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Morbius The Living Vampire #1 – Review

MORBIUS THE LIVING VAMPIRE #1

By: Joe Keatinge (Writer), Richard Elson (Artist), Antonio Fabela (Colorist)

The Story: Morbius gets to Brownsville and try to explain his choice to himself while he gets in big trouble with the locals there.

The Review: Suspension of disbelief is a wonderful thing in comics. It is something that makes us forget the fact that most things we see in superheroes adventures are impossible, making us enjoy the sheer concepts and thoughts behind them. It can also make us forgive some small plot holes in favor of how some situations or characters could develop. Truly, it is a marvelous thing. However, there are some times when the suspension of disbelief of readers can be stretched too much, leading to severe plot holes or inconsistency in character or continuity which can hinder the work done by a creative team on some book.

This is unfortunately the case in the first issue of Morbius’ adventures, as there are several actions done by the main character and his entourage that makes absolutely no sense at all considering the background of Morbius the living vampire.

The very first offense is done when Morbius finally manage to get out of prison, as seen in Amazing Spider-Man #699.1. Getting out of the water and appearing in front of a lone man sitting on a park bench, he asks for a change of clothes. Of course, for the sake of the plot, the man does not react at the fact that an albino escaping from prison appears in front of him. Worse, the scene right after that one, we see that the unnamed man in question actually did give him a change of clothes and knows that he’s an escaped super-prison. Considering how most civilians are portrayed in the Marvel universe, this boggles belief that someone would go out of their way like this man to help someone who just escaped from a prison designed to withhold super-villains.

Another inconsistency, the biggest one that comes to mind, would be the fact that Morbius wonders where he could lay low to avoid getting attention by the law in the meantime, asking for a place that would be a good place to hide to our unnamed man. For the sake of the plot once more, the unnamed man gives the location of Brownsville to Morbius so that he can be there to do what he has to do there. The biggest problem with that scene is that it has been established in two series before that Michael Morbius lives in the underground city of Monster Metropolis where he is a scientist. These series (the Frankencastle arc of Punisher and the excellent mini-series Legion of Monsters by Denis Hopeless) show that the city is unknown to society at large and monsters go there to have a normal life where Morbius and other monsters try to make this society a true haven for other monsters just like them. Why doesn’t he just go there to hide in the first place? He is shown as a highly respected citizen in these series, so to throw those development and those concepts away for the sake of telling another story is a bit baffling, especially since those concepts made the character so much more interesting than before.

The story tries to show Morbius as a constant victim of his attempts to be a good person, but this simply does not look like a viable direction for an ongoing. The issue, although it does give us some good glimpse at how Keatinge show us who the character is and how he thinks, does not come up with any direction at all in the first issue, which is a primordial thing to do in the first issue of the series. We know a bit of his motivations, but nothing more than that.

Even with the inconsistencies and the lack of general direction, there is a small bright spot in all of this: the art. Not that it is absolutely great, but Richard Elson does a good job with the action scenes, drawing various characters in motion rather nicely. His facial expressions are good and his human figures are well-proportioned, but what brings him down a bit is his lack of originality in his designs.

The Conclusion: An issue with close to no direction and a good deal of inconsistency with the character continuity and background. The art saves it a little bit, but it is not enough to make it a good read.

Grade: D+

Hugo Robberts Larivière

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