Sabretooth (3rd series) #2

Issue Date: 
May 2022
Story Title: 
Know Your Enemy

Victor LaVelle (writer), Leonard Kirk (artist), Rain Beredo (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Cory Petit (letterer & production), Tom Muller (designer), Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer & Frank Martin (cover artists), Dustin Weaver (variant cover artist), Lauren Amaro (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Nekra, Oya, Madison Jeffries, Third-Eye and Melter are all sentenced for breaking Krakoa's laws, and find themselves trapped in the mysterious Pit, which Sabretooth has transformed into his own living hell, where he is the king. They run from Sabretooth and his hellish landscape, while Oya laments to Jeffries that this was not what Xavier promised. Melter asks Nekra why the Professor would do this, but Nekra isn't sure, either, and wonders if Xavier doesn't know what's going on here. Third-Eye uses his powers to try and understand what is going on here, while Oya and Jeffriies fight back against Sabretooth. Nekra joins in, before Third-Eye appears, seeking the truth, he has discovered that the Pit is actually an underground part of Krakoa where he, Sabretooth and the others are being held in some sort of stasis, and what is happening to them now, in Sabretooth's hell, is merely happening in their minds. Third-Eye reaches out further, and makes contact with Mole, who was in the middle of a nightmare about Sabretooth. Third-Eye informs Mole that Sabretooth is trying to kill him and the otheres in the Pit, so Mole sets about trying to find someone on Krakoa who will listen to him, but everyone he finds is too busy to speak to him. The mutants trapped in the Pit find themselves trapped in a prison cell, where Melter reveals he was sentenced here for simply practising his powers against some rocks on Krakoa. The others  discuss their situation, and wonder how long they will be imprisoned against their wishes. Sabretooth has another plan though, and tells the others that Satan recruited five angels to revolt against God – and he wants to make the gods on Krakoa pay.

Full Summary: 

The Grove, where Charles Xavier stands before give mutants who are shackled and chained together. 'Each of you has broken the mutant laws. So here we are' Xavier tells them, while Magneto sits nearby. 'Not all of us' Cypher points out, while motioning to the empty seats usually occupied by the other Quiet Council members. Magneto looks over to Cypher, who sits next to the manifestation of Krakoa and tells him that the Council voted on the mutant laws, and that on this, there was no disagreement. He adds that in many courts there are only one judge, and at least here, there are two. Xavier thanks Magneto, while an unimpressed Cypher frowns, folds his arms and reminds Xavier that he said there would be no prisoners here. Xavier looks up at Cypher and tells him that he thought living in this paradise would do away with such a need, and he believed that every mutant would cherish this dream as much as he. 'What's done in the dark will come to light' Magneto calls out.

'Long ago, I nearly overthrew the United States government. They abused their power, and we rose up against them!' the fair-skinned Nekra snaps as she steps out of the shadows, chained by the shackles. Xavier stands in front of Nekra, hands behind his back, he tells Nekra that he understands why she hates them, but that by bringing her rage to Krakoa, she has only condemned herself. 'And her' Xavier adds as he turns to Idie Okonkwo a.k.a. Oya, who nervously glances sideways and declares that she makes her own choices, and that she would do the same again. 'I've felt just as sure of my choices in the past. I wasn't always right' Xavier frowns in response. Magneto stands up and tells the mutants to say whateverthey like, but their laws were not kept a secret. 'The idea that anyone on this island can't follow them is frustrating'. He announces that he suggested they toss them all into a volcano, but that Charles said that would be spiteful. 'I suppose I agree' Magneto mutters.

Xavier looks at Madison Jeffries as he remarks that he told Magneto they would not be so punitive, and that instead, his hope is that each of them simply needs time to reflect on how important it is that they think and act as one. Melter a.k.a. Christopher Colchiss listens as Xavier states that all he can do is assure them that they will not be hurt in the Pit, and that they should think of it as a very dramatic “time-out”. The mysterious Third Eye shows no emotion as Xavier tells them that if there is to be no prison on Krakoa, then at least there will be no torture, no pain. Magneto raises his hand: 'Douglas, if you would' he asks Cypher, who communicates with Krakoa, and the ground in the center of the Grove opens up, and Krakoan vines rise up to snare the “prisoners”.

'He's too fast!' Madison Jeffries shouts as he and Oya run over the ground that begins to break up around them, molten lava beneath them. 'Don't think, just run!' Oya tells Jeffries as she follows him. 'Run where? It's an endless wasteland' Jeffries replies, adding that he can't even use his power here. 'No, but I can' Oya remarks. They reach some safer ground and turn to look behind them. 'This is hell, isn't it?' Oya asks. 'Sure looks like it' Jeffries replies. 'I always thought, deep down, this is where I'd end up' Oya reveals. Jeffries looks over at her and reminds her that this is not what Xavier promised. 'Maybe he lied so we wouldn't put up a fight' Oya suggests. Jeffries tells her that Xavier has his faults, but that he wouldn't do that. He adds that all five of them combined wouldn't be much of a fight against him. 'I don't know if we'll have time to figure out the answer. He's here' Oya remarks as she readies her powers, one hand glows with fire, the other encased in ice.

