Dealing with William Stryker is no easy task, and in Weapon X #25 one hero was sent to hell to do it -- in a surprising and gruesome way.
Spoilers for Weapon X #25 below.
After being captured by a cult secretly under the leadership of William Stryker and Mentallo, Sabretooth and the Weapon X (or, Weapon X-Force as Sabretooth would say) team are forced to fight in the "secret murder arena" housed in the basement of Stryker's church. The heroes manage to turn the tables and escape, though Sabretooth and the rest decide to go back to take down Stryker once and for all.
That ends up being easier said than done, however. You see, Stryker has made a deal with the devil and even though the team manages to defeat the cyborg version of the not-so-good Reverend he transforms yet again. Stryker literally retreats in a blaze of hellfire to Hell itself -- after making it known he's coming back "with all the powers of my master" for the team. That's right, Stryker appears to have become a demon. So how do you deal with that? For Weapon X, the idea is they will get a little bit of help with the whole Hell situation by paying a visit to Azazel.
However, that doesn't work out quite as planned. Things quickly go sideways with Azazel -- who has been making deals with politicians and the like. After some fighting, Azazel announces that he would have been happy to help Mystique if it had just been her asking for it, but he's a jealous sort. He's not exactly happy Sabretooth is part of the adventure and when good old Victor Creed in standard decides to be crude about it that jealousy turns to rage. Azazel grants the "send us to hell" request and beheads Sabretooth right then and there.
Sabretooth being beheaded is interesting for a few reasons. For starters, it seems like one of those things that would actually kill the antihero once and for all, but this is Sabretooth. He'll be back. The truly interesting thing is what Azazel says to him beforehand, while they are fighting. When Sabretooth tells Azazel he actually wants to go to hell, the demonic being explains that he's on his way there. Despite changing his ways, Sabretooth is far from redeemed and, as Azazel reveals, "the finger prints of the evil" Sabretooth has done before remains on his very soul.
For Sabretooth this is likely devastating information. The character has been on a long journey to actual redemption in Weapon X, but it's also that may be a huge component of what comes next. By going into Hell to deal with Stryker, Sabretooth is likely to be confronted by his own sins and evil as well, perhaps offering him a way to work through them. But will Sabretooth be forged and redeemed in the fires of hell? Marvel fans will just have to wait and see.
Weapon X #25 is on sale now.
What did you think about Sabretooth's gruesome "death"? Let us know in the comments!