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I’m gonna practice on all of you, a shirtless Sabretooth with demon horns wreathed in sulphuric fire and smoke threatens, in Sabretooth #1 (2022). Image: Victor LaValle, Leonard Kirk/Marvel Comics

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The X-Men have a hell now, and Sabretooth is the devil

He’s not locked in here with you, you’re — aw, you know the line

Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

In the world of the X-Men, most villains have developed sympathetic and redeeming qualities at some point. That’s just what happens when your superhero soap opera about an oppressed class goes on for more than two or three decades. But I think if you ask any X-Men fan, they’d agree: Sabretooth hasn’t. Fuck that guy!

When the creative minds behind the X-Men’s Krakoan era needed a scapegoat to demonstrate the new Mutant state’s version of capital punishment, they logically picked Sabretooth. In House of X #6, the Quiet Council dropped Sabretooth into a bottomless pit for potentially all of eternity and we haven’t seen him again until now, with Sabretooth #1.

How interesting could a comic about a guy trapped “alive but immobile, aware but unable to act on it” be? Well. Pretty dang interesting, actually. I look forward to the next issue.

What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)

Sabretooth #1

A hell full of sulphuric fires where all the X-Men characters are eternally tortured by deamons with Sabretooth as their throned devil in Sabretooth #1 (2022). Image: Victor LaValle, Leonard Kirk/Marvel Comics

The simplest summary of Sabretooth #1 is that it’s The Good Place with more of a twist. The intelligent island of Krakoa itself is generally cool with all the mutant stuff happening on it, but it’s not so hot on being a prison. So it offers Sabretooth freedom of his mind: The ability to act out a simulation of whatever sick fantasies he wants, forever.

But the real meat of the story of Sabretooth shows up in the issue’s final pages. Just as Sabretooth settles in to enjoy his own personal heaven, five mutants are thrown in jail with him, transforming the whole shebang into their own personal hell.

Monkey Prince #1

Missing his shoes and with a monkey tail trailing out of his jeans, Marcus Shen explores the mystic realm of the Monkey Prince in Monkey Prince #1 (2022). The page layout is flipped horizontally and the colors are muted, almost watercolor-like. Image: Gene Luen Yang, Bernard Chang/DC Comics

I love Gene Yang’s writing. I love Bernard Chang’s art. Monkey Prince #1 is a great debut, but my favorite bit might be the issue’s use of the ol’ Rotate the Page trick. Slanted panels guide the reader to turn the book, and then all pages set inside the Celestial realm of the Monkey King are read sideways, hence the odd proportions above. Chang and colorist Sebastian Cheng work together to let the reader know they really are somewhere else.

New Masters #1

A series of panels depicts flash images for the Polymath, the Leader, the Con Man, and the Warrior in New Masters #1 (2022). Image: Shobo Coker, Shof Coker/Image Comics

I don’t know much about New Masters, a futurist sci-fi comic set in a Lagos populated by humans and alien visitors, except that I really dug the first issue. Shobo and Shof Coker have clearly done a lot of world-building here, but the book doesn’t feel overwhelmed with it. We get a character to root for, a conflict, and the stakes; all indicating a young scrappy protagonist about to run up against the plans of an expert team of thieves, with everyone on a scramble to survive.

Detective Comics #1051

The Psycho Pirate’s hands gesture wildly around his impassive mask, with text reading “Psycho Pirate... Qu’est-ce que c-est” on the cover of Detective Comics #1051 (2022). Image: Irvin Rodriguez/DC Comics

There should be more cover art featured in Monday Funnies, I’m just going to go ahead and admit that. But that doesn’t change the fact that whichever DC editor or designer who put “Psycho Pirate, Qu’est-que c’est” on this got a good old chuckle out of me.


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