Writer: Frank Tieri
Art: Guillermo Sanna, Angel Unzueta, Rachelle Rosenberg, VC’s Travis Lanham, Romulo Fajardo Jr., and Gerardo Sandoval
Release Date: January 15th, 2020
The history of the Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane has been covered in quandary for years. Well, in the wake of ABSOLUTE CARNAGE, the facility’s past has started to untangle, and in doing so has disclosed hidden secrets from the past with some of the Marvel Universe’s most recognizable heroes and villains! Let’s jump into RUINS OF RAVENCROFT: SABRETOOTH #1 by Frank Tieri and see what new mysteries we found out in this week’s installment.
After reading this issue, as well as last week’s RUINS OF RAVENCROFT: CARNAGE #1, this comic fan couldn’t help to notice the eerie, monstrous vibe that these one-shots appear to emanate. Frank Tieri appears to be harnessing this inner late 19th Century gothic literature feeling that’s permeating deeply throughout this issue making these RAVENCROFT issues materialize as dark, mysterious, and hauntingly frightening.
Tieri is creatively taking some creative license to weave together early supernatural and scientific enlightenment from our past with the Marvel Comics Universe that’s overly intriguing, imaginative, and disturbingly inventive. Some of this reviewers favorite aspects of this fictional anecdote mixtures included Teddy Roosevelt, a Jack the Ripper connection involving a predominant Marvel figure, and (my personal favorite) the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Honestly, sign me up for preorders now Tieri for a book involving your idea of the Headless Horsemen. I’m all in!
Furthermore, Tieri connects the dots masterfully by having a certain Doctor, who just so happens to be a huge part of the Marvel Universe now, take center stage in this horrifyingly astonishing tale within Ravencroft. However, my biggest gripes involving this issue were with the name of the comic, the cover, and what we received by its conclusion. Could there have been false advertising involved? Absolutely! Sure, Sabretooth is in the issue. However, don’t be fooled by his role being front and center of this comic. Or, don’t think this RAVENCROFT issue explains any backstory or details about our favorite fun-lovingly aggressive mutant. Nope! You won’t find a costumed Sabretooth in this one. Additionally, the cover by Romulo Fajardo Jr. and Gerardo Sandoval is exceedingly misleading as to what this story is about and Sabretooth’s involvement. It’s because of the above that I actually left the issue a bit disappointed.
Additionally, what Reed, Misty, and Fisk find inside the hidden ruins is barely discussed or even referenced. Heck, it doesn’t even connect to the past. Monsters appear, we get flashbacks, and that’s it. Ultimately, Tieri had a great story to tell about the history of Ravencroft, however, the present-day items seem forced and slid into the issue to make attempts to pertain it to the present. Tieri needs to forget about ABSOLUTE CARNAGE, it’s aftermath, and just go with what works… his historical take on the institute and it’s terrifying past. That’s where Tieri’s story is at its best. And, this SHOULD be a clever idea for an ongoing… not something symbiote-related.
Readers, when Tieri focuses on what he does well, it’s a fantastic issue. There truly is so much ingenuity melted together with the history that blends so well together. Plus, the snippets we get are enough to draw comic fans deeper into the narrative. However, once we are forced back into the main tale in order to connect to present Marvel events, that’s where Tieri continues to lose me.
Timing is everything and if these RAVENCROFT issues were released in October, this would have been PERFECT! There eerie feeling saturates each page and develops a tone that penetrates the reader’s mind. However, it’s nowhere near the story I was expecting and this critic left the issue disappointed due to the title and cover of the story. If you’re searching for Sabretooth or anything deeply related to his past, this isn’t the issue for you. If you’re looking for a monstrously inventive tale that portrays similar tones of late 19th Century horror fiction, then you’ve come to the right place. Give this issue a shot but temper your expectations from what you see on the cover, as well as its name.