretooth jumps on Logan, knocking him back onto the railing. Creed tells Mystique not to wonder off, after he finishes off Wolverine, she’s next. Logan asks if he’s being a bit optimistic, but Creed says that optimism’s for losers, but he doesn’t think positive - he is positive. Mystique says he was always positive, always sure that he knew what was going on. She then changes shape. “Even in those cold war days back in Berlin, mein liebschen?” Creed is surprised by her appearance, he recognizes her as Leni Zauber. He lets go of Logan and walks towards her; he thinks it’s a trick, that she‘s just impersonating her. But she tells him she’s both, Mystique and Leni.

Wolverine follows after him but is stopped by Birdy. She points a gun at hi, but Logan tells her not to push her luck. Creed studies Mystique’s likeness of Leni, he is amazed at the detail. He wonders how she knew what Leni looked like. She blows smoke in his face and tells him; “Anybody can dress up, but what of the voice, the gestures the attitude? This is no mere masquerade, you see, even as I am Mystique, so am I Leni Zauber!” They are then interrupted by the maitre d’, he tells them that their table is ready and asks if they will be in need of the house cravat? Mystique tells them to call a truce until after dessert, so she can explain things.

(Later on that evening)
Logan asks Birdy what’s a nice girl like her doing working for Sabretooth. She says it’s “better than being dead.” He tells her that, if she let him do his thing, she wouldn’t have to worry about that any more. “I am the best at what I do, if I don’t say so myself.” Birdy doubts him; she’s not convinced of that yet. Creed then tells Mystique to start talking, he has a tight schedule to keep and killing her is at the top of his list. As the waiter opens another bottle of wine, Mystique, (still looking like Leni), starts to explain their history.

(Flashback to Berlin)
Mystique tells them: when they first met, she was half way through a bottle of Dom Perignon. In East Berlin, Sabretooth had just arrived to kill a scientist. He asks her where he is; she tells him that he is lying on the floor dead, she had already killed him. She tells him that she would offer him some of the wine but it’s laced with a complex poison that she spent the last year building up immunity to. She then asks Creed where was the others. Control was supposed to send a complete extraction team. Sabretooth tells her to shut up; as they got the secret state commando’s coming up the stairs. Creed open fires on them and tells her that control must rate her a ‘Ten’ to have only have one extractor on a job like this. Leni is glad they have such high opinion of her talents and tells him that they must think pretty highly of him as well.

As they run down a hallway, Creed says it’s more likely they figured on this being an easy way to get rid of him. An explosion hits the following commandos, as they get in their convertible. She asks if this was the only transport he could find. Something more discreet? As they drive off, with the commando’s firing at them, he tells her that she’s going to appreciate the speed when they hit the Berlin wall. Creed then tells her to put on the body armor that he had stored in the car. “The lead is gonna get awful thick at checkpoint Charlie!” The car crashes thru the checkpoint with the guards firing at them. Creed lets out a yelp as he’s hit. But he tells her, “light stuff, bullets didn’t go through anything I ain’t got two of!” As they drive further into West Berlin, he tells her that his name is Creed. She tells him hers is Leni, and to keep going to unter der linden. She knows the safe house there.

Wolverine tells Mystique that the timeline fits. Sabretooth went on a mission by himself. One that Maverick, Wraith and himself didn’t go. Then Creed went rogue for a month. Logan angrily gets up, knocking over the table he points at Creed “word was that he was shackin’ up with an agent from another agency that he met on the job.” He pops out his claws on his right hand; “Sabretooth has a lot of bad karma to catch up on!” Birdy calmly tells Logan to chill out as she pulls out a grenade, with the pin pulled. Creed then grabs a wine bottle from a waiter and breaks the end of it on a table. Grabs Leni by the coat and pushes her to the wall. He tells her that she hasn’t proven anything; all of what she said was in the debriefing files and all that happened years ago. And she couldn’t be Leni, she still has the same appearance. He and Wolverine has a ‘healing factor’ that slows down their aging, among other things. Mystique tells him its simple; “My morphing powers continually revitalize my body cells and DNA memory. That’s why I can look just like I did all those years ago.”

