Tag Archives: sabretooth

60 – OMEGA RED

13 Jun

Subject: Omega Red
Real Name: Arkady Rossovich
Height: 6’6″ Weight: 300lbs.
First Appearance: X-Men #4, January 1992

Power Ratings:

  • Energy Projection: 3/7
  • Mental Powers: 3/7
  • Strength: 2/7
  • Fighting Ability: 7/7
  • Intelligence: 2/7

Omega Red was just about THE COOLEST villain to me at the height of my X-mania (you can see why from when he debuted). The problem with Wolverine as he got more and more popular was he kept getting softer… yes, he still slashed and disembowled enemies, but more often he was just the scrappy rascal. In fact,  even good ol’ Sabretooth would start getting the treatment. It was time for a new villain that took us back to those roots. Omega Red was that villain (for the year or so when he actually appeared on the books).

I’ve mentioned many times how much I loved X-Men #5 as a kid (for the record, I didn’t love it any more than the other issues I had, it was more like it was the only comic I had at the time that had Wolvie on the cover). I still have the issue, and it is worn to shreds. Great articles have been written since then that highlighted how ridiculous and nonsensical the storyline actually was, but it was all catnip to me as a young’un.

I’m a little disappointed by the art on the card because the circle-ish silhouette makes Omega Red seem less of a badass. I’d’ve loved to have seen a shot of him attacking, maybe strangling some law-enforcement officers with his tendrils. I like the side-b portrait more in concept, I love the shadowing and the brooding look, but it’s a little too messy and Omega Red looks far too… thick? in it.

His Power Ratings I guess make enough sense, though I don’t know if his mutant “death factor” (which allows him to drain the life force of his enemies using… pheromones for some reason) should really account for a 3/7 in Energy Projection and certainly not Mental Powers. Otherwise, his ratings match him pretty evenly with Wolverine, Sabretooth, and Maverick, his contemporaneous cohorts.

Btw, his X-Tra fact says that Omega Red’s tendrils are “flexible like graphite but fused with adamantium” is completely contrary to the source material, which reveals that his body was implanted with carbonadium, which is essentially Russia’s flexible but less durable version of adamantium. For christ’s sakes, the entire X-Men arc in which he debuted revolved around the quest for carbonadium… were the actual scripts really developed so late into the game!?

52 – SABRETOOTH

25 May

Subject: Sabretooth
Real Name: Victor Creed
Height: 6’6″ Weight: 275 lbs.
Group Affiliation: None
First Appearance: Iron Fist #14, August 1977

Power Ratings:

  • Energy Projection: 1/7
  • Mental Powers: 1/7
  • Strength: 2/7
  • Fighting Ability: 7/7
  • Intelligence: 2/7

I really loved Sabretooth’s 90’s redesign. Whereas Wolverine was almost de-evolving into more and more of a feral state, Sabretooth’s mane was upgraded into an almost pimp-like boa. Giving him a little bit more class makes him seem even more like a psycho, more than capable of turning Wolverine’s screws.

Again, sadly, Sabretooth didn’t actually have TOO much to do during Lee’s tenure, until the X-Men vol. 2 run involving Maverick and Omega Red (see the Maverick entry for more of my history with this particular storyline). And Sabretooth was only a side character in that one. For more substantial Wolverine and Sabretooth stories, I suggest picking up the enigmatic but mindbending (and drawn with overflowing machismo by Mark Texeira) Wolverine #61-69. Again, a shame, since Lee draws Logan and Victor with such savage vigor.

Speaking of which, the art on the front of the card is good, though the pose isn’t necessarily my kind of dynamic (I like Wolverine in a similar crouching pose, but I prefer a Sabretooth that shows off how much larger he is than Wolverine). The portrait in side-b fares better; I just really like Victor with that hat.

And of course, appropriately, Sabretooth’s Power Ratings are exactly identical to Wolverine’s.

39 – MAVERICK

25 Apr

Subject: Maverick
Real Name: Unrevealed
Height: 6’3″ Weight: 230 lbs.
Group Affiliation: None
First Appearance: X-Men #5, February 1992

Power Ratings:

  • Energy Projection: 1/7
  • Mental Powers: 2/7
  • Strength: 2/7
  • Fighting Ability: 7/7
  • Intelligence: 2/7

The Weapon-X/Omega Red storyline that comprised X-Men vol.2 #’s 4-7 hit me at the absolute perfect time, and was about as perfect as far as sugar to a 9-year old: Wolverine, Sabretooth, guns, a Russian Wolverine, hyperviolence, and low on the schmaltz.Also X-Men #5 had what was probably the sexiest rendering of Psylocke ever:

Maverick, introduced in this storyline, was pretty badass too (as recalled in the awesome blog Not Blog X, he shows off in his first appearance by sadistically shooting a random goon seven times in the face).

Again, as one of the last characters Lee created before his departure from Marvel, his rendering of Maverick plays to his strength: mainly, idealized human bodies obscured by lots of technical details. Incidentally, Maverick is one of the only characters whose Side-B portrait doesn’t show the character without the mask (mainly because at the time his true identity was unknown, though really how mysterious could a guy look under a mask that doesn’t obscure his hair or chin…).

I’ll quickly gloss by his otherwise unremarkable Power Ratings (identical to Wolverine, by the way) to point out that his card refers to his powers as “the amazing ability to see into all the various immediate futures of his foes, so he is able to choose the course of action that allows him to come out on top!” Pretty interesting, if in the same vague ballpark as the powers of Domino and Longshot. But the really interesting detail is… that’s not his power at all! As I always knew it (and Wikipedia backs me up), his unique power is being impervious to kinetic impact, and X-Men #5 even has a scene where he and Wolverine fall from a building several stories up (and also, as a member of the Weapon X program, he also had a healing factor).

I’m not sure about when the X-Men issues Maverick appeared in were actually written (it was in 1992, same as the trading cards), but it’s an oversight that’s both astoundingly pathetic, and also symptomatic of the editorial flustercuck of the period.