Issue(s): Spider-Man #13, Spider-Man #14
Anyway, the repeated cover is actually appropriate, because this is Todd McFarlane's final story, not counting, a crossover with X-Force co-written by Rob Liefeld, so it serves as a kind of bookend.
It's not much of a story, mind you. Spider-Man finds Morbius living in the sewer among a group of people that are explicitly not Morlocks but also don't really seem human.
Morbius has asked the sewer dwellers to bring "bad" people to him so he can drink their blood, because he only feeds on "bad" people, but he is tired of choosing who is "bad".
It turns out that the sewer dwellers don't really have a firm grasp on who is "bad". Basically everyone that lives on the surface is bad.
When Morbius finds that out, he berates himself, feeling guilty, and leaves. Spider-Man is unable to stop him or convince him to go to a super-scientist like Reed Richards or back to Dr. Strange (which, to McFarlane's credit, the story notes multiple times is where Morbius was last seen prior to this, although mainly just to handwave it away).
The real reason for the repeat cover is that Spider-Man thinks that his black costume will serve him better in the sewer, so he convinces Mary Jane to let him wear it again, at least for this mission.
Note that he got the costume from the Fantastic Four's "seamstress".
The costume turns out to have no value in the sewer.
Spider-Man's way of dealing with the sewer dwellers is pretty bizarre. He wraps some of them up in webbing and uses them like armored padding.
And that's basically everything worth mentioning about these issues, except for some insight into Peter and MJ's sex life.
Even moreso than the joking kinkiness, i think it's telling that Mary Jane wants to go out on the town but Peter just wants to stay home. Peter basically just ignores everything MJ says.
This issue actually ends almost like there's going to be a continuation of the story, with Spider-Man saying that he's going to Reed Richards to finds a cure for Morbius (and, note, deciding not to wear the black costume again).
I don't know if McFarlane originally intended to continue this story. But these two issues are his last, except for the X-Force crossover. It's said in the next issue blurb that next issue will be a fill-in because McFarlane got hit in the face with a baseball. And that may have been true. But it's also announced that Jim Salicrup, who has been the editor of this book, will be replaced by Danny Fingeroth. And, according to Sean Howe's Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, McFarlane came into conflict with Fingeroth. Jim Salicrup was apparently a very hands off editor, but Fingeroth was not. McFarlane had no use for editors ("You sell a million, I'll listen to you... If I can turn in 22 blank pages and the kids buy a million copies, who cares how comic books have been done for the past 50 years?"). McFarlane quit after drawing a sword going through a villain's eye (Shatterstar, Juggernaut), which Fingeroth wouldn't OK, and Tom DeFalco backed Fingeroth up, saying that it wouldn't be approved by the Comics Code.
So McFarlane will be out, but he'll quickly be replaced with Erik Larsen (who draws next issue's fill-in and then becomes the regular writer/artist with issue #18). And that's something else that Todd McFarlane took notice of. One creator quits, and they can simply be replaced. But what if a whole group of hot creators left at once?
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This story takes place across at least two days.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
One of the sewer-dwellers (the one at the top of this entry) looks to be a prototype for The Clown in McFarlane's Spawn.
The return of the black costume is incredibly arbitrary. I can kind of see the logic in-story, but you'd think this same argument would have come up at some point prior. The giant, white spider on the chest also kind of detracts from the outfit's stealthier capabilities.
Posted by: TCP | October 26, 2015 3:15 PM
Even the original black costume wasn't a good fit for being secretive. What it had going for it was the camouflage ability of the symbiote.
Posted by: clyde | October 26, 2015 3:25 PM
McFarlane seems to like drawing dude in long red capes living with the homeless.
Posted by: Berend | October 26, 2015 3:32 PM
McFarlane half asses his art so badly in the upcoming X Force crossover, that you can more or less consider this his last real issue.
Posted by: Bob | October 26, 2015 6:18 PM
Now, the Dusk suit on the other hand...
Posted by: Max_Spider | October 26, 2015 6:55 PM
Fnord, you write "But these two issues are his last". As Bob points out, his last issue was issue 16.
Posted by: Michael | October 26, 2015 10:25 PM
Well the symbiote does have tendrils...
Posted by: JC | October 26, 2015 10:27 PM
I'd imagine the simple fact that one of her husband's enemies knew where they lived and everything about them, that this was specifically the one with psycho stalker tendencies who Spider-Man himself had a lot of trouble beating (heck, just the costume along) managed to force entry and dressed a lot like Peter could have been numerous reasons for distress. I don't think she'd had much experience with any of these things by this point.
Chameleon tried something similar and was dealt with promptly.
Posted by: Max_Spider | October 27, 2015 3:08 PM
Well, I mean... She did have her own stalker, but still. Its not like he was able to do half the things Venom could by himself. Plus, I'd imagine a creature that had similarities to both her former landlord and Peter wouldn't mesh very comfortably.
Posted by: Max_Spider | October 27, 2015 3:11 PM
Honestly, if you're willing to look past Morbius ultimately coming across as an enormous idiot, the bits between Spidey and Morbius are probably the best of McFarlane's run (and possibly even the best Spider-Man Morbius stuff).
The other stuff is lousy with nice pictures of Spider-Man. That one of him putting on the black suit is bloody epic.
Also I think this is the debut of Morbius' 90s costume with the purple cape. Always preferred that look to his 70s red collar.
Posted by: AF | February 27, 2016 5:19 PM
Gotta love how back in the days when the Comics Code Authority was still in effect Todd McFarlane somehow got away with showing Peter shooting a bunch of sticky white stuff all over Mary Jane :P
Posted by: Ben Herman | April 30, 2017 3:19 PM
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