There isn't a more popular mutant in the world than Wolverine. However, while a lot of people love Wolverine, there are also a ton of reasons that people don't like him, mostly due to overexposure, which has caused some fans to start to break down what is wrong with Logan rather than praise him lately. When the cross-event storyline AXIS ended in the pages of Marvel Comics, Sabretooth was allowed to deliver the final monologue about the changes following the inversions and actually said he wanted to find in himself the "spirit of the Wolverine." With that said, there are some who believe that Sabretooth is a better Wolverine than Logan could ever be, and there are a surprising amount of reasons why.
While things changed in the pages of Marvel Comics immediately following the tale of Logan going feral, the original writing of the two mutants proved time and time again that Sabretooth was the dominant fighter of the rivals. For the first 20 years of their existence, Wolverine never once beat Sabretooth. In an interview with creator Chris Claremont, the writer explained: "in their whole life, Logan has never defeated Sabretooth in a knock-down, drag-out, kill-or-be-killed berserker fight." With that in mind, here are 15 things that make Sabretooth a better Wolverine than Logan.
15 THE ANNUAL BIRTHDAY BEATDOWN
In that same Chris Claremont interview, the X-Men legend said that one of the most significant things about Sabretooth's relationship with Wolverine is that he was always there to celebrate Logan's birthday with him. Of course, for Sabretooth that meant hunting down Wolverine every year on his birthday and finding him -- no matter where Logan was at the time -- and attacking him, only stopping an inch from killing him.
According to Claremont, Sabretooth just did this to remind Logan that "he could."
Claremont explained that the basis of his "incarnation" of Sabretooth was a father and son styled relationship. While time proved that the two enemies were not a literal father and son, instead it meant that Sabretooth was the "original" and the "real deal" and that Logan was just... seconds. Wolverine Vol. 1 #10 is a perfect place to see what this is all about, with Sabretooth beating up Wolverine in the past and present in a split-storyline -- both attacks on his birthday. That was Claremont's final issue writing the Wolverine series at the time and it was how he always intended Sabretooth to appear. He was always just a little better than Logan.
14 SABRETOOTH HAS BETTER HEALING FACTOR
Originally, Sabretooth had no healing factor in Marvel Comics. However, that was retconned when Marvel showed how Sabretooth and Logan were taken in by Weapon X, and the two men were given some upgrades to their already developing mutant powers. Wolverine was given the adamantium skeleton, but the program chose not to give one to Sabretooth. There were two reasons for this. The first was that adding the adamantium to Sabretooth would cause his healing factor to weaken, like Logan's, but there was also the fact that -- at the time -- Sabretooth's body rejected it.
Because Claremont wanted to make Sabretooth superior to Logan, one of the ways he did that was to initially give Sabretooth the increased healing powers to keep him that much better than Logan and his adamantium skeleton. His powers are similar to Logan's but are more accelerated, including immunity to all poisons, most drugs, diseases and even a limited ability to the fatigue poisons in his body. He also had age suppression, similar to Logan as well. That didn't stop people from trying to put the adamantium into Sabretooth later, though it had complications on his healing factor. As the years have gone on, Sabretooth received adamantium.
13 SABRETOOTH HAD ADAMANTIUM TOO
In 1993, Larry Hama and Mark Texiera created a four-issue miniseries based on Sabretooth. The story starts off with Sabretooth attacked by The Hand before the story moves on to tell how he became the sociopath that he became -- thanks in part to abuse by his father as a child. This then led to his capture and abuse at the hands of a man known as Tribune -- a man who promised to "upgrade" Sabretooth in exchange for him killing Mystique. The story than revealed that Tribune was Graydon Creed -- the son of Sabretooth and Mystique.
Thanks to the enhancements of his son, Sabretooth was able to finally receive the adamantium lacing to his skeleton.
Graydon's plans included enhancing the strength of Sabretooth. As mentioned, when Logan received his adamantium at Weapon X, they did not give it to Sabretooth because his body violently rejected it. Thanks to the enhancements of Graydon, Sabretooth was able to finally receive the adamantium lacing to his skeleton, which, along with his slightly more accelerated healing factor, made him more dangerous than ever before (Wolverine Vol. 2 #125-127). He did lose it later when Apocalypse gave it to Logan, but Sabretooth got it back again thanks to Gambit saving him and then Weapon X taking him back in and recruiting him for their own purposes.
