Morbius has always been one of my favorite anti-heroes. He’s a tragic character inflicted with a blood disease and had the pride to think he could cure himself with a little vampire bat DNA. Due to his complicated nature of desiring blood but not wanting to act on taking it from humans, he’s gone from villain to hero back to villain again. In Vita Ayala and Marcelo Ferreira’s opening salvo into the series, we learn Morbius’ current heroic status, and also how this character may evolve further.
I enjoyed this issue as it leans into the scary nature of vampires while also delivering thought-provoking captions tying into the functions and rationale of mankind. Ayala does this through musings on Aristotle, which are cut together with violent attacks from Morbius on a group of criminals. Much of the narrative is set in a single warehouse where the bad guys are doing bad guy things, but it’s in these musings captured in captions that the deeper, meaningful character narrative takes flight. By the end of the issue, Ayala and Ferreira make a strong case to root for Morbius as his tragic tale gets even more so in the cliffhanger.
The vampire attacks by Morbius are rendered beautifully here by Ferreira, with inks by Roberto Poggi and colors by Dono Sanchez-Almara. The hint of blood on Morbius’ face, hands, and how it drips draws your eye very well. There is also a great use of blur to convey the perspective of a knocked out victim that is deliciously cinematic. The attacks of Morbius give the book a unique feel too. He’s quick, keeps to the shadows, and strikes without mercy. This isn’t a conventional superhero, but a character who means it when he strikes.
The art and story are also quite good at making you feel for Morbius. One scene visualizes the poor sod reflecting on how he became this monster and the captions aid in reflecting on his sorry existence. Later there’s a scene in the mirror that’ll have you feeling all kinds of emotions for the character. There’s a deeper purpose to this series about being a monster and hating it, and how your health is an important factor in being the moral and rational being to better contribute to society.
At its core, this is a deeply purposeful and interesting first issue. Ayala has captured the horrific nature of being a monster and not having any way of curing yourself. The art and action ramp up the horror angle while revealing Morbius may want to be good, but the vampiric nature of the character can’t be contained either. The complexities of the character shine through while the violence is scary good. This has a Let The Right One In vibe but about how a damaged person becomes even more damaged, at least at this stage in the story.
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