I’m re-reading these as I review them, and as I read the new issues of the re-boot of this title, and I have to say they are like night and day. There is a attempt at revealing the seedy dark underbelly of New York in the re-boot of Morbius that is out now, that this comic accomplishes far better.
The plot of this issue find Morbius trying to get his shit together after the death of the woman he loved (at his own hands), and a whole lot of drama that came with the entrance of the Spirits of Vengeance into his life. The one thing that is holding him together is his choice to only prey on the corrupt. Even with all the moral ambiguity that comes with being not just a vigilante, but a vigilante that lusts after human blood, the decision to only kill those who “deserve” it give Morbius a purpose that allows him to focus on his other problem, a cure.
To that end he returns to the home of his only remaining friend, Jacob. When Morbius tells him of his new plan to use his need to feed only on the wicked, Jacob accepts the idea and sets out to do whatever he can to help Morbius.
Meanwhile forces are alining against Morbius. The corpses that he is leaving behind get the attention of the police, one of whom places a call to a mysterious man in South America, who immediately gets a plane back to the States. Not to mention that Spider-Man already has Morbius on his radar. Thought that feeling is mutual. Morbius wants to meet with Spidey again, because once that radio active blood of his alleviated the symptoms of his disease for a while.
Writer Len Kaminski knows his way around the vigilante story. Having written for other horror titles like Lady Death, Hellstrom, and Scare Tactics, he knows his way around the horror genre too. The internal debate that Morbius is constantly having concerning the physical action that he needs to take to remain alive gets a chance to be aired outside of the inner monologue. The introduction of Jacob gives Morbius a Devil’s Advocate that has enough of a callous demeanor to him that it seems to push Morbius further towards that vigilante mindset.
Ron Wagner provides a dark canvas to tell that story on. All of the characters seem jagged and textured to the point that they just ooze humanity and darkness. The black borders to all of the pages gives it an even darker feel, like there might be something lurking on the edge of the pages. The art in this is done just right, and the menial thug that Morbius feeds on this issue doesn’t look like he fell out of Mad Max, so that is a bonus.
It is hard for me to divorce nostalgia from this review, but I have to say that even without the veneer of, “I loved this as a kid,” this is a really solid title. There is a palpable sense of desperation in Morbius about what he is going to have to do to stay alive. There is a disconnectedness from Jacob that is a touch disturbing, as far as voices of reason go he isn’t the best and seems very enabling of Morbius. It will be interesting to see as the title goes on if it maintains this sense of darkness and urgency as traditional super heroes are introduced into the fray. I for one am excited to re-read on!