In July, Wolverine's arch-enemy Sabretooth comes back to life, from the team who killed him: writer Jeph Loeb, and artist Simone Bianchi. Okay, that's not exactly right... Sabretooth is already back, and causing trouble for Marvel's second hairiest mutant. But starting with Wolverine #310, we're going to find out just how the villain managed to escape from a rather graphic on-screen beheading, and what that means for Wolverine's future (hint: nothing good). To find out more, we chatted with Loeb about the book, why it's important to bring Sabretooth back, and why Romulus - the guy pulling the strings - may not, in fact, be the guy pulling the strings:
MTV Geek: Jeph, between this and Cable, you’re becoming the guy who brings characters back to life… I think what everyone wants to know is: are you some sort of dark wizard?
Jeph Loeb: I wish! Then I’d make it so I had more time! Actually I’ve been very lucky to tell these stories and work with such incredibly talented artists like Ed “Ed” McGuinness and Simone “Supremo” Bianchi!
Geek: Why is it important to bring characters like Sabretooth back to life? What does he bring to the Marvel Universe that makes him so necessary, from your perspective?
JL: First off, this was always the plan. Even the original pitch was for this to be a two part epic story that was the Death and Life of Sabretooth. (Although it was then called “EVOLUTION” and “REVOLUTION”). But life (and sometimes death) gets in the way of the thing we call living and Simone and I didn’t a chance to come back to tell the rest of the story until now.
We’re so grateful to Axel Alonso, Nick Lowe and our Editorial Goddess Jeanine Schaefer who stood on the wall for years blasting back anybody who wanted to get their hands on Sabretooth so we could finally finish this story.
And, it’s actually helped in a weird way create the desire for him to come back and be the baddest, sickest villain that Wolverine has ever faced -- and that’s saying something. What’s so wonderful about Victor is that it’s ALWAYS personal for he and Logan. It’s like Doc Doom and Reed Richards -- without the brains. Or cape. [Laughs.]
Geek: So if you knew how you were going to kill him back in the day… How carefully should we be scouring back issues? And anywhere in particular to look for clues?
JL: It’s there. And as much as we’d like you to pick up the trade “EVOLUTION” collecting Wolverine #50-55, we had to tell a story that would stand on it’s own and allow the reader to be able to enjoy. But we pick up all that’s happened in the “Meanwhile...” as well. It’s been challenging -- and fun!
Geek: How much of this arc will be a mystery? Versus, finding out how Sabretooth came back in the first issue, and then seeing what happens next?
JL: Ah, that would be telling. Let’s just say it’s going to be violent and bloody and jaw-droppingly gorgeous because that’s what Simone does!
Geek: I think the one thing I remember most vividly about the previous arc is that jaw-dropping cover of Wolverine holding Sabretooth’s severed head… Are we going to get more moments like that here? Something to rival it, perhaps?
JL: There’s an uber-creepy graveyard scene that Simone just killed on in Issue #1 that should have folks talking. [Laughs]
Geek: Romulus is back in the mix again… He’s shown up a few more times since you’ve introduced him, and we’ve had a bit more added to the character and concept. What’s that been like, to revisit someone you created, and try to work what other writers added into the mix? And what makes Romulus a compelling character for you?
JL: Let’s put it this way -- if you went to see The Empire Strikes Back in the theater (and some of us are old enough to remember that!) -- when Darth Vader claimed to be (worst spoiler alert ever) Luke’s father -- you had to take the villain’s word for it. The Villain! And if Jedi had been different -- it could’ve been a lie. Could’ve...
Geek: Hmm… That’s an interesting tease. Okay, what’s it like working with Simone again? How has your working relationship, or approach to storytelling changed since the first time you two worked together?
JL: He’s so talented, it’s just scary. Our friendship has grown over the years and so my desire to write something that gets him stoked has grown as well. This is something we’ve waited for and methinks it shows in his pages. The passion!
Geek: How much are we going to be feeling the repercussions of this storyline? Clearly, Sabretooth has shown up a few times already, but are there storylines held in reserve we won’t know the full span of until this arc is done? And, er, any more teases you can give us?
JL: Sabretooth is such an important villain in Wolverine’s life -- whenever he shows up, no one is safe. So it’s fun -- in it’s own sick, twisted way -- to bring back that chaos -- in whatever form he takes!
WOLVERINE: SABRETOOTH REBORN begins in July’s Wolverine #310 from Marvel Comics!