Really? Seriously? We’re one stop away from the end of an era, and Marvel shoves a preview issue in between Amazing Spider-Man #699 and #700? Sometimes I want to walk into the Marvel offices and start Stooge-slapping people. Why would you do this? What character could be so important that it warrants being shoved between the two issues that spell the end of a hero we have all loved for fifty years? Who walks in the Marvel Universe swinging that kind of cock?
Morbius The Living Vampire.
I will repeat that.
Morbius The Living Vampire.
The mind boggles.
Apparently, Marvel’s number one vamp is getting his own book and the “House of Ideas” was in such a rush to tell us about it, they interrupted the flow of the biggest comic book moment in recent memory. Good idea, Marvel. Well done there. The story in Amazing Spider-Man 699.1 is irrelevant, but I’ll fill you in. The entire issue is dedicated to an in depth look at the history of Morbius The Living Vampire, his tragic circumstances and eventual downfall. Then Morbius escapes from the same prison holding Peter Parker/Doc Ock. That’s it, that’s the entire issue. At first, I thought maybe Marvel was prepping us for Morbius becoming Superior Spider-Man but the big advertisement screaming “Morbius The Living Vampire #1 Coming January 2013” clued me in that I was way off.
Writer Joe Keatinge (writing with Dan Slott, whatever that means) tells an interesting story. I have no beef with his romp down the Morbius memory lane. In another time, in another place, in another issue, I would probably be amped on this. Right now it seems like a colossal waste of time. Amazing Spider-Man #699 was so bloated with everything Dan Slott needed to lay out before issue #700 that #699.1 would have been a great place to smooth those plot points out. Give us some meat, make us a little more on the hook for issue #700. Nope, instead we get a promo issue for a third tier character.
A review? What could I write? It took me three reads before I could get over the fury of not having more Spider-Man to read. How big is Spider-Man #700 going to be? The way things were left off, we’d have to be looking at a graphic novel-sized issue just to get all the players together, figure out how the plot resolves itself and then set up for Superior Spider-Man. It feels so cheap for Marvel to use the excitement of Spider-Man #700 to shill for Morbius.
I will say this, the art is something different. Punisher artist Mark Checchetto steps in for the first two pages involving the prison break (spinning out of issue #699) and, while his work is still great, it loses some of the Punisher edge once colors get involved. The big story here is Valentine Delandro, who pencils the rest of the book. Delandro has been using is noir style over in X-Factor to great success. Now the artist for Morbius, Delandro takes that noir and filters it through a Silver Age look that I’m impressed with. If Morbius sucks writing wise, we now know it’ll be pretty to look at.
(3 Story, 5 Art)*
*but ONLY for fans of the upcoming Morbius book. Everybody else pass right on by.