Devil in the House
Credits: Fabian Nicieza (writer), Andy Kubert (penciler), Matt Ryan (inker), Bill Oakley (letterer), Joe Rosas (colorist)
Jubilee has nightmares about Sabretooth living in the mansion. When Jean Grey finds out, she calls a meeting with Cyclops, Beast, and Storm to discuss Xavier’s decision to treat Sabretooth in the mansion. Jean and Beast disagree with Xavier, but Cyclops trusts his judgment. Sabretooth grows more belligerent, assaulting Psylocke and taunting Gambit and Rogue when they bring food to his cell. Jean Grey confronts him, demonstrating her superior power and refusing to give him a telepathic fix to ease his pain. The next day, Jubilee brings Sabretooth his breakfast, hoping to ease her fears, but she discovers that they’ve only gotten worse.
Gambit tells Sabretooth that the last time he helped him out, he needed thirty-seven stitches. Sabretooth hints at a past encounter with Gambit in Paris, the details of which will be revealed in an upcoming issue.
It’s an entire issue dedicated to the X-Men’s reactions to having Sabretooth live in the mansion. The creators were certainly determined to sell Sabretooth as a frightening villain, and they got a lot of mileage out of having him live with X-Men during the first few months of the storyline. Like a lot of ideas in this era, it petered out without any real payoff, but so far it’s introduced some drama into the series and opened the doors for some interesting questions. If Xavier could cure Sabretooth, does he have an obligation to do so? Are the X-Men putting someone like Jubilee in jeopardy with this decision? Can someone like Sabretooth ever truly change? Kubert’s art does a decent job on the conversation scenes, with one noticeable exception. On the page where Jean confronts Xavier about his decision, Kubert continually gives Jean an angry scowl, but the expression doesn’t fit the more subdued dialogue. Nicieza’s able to the give the characters a reasonable conversation, even if Xavier isn’t given a lot of room to explain his point of view. If the X-Men are to be pitted against Xavier, I would prefer to see it in a story like this, where both sides have legitimate points. Unfortunately, it seems as if the standard approach to writing Xavier now is to continually reveal that he’s been keeping dark secrets from his students that end up blowing up in his face. At least in these issues, Xavier sincerely wants to help someone and has a defendable position.