Characters Appearing: Bloodthirst, Caretaker, Deathlok (Michael Collins), Mandy Tyler, Martine Bancroft, Morbius, Thomas Dolan, Wraith
Issue(s): Morbius #18, Morbius #19
Morbius is administering another cure on itself, and this time it turns him human AND allows him to strike stylish poses.
Undead Martine Bancroft is still around, and she's not nearly as enthused as Morbius about the cure. Granted, no one can be as enthusiastic as the man in that panel above, and also, being undead and emotionless, Martine is unable to be enthusiastic about anything. Luckily, Morbius has another girlfriend, Mandy Tyler, at the office. She's a vampire enthusiast, and she takes him to a vampire club after work.
I'll say this for Morbius' cure: it lasts a whole six pages before he regresses.
But since Mandy's club is a vampire club, this doesn't put a crimp on their date. Morbius is in fact a big hit at the club.
That top thought bubble from the club head honcho, Brian, is the most primitive scripting i have ever seen.
It turns out that Brian is Brian DeWolff, aka the Wraith. He's still got a vendetta against the police for allowing his sister, Jean DeWolff, to die. This was also his motivation his last appearance, but his vendetta was cut short at the time due to the minor inconvenience of being killed by the Scourge. But when your name is the Wraith, it's pretty easy to negotiate a resurrection in Marvel's horror line (the story is that his consciousness got transferred to another body after the Scourge shot him; and it happened to be the body of the guy that ran the vampire enthusiast cult). This time Wraith intends to attack the police by instigating a riot (rather than wandering into a police station to attack them single-handedly).
Morbius detects that something is wrong with the Wraith, so he goes to Caretaker for help (saying that he "couldn't seem to find Doctor Strange", so he went to Caretaker instead). Caretaker offers no help; just a chewing out.
Wraith uses two suicide jumpers as an opportunity to start the riots. He uses his possession power to cause a police officer to shoot the jumpers (Captain Thomas Dolan, from the Ghost Rider series, happens to be on the scene, but he's not the shooter). Morbius rescues the jumpers, but the shooting incident causes the crowd to riot. Morbius finds Wraith and attacks him, but Deathlok also happens to be around...
...and he gets possessed by the Wraith.
The Wraith's possession doesn't last too long thanks to Deathlok's computer side.
Maybe it's just the villain's name working subconsciously on me, but those illusionary creatures in the top panel look a bit like Dire Wraiths to me.
Deathlok and Morbius compare notes. Deathlok has been tracing the Wraith's psychic energy. Deathlok and Morbius also commiserate over their shared origins: they were both made into monsters by science.
Deathlok logs in to cyberspace to learn what the police know about the Wraith. It's a sign of how times have changed since 1994 that Deathlok has to explain what cyberspace is.
Interestingly, when they learn that the Wraith was Jean DeWolff's brother, Morbius says that Jean was "an exceptional police captain". They've never met (on panel anyway), but i guess she was well known enough for Morbius to have an opinion about her.
Having gained info on the Wraith, Morbius has to return to his "coffin" (a rejuvenative chamber) to wait out the day. He and Deathlok meet up again at sunset. They seek the partner of the police officer who shot the jumper, and they warn him that Wraith is going to start more trouble. Deathlok and Morbius then go after the Wraith's vampire cult. Deathlok is a bit disgusted by how Morbius drinks the blood of his victims, but he doesn't try to stop him. They then track the Wraith to Jean DeWolff's former police station.
Wraith has a personal reason for wanting to fight Morbius because his cult followers would actually prefer Morbius as their leader.
Morbius is able to overcome the Wraith's mental attacks and stop the Wraith (and drinks his blood)...
...while Deathlok prevents a bomb from going off at the station.
The issue ends with Morbius feeling judged and defensive over Deathlok's disapproval of his killing ways.
There's also an interlude in issue #19:
This is all just very mediocre. I understand the impulse, started in the Wraith's previous appearance, to try to squeeze some interest out of the third-tier villain by gloming on to the critical acclaim around the story of his sister's death. But the Wraith's motivations make no sense (going after the police?) and mixing him in with a vampire enthusiast cult just muddies things up. The use of Deathlok as an ineffectual scold doesn't really help things either. And there's nothing going on art- or script-wise to make up for the plot. If anything, they drag it down further.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 251,600. Single issue closest to filing date = 192,300.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Deathlok's series doesn't end with a status quo change for him, so this can take place before or after his series is cancelled. This should probably take place before Morbius locates Dr. Strange in Doctor Strange #62, although "couldn't seem to find Doctor Strange" is fairly ambiguous (it sounds significantly less urgent than how Morbius is searching for Strange in Doctor Strange #62, although that could either be because he hasn't realized he's missing yet or because he'd already found him once and now just temporarily can't find him again).
For what it's worth, it's said to be "Christmas season" but between the compressed timescale and the fact that "Christmas season" starts in October nowadays, that's not really a consideration.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
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