Issue(s): Morbius #1
Yeah, not again! This would happen all the time in Morbius' old series in Fear. It's worth keeping in mind that Morbius is a real murdering monster. He'll recalibrate in this series and try to focus on only killing criminals, putting him into a slightly more grey category, closer to the Punisher (but with some differences that i think make him worse, which i'll note in future issues). But he's still got the blood of innocents on his hands (and *shlp... shlupp... shlorpp...* around the corners of his mouth). Arguably his actions can be excused because of his condition. But it's worth remembering that he's only become a monster as a side-effect of searching for a cure for his leukemia. So at some point you have to accept that he's made a conscious choice to continue living beyond what would have been "natural" for him, even though it's at the expense of other, innocent, lives.
Anyway, Ghost Rider and Johnny Blaze have come to New York seeking Martine Bancroft based on a vision that the clairvoyant in Blaze's circus had in Spirits of Vengeance #1.
Note that Blaze has only heard of Morbius. He doesn't seem to remember teaming up with him in Marvel Premiere #28. Blaze did have some trouble accepting what was going on in that story.
Martine has heard that Morbius has become a vampire again, and she's searching for him, either to help him or kill him.
She's working with a Dr. Langford, who is secretly working with a Dr. Paine.
Ghost Rider and Blaze help capture Morbius.
But, meanwhile, Lilith has recruited two more of her Lilin: a seer named Nakota and a guy named Fang.
Nakota tells Lilith about Langford, and Dakota sends Fang after him. You might think that Fang's powers are self-explanatory based on his name, but that's not the case.
Fang mixes some of his demon blood into the elixer that Langford has prepared. Martine thought the elixer would be a cure, but Langford really intended to kill Morbius. Instead, due to the demon blood, it causes Morbius to mutate.
Morbius flees to a (newly introduced) old friend, a Dr. Jacob Weisenthal.
Jacob says that if Morbius can get more of the elixer, he might be able to synthesize something that will help Morbius control his condition.
Morbius then goes out shopping. I love the idea of him just picking out his costume, cloak and all, off the rack at an S&M store.
Meanwhile, Dr. Paine sends some goons to lean on Dr. Langford, and Martine overhears the conversation and finds out that Langford was really trying to kill Morbius. Langford kills Martine.
Morbius then shows up at the lab, and i mean, hey, she's already dead. *shllllup... shulpp*
It's a pretty bold move to use Martine Bancroft here only to kill her off. I can see not wanting to use her, but killing her closes out future story possibilities. Oh wait, she'll be back in issue #13? Never mind!
He also kills Langford, and Paine's goons. And it's at this point that he feels "no remorse" and it's like a light bulb goes off in his head. Why not only kill bad guys?
Of course that's not really something new; it's what he was at least trying to do in Spider-Man #13-14.
Morbius also gets the elixir, but Ghost Rider and Blaze show up and take it from him. Ghost Rider uses his penance stare on Morbius, making him hear the voices of his victims...
...but Morbius says it doesn't tell him that he doesn't already know. Ghost Rider determines that Morbius has no deceit in him, only torment. So they give him back the elixir with a warning that if he strays from his current path of only killing "the guilty", he'll be back.
So that's actually a weird thing about this 'crossover'. Theoretically, Ghost Rider and Blaze are gathering allies to fight against Lilith. But in practice they just meet the people and then move on, and they'll all have to be gathered together in the end by other means. It's really a very cynical kind of crossover, very crassly promoting the new books without that much of a unified story. Lilith similarly gives up going after Morbius to focus on the next book.
The very end of this issue shows us Peter Parker at the Daily Bugle hearing about bloodless corpses and realizing he's going to have to go after Morbius, but the next issue blurbs warns us that we won't see Spider-Man until issue #3.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is part three of Rise of the Midnight Sons. Part four is in Darkhold #1. But Ghost Rider and Blaze actually appear in Spirits of Vengeance #2 next.
The Lilin blood that Morbius is injected with will later become a Lilin demon called Bloodthirst. I've listed it as a character appearing here, and i'll list it on occasions where it seems to take control of Morbius (and of course once he becomes fully apparent), but not with every Morbius appearance.
Crossover: Rise of the Midnight Sons
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Rise of the Midnight Sons TPB
Inbound References (10): show
Dr. (Thaddeus) Paine pops up again a few years later in the Venom: The Hunger miniseries, so you might want to add him to the Characters Appearing.
Posted by: MegaSpiderMan | March 4, 2016 4:49 PM
Paine appears as early as issue #3, but he's not actually in this comic so i haven't listed him yet.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 4, 2016 5:51 PM
"So now we learn a few things, like he plays violin and was the first in his family to go to college."
Posted by: Michael | March 4, 2016 8:01 PM
Ah you're right. Reading too fast. Thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 5, 2016 12:51 AM
I've never understood what exactly did change about Morbius because of Fang's blood?
BTW. I like Nakota's power. Eyes turning into remote-viewing lenses? It's actually a nice, weird idea...
Posted by: Piotr W | March 5, 2016 4:15 PM
I had quite the fascination with Morbius as a kid, probably due to the large role he played in the Spider-Man Animated Series. I've also always been drawn toward vampires, likely due to the influence of books like Dracula and Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, as well as games like The Legacy of Kain series. As a result, I'd always been very interested in checking out this series, as I only had 1 issue of it growing up. Once I was finally able to check out the rest of it, though, my interest died quickly. The art throughout is just too rough for me, and, unfortunately, Morbius just isn't as interesting as I once thought he was.
Posted by: TCP | March 10, 2016 10:48 AM
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