I will have a LOT more to say about this later, but lets start breaking down some of the elements of Sabretooth’s ‘locked in a basement’ arc, specifically from an out-of-universe “Doyleist” point of view.
This plot which I will refer from now on as the ‘basement arc’, is started by Larry Hama in the 1993 Sabretooth miniseries and continued in the mainline X-books starting in X-Men Unlimited #3 by Fabian Nicieza.
Here’s a little bit of what happens in the Sabretooth miniseries, and then in X-Men Unlimited #3.
- Sabretooth is explained to have an uncontrollable urge to kill due to immense psychological pain.
- psychological pain that is explicitly and textually due to extreme mental abuse and trauma both in childhood and as an adult soldier/science experiment.
- Sabretooth has been unambiguously, textually self-medicating in the form of employing psychics to sooth his trauma and quell his uncontrollable violent urges.
- The narrative explicitly treats this in a 90s and judgemental way like a drug addition.
- The line is drawn explicitly between the two ideas when Sabretooth temporarily uses actual psychoactives in order to sooth when no psychic is available. That’s text.
- So according to the narrative, Sabretooth is a PTSD riddled abuse victim who is coping with his violent urges through self-medication.
- which the narrative then judges him for as if he were using heroin.
- as if, even if employing a psychic to sooth his mental trauma was like being a heroin addict
- and is if, as a psychotic victim of trauma, using medication wouldn’t be better than murdering people?
- So basically this whole arc is a sanctimonious ‘the only moral treatment is therapy and medication is immoral weakness’ plot.