X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #40

Issue Date: 
February 2003
Story Title: 
<BR>Hunters (1st story)<BR>Animals (2nd story)<BR>Slam (3rd story)

First Story: Steven Grant (writer), David Finch (penciler), John Livesay (inker), Guru eFX (colors)

Second Story: Chuck Austen (writer), Clayton Henry (penciler), Mark Morales (inker), Guru eFX (colors)

Third Story: Nick Betozzi (writer), Dean Haspiel (artist), Jeremy Cox (colors)

Randy Gentile (letterer), C.B. Cebulksi (editor), David Bogart (managing editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

First Story: Somewhere in the Canadian Rockies, Sabretooth finds himself being hunted by two men who have specifically came with the goal of killing him and have designed an elaborate plan to ensure their success. One of the two, a man called Teneber, uses specially designed bullets that explode into fragments, each of them containing a small bomb that explodes when Sabretooth’s flesh heals over it, reopening his wounds. He has also studied Sabretooth’s power and uses them to his advantage. Teneber switches clothes with his partner, and Sabretooth, tracking him by scent, ends up killing the wrong guy. Teneber also uses ultrasound to put Creed in pain. Finally, just as he is about to die, Sabretooth realizes that Teneber hunts an animal, and in order to defeat him, he has to think and act like a man. He shuts off his increased senses, relying on baseline human skills and human logic alone. Feeling one of his wounds heal over again, Sabretooth gets close enough to Teneber to injure him by the explosion as well. He then strips Teneber off his weapon and clothes and leaves him alone in the wilderness, telling him that if he wants to survive, he’ll have to become an animal.

Second Story: Sabretooth is asleep at his campsite in Germany when a woman stumbles upon him. Pleading for food, the beautiful woman is allowed to stay with Sabretooth, though in return demands sex with her. Having not too many options the woman agrees. Wanting to leave Germany Sabretooth arranges for a passage on a freighter to Canada, and during their journey, Sabretooth reveals that he has smelled that she is a mutant and that he too is one. After he reveals his abilities, the woman shows him her own gift, she can change her appearance and goes by the name Mystique. Sabretooth tells her that there are others like them in Canada who he wants to join and fight with them so they can take their place as the new human race. She agrees to join him, but also starts manipulating him, as she pits him against the sailors, claiming that they wanted to blackmail her into having sex with him too. When the freighter arrives in Canada, the crew are all dead, and Mystique and Sabretooth join the other mutants in a bar. Creed makes it pretty clear that he will be the team’s leader, and later that night, when Mystique reveals that she is pregnant, he thinks that it couldn’t get any better. However Mystique drugs him, and tips him off to the military. Now again having full control of her life, Mystique laugh frantically.

Third Story: The unstoppable Juggernaut is in love! How does he decide to approach the object of his affection? By simply composing a poem to his love and read it to her at her poetry slam. However, Mastermind intends to get him back into the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and sends the Toad after him. On the way to the bar to sign up for the poetry slam, Juggernaut works on his poem, trying to perfect it. Yet when he meets MC Ms. Thing, the slam’s host and the object of his affection, Juggernaut begins to stutter and almost fails to fill out the application. Having followed him, the Toad is in disbelief, this is what Juggernaut is up to? Angry for spoiling his day, Toad attacks Juggernaut on stage while he is reading his poem. He manages to trick Juggernaut, who accidentally knocks out himself. However MC Ms. Thing, touched by his feelings for her, comforts him and finishes reading Juggernaut’s poem to the crowd.

Full Summary: 

First Story:

Somewhere in the Canadian Rockies. Sabretooth is a mutant with remarkable powers. He has incredible strength, animal instincts, a healing factor, and bones that are indestructible. He is a killer and hunter by nature. He is making his way across the snow covered mountains unaware that he is caught right between the hairs of a rifle. The shot goes off and the bullet penetrates Sabretooth's skull jerking his head backwards. The impact of the bullet throws him off balance resulting in him helplessly rolling down the mountainside.

