Vic, you lose weight?
With keen senses, a mutant healing factor, and zero moral restraint, Sabretooth is a dark reflection of his archnemesis,
the mutant hero Wolverine.
Well, he is now, but that wasn't always the case. He was introduced as an enemy for Iron Fist, though he was working in the employ of some nobody you've never heard of. Colleen Wing was the only one who'd heard of "Sabre-Tooth," decribing him as "a freebooter, a modern-day pirate. For the right price, [he]'ll rip off anything." You know, just the way you think of Sabretooth today: as a cheap mercenary thief. There were hints at his powers (he had claws on his fingers and mildly sharp senses), but he definitely didn't have a healing factor yet. He teamed up with Constrictor and became a recurring foe for the Heroes for Hire, then lost a fight to Black Cat. That was in Spectacular Spider-Man #119, just one month before Sabretooth made his first appearance in an X-book (X-Factor #10) and was therefore suggested to be a mutant. It was a full year later when he was first shown to definitively have a healing factor, in Uncanny X-Men #222.
The last Sabretooth we got, the AoA version, was way bigger than Hasbro's other attempts at the character; this one is way smaller. He uses the medium body, which isn't inaccurate to the way the character was drawn in his early years. It took a while for him to become the massive brute he is now. Actually, that goes to Claremont's plans for the character in the '90s: infatuated with the idea of making Sabretooth
be "Wolverine, but even more badass," Claremont had to come up with an excuse for why the character had been such a loser in so many stories, and his solution was to tie it in with another pet character, Mr. Sinister. It had been established that the Marauders, Sinister's murderous henchman team, were regularly cloned when needed - Sinister just kept the originals in a tank and made a copy when he needed it. But for some reason the original Sabretooth wasn't in his collection, so all his clones had to be based on a clone themselves, and thus their powers weren't as reliable as they should have been. In Claremont's mind, pretty much every Sabretooth appearance between 1977 and 1990-whatever was the equivalent of Paper Jam Dipper, while the real Victor Creed was out there on the fringes of the story, not caring about whatever foolishness the X-Men were getting up to, just living his life.
The new parts of this figure (head, hands, feet, fur) were all sculpted by Paul Harding. Ironically, while this costume is definitely what Sabretooth was wearing in the '70s, and Harding did him as part of his "Marvel in the '70s" series, this toy isn't based on that art. He's got the big hair, the sideburns, and a giant wicked grin that seems to be based on Origin II #2.
Sabretooth's costume is mainly orange, though perhaps a bit paler than it should be. He's got the dark stripe running between his collar and briefs - brown here, rather than black. The fur trim on his shoulders and limbs was usually colored a pale yellow in the comics, but that was
just due to printing restrictions at the time; the almost-white tan used here works just fine.
His hands and feet are odd. For one thing, they've been sculpted with the fingers and toes exposed, which isn't how he was ever really drawn in the comics. Yes, he had claws, but they might as well have been part of the gloves he was wearing; they didn't stick out with a bit of skin visible between the nail and the cloth. And his toes were certainly never exposed at all! On top of that, the hands and feet (and to an extent, the head) seem slightly oversized for this body, like the plan was originally to put them all on one of the larger ones, but it got changed at some point. Maybe it's just the claws making them look bigger, maybe it's the fur bulking up the lower limbs in comparison to the uppers, but the toy's proportions definitely feel wonky.
Sabretooth comes with several parts of this series' Build-A-Figure, Bonebreaker. They're all mechanical stuff, but I guess they'd count as... the waist? And engine. Even if you don't complete the BAF, this is fine scenery debris.
Chris Claremont had tried to match Sabretooth and Wolverine up well before they finally met in 1986's Uncanny X-Men #212. In Ms. Marvel #24, the Canadian government claimed Victor from SHIELD custody to have him retrieve their wayward Weapon X from the X-Men team. Unfortunately, Ms. Marvel was cancelled with issue #23, so that story remained untold until it (and the would-be issue #25) was finally published in 1992. You can tell it was written in 1979, because Sabretooth was still being called a "pirate"... and his name still had a hyphen in it. The story also gave the first hints at his increased durability (but still no healing factor), and reveals he's Canadian, an early step in tying him in with Logan. Maybe if that issue had seen print, Creed wouldn't have gone through such a long period of wimpiness and Claremont wouldn't have had to make excuses for him. Being a second-rate copy would explain why this Sabretooth toy is smaller than all the rest, but it would still be better if they'd used a larger body that was more in scale with the new parts. If you want a classic Sabretooth, buy the ToyBiz version. Or hire a pirate to get one for you.