This is "How Can I Explain?", which is a feature spotlighting inexplicable comic book plots.
Today, based on a suggestion from a reader whose e-mail I can't seem to find at the moment (perhaps it was asked of me on Twitter or something? If you're the person who asked me this one, e-mail me again so that I can credit you), we look at the odd mystery of what was up with Sabretooth's time at Weapon X.
As I am sure I have mentioned in the past, Sabretooth was always intended by his creators (Chris Claremont and John Byrne) to be connected to Wolverine (Byrne literally designed Sabretooth's face to be what Wolverine looked like under his mask, but while Byrne was working on that, Dave Cockrum ended up revealing what Wolverine actually looked like under the cowl, so Byrne used that design for Sabretooth's face instead), but instead he ended up as a recurring villain of Power Man and Iron Fist because Claremont and Byrne introduced him in the pages of Iron Fist instead of X-Men (Byrne was SO close to being the artist on X-Men at the time, so had they held off for a few more months, they could have introduced Sabretooth as an X-Men villain and have him be an X-character right away).
This time outside of the X-books (which lasted for almost a decade) led to some other inconsistencies that I will address in a future column (think "Black Cat beating the heck out of Sabretooth"), but whatever, however long it took he finally showed up in the pages of Uncanny X-Men where he was a member of the murderous Marauders, who tried to wipe out the Morlocks.
He had his first AND second fight with Wolverine!
Now that the X-books had their hooks in Sabretooth, they were not letting go of him. Chris Claremont, in particular, had a very specific idea on how Sabretooth should be handled. Claremont viewed him as sort of the bigger, badder version of Wolverine that Wolverine would never be able to truly defeat but Wolverine's determination to keep fighting him would show how great of a hero that the ol' Canucklehead was.
It was with that idea of Sabretooth in mind that Claremont revealed that Sabretooth and Wolverine's relationship went back many years, with Sabretooth visiting Wolverine on his birthday every year just to torment him.
That story was significant in that it revealed that the two characters had a long history with each other. This also led to the revelation that Wolverine's memories were messed up, as otherwise, why wouldn't he recognize Sabretooth when they "met" during the Mutant Massacre?
In the first storyline in 1991's X-Men following Chris Claremont's departure from the series after the first story arc, Jim Lee and Whilce Portacio revealed that not only did Wolverine and Sabretooth know each other in the past, but they were both part of Weapon X!
In fact, they were even on a Weapon X-centric team known as Team X!