One of the hunters, a bespectacled man named Powell, tells his partner Teneber to finish Sabretooth off. Teneber however has other plans. He tells Powell not to be so hungry for the bounty because they will get it. He then questions Powell as to if he knows what separates man from animals and tells him that man hunts for sport, for fun and to relax because they are here to enjoy themselves. Powell insists that he isn't as concerned about the bounty as he is the fact that Sabretooth is extremely dangerous. Teneber replies that Sabretooth is arguably the most magnificent beast on the planet and that killing him will be a pleasure.

Sabretooth hides himself under the cover of snow covered trees. He waits, allowing himself time to recover and orient himself to his surroundings. The hunters had come at him from a distance when they shot him. Although he has been shot many times before, what bothers him now is the fact that they had gotten so close without him even knowing. He should have heard them or picked up their scent, even from the distance they were at, but Creed realizes that they were prepared and had came for the specific reason of hunting him. While now, they are holding back like fools and giving him time to heal not realizing that once he heals himself he will hunt them because that is what his instincts tell him to do.

Sabretooth makes his way to a creek and takes a drink of the cold water as he thinks how he will kill them without planning since planning requires thought and thought is for weaklings. He pauses at the feeling of a pain beginning to occur within him as another shot goes off. He is taken aback with surprise upon discovering that the shot had come from inside him. He lets out a furious scream as a second shot goes off inside of him tearing apart his midsection.

At their campsite Teneber informs Powell that they bullets are specially designed bullets, frangibles that break upon impact. Each fragment is a small bomb with a computer chip. Each time a wound starts to heal, a bomb blows, reopening the wound. Powell questions the bullets and states that Sabretooth's bones are laced with adamantium and they can't hurt him. Teneber admits that while he can't hurt his bones he can turn his muscles into stew meat and once that happens he won't be able to heal himself causing him to bleed to death. Powell asks why they aren't tracking Sabretooth and that he will get away if they don't pursue him. Teneber scoffs at the notion and remarks to Powell that whatever Sabretooth thinks his strengths are, they have neutralized them and he is just another easily preyed upon animal. But, he tells Powell that Sabretooth does still have a huge ego and that is a human failing. He states that he imagines that Sabretooth will soon be hunting them. He then asks Powell if he ever mentioned why he brought him along on the hunt.

Sabretooth has managed to track the two hunters to their campsite. Even though it is night time, Creed is never truly in the dark thanks to heightened sense of vision. It is a gift that allows him to see the subtle living heat that things radiate allowing him to know their moods and what sort of state they are in. He creeps behind a tree and lets his senses feed on the sounds as he reads the hunters' body signatures. The recognizes the one he wants, Teneber, by his scent. The other one, Powell is nothing to him, a weakling. Sabretooth springs into action leaping atop the body of Teneber and viciously slashing the chest of his victim. Sabretooth shockingly finds out that his senses have failed him because it isn't Teneber but Powell. Teneber had switched clothes with Powell and bound and gagged him to use for bait to lure Sabretooth to him.

Teneber steps out from behind Sabretooth and tells him not to be too shocked. He states that he studies his prey and he knows everything about Sabretooth, what he can see and what he can smell. He pulls out a remote device and presses the button and informs Creed that he also knows what he can hear. He continues by telling Sabretooth that he can only imagine how ultrasound must pain him since Teneber can't hear it at all. Sabretooth is obviously in pain and clutching his ears as Teneber informs him that Sabretooth's strengths are also his weaknesses and that he knows how to kill him. He questions Sabretooth as to what is so special about homo superior as he fires a shot into the midsection of his prey. He mockingly remarks that Sabretooth is an animal and he thinks like an animal. He bets that Sabretooth had ever imagined that a mere man could do this to him. As Creed attempts to run away Teneber fires another shot that strikes Sabretooth in the calf as he yelps in pain.

