As a clever twist on the classic vampire, Morbius is one of the more interesting monsters in the Marvel Comics universe. He’s a “living vampire” and thus a bit different, though his story is far more tragic than Dracula’s. In a new one-shot — likely originally planned to be released alongside the major motion picture Morbius movie — Ralph Macchio and Tom Reilly tell a story that connects to Morbius’ past and present. For a one-shot, this is an interesting little tale, though it has some issues.
This is a great read if you’re unfamiliar with Morbius but would like a primer on the character. It uses flashbacks to reveal Morbius’ origin as well as well written captions to get inside Morbius’ head. Macchio does a great job to capture the character’s hopefulness to be better, but also how he wallows in his monstrous life. It’s a tale about a man who wants to do the right thing, but he can’t seem to stop himself from rushing in and messing things up.
As the story goes, Morbius wants to do the right thing and save the life of a boy he’s an uncle to. The unfortunate truth is Morbius killed his father and hopes to save the boy from a blood disease. This sets in motion Morbius attempting to find a cure by working with an unsavory supervillain. As the story goes, we get to see Morbius use his various powers, including floating flight, and get a sense of this hero’s abilities. It ends in an unsavory way — and somewhat shockingly abruptly — but it serves as a good introduction for new readers.
Art by Reilly is good, with great colors by Chris O’Halloran. There’s a cool effect with Morbius’ eyes glowing red, even when he’s cast in shadow, that creates an eerie nature to the character. Morbius is always a bit goofy and even gangly, which helps create a weird nature to him. There’s a showstopper page where Morbius must decide to help the supervillain and is frustrated by the option in front of him. In the lower right corner of the page, we see Morbius ready to enact the request with Ravencroft looming ahead of him and Reilly has allowed the spindly tree branches to curve up behind the panels up to the top of the page. It’s a cool effect that helps convey the monumental choice to do a bad thing for good reasons.
Morbius: Bond of Blood is a great primer on Morbius that shows off his powers, details his origin, and captures his unique personality. Anyone familiar with the character might find a chunk of this issue unnecessary and the ending comes as a shock, but all in all it’s an entertaining experience with classic Morbius vibes.
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