The Avengers and X-Men’s Epic Battle is over. Scott went insane. Charley took the dirt nap. Hope and Wanda made everything better. So Now what?
Well, NOW is the time for Marvel to shuffle the deck and play a new hand. It’s relaunch city as The House of Ideas brings us 20-something new #1s with all-new creative teams over the next 5 months. What will the new 23 have in store for us Marvel Zombies? Well, be sure to check out this column each week as we dissect the first issue of every new title under the Marvel Now Banner. And I don’t mean Bruce Banner…..well except when the title has the Hulk in it….you get what I mean. So sit back and relax as we check out what’s new in the 616.
When I look at the Spider-Man Rogues Gallery, I’ve always had a soft spot for Morbius. Bordering on the good guy/bad guy line, he’s just a dude who’s been dealt a shitty hand and now has an uncontrollable addiction for human blood. But it’s not like the guy’s a vampire. He’s still alive, kind of. Sure, he’s got the teeth and the blood thing, but all he really wants is to be left alone. He’s a good guy. He just needs the chance to show it. I guess that was the reasoning behind giving Morbius his own book so he’d finally get the chance to play the good guy, so to speak. Written by Joe Keating with art from Richard Elson, this book launches out of the events of Amazing Spider-Man #699.1 where Morbius escaped Prison and is now a free man. I mentioned in this week’s New Comics blog that I hoped that this book would shy away from the “pretty vampire” vampire stories we’ve been given over the past few years and rise above to tell a true horror action story. Well, this wasn’t a “pretty vamp” story but it certainly wasn’t a horror story either.
The first page for this book is all black save one caption in the middle of the page that reads: I was a Living Vampire. When we turn the page, we’re dropped into the story already in progress. Morbius is on the run from a thug out of an eighties street gang film. He’s injured and it doesn’t take long for this guy to catch up to him on a subway platform. The two tussle and almost get hit by a train. Things take a turn for the worse when the street punk’s buddies show up and a shotgun becomes involved. Needless to say, this isn’t Morbius’ day. We then flash back to five days before, just after Morby’s escape from Prison. He ends up meeting a good Samaritan who sets him up with some fresh clothes and tells of a neighborhood he can hide out in: Brownsville. Brownsville ain’t that nice of a place as Morbius soon finds out. His first few nights there are uneventful but things pick up on night 4. Morbius sticks his nose in this thug’s business, the same thug who shoots him down at the start of the issue. The guy’s name is Noah St. Germain and it appears that he’s the defacto villain for this tale as the issue comes to an end.
There really isn’t much to say about this book. It’s not terrible but it isn’t that good either. I see the appeal of telling a street level story with this character but the antagonist of the piece is lackluster at best. A common street thug with spiked hair and a shot gun. That’s it. This just doesn’t come off as much of a threat. I remember when they tried to relaunch Hercules with the title Herc and he also was relegated to fighting street gangs at first. Street gangs just don’t work for most heroes because of their heightened powers. Hawkeye’s been fighting a street gang in his book but he’s just a guy with a bow and arrow. That makes sense. The Punisher fighting street thugs. That makes sense. But a guy with enhanced strength, a healing factor and a craving for blood doesn’t really seem like the type of “hero” you want to throw into gang land. That being said, I do like the idea of Morbius not wanting to get involved but feeling like he has to. It’s reminiscent of a seventies film where a stranger comes to town and just wants to keep to himself but gets dragged into the problems at hand because his conscience won’t let him stand idly by. The problem is that that element is really downplayed here. I feel that the character is played very “middle of the road”. He has no real defining qualities as a lead character. The reader doesn’t care what happens to him because they’re not really given a reason to. But just by reading the first issue, I can see the opportunity for us to care. There is potential for something to happen….but then it never does.
The art by Richard Elson is fine but is made all the more interesting by the colors of Antonio Fabela. The colors really pop in the issue and do a great job of setting the mood for each scene. Unfortunately, when I’m reviewing a book and the thing I like the most is the colors, there is a good chance that your book has a great need of improvement. Much like the story, the art is not bad but it doesn’t really jump off the page. The colors can only go so far.
Overall, while this issue was not a complete waste of time, it wasn’t that great a use of it either. I feel there is a chance to tell an interesting story here. But the story we’ve begun here isn’t it. I suggest you pass on Morbius #1 as its got a long way to go before it’s a book investing your time to.
So this 1st Issue is done but there’s plenty more to come. Check back here in the coming week’s to find out which books are worth your time which are a waste of it.
And if you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!
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