Sabretooth realizes that everything Teneber has told him is true. The shot to the leg has taken a lot out of him and he loses his balance and tumbles down into the snow. He is being toyed with as Teneber takes him apart. His power seems to be nothing and Sabretooth understands that not only has he lived like an animal but also that he will die like one. He comes to a stop near the bottom of a hill to find himself once again surrounded by a cover of bush and tree limbs. He examines his wounds and thinks how the nearness of death doesn't bother him, pain and death are always near him. However, the humiliation is another thing all together. His senses and power are useless and his instincts have failed him. Even his body has betrayed him since every time it attempts to heal itself it just triggers a noise that will lead Teneber to him. Sabretooth thinks that no mutant or animal has done this to him, just a man. If being a mutant and an animal can't help him, what can. He knows that he will die as men do - degraded and alone. His eyes widely open as he says aloud "A man."

Sabretooth thinks about how he hates the word, but comes to fully understand there is hope in it. Teneber hunts an animal, not a man. Most of Teneber's tricks wouldn't phase an ordinary man. Although it goes against his instincts Sabretooth must somehow allow himself to become like man. He wills his night vision to subside just as he quiets his hearing and sense of smell. Where he once saw the approaching figure of Teneber engrossed in his heat signature he now only sees a man walking down the hill. Sabretooth has crippled himself by shutting off his instincts but he has done so to survive, a ruse so desperate and stupid that Teneber would not anticipate it. Teneber closes in, rifle in hand as Sabretooth asks him if this is what the world looks like to him and if so how can he stand it.

Teneber pulls the rifle to his eyeline and tells Sabretooth that he is talking gibberish. He remarks that he is a magnificent brute and he would surely love to mount his head on his trophy wall but it won't happen because Creed will just be lost and forgotten out here, pickings for birds. He informs Sabretooth that one more shot, right through his eye where no bone is there to save him, is all that he needs to finish him off. He targets Sabretooth in his sights and says that his speed and strength are gone and he doesn't even have a weapon. He lines up the perfect shot and prepares to fire it right into the skull of Sabretooth.

Feeling his forehead heal over, Sabretooth replies that the only weapon he has is the one Teneber has given him. The bullet in Sabretooth’s head explodes, sending a fragment of it through Teneber’s shoulder. Teneber applauds his cunning and remarks how clever it was to use his own frangible against him but it is a small victory because he can't miss at this range and Sabretooth is still dead. Sabretooth tells Teneber that he can't miss at this range either and with a quick swipe, his adamantium laced claws make short work of Teneber's rifle as he questions the hunter as to who is weaponless now. Teneber attempts to pull out a pistol from his waist lining but before he can get off a shot Sabretooth swats the weapon away. Teneber screams for Sabretooth not to kill him as he nears himself to the hunter. Only screams and darkness follow.

Somewhat later, Sabretooth demands Teneber to wake up. Shocked and naked, Teneber questions Sabretooth as to why he hasn't killed him. Sabretooth simply tells him that civilization is a couple of hundred miles away and to get started. Teneber asks where his clothes are only to have Sabretooth tell him they are gone. Teneber pleads that he can't survive out here naked. With an evil grin, Sabretooth remarks that a beast can and Teneber should just do what a beast does. He tells Teneber that he should start by smelling his own blood, beasts smell it. Walking away, he states that the beasts will be there soon and he tells the hunter that there is no reason that he can't make it because an animal could, all you have to do is be an animal.

Second Story:

It is night and Sabretooth is asleep at his camp. The fire smolders with the remnants of his meal still slightly remaining heated by the last remaining flames of his camp fire. A person approaches him, thinking how she has lost everything. The person lived in a castle, had more money than God, and had all the sex they could ever want with lovers fighting to share her bed. But now, she has hit rock bottom. Sabretooth senses the smell of someone approaching his camp and turns around to see a beautiful woman dressed in tattered clothing stumbling into his camp. He mentions aloud how God does answer prayers sometimes. The woman thinks how she is about to sink even lower as she stutters while asking Sabretooth if she could trouble him for any food. Sabretooth tells the lady to help herself but he don't know how well he would trust the food since it has been sitting out in the sun all day. The lady pays the thought no mind and hungrily devours the food. Sabretooth warns the lady to slow down because she just may choke and die. He then sneers as he tells her that he ain't a necrophiliac. The lady turns and gives him a startled look to which Sabretooth replies that he bought her dinner and that implies certain things. As the two lay in a moment of passion the lady thinks to herself how fortunate it was for her that she was able to sleep through most of it.

