I’m not sure that I really get the point or Marvel Now. Right now it just kind of seems like an excuse to dump a bunch of first issues of titles that have been around forever onto the market. Sure they are “re-booting” a lot of the titles in an effort to make them more hip and with it, but I don’t know that a lot of the titles out there really need that. Do we really need like four Avengers titles? Or a reboot of the very well fleshed out Wolverine saga? Or a hip new version of the Michael Morbius story? Probably not.
As a devotee of the Midnight Sons titles of the 90’s this title coincided almost perfectly with me getting back into comics so seeing issue #1 I bit, pardon the pun. It was a bit of a let down. The Morbius of this new Marvel Now title seems a little silly. After climbing out of a river Morbius runs away from the law to a suburb of New York called Brownsville, on the advice of a homeless man who suggests that as a prison escapee there may just be to many super heroes in New York for Morbius’ taste. “For the most part, super heroes never even heard of Brownsville,” the homeless many says.
“Sounds Perfect,” is Morbius’ reply.
Things in Brownsville are fine, if a little seedy and dirty until Morbius steps in to help a young lady against some local thugs. Soon he finds himself on the wrong side of a mohawked and heavily pierced gang leader who could have walked out of any shitty 80’s post apocalyptic sci-fi schlock. Soon Morbius is on the run and gunned down leaving the first issue with a cliff hanger that kind of makes me wish this was a one shot.
There is a lot that I don’t like about this comic. Characterization is weak, nameless homeless guy, standard sci-fi gang thug, and Morbius himself comes across as childish (unlike the scientist that he is supposed to be). The writing is pedestrian, and I think it does a really poor job of representing a long standing and interesting side character in the Marvel Universe. Even the “sciency” things Morbius says about the physical (rather than mystical) nature of his affliction seem forced and silly. I’m sure I will be picking up forthcoming issues, just in the hopes of a turn around in the title, but the guy at the comic book shop put it best when he talked about his title, “When I first met you I thought to myself, ‘You seem smart, why are you reading that?'”
Richard Elson’s art on the hand I like. He has a really clean and precise style that reminds me a lot of cartoons or illustration. It doesn’t really hint at the darkness that is could, and because it is so precise Brownsville doesn’t seem as grimy as they say it is. I like the style, I just don’t know that it fits the story that could be told with the Morbius character.
Here’s hoping that the title ages with grace and beauty instead of getting stupider as it goes.