12 HIS ADRENALINE MAKES HIM ALMOST INVINCIBLE
One big difference between Wolverine and Sabretooth was that, for most of his existence in Marvel Comics, Sabretooth was always in berserker mode when it came to fighting. Logan would need to slip into his berserker mode in order to get his power boost while fighting someone like Sabretooth. On the other hand, Sabretooth was raging coming into every fight, which not only gave him the power boost right from the start but also the adrenaline rush of a fight also made him practically invincible.
Because he embraces his feral nature, Sabretooth is able to maintain his adrenaline for longer periods of time. With or without an adamantium skeleton, that makes it almost impossible to hurt him and when he is in a rage, not even Wolverine's attacks are able to do a lot of damage against him. According to both the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe and Wolverine: Weapon X Files, Sabretooth is able to take numerous strikes from Logan and only show slight discomfort. Add in a stamina that can go at full-speed for up to 24 hours at a time at the full peak of his powers before any fatigue toxins begin to affect him, and there are few people who can slow Sabretooth down -- much less beat the big mutant warrior at all.
11 HE TRAINED WITH NICK FURY
If Sabretooth is to be believed and he is close to 200 years old, there is a lot of history there that Marvel Comics can mine stories from. That happened in 2011 when Marvel published a five-issue mini-series titled Avengers 1959. Those comics showed a team that Nick Fury assembled that worked for him during the Korean War as part of a black ops unit that went by the name of Avengers years before the mainstream Avengers ever formed. The team consisted of Sabretooth, Dominic Fortune, Namora, Kraven the Hunter, Bloodstone and Silver Sable.
Yes, Wolverine fought alongside Captain America in World War II, but Sabretooth fought directly under the leadership of Nick Fury.
This team picked up the work where Captain America and his World War II companions finished off. They even battled former Nazis, a Captain America impersonator and a fake Red Skull. While Sabretooth was around for years before he joined up with the team, working alongside someone like Nick Fury has its advantages and that involved helping the savage mutant clear his criminal record for helping to battle evil Nazis in defense of the United States of America. Yes, Wolverine fought alongside Captain America in World War II, but Sabretooth fought directly under the leadership of Nick Fury, a black ops experience that added to his already dangerous fighting skills.
10 HE IS BIGGER AND STRONGER
One of the reasons given for Sabretooth never receiving the adamantium skeleton when Logan received it was that he was big and strong enough as it was without making him even more unbeatable. Of course, for story reasons, saying his body's healing factor always rejected it made a lot more sense. However, with that said, Sabretooth was always bigger and stronger than Logan. Standing 6-foot, 6-inches and weighing 275 pounds, Sabretooth is over a foot taller than the 5-foot-3 Wolverine and weighs 80 pounds more than his X-Men nemesis.
The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe also says that Sabretooth is stronger than Wolverine. While Logan can lift up to 1,000-pounds, as he proved when he lifted Ursa Major and threw the Russian hero across a room, Sabretooth can lift between two and 10 tons, with his strength increasing when his adrenaline kicks in. As shown in numerous fights with Wolverine over the years, he can take blow after blow from Logan and only experience slight discomfort. At the same time, Sabretooth has delivered such savage beatings to Logan, that his nemesis was left at death's door more times than not. It is only thanks to Wolverine's claws that he is able to stand a chance against Sabretooth in a one-on-one fight.
9 HE WAS A BETTER FIGHTER BEFORE ENHANCEMENTS
The reason that Sabretooth has always beaten Logan has to do with a lot more than just his powers. Yes, Sabretooth has a better healing factor than Wolverine, which keeps him in the battle fresher for longer, and yes, he is bigger and stronger than Wolverine, which allows him to beat down Logan mercilessly as the battle rages on. However, before the two men even got their enhancements, and before Logan got his adamantium skeleton, Sabretooth was able to beat Wolverine pretty easily when the two were younger mutants.
His abilities made him possibly the most feared hand-to-hand fighter in the entire Marvel Universe.