Later on the two sit around a fire where Sabretooth tells her that there is a boat leaving the next day for Canada. He has a buddy that can get them into the hold, and that he hates Germany. He tells her that is assuming she would like to come because he doesn't see a lot of options for here there. They exchange glances and not much later they are boarding a ship where a man is telling Creed to hurry up. Upon seeing the lady, the sailor, Christian, remarks to Sabretooth that he never mentioned anything about hiding two people. Sabretooth pleads with him that there is certainly enough room for two to stow away and offers to work extra for her passage. Christian mulls it over for a moment and replies that there is no sense in Sabretooth killing himself because there are "other" ways to pay for passage as he hungrily eyes the woman. Sabretooth is upset at the notion and strongly states that he will pay for her passage but Christian still insists on the woman working off her own passage. This infuriates Sabretooth and he grabs Christian by his throat and yells that she is with him. Christian has no choice but to agree.

(during the passage)

Lying in Sabretooth's arms as he sleeps, the woman thinks to herself how she has no options or control over her life. After hours she begins to finally fall asleep until Sabretooth greets her good morning. She asks if he was watching her sleep and Sabretooth admits that he was for a few minutes. He states that she was talking and she asks him what she had said. He tells her that it was nothing that she could understand and asks what she is so concerned about. She tries to downplay the situation but he cuts her off by telling her that he knows that she is a mutant as he had smelt it the first time he met her and reveals to the woman that he too is a mutant as well. Obviously shocked by his revelation, she warms up a bit to Sabretooth. He goes on to let her in on the fact that he can do all sorts of weird stuff and he has incredible sense of smell, eyesight off the charts, and he can heal like she wouldn't believe.

She has a sad look on her face and he asks her what she can do. She is hesitant and replies to him that she really doesn't know but he assures her that it is alright and he won't hurt her. She looks down and her complexion begins to turn blue and her once black hair turns red. She tells him that her power is that she can change her appearance which impresses Sabretooth. He asks her what her name is and she tells him that she goes by Mystique and that she didn't know there were more people like her. He tells her that there are many more like them and that is why he is going to Canada. He has learned that there is a group of mutants starting up and he wants to join them and fight with them so they can take over as the new human race, to live safe together without humanity hounding them. Mystique informs him that Christian should be the first one to go. Sabretooth agrees and tells her that as soon as they get to Canada he will take care of him, but Mystique interrupts him and states that Christian is expecting her to join him in his bunk tonight to pay for her passage. Sabretooth is extremely upset and yells at her to stay there. She warns him that Christian will expose them to the captain if she refuses to sleep with him only to have Sabretooth tell her ‘only if he can come back from the dead‘ as he storms out from their hiding spot. Mystique laughs after he has gone and thinks to herself how the hate has now subsided or maybe it has just become more focused because the control is once again hers.

Christian is on deck tending to some work when Sabretooth makes his way and screams out to Christian. Christian yells at him and tells him to get back down below deck before he gets spotted. Sabretooth ferociously growls his teeth and raises a clawed hand as he proceeds to drive it into Christian's chest. Christian lets out a prayer and Sabretooth asks the man that if he is looking for God he will surely send him to him. Christian's lifeless body slumps over the railing and Sabretooth thanks him because he has enjoyed killing him so much. Sabretooth tosses the dead body over sending it splashing into the water below. He hears a loading of a gun and a shot is fired striking him into the shoulder as he screams out in pain. Another worker has spotted him and reloads the rifle, telling Sabretooth that he is one tough son of a... but before he can get the words out Sabretooth leaps out him as the man screams in horror.

(days later)

In a bar in Canada, a TV newscaster is reporting the events of what had happened aboard the ship that was carrying Sabretooth and Mystique. The reporter mentions that there were signs of violence and blood all over the ship but no bodies have been found at this time, though police are still investigating the matter. Three men are sitting at a table and watching the report. One of the men, a bulky green skinned character, states how creepy the grisly event was, almost like the people were attacked by vampires. Another man with massive, furred arms remarks at how vampires are real because he knows a buddy who had... then the third man interrupts with a smart comment about how he always knows a guy. He then starts to yell at the green skinned man, whom he calls Clicker, and tells him that he needs to stop riding him or he'll regret it. Clicker doesn't back down from his threats and questions him on to what exactly he is gonna do.

