Morbius: The Living Vampire (Vol. 2) #1

Background

There were possibly 3 or 4 people out there clamoring for another Morbius title. Never let it be said that Marvel doesn't give readers what they want.

After being outed (and ousted) as the secret scientist of Lab 6 at Horizon Labs, after the events of No Turning Back and after waltzing out of The Raft prison for super-powered criminals (ASM 699.1), Morbius is out on the streets of NYC doing..something.

Story 'Midnight Son'

What's he doing? Oh yeah, he's running through the streets from some thugs. He says he doesn't sleep anymore ("I mean I'm always awake. Always always") and that he doesn't "even remember dreams anymore." (which sounds pretty easy if you're not at all sleeping). One of the thugs loads a shotgun and takes a shot at Morbius, apprently hitting him in the shoulder. Morbius ducks into a subway, his shotgun wound healing rapidly, and bends the turnstile. He coerces a bystander to hand over his jacket by using a form of hypnotism.

Morbius then wrestles one of the thugs onto the subway tracks. As they fight in the path of an oncoming train, he lists via voiceover the 'modern myths of the modern vampire', which include lack of vulnerablity to crosses and garlic, among other things. He goes on elucidate that he's not really vampire, a super villain or a super hero. As a thug takes a point blank shot at his chest with the shotgun, he says he's a dead man.

Flashback five days ago. Morbius meets up with his drifter friend Justin in Baretto Point, having swam from the confines of the Raft prison in the distance. His friend tells him he needs to get out of NYC. Morbius says he has some things to attend to. Justin says to lay low, or go where the superheros don't go--Brownsville.

After four nights on the rough streets in Brownsville, Morbius gets mixed up with a couple named Noah and Wanda, who have a young son. He tries to interject into their argument and gets told off by the sassy Wanda. After a brief recap of Morbius' childhood and scientist life, Morbius is trying to eat a trash sandwich on the street when he's accosted by Noah (the guy from the night before, a thug with a mohawk) and Noah's young charge Carter. Morbius and Noah get into a scuffle. Afterwards, Morbius says this is how he met Noah St. Germain, and how he became a dead man. Cut back to a shot of Morbius on the ground with a smoldering shotgun wound.

General Comments

Not bad but nothing too outstanding here. I thought Morbius escaped from the Raft way too easily during the events of Dying Wish, and what he's doing in his own series is unclear from this first issue. There's really very little point to this story so far, and as a table-setter it doesn't really whet the appetite for more. Doing a gritty Morbius on the New York streets is an interesting premise for a title, but so far it wastes the opportunity to explore more of the monstrous elements of the character.

This is an issue of the lead fighting and mostly getting his head kicked in, as well as shot point-blank. I can't say what's seen here of a supporting cast makes me eager to keep reading. Much of the narration by Morbius at the beginning came off sounding half-baked as well. The whole "I'm like a vampire, but I'm not", and "I'm not a hero, but I'm not villain" stuff is already tiresome.

I also found the disjointed storytelling, as well as the title panels and pages ('before all this', 'four nights in Brownsville', 'myths of the modern vampire') distracting and a little silly. Wanna see an effective and subversive use of these storytelling techniques? Check out Christopher Priest's Quantum and Woody.

The art here by Richard Elson (ASM #698) is pretty good. Maybe it's the heavy coloring that makes some of the faces here look slightly blurred in certain panels. Whatever the deal, Elson should really be in the current rotation doing the art on Superior Spider-man at some point.

Overall Rating

Generally a waste of talent all around, and probably a waste of your hard-earned comic-buying dollars. There is the potential for something more here, perhaps. I just can't see who the intended audience for this is.