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Month of Cool Avengers/X-Men Comic Book Moments – Psylocke’s First Run-In With Sabretooth

All month long we will feature brand-new Cool Avengers and X-Men Comic Book Moments in celebration of their fiftieth anniversaries this month. Here is an archive of all the past cool comic moments that I’ve featured so far over the years.

Today we look at the issue where Psylocke proved herself to be an X-Man…

Uncanny X-Men #213 was written by Chris Claremont and was drawn by Alan Davis and Paul Neary.

The issue opens with Psylocke using Cerebro and being shocked by the sheer villainy of the nearby Sabretooth. She is not prepared when he makes his appearance…

In the rest of the issue, Psylocke cleverly has Wolverine keep Sabretooth occupied while she gets past his formidable psychic defenses to get very important information about the Marauders’ plans. So the above sequence combined with her clever plan gets her a spot on the team. I just included the physical stuff, though, because Davis and Neary draw it OH so well. I just LOVE the sequence where she turns around, smiles and taunts Sabretooth. SO FREAKING COOL! Davis absolutely NAILED that look. Man, he can do more with facial expressions than many, many artists.


I loved Mutant Massacre. It was the last time we really saw the classic team of Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Rogue, and Kitty Pryde, (plus Cyclops for quite a while). The first appearance of the Marauders and Mr. Sinister (and Gambit retroactively), first Logan vs. Sabretooth, the original X-Factor coming so close to meeting the X-Men (and Wolvie sensing Jean Grey in the tunnels), the Power Pack, FF, and Thor tie-ins that actually made sense instead of being forced into a crossover, the technorganic virus taking over limbo… Lot of plot threads put into motion there. It was the apex of the “X-Men vs. everyone” years, when shit kept hitting the fan again and again. With Xavier in space and X-Factor apparent traitors, their biggest ally at the time was Magneto, who wanted to join forces with the Hellfire Club, and the government’s mutant team was Mystique and the Brotherhood. And just the artwork in those years, from John Byrne and Paul Smith to Bill Sienkewitch and John Romita Jr and Alan Davis to John Bolton and Art Adams, those are the X-Men stories I’ll always remember.

First comic book I ever read! British Psylocke was just as kick ass as Ninja Psylocke.

Davis/Neary combo is fantastic. Later Davis/Farmer is still great, but not as.

I never liked the setup for this- Sabretooth is able to knock Rogue out by punching her twice, but elsewhere in the Massacre issues, Daredevil is able to go hand to hand with Sabretooth. So how strong is Sabretooth?

he’s as strong as the writer makes him. Inconsistency gotta love it?

nice loved how pylocke kept maybe due to the impressions she was getting from saber tooth madder and madder and refused to give him an inch. even though she was out matched plus also this story leading up to the mutant massacre or part of it

I really miss the more lithe Sabertooth from this era. I hated the massive over-muscled way they drew him in later years. I think he looks far more dangerous when he is big but not massive.

Alan Davis is amazing.

I love the use of space in this action sequence. Typical of Claremont, every pay-off is set up. Davis uses that too better effect than any X-Men artist, since Byrne. That three panel taunting sequence is great comics. Davis sets up the distance beyween Psylocke and Sabretooth in panel one, gives Psylocke a killer close-up to go a very brief bit of dialog in panel two and then shows Sabretooth landing at the top of the stairs in panel three. You know EXACTLY how fast Sabretooth is relative to Psylocke.

Back then it was like every issue was a classic, and every issue was different and unique as hell. A lot of people are quick to (rightly) give the artists a lot of credit, but Claremont was just firing on all cylinders at this point, coming up with very different sorts of stories every month. Think about how many different types of issues he gave you in just one calendar year back then. The Sabretooth/Psyclocke issues, the “Wounded Wolf” story with Wolverine, the “Life Death” story with Storm and Forge. All in one year. Amazing. More impressive than the Byrne run, imo, even considering those stories’ consistent awesomeness.

last pic’s not working?

Think about how many different types of issues he gave you in just one calendar year back then. The Sabretooth/Psyclocke issues, the “Wounded Wolf” story with Wolverine, the “Life Death” story with Storm and Forge. All in one year.

That’s #213, #205 and #186, so no.

Cool scene. Too bad it made Rogue look like a chump though.

last pic’s not working?

I actually don’t think that there IS a last pic, that was the error.