Just then Sabretooth and Mystique walk through the door and Sabretooth tells them that they need leadership and thankfully he is there to provide it. The large armed man is upset by Sabretooth's remarks and gets in his face and tells him that he is the leader and if he wants to be a part of them... Sabretooth simply reaches his hand up and shoves his clawed hand into the mans face as he lets out a shriek and falls lifeless to the ground. Sabretooth continues to tell the group that he is their to provide them with leadership. The other two men just stare on in disbelief.

(later that night)

Sabretooth and Mystique are once again in bed together. He tells her that he feels like with the other two guys that he believes that they can take on the world. The four of them together have so much power, he continues, that this is just the beginning. They have money, power,... Mystique cuts him off and tells him that she is pregnant. He smiles and says that this day couldn't get any better. He touches her face and she moves closer to him as she tells him that things can always get better. Sabretooth doesn't notice the syringe that she is holding to his neck.

(the next day)

Sabretooth is groggily awakening as he hears voices yell to get him in the truck. He screams out asking what is going on as he is completely unaware of his surroundings and what is going on. One of the soldiers comments that he doesn't trust the cage that has been constructed to restrain Sabretooth but the other soldier commands him to place Creed in the truck now. Sabretooth yells to let him loose and asks what is going on. He then notices a crowd staring at him, among them Mystique disguised as the beautiful woman he had met at the campsite in Germany. He calls out to her but she ignores him as the soldiers prepare to slide him into the truck. Clicker mentions that Sabretooth is the one that killed all those people aboard the boat while onlookers just watch in amazement. Sabretooth begs for Mystique to help him but she pays no attention to him. She thinks about how she had lost everything and sunk as low as she thought she could sink. Yet, there are always options and you can always get it all back...and more as she laughs hysterically.

Third Story:

Juggernaut is standing in a room reciting back some lines of poetry that he has written in his Spider-Man journal. The walls behind him are smashed as if he had walked right through them without noticing, apparently lost in his thoughts. He can't seem to find the correct words to correlate with his feelings so he takes a moment or two to reflect before thinking of exactly how he would like to fill in the missing line. He recites the line and mentions that it is perfect and she will love it. The whole apartment has been smashed and trampled through as result of Juggernaut attempting to construct the perfect poem. He steps up to the mirror and introduces himself, enacting what would happen when he meets his love, as he slips a tie on over his armor. He asks his reflection if it would like to hear a line and begins to recite the poem. He comes to a line that he doesn't feel works properly and, while walking through a wall and falling to the ground below, he revises it. As Juggernaut smashes into the ground, several bystanders are completely baffled and converse on how they just saw a guy dive right into the street.

Up in the apartment, a person is reviewing Juggernaut’s calendar. Every day is marked with some sort of plan to seek his revenge against Charles Xavier and the X-Men. All except for May 17, which is today‘s poetry slam. Mastermind and Toad stare from the hole in the apartment to the street below. Mastermind tells Toad how completely unreliable Juggernaut now is. He goes on to state that they must keep their minds and libidos in check because it is the only way that the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants shall retain their rightful stewardship of the planet. He tells Toad that he must follow Juggernaut and bring him back to the group. Toad replies that he has yoga tonight but Mastermind remarks that while he would do it himself, he has other plans with his lady friend so it is up to Toad. Toad is displeased and utters a nasty remark to Mastermind as he leaps out of the gaping hole.

On the street below, Juggernaut is bringing himself off the ground after his drop. A man on a cellphone yells at Juggernaut and informs him that he lost his signal because of him and his stupid notes. The man then rips a page out of Juggernaut's journal which only serves to infuriate the behemoth. Juggernaut grabs the man by the neck and lifts him up overhead and announces that the man is lucky because he can't have blood or bits of brain on his tie tonight. At the same time Toad is leaping atop of a taxi cab in pursuit of Juggernaut as the driver yells out the window at him angrily remarking to go back to France.

