Just in time for a live-action feature film, Marvel has released Morbius #1, a comic promoted as the first in an ongoing series featuring the iconic Marvel vampire. It's been a while since Morbius has appeared in a mainstream comic, let alone his own series so one could say some Morbius fans might be chomping at the bit to see their buddy back in action. This issue meets some of the hype, but doesn't check all the boxes that would make it a real standout comic.
When you run into a character like Michael Morbius, it's awfully hard to get past the man versus beast aesthetic. After all, he's someone who did this to himself in the midst of a desperate time and the story practically writes itself. That's a plot device on full display here. Morbius goes to great, dangerous lengths to try curing himself and it feels like a story we've seen before. It stops short of being a Jekyll and Hyde redux, though the tones are there and they'll admittedly have an undertone in any Morbius story from now until the end of time. Even then, that's a major part of where this story fails to standout.
That said, Vita Ayala does a tremendous job at laying out a killer (no pun intended) narrative for Morbius himself, though it isn't as present as it should be. In fact, some more of that would have gone a long way in helping this iteration of the character feel much more complex.
Even without a parental advisory warning on the cover, Morbius #1 is surprisingly bloody for its rating. A part of the lighter rating might be a direct result of the art from Marcelo Ferreira, with a style erring on the side of cartooning rather than an overbearingly gritty or grim tone. Don't get me wrong, this is a horror comic through and through—there's no mistaking that—it simply has a lighter feel than some might expect, especially after seeing the gnarly painted covers from Ryan Brown.
All in all, it's a fairly solid outing from a leading writer and artist, but there's just no spectacle or jaw-dropping moments. It sets up a plot that feels like a generic heist story from The Punisher; it's very far from revolutionary. Luckily, there are two reveals sprinkled throughout that manage to snag your attention well enough you'll want to return. Maybe future issues will improve on the debut retroactively—you know, the Age of Ultron effect. In and of itself, however, Morbius #1 stopped short of wowing me in ways I expect from launch issues.
Published by Marvel Comics
On November 13, 2019
Written by Vita Ayala
Art by Marcelo Ferreira
Inks by Roberto Poggi
Colors by Dono Sánchez-Almara0comments
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Cover by Ryan Brown