Morbius: The Living Vampire (Vol. 2) #4

Background

After escaping police custody, Morbius "found refuge" in Brownsville, a very ghetto city. Quickly, he got on the bad side of Noah St. Germain, the crime boss of the area. In a battle, Morbius bit Noah's neck, killing him. His two new friends, Becky and Henry, were also nearby when this happened, forcing them to question how noble Morbius really is. Noah's gang went ballistic and took Morbius down with a gunshot to the neck. (Worry not. He's better now.) The gang forced him to try to help Noah, but he knew he was dead. Now, Noah's girlfriend, Rochelle, has found that Morbius can't save Noah and has ordered one of her cronies to kill Becky and Henry in a restaurant.

In short, everything is going wrong with Morbius. And it certainly isn't getting better...

Story Details

  Morbius: The Living Vampire (Vol. 2) #4
Summary: Return of The Rose
Executive Producer: Alan Fine
Publisher: Dan Buckley
Chief Creative Officer: Joe Quesada
Editor In Chief: Axel Alonso
Senior Editor: Stephen Wacker
Editor: Sana Amanat
Writer: Joe Keatinge
Artist: Richard Elson
Cover Art: David Lopez
Lettering: VC's Clayton Cowles
Colorist: Antonio Fabela

In Brownsville, years ago, David Brill, a "small time hustler"," is retreating from a fight with two gangsters in hoods. His fight was unsuccessful judging from the bruises on his face and torn shirt. Two people are watching him from the window of a slick, black car. One, named Chondra, is Asian woman with a businesswoman's attire and a white mask. The other's appearance is unrevealed. "He doesn't look like much. But he's angry. I can work with angry," the mysterious figure analyzes.

"Could we offer you a ride elsewhere?" he asks David out he window, to which he weakly replies, "Shove off." The woman leaves the car and injects a drug into David's neck, knocking him out. "I think young Master Brill will do quite nicely. Let's take him home," says the unrevealed figure.

Later, David wakes up in a dark forest. A shabby house sits in front of him, with broken windows and debris covering the stairs to the door. "Where the hell am I?" David asks. "North Brother Island," says the mysterious figure. "Right in the middle of any New York metropolitan map. Yet it's never acknowledged, always ignored. Sound familiar?"

David is obviously angry with the situation and the man leads him to the door explaining the building's look is merely an "illusion of abandonment." The person explains, "I can make you better than you appear to be. Respected, even. There's much to discuss. Let's start with Brownsville."

Now, in the hangout of Noah's gang, Morbius thinks about how he hasn't been himself lately. Then, one of Rochelle's people shoots him in the arm. He figures that he has been less wound up and unsure since he escaped the raft. "I'm out of patience. Keep shooting. See what happens," he mutters. Rochelle tells her goon to keep shooting so Morbius "stay[s] dead this time." He asks if he needs silver bullets to kill him, to which Morbius says, "That's werewolves. I'm not a werewolf. I'm kind of a vampire." Come on! Has this man seen Twilight?! I haven't!

Morbius lunges at the man and bites his neck. He's apparently not dead, but, according to Morbius, if he isn't helped soon, he will be. He tells Rochelle that if his friends are kept alive, he'll keep the gangster alive. Rochelle tells him that he's too late. They're already being taken care of.

Meanwhile, Henry and Becky are sitting in Eli's diner. Becky is reassuring Henry that Noah's men won't kill them in a diner full of people. "Everything's going to be just fine," she tells him. Then, one of Noah's men walks into the diner full of people. Looks like she was lying.

Morbius, back at Noah's hangout, tells Rochelle that if her goon dies, it's her fault. She rejects, saying that he killed him by tearing out his throat. Sounds like an old married couple arguing. "It's really more of a nibble this time around," he says, "I'm done arguing." He takes her phone and Rochelle gets pissed. Suddenly, a gang of people in white masks break down the door. "T-these aren't Noah's guys!" Rochelle yells, "People been fighting over Brownsville for so long. He was the only one who could keep everyone in line. Now that he's gone, everything's going to hell." Obviously, Brownsville was the best place on the world under Noah's reign.

"Not my problem. I'm fighting my way out, then you're on your own," Morbius says as he takes down four of the men. Rochelle tells him that his friends will be dead by the time he goes to save them. But she will make a deal with him to help his friends if he saves her. " And why should I trust you?" he yells as he head-butts a goon. "What other choice you got?" she questions.

Suddenly, a helicopter started shooting down at Morbius and the goons. Rochelle tells him that it's his fault. "That's your perspective. We'll hash out the blame later," he tells her as he smashes a goon's head into a piece of wood. Then, Rochelle goes to help Carter, a doctor that Noah killed in his last moments of life. When she sees a group of the white-masked goons taking Noah's body she is pissed. She tells Carter's friend to take care of him while she tries to retrieve Noah's body. The men in masks take the body bag up a ladder leading to the helicopter.

