Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Morbius: The Living Vampire: The Man Called Morbius – review

Writer: Joe Keating (with Dan Slott)

Illustrator: Various

First published: 2013 (collection)

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: Somewhere inside Doctor Michael Morbius is a good man who just needs a second chance. NOW!, after escaping from the Raft, Morbius the Living Vampire is scraping desperately through each day, on the run and desperate to quell his vampiric tendencies. Will he be able to resist the siren song of blissful bloodsucking, or will Spider-Man sling him straight back into the slammer? And will his redemption turn out to be worse than his sin? As Morbius tries to stay under the radar, a new threat arises, and they want Morbius dead. But after inciting a gang war, will Morbius be able to protect the new friends?

COLLECTING: Morbius: The Living Vampire 1-9, Amazing Spider-Man 699.1. Also includes exclusive AR video content!

The review: One thing that struck me very much about this – not being a dedicated Marvel fan – was that by the end of volume #1 of the Living vampire series Morbius had, in his own words, died twice – perhaps he was just injured (to a degree where a normal person would be dead) but he mentions being a dead man and a dead vampire – so surely he should have become Morbius the undead vampire? No... I'm probably spoiling the concept of the character to even suggest it.

Rather than that we have Michael Morbius, sufferer from a rare blood disease who, whilst trying to cure himself, manages to transform himself into a living vampire. He has few of the disadvantages other than a sensitivity to sunlight (though he doesn’t burn up) and the bloodlust.

What’s rather nice about the series is that, despite the superhero universe, Morbius is no hero – and when he tries to do good he tends to make things worse. Part of me missed the early Vampire Tales stories where Morbius was faced with a demon cult and there was a definitive supernatural element. However by moving the story into the mundane, and by eschewing an “end of the world” story for something much more small town focused and actually corporate at heart, the writers managed to change focus and make the story more interesting for that.

Spider-man does make an appearance during the full story, as do some of the more famous super-villains in the escape from the Rift Spider-Man volume, and the Legion of Monsters cameo towards the end.

The artwork worked for me more through the Morbius comics than the Spider-man comic – but that was personal preference more than anything. The vaunted AR (where you can get extras on your phone by aiming an app at certain pages) never seemed to work for me however.

6.5 out of 10.


Unknown said...

Oh, Morbius very much should be considered "undead" at this point. He has died several times in the comics. He's just in deep denial. He only counts himself as living by the most vague definition of the term.

Originally he was called "The living vampire" to side step the comic code censorship of the early 1970s that prevented the use of supernatural vampires but once that was dropped Morbius's title became nothing more than the character's own deep denial.

Issue 5 of the 2013 comic book's opening page says that he is neither living nor dead so the titel is just something obsolete Marvel should have dropped a long time ago.

Unknown said...

That was not Spider-man who appeared, by the way. That was Superior Spider-man. Doctor Octopus running around in Peter Parker (Spider-man's) body. A villain and former colleague of Morbius's. Morbius does not know any of this, of course. Peter has his body back now but during that storyline it was Doc Ock.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Thanks for the background Thomas, very useful