A little bit later, a woman in a dress and wearing glasses asks Juggernaut will be signing up for the poetry slam. Juggernaut is sitting alone at a table surrounded by empty glasses of drink. As he sips the glass in hand and obviously a bit inebriated, he blinks his eyes realizing who is standing in front if him. He smiles as the lady asks if he has a poem he would like to read. Juggernaut stutters before accidentally snapping the woman's clipboard in two. He apologizes to the woman and promises to buy her another one as he once again stutters for words and accidentally tells her that he loves her but recants and says that he would love to buy her a new clipboard.

Outside, the Toad is squatting beside a sign that advertises that poetry slam and questions aloud as to if this is what Juggernaut is up to. Inside a man is reading poetry while Juggernaut frantically scribbles away in his journal. At the door, the bouncer asks Toad if he has a stamp on his hand and it is a five dollar cover. Toad replies that his cover is in his hand and shows his palm to the man which contains some sort of secretion. Quickly Toad launches his feet into the unsuspecting man, knocking him down.

Juggernaut is now on stage and is nervously preparing to recite his poem for the audience. The crowd is yawning as they watch him fumble at his tie and pull out a flower. He begins his recital and the crowd begins laughing. Toad is standing at the bar having a drink and comments on the fact that he refuses to be the only evil mutant who isn't getting lucky tonight. As Juggernaut is reading his poem, Toad spits his tongue out at the lovestruck mutant, enwrapping his mouth with his tongue. He speak with an impediment due to his tongue being wrapped around Juggernaut‘s head and informs him that if he can't have fun tonight than neither can Juggernaut. Juggernaut easily yanks Toad's tongue away and warns him to get out there as he slings Toad sending him bouncing through the bar. He looks directly at MC Ms. Thing and continues with his love poem.

A fellow patron surprisingly tells Ms. Thing that he thinks Juggernaut is in love with her as MC Ms. Thing looks on in disbelief. Juggernaut reaches down to Ms. Thing and offers her the flower. She is startled by the show of affection and questions him if he means her. Just then Toad pounces on top of Juggernaut and grabs on to his helmet. Upset, Juggernaut tells Toad that he warned him and to remember that he asked for this. As Juggernaut goes to punch Toad, who is still atop his head, Toad springs him away taking Juggernaut's helmet with him. Unable to stop the momentum of his punch, Juggernaut is helpless as the attack intended for Toad strikes him instead. Dizzied Juggernaut crashes down in front of MC Ms. Thing and breaking her table.

MC Ms. Thing reaches down and rests Juggernaut's head in her lap as she picks up his journal and reads the rest of his poem. She replies that it is so beautiful as she hugs and unconscious Juggernaut. Toad is sitting at the bar with a woman who asks him how he did that trick with his tongue.

Characters Involved: 

First Story:


Powell and Teneber, two hunters

Second Story:




Two unnamed mutants

Christian, a sailor

unnamed boat hand

Military Officers

Third Story:


Mastermind I, Toad (both Brotherhood of Evil Mutants)

MC Ms. Thing

assorted bystander

Story Notes: 

Second Story:

Writer Chuck Austen later explained that neither he nor the editors of the book knew that the story of the first meeting between Sabretooth and Mystique and her pregnancy with Graydon Creed had already been told in Sabretooth #3-4. Actually Mystique posed as German double agent Leni Zauber and had an affair with Creed while he and Logan were still part of Team X. Her mission accomplished, Mystique left, leaving the dead body of the real Leni Zauber behind to cover for her escape.

Obviously, Mystique’s appearance is meant to take place shortly after events mentioned X-Men Unlimited #4, where it was revealed that she had been the wife of a German count. While giving birth to her son Nightcrawler, she accidentally revealed her true appearance and was chased away by an angry mob.

Third Story:

This humorous story is apparently not meant to be in continuity. The Juggernaut was never a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and the Toad gained the abilities to extend his tongue and secrete liquids only years after Mastermind died.

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