This run of comics are so fucking exhausting to read. Also the shit that happens is so twisted and absurd that I had to add more panel caps to this one because I just straight up feel like people would say I was lying about what happened otherwise.
So Wolverine lobotomizes Sabretooth, possibly unintentionally, when Sabretooth goads him into attempting to kill him. What happens after that?
- Sabretooth is rendered non-verbal, with the apparent intellect of a child or animal
- The X-men convert Sabretooth’s prison into a virtual jungle, where he naps in the grass and plays with butterflies like a cat.
- Tabitha Smith, aka Boomer (later Boom-Boom) is the only one to take pity on or show interest in the now-docile Sabretooth while everyone else regards him with a mix of contempt and suspicion. Every time Tabitha suggests Sabretooth might be different now, or worthy of any kind of positive emotion someone yells at her about how wrong and stupid she is.
- Caliban breaks in and attempts to murder Sabretooth, who doesn’t fight back at all. Cable convinces Caliban not to kill him, but Caliban promises to kill him when he’s not helpless.
- Tabitha feeds Sabretooth (like an animal), provides physical affection, spends time with him, and talks with him. Cable tells her to stop, but she continues in secret.
- Wolverine smells that Tabitha has been close to Sabretooth, and he breaks into her room and night while she is sleeping, and looms over her while mostly naked. He threatens her with his claws, and tells her that someday he’s going to kill Sabretooth.
- The X-men put Sabretooth on a literal actual chain leash and walk him around the yard like a dog. Wolverine threatens him again.
- Sabretooth starts to heal and is able to talk again. He tells Tabitha that he never lived in the jungle and wants to know why they’ve made the prison they have him in jungle themed. She plays around with the danger room settings, and changes the area to reflect the outside of the institute. She and Sabretooth go for a walk, but he gets upset when Wolverine appears (either the real one or a danger room hologram, it’s not made clear.)
- The X-men dress Sabretooth in his uniform, and perform medical tests on him in their laboratory. They determine that the massive brain trauma he experienced is healing but the lobotomy might or might not be permanent.
- Tabitha gets nervous when she sees Sabretooth chasing bunny rabbits in his simulated jungle.
- Gambit torments Sabretooth with (probably fake) simulated holograms of people he has killed. He surrounds Sabretooth with taunting phantoms until Sabretooth lashes out at one of them, and then tells him he wants Sabretooth to remember. He accuses Sabretooth of murdering Birdie (which is verifiably untrue) and gets mad when Sabretooth attacks him over it. Gambit starts choking him and telling him he’s not allowed to forget any of it.
- Subsequent to the incident with Gambit where Sabretooth got upset and attacked him after being taunted, Storm locks Sabretooth in a tiny barred cage.
- Beast talks to Xavier, tells him that he feels Sabretooth is basically pure evil and that the problem is more simple than he thinks, possibly suggesting that Sabretooth should be killed.
- Tabitha’s teammates stage a literal Intervention on her, in a issue of X-Force titled ‘Intervention’. They insist that she has a “problem” and she has to “own up.” “take responsibility or face the consequences”. The problem they’re doing the intervention for is literally treating sabretooth like a human being and thinking he’s worth a second chance. She points out that a lot of them have done evil things and gotten second chances, but everyone insists that she’s an idiot for not seeing that it’s somehow completely different. They tell her if she doesn’t do what they want and never go near Sabretooth again that they will completely cut ties with her and chuck her off the team.
I honestly have a hard time wrapping my head around any of this. The intervention kind of broke my brain. The absolute certainty that everyone has that Sabretooth is completely evil and doesn’t deserve even a drop of pity is astounding. Even more astounding is the disgusting and condescending way that everyone treats Tabitha for even thinking for a moment that Sabretooth is worth pity or compassion.
Wolervine’s night time visit to threaten Tabitha while he’s mostly naked is nothing short of fucked up.
Also walking Sabretooth on a literal leash like an animal is just what the fuck. From the perspective of fiction what were the authors thinking here? I genuinely don’t know how this read in 1995 but it seems messed up to me on just such a basic level.