Outside Eli's diner, Henry's mom, Wanda, approaches Noah's goon. "You're awfully brave," he says, surprised that she's actually confronting him. "I am. Spend a few decades living in Brownsville and you'll be pretty damn brave yourself," she exclaims. They start going back and forth, Noah's man calling Wanda stupid, her calling him a "piece of crap Noah got working for him." She tells him not to go inside or she'll "take him down." He points his gun at her.

Wanda quickly jumps up and breaks his hand, taking his gun. "You think a woman lives in Brownsville and doesn't take self-defense class?" she asks. She disassembles the gun and tells him to get "the hell out of here." When she walks into the diner, Henry says, "Holy crap. My mom is awesome." He then promises never to talk to anyone again. Then, she asks Becky how Morbius is doing. She says that she and Henry left when things got "raw" and she doesn't know what to do now. When she mentions that Morbius is a vampire, they are surprised. "You guys are aware that he's a vampire, right?" Becky asks. No, the white skin and fangs are birth abnormalities.

Still under attack, Rochelle yells for Mobius' help. "They've got Noah!" she screams. "Good for them. I'm too busy to care right now," Morbius snaps. Then, he takes one of the goon's bodies and throws it at the men taking the body. Another masked man electrocutes Morbius before he can stop them and they get away. Rochelle is devastated. I don't care.

Morbius apologizes and says that if they come back, he can deal with them. "I've encountered worse. I once fought a guy who was covered in eyeballs," he mutters. Then, Rochelle explains that Brownsville used to be a "real, real bad" place where everyone was trying to be kingpin and many were being killed. Then, Dave Brill came back buffer and richer and kept Brownsville "in line." Now, she says, "vultures are gonna fly right in" and want to "tear Noah's corpse apart." Yes, because everybody wants Brownsville, the dumpiest city in New York.

"So, you think you tough? You think that eyeball friend of yours was a pain in the ass?" Rochelle asks, "Well, I'll tell you now--when the coming storm rolls through Brownsville? You're gonna miss your friend."

Now, on North Brother Island, that same mysterious man from the beginning of the issue is back. Also, the man that led Morbius to Brownsville is chained to a chair, battered and tortured. "Chondra reports we've got our Noah back. We absolutely couldn't afford having anyone autopsy our fine improvements on our poor boy. Loose ends are just the worst," the mysterious person says.

He then tells the man in the chair that he will be releasing his wife since he led Morbius to Brownsville. "As for Morbius, I was right thinking he was the element Brownsville was missing," he says. He looks back on how he improved Noah, but he "never quite came together." He says, "But Mobius--a living vampire. Such an odd concept, yet so much potential. A wildcard after my own heart."

He throws some papers at the man in the chair, saying, "He'll scorch the earth of Brownsville without me even lifting a finger. The public will be none the wiser. Then, we can rebuild anew in his wake. We'll find a new front man, a new Noah--and reap the rewards of fallout." The man starts crying when the figure says, "If it doesn't work the first time, burn it down and start again until it's the world you want. A world of my making."

"A world of the Rose," he says as he shoots the man in the chair. The mysterious figure is the Rose! Thank god! I have gotten so tired of typing "mysterious figure!"

General Comments

I'm going to start this different than I usually do. I loved Richard Elson's art. This is easily his best issue. He specializes in action and Morbius is finally getting some. For the first three issues, he mostly talked and occasionally punched someone. Finally, Keatinge is using this clearly dynamic artist as he should be.

Other than that, the script holds together and is pretty solid. I enjoy the idea of a gang war and it finally feels like the series has a direction. It is also nice to see Morbius cut loose, which will hopefully drive sales. The one thing I like most about this series is that Keatinge isn't treating Morbius like a stereotypical vampire. Marvel obviously wants to cash in on the vampire popularity and Keatinge is thankfully keeping him true to his character.

Other than that, I have a few problems with this issue. I am not happy how the supporting cast is being used. So far, they are just used to drive the plot. They are put in danger directly after being introduced and I can't say I really care because they haven't been developed yet. I still like Becky, but Henry and Wanda don't exactly hit the spot with me. I also don't like the fact that Morbius didn't save Henry and Becky from Noah's goons. Sure, the part with Wanda taking down Noah's man was funny, but their relationship with Morbius would be much better if he had saved them.

I am also annoyed by Morbius' politeness to Rochelle. I mean, I did enjoy that he was apologizing for killing Noah and letting the goons get away with his body. But there were points in the script where Rochelle was disrespecting and pushing Morbius around and he allowed her. Rochelle had told him that she's has his friends killed and he still helped her. It just kind of angered me.

Lastly, I don't quite understand why every gang wants Brownsville. Surely, there are better cities to fight over. Brownsville is just a run-down, ghetto city that shouldn't even be looked upon by gangs. If they really wanted to be kingpins, they would go for Manhattan or something.

Overall Rating

Ah, it's a solid script with solid art and a solid direction. Three webs. Hopefully the conclusion is okay.