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Feb 15

Wolverine #43 annotations

Posted on Thursday, February 15, 2024 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

WOLVERINE vol 7 #43
“Sabretooth War, part 3”
Writers: Victor LaValle & Benjamin Percy
Artist: Geoff Shaw
Colour artist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Cory Petit
Editor: Mark Basso

COVER / PAGE 1. Sabretooth and Wolverine in their Team X days.

PAGES 2-3. Flashback: Team X on a mission in Nicaragua.

Specifically, Sabretooth, Wolverine and Maverick (the other Team X member who shows up regularly in this book). So far as we can tell at this stage, this is just Sabretooth nostalgically recalling a random mission – with somewhat meta comments about nostalgia, this being a strand of continuity that dates back to the 1990s. The main point is really that Sabretooth looks back on these days fondly, which ties to the idea later that he wants to bring Wolverine back to this sort of persona too. In the next scene, Sabretooth seems to suggest that his team of alt-Creeds is also an attempt to recapture his sense of belonging from these days.

PAGES 4-5. Camo and Savage Sabretooths argue with Creed.

This calls back to the similar sparring scene in issue #41. The two remaining alt-Sabretooths – well, the two remaining ones with heads – are entirely correct to say that Sabretooth has led them to disaster because of his pointless obsession with Wolverine. They specifically warned him last issue that he was inviting trouble by toying with Wolverine instead of just killing him, and he ignored them.

Interestingly, neither of these alt-Sabretooths seem to share Sabretooth-Prime’s obsession with Wolverine. It’s not just that he isn’t their Wolverine – they don’t seem to understand why Creed is directing his resources at one man, and regard this vendetta as a waste of their time.

Laura was apparently captured during the raid last issue, something which wasn’t very clear (probably because the story was trying to tease that she might be dead).

“We never shoulda helped you get those unbreakable bones back!” Sabretooth has gone back and forth over the years in terms of whether he’s had his own adamantium skeleton. Apparently he wasn’t given it back when he was resurrected on Krakoa in advance of House of X, but he’s picked it up again from an alternate Weapon X somewhere between Sabretooth & The Exiles and Wolverine #41.

PAGE 6. Recap and credits.

PAGES 7-10. Sabretooth consults Quentin Quire.

“Miami, years ago.” Another brief nostalgic flashback by Sabretooth to a generic mission. Again, the details don’t seem to be important; it’s probably meant to be a riff on Miami Vice.

Quentin Quire was killed by the Sabretooth Army in issue #41. This scene confirms that he was inside the lantern-thing that Sabretooth used to zap Sage and Black Tom Cassidy before attacking the Greenhouse later in the issue – which was always fairly obvious. According to Sabretooth, this is technology he stole from Orchis. Quentin is apparently compelled to co-operate with Sabretooth, but able to act autonomously to some degree. (He’s clearly sending a psychic distress call on page 10, which is what alerts the Exiles.)

The image of Wolverine that he shows us on page 8 panel 3 is Wolverine’s only present-day appearance in the story. His hands have grown back, which is nice to see.

PAGE 11. Oya receives Quentin’s signal.

The Maroon is the ship where the Exiles and assorted rescued mutants were hanging out after the end of Sabretooth & The Exiles. Evidently they avoided being marched through the gates during X-Men: Hellfire Gala 2023 because they were off at sea. As set up in that book, they were basically a Morlock-like community who had dropped out of Krakoa.

Oya and Quentin were a couple for a time in Wolverine and the X-Men – see e.g. issue #35. That’s presumably why it’s her who responds to his message, though his recent love interest has been Phoebe of the Stepford Cuckoos. (Of course, maybe she’s picking up the signal too.)

The flashback in panel 2 is to Quentin’s death, as seen in issue #41.

PAGE 12. Oya asks Third Eye for advice.

Third Eye is a psychic (with apparently occult aspects) who was introduced in LaValle’s Sabretooth mini.

PAGES 13-14. Oya and Third Eye persuade Nekra to help.

Nekra was clearly trying to assert herself as leader at the end of Sabretooth & The Exiles, and she seems to be at least viewed as a first among equals here.

“We chased him across dozens of universes, gave up on finding him.” Presumably during the gap between Sabretooth & The Exiles #5 and Wolverine #41.

Technically, the flashback in panel 2 page 14 is original.

“And you’re the one who said there was more to me than rage. That I was capable of love.” Sabretooth & The Exiles #1. (“Nekra, I know here’s more to you than just anger. All true revolutionaries are driven by love.”)

“We’re doing what they failed to pull off on Krakoa. No prisons. No mutant condemned…” A key theme of Sabretooth was the Pit as a prison.

PAGES 15-18. Laura taunts the alt-Sabretooths.

