Writer: Vita Ayala
Art: Marcelo Ferreira, Paulo Siqueira, Roberto Poggi, Dono Sanchez-Almara
Release Date: 12/02/2020
Morbius #5 *add a significant delay and the sound of breathing*, this series man, seriously Vita Ayala has this character down. I don’t recall reading a more human Morbius than this iteration, he’s torn and tortured by his thirst. Wracked with guilt and shame, and the artistic talents of the army of artists who work on the book bring it all to life in a way that is harrowing yet heartfelt.
The storyline continues in the ways you’d expect of a geneticist with an itch to fix a problem, and the inclusion of everyone’s favorite wall-crawling lab technician Peter Parker further cements the need for them, to quote Matt Damon in The Martian, to science the shit out of this!
But when a blast from the Living Vampires past interrupts the biochemical fun times, everything screeched to a halt in remembrance and understanding that actually manages to pull on your heartstrings and play with your emotions.
AND THAT’S JUST THE OPENING PAGES! This is an exposition-heavy issue that brings a lot of much-needed humanity and emotion, but at the same time, it doesn’t feel heavy. There is a true melancholic lilt to the narrative that is uncommon in what is seen more widely in pop culture. It doesn’t smack you over the head with the saccharine sweetness of unrequited love, this is a more bitter evolution of those emotions and the writing and the artwork scaffold those emotions so that the pages fly by before you realize that you’ve gobbled up the issue.
But just as deeply emotive as the backstory given is, the brutality of the action gives rise to a less human Morbius. A beast that is more animal than man. And the artworks shifting style for the sepia tones remembrances to the deeper darker hues and almost aggressive black linework of the now reflect the very real danger the characters face with the unknown and advancing mutation at work.
If you like the darker Marvel properties and recall the MAX run of Blade from nearly 20 years ago (oh my god I got old), then you need to be reading this book. It takes the bright and shiny New York that Marvel often portrays and drags it into the shadows. Spider-Man serves to reinforce that stark contrast, that reminder that this is not just another super-hero book. It’s a monster book first and foremost, and so far, it’s doing it very, very well.