Maybe Dan Ahn meant LifeDeath II froM UXM 198…. There was X-Men/Alpha Flight 1&2, The Asgard saga, Trial of Magneto, The Beyonder issues, X-Men/FF, Rachael vs Seline, and those late 30’s, early 40’s issues of New Mutants.. Yep Bub, Claremont was firing on ALL Cylinders back then. You had Nimrod & UXM #196. Things got a bit wonky after the Mutant Massacre, probably because he was gearing towards a Jaspers story (hinted in UXM #200) that he had to abandon, but everything up to then was Gold.

I’ll agree with what others are saying here. This was a peak period for the X-men. Great stuff.

I loved the art in this issue, but really hated Psylocke. I just kept hating her more after she kept recommended they murder people, including X-Men with more seniority than her like Havok, after she joined. She just seemed like an entitled newcomer who didn’t really belong on the team. This issue just seemed like a very manipulative way to make this out of nowhere newcomer seem cool enough to deserve a spot on the team. It annoyed me that we lost Shadowcat and Kurt for this snobby, bossy chick who seemed to be even more bloodthirsty than Wolverine. The loss of Shadowcat and Nightcrawler, along with the addition of Longshot and Psylocke, drove me off the book for a while but I kept coming back because I loved Marc Silvestri’s art so much, plus I was Havok fan.

Not sure which issue, maybe a Scott Loebdell one, but what about the time when Sabretooth was in the X-mansion lobotimised, and he got better and eviscerated Psychlocke?

And what about when Magento rips Apocolaypse to bits at the end of Age of Apocolaypse?

Sam Robards, Comic Fan

September 17, 2013 at 8:45 am

This issue is simply terrific. Excellent plot, pacing, art, layout. Just an all-around fantastic issue.

As for Sabretooth knocking out Rogue, I thought the element of surprise had a lot to do with it. Plus, Sabretooth’s a pretty strong guy. He’s not Hulk-level or anything, but he does have super strength.

zahidf, that Sabretooth/Psylocke rematch was from Uncanny 328 from Lobdell and Joe Mad, and it was great. No holds barred ninja Psylocke vs a newly recovered Sabretooth. I’d like to have that fight highlighted as well, but since Psylocke ends up on the losing end of that one, it might not be so much an X-Man’s cool moment as it would be an X-Villain’s cool moment.

So would Psylocke and Sabretooth go on to have some kind of significant relationship, adversarial or otherwise? I mean, more than just by virtue of “he is an X-Men foe, and I am an X-Man”? I’m just wondering, because I really have no idea one way or another.

@Sam Robards- Carol took Rogue by surprise and knocked her INTO ORBIT and Rogue still remained conscious. There’s no way that a couple of punches from Sabretooth have anywhere near as much force. Besides, Matt had no problem trading blows with Sabretooth. Rogue definitely should be more invulnerable than Matt Murdock. It’s not “T’Challa captures the Surfer in an armlock” or “a snake knocks out the Hulk” but it’s still pretty bad.

So would Psylocke and Sabretooth go on to have some kind of significant relationship, adversarial or otherwise? I mean, more than just by virtue of “he is an X-Men foe, and I am an X-Man”? I’m just wondering, because I really have no idea one way or another.

They had a rematch seven or so years later where Sabretooth got the better of Psylocke, which led to a new status quo for Psylocke (she was wounded so badly that she ended up getting some sort of mystical mumbo jumo to save her, giving her new abilities).

Sam Robards, Comic Fan

September 18, 2013 at 8:18 am

Michael, I never said it was concrete proof. That’s just how I always rationalized it.

buttler, I don’t know that I’d call their relationship “significant,” but they made it seem for a second there that there was a semi-flirtatious thing between the two. It literally was a “blink and you’ll miss it” kinda thing.

They later had the previously mentioned rematch that Brian mentioned.

And finally, when Claremont came back on the X-Titles in the early 2000s, he had a brief scene where Psylocke was fighting a Sabretooth simulation in the Danger Room, implying that she was still carrying some baggage relating to how he hurt her, but it didn’t go anywhere.

Ben this is actually the second Wolverine/ Sabretooth fight, the first one was in the issue before, 212.

Funny, I read the descriptions today and the idea that Carol could knock Rogue into orbit and she stayed conscious seems more far fetched than her getting knocked out by Sabertooth.

Psylocke and Sabertooth had more than two fights.

Issue 213 where she was nearly killed.
Issue 240ish of Uncanny X-men, where she owned him in one panel.
The last fight where he Eviscerated her.

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