Your token bit of ultra-violence for this issue, though she does tell us that the “Essence of Leech” (clearly adapted from the power-draining mutant) will wear off quickly. So she’ll heal. In fact, Savage Sabretooth says so in terms. Ultimately, Laura does achieve her goal of provoking the alt-Sabretooths into rebellion.

“I used to think I was a clone.” Laura was originally meant to be a clone of Wolverine, despite the fairly obvious point that they aren’t identical; she was eventually retconned into being his genetic daughter (her genetic mother being the scientist who created her).

Graydon Creed. Creed’s hunting of alt-Sabretooths was a central plot point of Sabretooth & The Exiles. He was indeed bundled through a portal at the end of the series.

PAGES 19-20. Nekra discusses the situation with the other Exiles.

Specifically, she gathers the three characters who were sent to the Pit with her in LaValle’s first Sabretooth mini – Oya, Third Eye and Melter – and the Toad, who was sent to the Pit separately but joined the cast in Sabretooth & The Exiles. The other prisoner from Sabretooth, Madison Jeffries, is now integrated into the Maroon itself.

Oddly, there’s no mention here of Nanny and the Orphan-Maker, who were also sent to the Pit, and also appeared as Exiles in Sabretooth & The Exiles. Presumably they’re just viewed as too far removed in tone.

“Doug Ramsey gave this Killing Seed to me when we escaped the Pit… he told me to use it on Sabretooth when we had the chance.” Sabretooth #5. According to Cypher, it “won’t kill him” but “He’ll wish that’s all it did”.

PAGE 21. Sabretooth continues to reminisce.

This is the interpretation of Sabretooth where he believes that Wolverine will be happier once he embraces a life of savagery alongside him – a reading that shows up from time to time over the years.

PAGE 22. Quentin “talks in his sleep”.

Sabretooth thinks that Quentin is giving out information that he doesn’t mean to. But we know Quentin has some degree of autonomy, so maybe it’s a trick.

PAGE 23. Trailers. The Krakoan reads INTERROGATION.


Bring on the comments

  1. Michael says:

    I’m not sure that I like the idea that Sabretooth got his tech from Orchis, which was experimenting with ways to make use of mutant components. That sounds too similar to Sinister’s modus operandi- it might have been easier to say that Sabretooth got the tech from Sinister’s labs. (Although to be fair, we saw Stasis experimenting with similar things with non-mutant supers- for example, adapting Electro’s powers into a gun. Presumably, it would be easy to adapt Stasis’s tech to work on mutants.)
    I’m also not linking that the power-neutralizing gas that the Sabreteeth got from Orchis is Essence of Leech. Every other time in Fall of X Orchis has needed to neutralize mutant powers, they’ve used Blightswill.
    It’s not clear that Madison Jeffries IS integrated into the Maroon. We last saw him seemingly die in Sabretooth and the Exiles 4, and now the Maroon has an AI. The best guess would be that he’s the AI but we don’t know that for sure.
    Nanny and the Orphan Maker left the Exiles and took off with mutant babies in Sabretooth and the Exiles 5. We don’t know what happened to them. For all we know, they’re in the White Hot Room.

  2. Si says:

    I like that cover. It’s a typical 90s layout, but drawn in a more grounded, modern style. That’s actually quite clever of Geoff Shaw.

  3. JD says:

    Well, this certainly felt like a LaValle issue, which comes as a relief after the initial nonsense.

    I’m still not sure how the storyline as a whole will gel together (the style clash is blatant), but at least it looks like may half the issues will be readable.

  4. MasterMahan says:

    Technically this Laura is a clone – of Talon, the original Laura. But I can see why Laura wouldn’t want to think about that – she has the memories of plenty of clone angst and Krakoa has been very set on insisting the resurrected are the same person.

    Similarly, she never thought she was a clone, she just has memories of thinking she was a clone and then finding out otherwise.

    So she’s in denial, but it’s understandable and everyone in her life, including original Laura, seem content to not push.

  5. JD says:

    @Si : The cover is by Leinil Yu, not interior artist Geoff Shaw.

  6. Si says:

    I knew I was taking a gamble with the name.

  7. Michael says:

    @MasterMahan- I have a feeling that at the end of the Krakoajn Age we’ll learn that Talon and Laura are two fragments of the same soul and they’ll be remerged, or something along those lines.

  8. Mike Loughlin says:

    @JD: agreed that this issue felt more like LaValle was the lead writer, and I was actually relieved when the Exiles showed up. Give me more misfit mutants, minus mutilation!
    I liked that we got back into Sabretooth’s twisted mindset without constant violence, although I miss the social commentary. Hopefully, Nekra and company will play a major role in solving this nonsense.

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