Thursday, October 29, 2009

Morbius versus...the C.I.A.?

I've mentioned before that Morbius appeared in the 70's in Fear, or Adventure into Fear, or its full title, Adventure into Fear with the man called Morbius--the Living Vampire. With "the Living Vampire" taking up about two-thirds of that, and the whole thing could've just been called Morbius vs. Freaky Crap. And yet we're starting with an issue light on the freaky crap. Well, too bad!
I am 100% for Halloween costumes that make it into the regular rotation.
From AiFwtmcMtLV #20, "Night of the Vampire-Stalker!" Written by Doug Moench, art by Frank Robbins, inks by D. Fraser.
Granted, it's dank, musty, the cobwebs aren't much to look at, the heater bangs, there's mold, radon, the previous tenant was a smoker...but it'll shape up.
A helpful footnote explains that Morbius and his fiance Martine were reunited in Giant-Size Werewolf #4--the comic being giant-size, not the Werewolf. The footnote does not explain Martine's outfit, which, while rockin', does require explanation. Maybe she just thought it was fitting for her new digs, a dilapidated old house she was able to rent for a song because it was supposedly haunted. (And no surprises, but I'm pretty sure something weird crawled out of the house later in the series...)
'Oh, the meant you were fixing up the lab...and not any other room.  Yeah.'
Martine's been busy, setting up a lab for Morbius to try and cure himself. She's also stolen some plasma for him...wait, does Morbius drink that, or should she have picked up the whole blood? I know on the 90's Spider-Man cartoon standards-and-practices forbid blood-drinking, so plasma was used instead there...
Simon...I'm not sure you realize what you're saying there...
The theft of the plasma sent up a red flag in Washington D.C. and ex-C.I.A. agent Simon Stroud is put on the case. I'm not sure by who, exactly: I didn't think the C.I.A. was supposed to operate on U.S. soil. At any rate, Stroud had recently been hunting the Man-Wolf, but was being moved to the case of five corpses in Boston, found drained of blood, whose bodies were no longer in their coffins...

Meanwhile, the stolen plasma does nothing for Morbius: whether psychological or physiological, the craving for blood is a compulsion; and Morbius doesn't want it out of a bottle...Martine's starting to look pretty good to him, and it's not just the thigh-high boots. When Martine hugs him back, Morbius is able to resist just enough to go looking for other prey. He finds another victim, but is appalled with himself when it's over.
Well, that's pretty harsh, Caption Box.
Meanwhile, as Stroud leaves the police station, he hears a scream, which leads him to another victim, with the telltale fang punctures in his neck. Three days later, Stroud visits the burial site of the victim, to pre-emptively put a stake in his heart. But he then visits Morbius' victim, who was back at home and mostly fine. She hadn't even reported the attack at first, thinking no one would believe her; so she ate a bunch of red meat and got her strength back.

Stroud is suspicious, and continues showing Morbius' photo around town. He then gets a call about dead horses, "riddled with punctures...these nags belong in a player piano!" See, 'cause they've got holes corresponding to those on a player piano reel...what an odd reference.

Back at the house, Morbius awakens to an I.V. in his arm; but tells Martine that it's no good.

Morbius doesn't mention what religion. He may just mean that it doesn't affect him, because he doesn't seem to have a particular faith. Possibly because most faiths wouldn't want him. Frankly, I'm kind of surprised Marvel didn't get an angry phone call from the Nobel Prize Committee, since Morbius' Nobel Prize is mentioned like four times.

Stroud gets a hit showing Martine's photo, and heads out to her rented haunted house, where Morbius is working intently on his cure...until he drops a test tube, and has to lick the spilled plasma like a junkie. Stroud smashes in, throwing a cross at Morbius' feet, which does...nothing. Stroud is pissed that his research was for nothing, but reasons that either way, a stake through his heart should kill him.

Since he's stronger than he looks, Morbius is able to take Stroud's stake away and throw it out a window. Stroud is then down to just shooting him, which is surprisingly effective. Martine rushes to Morbius' aid, blocking Stroud's shot. He threatens to shoot her, but she calls him on it, and Morbius is able to leap out a window and glide away.
Oooooh, the ACLU is gonna hear about this...
Stroud arrests Martine for obstruction, but gets a call in his car: another vampire killing downtown, not fifteen minutes ago, and the cops caught the female vampire. Stroud figures it must be one of Morbius' victims, but Martine defends him: Morbius can't pass on his condition.

You know, I don't think I liked Robbins' art as a kid, but it grew on me here. We might just be able to get one more Morbius issue in on Halloween, but tomorrow, another scary Marvel character, that I don't think has been on this blog before!

1 comment:

plainwater said...

Wow, I've never heard the phrase "come out of the closet" used like that before.