Nearby, on the edge of the lava, an enormous skull is embedded into the rock, its large mouth gaping open. Nekra and Melter climb up the skull, with Melter trailing behind Nekra, he tells her that he won't make it up there. 'Higher ground gives us better perspective' Nekra calls back. 'Lady, I'm not refusing, I'm slipping' Melter calls back. Nekra then turns around and grabs him by his wrist: 'The angrier I get, the stronger I get. And you're already getting on my nerves' she snarls at him, before tossing him upwards onto the top of the skull rock. 'Hey!' Melter calls out, surprised. Nekra reaches the top: 'You'll have to do better when he finally catches up to us' she tells Melter, who asks why the Professor would do this to them. Nekra admits that she has been wondering that herself. 'He's self-righteous, but he's not a sadist' she adds, supposing that leaves another possibility – something worse. 'What could be worse?' Melter asks. 'That Xavier doesn't know' Nekra explains.

Third Eye, a man wearing a green suit, stands at an elaborate throne and wonders what this place is, what “the Pit” is. He closes his eyes and sees Krakoan vines. He then extends his arms out and energy glows around them. 'Fear is a noose that binds until it strangles' he utters, before opening his eyes and announcing 'I see'.

Up on a balcony nearby, versions of Sabretooth are watching. 'That one isn't fooled' a Sabretooth wearing a suit called “The Captain” remarks. 'Don't matter' a young, child version of Sabretooth with pie smudged around his mouth begins. '...he's food' the Sabretooth known as “The Beast” snarls. A cat sits with them, its eyes glowing red. 'Something happening?' one of the Sabretooths then asks.

Back down below, Oya informs Jeffries that Wolverine told her stories about Sabretooth, but nothing ever like this. Jeffries stares at thre King Sabretooth version that looms vefore him. 'If you make it this easy, it won't be any fun' King Sabretooth grins. Jeffries remarks that human beings have produced more than eight billions tons of plastic over the last seventy years, and only ten percent has been recycled, while the rest breaks down in lakes, rivers, oceans and, eventually, contaminates their food and water. 'These microplastics are inside each of us. Millions of them' he explains. 'Which means, with my power to transmute inorganic material...I can make it much harder, if you like' he smirks. King Sabretooth then roars as plastic spikes explode through his body, courtesy of Madison Jeffries. 'If you want a fight, Satan, we will oblige!' Oya calls out as she unleashes fire and ice at Sabretooth, blasting him backwards.

'Leave something for us!' Nekra exclaims as she and Melter rush to join in on the action. 'What you're doing to us isn't right!' Melter protests as blasts his energy at Sabretooth and melts off part of his arm. 'I like it better up close' Nekra snaps as she punches Sabretooth hard in the face. Sabretooth falls to the ground, spikes sticking out of him, covered in ice, bloodied and armless. 'Yeah, that's much better' he utters. 'I will fight you for a thousand years!' Nekra boasts as she leaps toward Sabretooth and lands on him 'I can last a lot longer than that' Sabretooth smiles, when suddenly, 'Are you going to tell them or should I?' Third Eye asks as he arrives on scene. Everyone turns to look at Third Eye as he remarks that the quicker they get the truth, the better. 'Who is this guy, Black Columbo?' Sabretooth asks. 'Fine. I'll do it myself. And I prefer Easy Rawlins' Third Eye responds as energy glows around his fists.

Suddenly, the landscape has changed. The real Pit appears. A series of vines hang from the underground, latched to Sabretooth, Nekra, Jeffries, Melter, Oya and Third Eye, suspending them and keeping them in this alternate dream state. It's illusion, and Third Eye is hoping that the others will want to learn the truth – although, in his experience, many people prefer the comforting lie. Third Eye wants to let someone know they are here – someone beside the Professor and Magneto. But he knows that he cannot just float out of his body, as it is easy to get lose – he needs a heading, a port of strong feeling – rage, joy or fear. He decides that fear works best, as it is bright and loud. His spirit floats up through the Pit, and appears in the quarters of one of the residents of Krakoa. Third Eye detects that the fear in here is strong, that it almost has a scent to it – one he recognizes from the Pit – Sabretooth's smell. The resident of this room is asleep. Third Eye enters their dream – or rather, nightmare. It's also a memory. Third Eye finds his spirit in the old Morlock Tunnels, where Sabretooth looms over the Morlock called Mole. 'Yo, chump, if there's one thing I can't stand – it's a crybaby' Sabretooth says.

Suddenly, Mole wakes up with a gasp, and sees the spirit of Third Eye floating at the end of his bed. 'So, who the hell are you?' Mole asks. 'I'm a man who needs your help' Third Eye responds. 'I don't know you. Why would I help you?' Mole remarks. 'Because you know the man who's hurting us. Same one who tried to kill you in that sewer' Third Eye explains. 'Yeah, I know that piece of $#&%' Mole responds.