(Flashback to Berlin safe house)
Creed tells Leni that he likes her this way but she wants to get out. They cannot leave the safe house. “We’re in West Berlin and we can’t go out on the town.” It doesn’t matter to Creed, “So what? I got a loaf o’ brot, a Jug o’ Champagne and you.” She gets up and puts on a dress, “I have to go to the haupt bahnhof, to meet the contact, I’ll bring back bratwurst und brotchen from the trinkehalle and we’ll listen to jazz on the AFN.” After she leaves and walks down the street, the phone rings in the safe house. Creed picks up the phone; it’s the contact. He tells Creed to tell Leni not to go to the meet; it’s a set-up.

Sabretooth rips off the tie and slams Mystique up against the wall. “I know your not the real Leni Zauber, I saw her laid out on the slab down at the morgue, after the polizei dragged her out of the canal!” She tells him that’s correct, that it was the real Leni they pulled out of the canal, but he never met her. She was a bean counter from the accounting department, a convenient way for her to disappear. Wolverine gets fed up with all of this. He rips off the suit he was wearing, revealing his X-Men uniform. Birdy asks if he’s forgetting about the grenade? Logan asks her if she isn’t forgetting to keep her voice down. He sticks one of his claws in the pinhole of the grenade, especially since the French word for grenade is grenade.

The crowd in the restaurant panics. Logan comments that it won’t do them any good to tell them that his claw is taking place of the pin, at least until he shoves it down somebody’s throat. Sabretooth looks at him, tells him it’s overkill; he’s already got one inside of him. Creed tells them that if he doesn’t kill Mystique, he’s going to be all over Paris. “So there ain’t nothing’ you can do or say that can stop me.” He lifts her off the ground by the throat. Leni/Mystique asks him; “Really? What about our son?” This is a shock to Creed. At that moment, the police arrive. Birdy tells Creed that she’ll handle it and they run past them. She used her powers to make them invisible to the police.

Sabretooth pulls Leni/Mystique close to his face. “Now, what’s this about a son, Leni or Mystique, or whoever you are! Is he a…” Before he could finish she answers him; “A mutant? No. He’s totally unexceptional and rather boring.” Logan is surprised by this revelation as well. He points his claw with the grenade stuck on it at her and wonders were he’s been all this time. She grabs the grenade; “I gave him up right after he was born.” She then threatens to blow up all of them. Sabretooth, still holding her by the throat, tells her; “Girl, you ain’t got the guts!” She drops the grenade and holds up a photo of her son; “I’ve got nothing to lose! Who do you think set this all up? Who hates the both of us this much? It’s our darling baby boy!” The grenade hits the ground and the handle pops off. “He’s finally getting his revenge!”

Wolverine dives for the ice bucket and covers the grenade with it. As it goes off, Sabretooth grabs Birdy and crashes through the window of the restaurant. As they fall to the ground, he tells her that they got a plane to catch. Wolverine slowly gets up as Mystique looks out of the broken window Sabretooth jumped out of. He picks up the picture of her son and asks her if it’s her kid. She says that it is. Logan recognizes him; “Maybe he could’ve used a little love from his mom?” She grabs the picture; “You don’t know anything!” He looks at her for a moment, then leaves her; “I know one thing. I know I don’t like you.”

(On a plane heading back to the US)
Creed is unsure if he buys any of it. “That little pencil necked geek is her snapshot is supposed to by my son?” But it doesn’t mean anything anyhow, unless he can track down Tribune before the bomb in his chest goes off. Birdy has an idea to find him, by going inside Creed’s head. He tells her to do it. She sees the meeting with Tribune, she sees him punch some buttons on the console and then watches Tribune talk to Ellie. Birdy recognizes the skyline on the monitor; it’s New York City. She looks around the room in Creeds memory; she notices a plaque on the wall and it has a company name on it.

As Creed relaxes with a cigar, Birdy tells him where Tribune has his headquarters. The Gee Cee Group of investment Bankers. As soon as she can get to a computer, she can break into his security system. “And then you have him, Mister Creed. Hook, line, and sinker.”

Characters Involved: 


Mystique / Leni Zauber


Story Notes: 

Maverick (David North), John Wraith, Wolverine and Sabretooth were all members of Weapon X.

AFN is an acronym for Armed Forces Network.

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