The early feud between Sabretooth and Logan came after the big man arrived and killed Logan's lover Silver Fox before beating Logan himself in a one-on-one fight (Wolverine Origins #5). However, long before that, Sabretooth was an abused child who developed his mutant powers early and after horrific torture at the hands of his own father, became the brutal killer that went on to massacre countless people including his dad as one of his first victims (X-Men Origins - Sabretooth). He fought for survival since he was a child and those instincts to survive, added to his large size, predatory skills, and tracking abilities made him possibly the most feared hand-to-hand fighter in the entire Marvel Universe, even better than Logan himself.
8 HE EMBRACED SALVATION (NOT JUST BECAUSE HE FORGOT HIS SINS)
For years, Sabretooth was nothing more than a sociopathic animal that loved to kill. However, thanks to the events of AXIS, he changed. Now, while this event eliminates some of the other benefits on this list, there is a lot to be said about how it compares Logan to Sabretooth as people. Both men have spilled a lot of blood in their lives. Both men have killed innocents and the guilty alike. Both men are guilty of major crimes against humanity. Through all of this, Logan has always seemed unwilling to take responsibility for his actions outside of being a hero and trying to do more good to overcome the evil that he did over his life.
However, when the AXIS inversion took place, heroes became villains and villains became heroes. Sabretooth was one of those savage villains who became a hero -- losing all his bloodlust and coming to the aid of humanity in an effort to save the world. He was even the person who finished off the story with a monologue about how he wanted to prove himself -- even to Logan -- and find the "spirit of a Wolverine." He did this from prison, where he turned himself in to serve time for his numerous crimes. Sabretooth did something noble here -- he willingly allowed himself to be imprisoned to answer for his crimes.
7 HE USES HIS ANIMAL RAGE
As mentioned earlier, Wolverine needs to go into berzerker mode in order to gain his power boosts in a fight. However, most of the time, Logan fights the urges and keeps himself in line. This does two things. The first is that it keeps him in control of his actions and allows him to fight without hurting innocents around him. On the other hand, the second thing it does is cause Logan to fight himself and his own animal urges while also fighting a villain.
When battling a superior fighter like Sabretooth, that puts Logan at a disadvantage every time.
This is because Sabretooth enjoyed losing himself to his animal rage. There are times where Sabretooth is in control -- such as after the inversion in AXIS as well as when he lived with the telepath known as Birdy. This was a point of time where Sabretooth was able to control his urges and began to build his own criminal empire. However, thanks to his son Graydon killing Birdy (Sabretooth #1-4), Sabretooth went mad once again and proved ultimately that all his enemies would prefer to see him tamed than giving in to his animal urges, which usually results in mass carnage and numerous deaths. It also helps that Sabretooth is infinitely stronger when in an animal rage.
6 HE IS FASTER THAN LOGAN
It is bad enough that Sabretooth is bigger, stronger, and more animalistic than Logan. It also isn't enough that Sabretooth has a better healing factor -- with or without the adamantium skeleton. However, add in the fact that he is also much faster than Wolverine and it almost isn't fair. The two men are close to the same speed when running, but Sabretooth has a speed that is even greater when he is battling someone.
According to both the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe and Wolverine: Weapon X Files, Sabretooth has the ability to attack faster than the human eye can follow. It also indicates that his fighting speed is his most enhanced skill. He has attacked people with guns before they have a chance to pull the triggers and he can keep up with, and often run circles around, those he is fighting. While he is a match for Wolverine running, when Sabretooth gets down on all fours, he has enhanced speed, similar to that of a jungle cat and can outrun just about anyone, or close in on targets in deadly time. Add in superhuman reflexes, and Sabretooth is easily faster than Logan. This also gives Sabretooth a special power -- an assault leap, similar to a tiger's pounce that can take down almost any enemy.
5 HE IS A BETTER TRACKER
As we mentioned, Sabretooth has a favorite past time, and that is hunting down Logan on his birthday and beating him to the brink of death before leaving him there to ponder the fact that he can't win. The brilliant thing is that Sabretooth has never had problems finding Wolverine, no matter where he goes. Logan could be in Japan. He could be in the mountains. He could be in a remote forest. It doesn't matter because Sabretooth will always find him and that is because of his deadly tracking skills. Wolverine himself is an expert tracker and can find anyone and everyone thanks to his sense of smell.
However, Sabretooth is an expert tracker even without using his enhanced and heightened senses.