Soon, Mole shuffles about at the Green Lagoon, where tells himself that he can have a drink after he gets the word out. He wonders who he is going to tell, especially if it is the two top dogs that threw the mutants down into the Pit. Suddenly, Mole isn't watching where he is going, and he shuffles into a figure much larger than him. 'He! I'm walking here!' Mole exclaims as he looks up and sees Apocalypse looming over him. 'I gotta talk to you' Mole quickly tells Apocalypse, who looks down at Mole and tells him that it will have to wait. 'I'm not inviting you to a tea party! This is important!' Mole exclaims. 'More imporant than the high lords? I doubt this' Apocalypse responds before he turns and walks away. 'High Lords? I got your High Lords right here, swinging!' Mole shouts back after Apocalypse.

He tries Storm, but as he attempts to get her attention, Storm looks over him and calls him “dear one” and tells him that she must hurry to the council chambers. He then tries Wolverine, who he thinks is always willing to help, but Wolverine tells him that he has to have a talk with a tree. He even tries to flag down an old rival, Archangel, but Archangel flies above Krakoa and doesn't notice Mole. 'Even on Krakoa some things don't change' Mole thinks to himself before deciding that he will handle this himself.

Back inside the Pit, or more specifically, the illusion that the mutants trapped in the Pit find themselves in – a place called Krakoa State Penitentiary. The prison is on fire as the warden steps out of his office – Charles Xavier is the warden. 'Well, whaddya think? Is this better?' he asks as he passes several empty cells before stopping at one where Sabretooth, Nekra, Jeffries, Oya, Melter and Third Eye are imprisoned, all wearing orange jumpsuits. 'It's more honest. But whhy is it only Xavier? Magneto condemned us too' Nekra exclaims. 'It's not as much of a shock when a bad guy does something bad, is it?' Sabretooth asks. 'I thought he was supposed to be all noble now' Oya points out. 'Fine!' Sabretooth exclaims, when suddenly, Magneto appears alongside Xavier. 'One of them or both of them, that's not the point, is it?' Melter asks. 'We're here because we broke the sacred laws'. 'Keep licking those boots' Sabretooth smirks. 'It was a mistake' Melter utters, hanging his head. 'What was?' Oya asks, looking at him.

'I was practicing that's all' Melter explains, while recalling being on the surface of Krakoa. He remarks that it can be such hard concept to keep in mind all the time. 'A tree is Krakoa? Okay. The dirt? Fine. A boulder, too?' Melter asks, recalling how he wanted to practice his powers, as they still get away from him. He unleashed his energies against a boulder, destroying it. He quotes the law he broke: “Protect this sacred land” and utters 'It was just a mistake'. Oya looks at Melter and asks him if that is true – he was sent here just for that. Melter just hangs his head.

Sabretooth asks Nekra if her case was a mistake too – but Nekra declares that she meant to murder those men. 'I'm starting to like you' Sabretooth smiles. 'You actually think that's a compliment' Nekra remarks. Jeffries sits on one of the bunks in the cell and announces that he doesn't care what got them here – as the real question is, what they do now. Oya reminds everyone that the Professor said that they just needed time to reflect. She wonders how long it has been so far, and supposes that perhaps Xavier is ready to let them go. Sabretooth tells Oya that she is too innocent for this place, but that innocence won't save her from incarceration. Sabretooth turns and looks at all of his fellow inmates and asks them if they know what Xavier said to him when he was sent down here – he still remembers every word: 'Stasis... deep inside Krakoa. Alive but immobile. Aware but unable to act on it. And for how long? Forever. For that is how long mutant justice lasts'. 

'At first I was going to spend all that time taking it out on the five of you. Putting you through hell for the fun of it. But you're not the ones who did this to me. You're not the ones I hate' Sabretooth remarks, before smirking as he announces that he has a different plan now: 'A lotta people think i'm too stupid to plan and scheme. It's the last thing they think before I gut them'. Sabretooth claims that Satan recruited five angels in his revolt against God, and thinks that they get free from here and make the gods up on Krakoa pay....

Characters Involved: 


Madison Jeffries, Melter, Nekra, Oya, Third Eye


Apocalypse, Magneto, Storm, Professor X (all Quiet Council)
Archangel, Blob, Cypher, Wolverine

(in Mole's nightmare)

(in prison illusion)
Magneto, Xavier

(in Melter's memory)

Story Notes: 

Nekra's attempt to overthrow the United States government took place in the classic Daredevil (1st series) #109-112.

Easy Rawlins is a fictional detective who was created by author Walter Mosley. He appeared in a series of novels from 1990 to 2016 which are set in the 1940s through to the 1960s.

Mole is a Morlock who appeared in X-Factor (1st series) #51-53, where it was suspected he was killed by Sabretooth. He re-appeared in Sabretooth (4th series) #1, where it was suspected he was simply resurrected on Krakoa. However, this issue establishes that Mole was never killed. Mole additionally appears in X-Men Legends (1st series) #11, which takes place chronologically before his first appearance.

This issue includes a text-only page called Logbook: Mole in which Mole talks about his feelings for Opal Tanaka, his friend Chicken Wings, who was also murdered by Sabretooth, and how Mole escaped Sabretooth's attack, by using his own powers to tunnel deep underground.

Given Apocalypse is still appearing on Krakoa, this story must take place before the “X of Swords” event.

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