So the basement arc.
When last we left our pal Sabretooth, he was ‘addicted’ to psychic mind touches in order to dull the pain of his extensive trauma and abuse, so that he could stop going around randomly murdering people (and presumably continue murdering people for fun and profit).
In response to this, the X-men locked him in the basement. And when I say locked him in the basement, I mean literally locked him in a cell and put a Hannibal Lecter mask and shackles on him.
Here are some things that happen to, and around Sabretooth while he’s imprisoned.
- Jubilee has a nightmare about Sabretooth murdering everyone, in response to which Jean Grey calls an emergency 2 am meeting where all the X-men talk about how awful and irredeemable Sabretooth is, and how trying to help him is a waste of time.
- Jean Grey then refuses to help Sabretooth with her psychic powers and demands to know if he’s ‘strong’ enough to control himself without help.
- An imprisoned Sabretooth helps fight several of the X-men’s enemies without any kind of coercion. (Against apocalypse-touched Caliban, and Phalanx).
And that’s when the first suicide attempt happens.
And the lobotomy. Yep. The lobotomy.
Wolverine (1988) #90
- Wolverine comes and harasses Sabretooth, who is watching TV, until he responds.
- Sabretooth self harms by repeatedly throwing himself against the electric force field of his cell trying to get to Wolverine
- *Wolverine tells Sabretooth that he wants to kill him, but he won’t, because he promised the X-men.
- Wolverine comes back down to try to get Sabretooth to put back on the mask and shackles while in his own cell.
- Wolverine tells Sabretooth that his abusive parents “were right” to lock him up in the basement as a child.
- A maddened Sabretooth tries to get Wolverine to kill him. He escalates threats until Wolverine declares that he’s crossed the line.
- Wolverine gets his claws under Sabretooth’s chin, but hesitates.
- Sabretooth successfully taunts Wolverine into popping his claws, right into Sabretooth’s brain.
And it turns out that this action, rather than killing him, lobotomizes him. Reduces him to a peaceful, childlike, animal state.
You’d think that would make people stop keeping him locked up, saying its not worth helping him, and labeling him nothing but a threat.
Nope. It gets even worse.