Comics : Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #78

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This story is part of an Arc: "X-Man/Morbius"
     Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

Peter Parker recently met Nathan, the X-Man on Christmas Eve in Amazing Spider-Man #420. Assigned to take pictures of a soap-box preacher, he found something a little more.

Now it's Christmas Day, and the begining of a must uncommon way to spend the festive season.

In Detail...

"The Love Of A Woman"
Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #78
Mar 1997 : SM Title
Summary: Morbius
Arc: Part 3 of "X-Man/Morbius"
Editor:  Ralph Macchio
Writer:  Howard Mackie
Pencils:  John Romita, Jr.
Inker:  Scott Hanna
Cover Art:  John Romita, Jr.
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Articles: Betty Brant, Flash Thompson, Mary Jane Watson-Parker, Morbius

Mary Jane and Peter are on the subway. Pete's asleep in MJ's lap, when three thugs stand over them. Mary Jane, unflinching, stares them down. After they leave, Peter chides her about being such a 'touch gal'. Seems he was awake the whole time. They talk about the Stacy family, and he tells MJ that it's going to take him time to make peace with his past, and they ride home.

Meanwhile, Morbius has claimed another victim. He realizes that his bloodlust is driving him mad, and he makes a decision to try and stop it. He decides to hunt down Dr. Andrea Janson, to help him find a cure. Switch back to Forest Hills, where Peter is tossing and turning with nightmares. He gets up, and despite MJ's protests, suits up and swings out into the night. But, he's still groggy from his last encounter with Morbius, and is having a hard time finding his target with his web line.

Peter goes sliding across a rooftop and almost slides off. Mary Jane follows him to the ESU campus, watching out for him. Meanwhile, Morbius has found Dr. Janson, and tries to get her to help him end his self-imposed curse. Before she can respond, Spider-Man shows up and draws Morbius out into battle. Mary Jane tires to follow Peter, but the Friends of Humanity stop her, telling her it's unsafe to be out alone this late at night.

When Spidey and Morbius come crashing through a window, the Humanitarians (?) go after them with baseball bats. Louisville Sluggers were never very much good against vampires, and Morbius grabs the nearest tough-guy, and turns him into a juice-box drink. Spider-man knocks him off the guy, but because of his weak condition, turn's the Living Vampire's lust onto him. Just as he's bout to feast, Mary Jane stands in front of Spider-Man. She begs the spirit of Michael Morbius to fight the beast's cravings, and to overcome them. Dr. Janson shows up just then with a pint of blood and an offer to Morbius. If he stops killing, she will help him. They fly off into the night, and Spider-man and MJ take the wounded sucker to the Emergency Room.

In General...

This was a pretty good end to what seemed like a mediocre villain revival. Morbius has always been a sweet villain, especially since he was so tortured, but his re-appearance didn't seem to serve any purpose except exposure. Now that Peter's back in the webs, the writers feel like they have to blow the dust off all the old enemies and put them back into rotation. Morbius isn't a typical villain, and he's even helped Spider-Man in some instances (such as Maximum Carnage). I'm not bagging on it, I'm just saying that he could've been given a little more motivation than just killing people, and then wanting to be cured.

Of the three parts to this story, I feel this one had the most to offer. I love it when Spider-Man pushes his own body to its limits, and when he knows there's something out there he's got to stop, he doesn't rest until he's sure that everything's okay. I hope Morbius gets the help he needs, just not enough to be cured forever! The only thing I didn't like about the issue was the Friends of Humanity. I'm sick of mutants, and mutant-haters. But with everything that went on in Onslaught, I guess that won't be calming down anytime soon.

Oh, and Jonathan wants to add that he just loved it when MJ stared down those thugs in the subway. I guess starting down thugs with Spider-Man's head in your lap is like starting them down with a loaded Uzi behind your back, but still, I was impressed!

Overall Rating...

An above-average ending to an otherwise rather ordinary story.