Those senses match Wolverine's -- including ultraviolet and infrared vision, hearing that can detect the softest sounds, and the same sense of smell that Wolverine possesses, one that can pick out minute chemical variations. However, thanks to his military training, black ops work and natural hunting and tracking skills at a much higher level than Wolverine, he is able to trump his rival on most occasions -- which is why he never has trouble tracking him down on his birthday for his yearly beating.
4 HE HAS NO PROBLEM TAKING SHORTCUTS
Another major advantage that Sabretooth has over Wolverine is the fact that he doesn't mind cheating to win. A perfect example of this is in Wolverine Vol. 2 #10. This was the issue where Sabretooth killed Wolverine's lover Silver Fox. He then tracked down Logan and beat him almost to death (it was his birthday, by the way). After the fight, it was Sabretooth that stood tall with Logan down and out. Instead of killing him, Sabretooth let him live like usual but then told Logan that he was hired by the people in the town to kill Silver Fox and Wolverine because they feared him.
Logan responded by going to town and slaughtering everyone -- which is exactly what Sabretooth wanted. This is something that Sabretooth has specialized in -- manipulating people into doing what needs to be done and still being willing to get dirty and kill anyone he wants just for fun. Throughout history, Sabretooth has duped Logan on numerous occasions, got the drop on geniuses like Mr. Sinister and getting others to do the dirty work so he can just focus on doing what he loves. One area that the X-Men Origins - Wolverine movie got right was showing how calculating and evil Sabretooth really is.
3 HE HAS BETTER SURVIVAL SKILLS
Wolverine loves to fight and has no problem taking a beating if it means giving one back. However, Sabretooth is one step better. He will give in to his animal instincts and kill anyone who gets in his way -- many more times than Logan would ever dream of. Sabretooth is also the master manipulator and will throw other people into the line of fire to live to fight another day. Forget about the fact that Sabretooth has beaten Wolverine within an inch of his life the majority of the times that they fought -- he is also smart enough to know when he needs to get out while he can, especially when he knows he is outnumbered.
Sabretooth is rarely beaten in a fight, which makes sense. He was trained by the CIA, Weapon X and Hydra, after all.
He also has a high intellect and has proven to not only be a master fighter but has hacked into government databases and escaped from prisons that have the best security systems. On top of it all, he is a master marksman and has skills that come with working for too many "unsanctioned" black ops teams. Logan is someone who only fights using blind rage. Sabretooth is a survivor who never comes into a fight without a plan.
2 HIS MIND IS WARPED, BUT INTACT
The fact that Sabretooth is so smart is due partially to the fact that he has 200 years of life experience, and while that is close to what Logan has, Sabretooth hasn't had his mind messed with as badly as Wolverine. That was not always the case, though. Just like Logan, Sabretooth had his memories messed with when taken into the Weapon X program. Both men had their brains slightly reprogrammed but Sabretooth was able to get part of those memories back and under control while traveling with Birdy.
However, on the other hand, Logan didn't just have Weapon X mess with his memories over and over again; he also had the pleasure of Professor X reaching into his brain and twisting and turning things around. This happened in Wolverine Origins #29 when Logan went to kill Professor X but had the good headmaster brainwashed him to believe he was there to join them so he could have a weapon on the team. Add in numerous memory implants throughout his life, and it is clear that Logan is really messed up in the head. Perhaps surprisingly, his main enemy Sabretooth, shockingly, is the more put together mutant of the two.
1 SABRETOOTH ISN'T HELD BACK BY LOYALTY
A wolverine -- the animal -- is a large carnivore that looks like a small bear. It is a solitary creature that is both ferocious and has great strength, able to kill animals much larger than its own size. As he was introduced originally in the comic books, Wolverine was also a solitary hero -- someone who preferred to be alone more than he preferred to be around any living person. This makes it strange that Logan has been a member of Weapon X, The X-Men, The Avengers and even Alpha Flight. For someone who doesn't like people, he seems willing to lay down his life to save those around him more times than not.
When it comes to acting like a wolverine, Sabretooth is a much better Wolverine than Logan because he lives the entire lifestyle of the solitary animal.
He has been a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, but he betrayed them more than once. He had a child with Mystique, and he betrayed her more than once. He was a member of the X-Men and X-Factor and betrayed both teams. He rejoined Weapon X and betrayed them. No one can trust Sabretooth and that makes him extremely dangerous, similar to a true wolverine.