How 'Ruins of Ravencroft: Sabretooth' #1 Opens the Vaults of Horror
Spoiler alert! Read through a full analysis of today's new ish!
Warning! This article contains spoilers for today's RUINS OF RAVENCROFT: SABRETOOTH #1, so read on at your own risk, oh frantic ones!
When the Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane made its debut in SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED (1993) #1, few could have predicted its larger impact on the Marvel Universe. During the ‘90s, Ravencroft was a constant presence in the Spider-Man books and the home away from home for none other than Cletus Kasady, AKA Carnage. From MAXIMUM CARNAGE to last year’s hit ABSOLUTE CARNAGE, Cletus just couldn’t stay away from his old stomping grounds. But in 2020, Ravencroft will once again be rebuilt and reclaim its place in history. But perhaps some secrets are better off forgotten...
The recently released RUINS OF RAVENCROFT: CARNAGE #1 established a direct link to Ravencroft’s origin and Cletus’ ancestor, Cortland Kasady, and Cortlan’s wife, Molly Ravencroft. Molly’s descendant, Jonas Ravencroft, was the man responsible for building the Institute centuries later. In this week’s RUINS OF RAVENCROFT: SABRETOOTH #1, writer Frank Tieri and artists Angel Unzueta and Stefano Landini peeled back additional layers of the Institute’s past. And it’s not a pretty picture!
Within the early pages of this issue, it was revealed that the Spirit of ‘76, a Revolutionary War hero who was a precursor to Captain America, may have died in a battle near Ravencroft in 1783. More alarmingly, it also touches upon an 1804 incursion by frequent Doctor Strange villain, Shuma-Gorath, as well as a Ghost Rider in 1820 (who looks suspiciously like the Headless Horseman). Additionally, Hulk’s immortal adversary, Tyrannus, led a nearby invasion in 1862, while the Skrulls invaded the land near Ravencroft back in 1891. Jonas Ravencroft’s writings appear to suggest that the geographical area was cursed, even if he doesn’t believe in the supernatural.
Because this is the Marvel Universe, we have to take it seriously when one of the Ravencroft construction workers claims that Mephisto encouraged him to murder his foreman. Mephisto is by far Marvel’s most prevalent demon, and he apparently took an interest in Ravencroft even before the institute was finished. What is it about this land that attracts evil?
Even Jonas was ignorant about an incident that occurred in 1909. Shortly after Sir Percy of Scandia, the original Black Knight, was locked away in in Ravencroft, two doctors went head-to-head. Doctor Claudia Russell and Dr. Nathanial Essex. Both of those names should sound familiar to Marvel fans, but especially Essex’s...since he is better known as Mr. Sinister.
As the title implies, Sabretooth played a large role in this issue as well. Apparently, Sabretooth’s association with Sinister goes back nearly a century before he joined the Marauders and participated in THE MUTANT MASSACRE. However, the events of this issue allowed Sabretooth to torment his old nemesis, Wolverine. Sabretooth may have even believed Wolverine was responsible for Jack the Ripper-like killings nearby, but he relished the way that Sinister amputated Logan’s arm and left him lobotomized.
Claudia freed Logan at the cost of exposing her secret: she was a werewolf and likely an ancestor or relative of Jack Russell, Marvel’s WEREWOLF BY NIGHT. Unfortunately, Claudia’s good deed was punished when Sinister and Sabretooth subdued her and conducted horrific experiments upon her. It was a grim ending for Claudia’s story, and yet another ghost to haunt Ravencroft’s walls.
Speaking of which, the present day sequence featured the unlikely gathering of Reed Richards, Misty Knight, John Jameson, and Mayor Wilson Fisk. They also had the misfortune of opening one of Ravencroft’s vaults; which turned out to be filled with monsters. Intriguingly, Fisk appeared to recognize something or someone among the creatures. Misty immediately noticed that, but it will have to be a mystery for another day.
On Wednesday, January 22, Tieri and artist Stefano Landini will pit the Lord of the Vampires against Captain America in RUINS OF RAVENCROFT: DRACULA. Who knows what dark secrets they may reveal there? It’s all leading up to the new five-issue RAVENCROFT series by Tieri and artist Angel Unzueta. Whatever is buried within Ravencroft’s walls won’t be trapped for long.
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