Credits: Todd McFarlane (artist/writer), Rick Parker (letterer), Gregory Wright (colors)
Summary: Spider-Man convinces the naïve sewer-dwellers to take him to their leader. He discovers Morbius now rules over the rejects, ordering them to deliver him humans for sustenance. After fighting Morbius, Spider-Man finally convinces him to ask his subjects where they’re finding his victims. Morbius, who thought his victims were criminals, learns that the sewer-people consider all city-dwellers “bad ones.” Distraught, Morbius flies away. Spider-Man leaves the rejects in the charge of their former leader.
Continuity Notes: I’m assuming Morbius last appeared in one of Dr. Strange’s numerous short-lived series (I’ll guess volume…three?). According to this issue, Morbius had been living with Dr. Strange until his quest for blood began to drive him insane.
Panel Count: We’re back to a less than three panel-per-page average, as this issue has fifty-six panels.
Where’s Felix? : Felix seems to be missing this issue.
Review: Maybe this story was popular around Marvel’s offices, since Morbius received his own solo book within a year or so. You can see another Spawn prototype this issue, as Morbius is given a cloak that’s virtually identical to the one Spawn will soon wear. McFarlane does succeed in making Morbius at least somewhat visually interesting, which is a step-up from his usual appearances.
I totally forgot McFarlane made two Spider-Man villains insane. I don’t think future Morbius stories played up the insanity bit, but it’s still disappointing that McFarlane went back to the “ah, he’s crazy” motivation so soon. I remember liking this story as a kid, since it actually made Morbius’ internal conflict seem interesting to me for the first time. I think the idea that Morbius has given in to his bloodlust and is now just choosy about his victims was revived in his solo series, so maybe McFarlane ended up contributing something to the character after all. Reading this today, I see that it’s filled with terrible dialogue (“You think it’s easy for me to prey on others for survival? Then curse you!!”), and the ending is unintentionally hilarious. After learning that his victims were actually innocent homeless people, Morbius shouts, “Noooooo! What have I become?” as he flies away, reminiscent of Conan O’Brien’s future done-to-death joke character, Cody Devereaux.