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How Wolverine’s Ultimate Nemesis Got Two Adamantium Skeletons

On several different occasions, Sabretooth has been given an adamantium skeleton and claws to match his arch-enemy, the X-Men’s Wolverine.

The nigh-indestructible metal known as adamantium is exclusive to the Marvel universe and is mostly associated with Wolverine of the X-Men. The feral mutant is known for having his entire skeleton and trademark claws coated with the incredibly powerful metal. Wolverine’s rival Sabretooth usually has only natural claws, but that has not always been the case.

On several different occasions, Sabretooth has been given an adamantium skeleton and claws to match his arch-enemy, to varying degrees of success. This change was originally temporary, but the most recent adamantium bonding may still be in effect. Here’s a look at how the bestial mutant has both gained and lost his upgrade over the years.

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Sabretooth’s First Adamantium Bonding

Unlike Wolverine, Sabretooth did not have adamantium bonded to his skeleton in the past by Weapon X. This changed in Wolverine #126 (by Chris Claremont and Leinil Francis Yu), when Sabretooth crashed Logan’s marriage to Viper. He did so while sporting new adamantium claws and highly heightened physical faculties such as his strength and healing factor. He would later challenge Logan again with these new gimmicks at the behest of Apocalypse, who was looking to recruit a new Horseman of Death.

Captured by Apocalypse along with Wolverine, Sabretooth has adamantium grafted onto his skeleton and claws. This was done to make him even more powerful, given the fact that he was then under the mental control of Apocalypse. Unfortunately for Sabretooth, the upgrades didn’t last. Wolverine beat him in combat, and Apocalypse subsequently stripped the adamantium from Sabretooth’s skeleton. He would then put it back onto Wolverine’s skeleton, as the hero had still been using bone claws following a nearly fatal encounter with Magneto years before.

Suffering due to the immense pain inflicted by having the adamantium ripped from his body, Sabretooth was ironically saved by the Cajun X-Man Gambit. Gambit would use Sabretooth’s skills and intel to find Mr. Sinister, helping to procure some adamantium for Sabretooth in the process.

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Sabretooth’s Second Adamantium Skeleton

Shortly after this experience, Sabretooth would gain adamantium claws once again by way of a new version of the Weapon X Program during Frank Tiere and Sean Chen’s 2001 run on Wolverine. Working alongside the infamous organization, he secretly used their information to hunt down everyone Wolverine cared about. He would later turn on the organization, getting revenge on them after he was nearly killed with adamantium bullets. Sabretooth was believed to have retained the metal bones and claws he gained from Weapon X even after the Scarlet Witch’s reality altering events in House of M, but the depiction of this has been inconsistent throughout the years.

The use of adamantium arguable doesn’t fit Sabretooth in the same way that it does Wolverine, with one reason being his claws. Sabretooth’s claws are more like that of an animal’s, thus lacking the higher amount of precision that Wolverine’s claws provide. This is exacerbated further by Sabretooth’s fighting style. While Wolverine is a lethal and savage fighter, he still has elements of skill that were honed by years of martial arts training. Sabretooth, who’s a much larger and bulkier man, fights in an even more ferocious manner. While it boosters his strength, the new upgrades went against how he had become used to operating. Thus, it seems that even with adamantium bonded to his skeleton and the added strength that it provided, Wolverine, not Sabretooth, remained the best there is at what he does.

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