One of the X-Men’s most terrifying enemies has developed a new anti-mutant device that can render Wolverine’s healing factor totally useless.
Warning! Spoilers for Sabretooth & The Exiles #2 ahead!Of all the mutant powers possessed by the X-Men, none is as subtly powerful as Wolverine‘s healing factor, but the enemies of mutantkind have recently developed a subtle way to counteract his incredible ability. Logan cannot reach into the minds of others, bend elements to his will, nor unleash concussive blasts of raw energy capable of leveling entire city blocks. However, his ability to rapidly heal any injury or resist any illness, no matter how traumatic, renders the mutant all-but immortal.
Science has long been a bane to the X-Men, with advances in physics, cybernetics and biology giving non-mutants the tools to equalize with the mutants’ evolutionary gifts. Taking their inspiration from less malevolent medical research and advances, the anti-mutant Orchis Corporation has developed yet another means to neutralize a mutant’s abilities. This new tool is known as the Barrington Coil and is not only superior to its predecessors at suppressing mutant powers, but its experimental state brings with it catastrophic, potentially fatal, side effects.
The Barrington Coil Has Crippling Side Effects
First introduced in last month’s Sabretooth & The Exiles #1 from Victor Lavalle and Leonard Kirk, the Barrington Coil is a small, metallic rod inserted into Sabretooth. In issue two, the coil appears to have taken hold, and readers can see its full effects on its unfortunate test subject. Previously, Sabretooth’s healing factor allowed him to survive and heal from grievous surgical injuries endured at Dr. Barrington’s hands, including the removal of his entire liver. Sabretooth accomplished this despite being affixed with the ubiquitous power-dampening collars the X-Men have contended with for years. The Barrington Coil accomplishes what the collars cannot, and Sabretooth has been robbed of his mutant abilities. Creed’s heightened senses are dulled to nothing, and his body is struggling to heal from even minor bruises. Sabretooth is not just metaphorically declawed, but the effects are so drastic that he’s struggling to stay on his feet and can’t stop his actual claws from trembling. The Barrington Coil has not only nullified the seemingly limitless mutant healing factor, its recipient is in serious physical decline. As Destiny peers into the future in Sabretooth #5 (also from Lavalle and Kirk), readers get a glimpse of Creed further into degradation: in a twisted mirror of Professor X, the Barrington Coil has left him crippled and wheelchair-bound.
Dr. Barrington’s Creation Is a Sinister, But Effective, Way to Control Mutants
Mutant suppressing technology isn’t new to Marvel; inhibitor collars have been a regular obstacle for the X-Men since the 1980s. Since the Dawn of X era began, power-dampening technology has been integrated into Iron Man-inspired suits of armor by various governments hostile to the mutant nation of Krakoa. However, the collars are easily recognized and readily removable, while the armor provides only a temporary effect within proximity. The Barrington Coil is directly inserted into the subject and, according to Barrington, it is undetectable, effectively acting as an anti-mutant IUD. Its early tests show it not only more effective than collars, but also that its current state is actively detrimental to the individual. In a memo, Barrington compares her early prototype coils to the trials of contraceptive pills. In those trials conducted in Puerto Rico in 1950s, more than a fifth of the 265 women who participated dropped out due to the severity of the side effects, while an additional three subjects died (though the link to the pill has never been confirmed). Barrington’s early form of her coil is much like early contraceptive pills, and the strength of their current state is possibly outright lethal to anyone implanted with one.
Logan’s healing factor has allowed him to survive being pinned under a steamroller, bisection, decapitation, disintegration and nuclear bombing to name a few of the X-Man‘s more traumatic calamities. As shown by his nemesis’s rapidly deteriorating state, the Barrington Coil could not only render Wolverine as mortal as everyone else, it could very well provide the means for his (and Sabretooth’s) demise.
Sabretooth & The Exiles #2 is on sale now from Marvel Comics