Morbius: The Living Vampire (Vol. 2) #5

Background

Morbius, after escaping from the Raft, accidentally killed the crime boss of Brownsville, Noah St. Germain. Many different gangs are now fighting over Brownsville, initiating a gang war. Now, Morbius and his new friends, Becky, Wanda and Henry, must try to fix the problem. Also, the Rose has plans for Morbius to tear apart Brownsville so that he can rebuild it how he wants.

Story Details

  Morbius: The Living Vampire (Vol. 2) #5
Summary: Morbius becomes protector of Brownsville
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: Carlos Rodriguez, Richard Elson
Cover Art: David Lopez
Lettering: VC's Clayton Cowles
Colorist: Antonio Fabela

A beefy man with a gray suit and hairstyle matching that of Reed Richards sits in a dark room, negotiating with Rochelle, Noah St. Germain's girlfriend. Around them stand men with sunglasses (or eye patches) and guns. Just your typical crime bosses with their typical crime talks...

The man with the Richards hair tells Rochelle that he thinks that Noah's death is "a chance for a new beginning" while flipping a poker chip. "Yeah? You suggested that before the last war and things sure worked out great," Rochelle responds, clearly annoyed. He mentions that he thinks that they can learn from Noah's example to stop their current gang war. Then, Rochelle asks why he wants Brownsville, since he's from the New Jersey Maggia, to which he responds that he's interested in Brownsville's narcotics. Hey, Keatinge cleared up that problem rather quickly.

He brings up the plan that he could supply the money and Rochelle's gang would distribute the drugs. "Wouldn't you like a profitable peace?" he asks. Suddenly, a bullet shoots through the Jersey crime boss' coin and into his chest. "This isn't us!" Rochelle yells. One of the Jersey Maggia muscles pulls out his gun and yells, "Kill em' all!" That certainly escalated quickly. As gunshots are fired in the building, one of the Rose's snipers in a white mask is standing on a nearby rooftop.

Rochelle and one of her men are ducking behind a doorway, with bullets flying be them. "This is a freakin' bloodbath! We can't stick around!" Rochelle yells. She mentions that they must have more men coming. They both start shooting back when Rochelle's man is shot. Suddenly, Morbius jumps from a window and tears out someone's neck. "Forget her! We got a bigger problem over here!" one of the goons yells. Soon, Morbius is fighting (or slaying) all of the men and Rochelle is about to leave when she finds Morbius standing over the various dead bodies.

"So, you're back," Rochelle says. "Just so we're clear, I'm not here to save you. I'm not here to help you. But I will stop you. And I'm not alone," Morbius growls.

Flashback to last night, Morbius is running to Eli's diner when Becky calls for him across the street. She tells him that he's too late and he's lucky that Henry's mom is "a badass." She's more concerned that "everything is about to blow up" and "a lot of lives are in danger." She tells him that they need him to protect them. "Brownsville's out of options, man. You're all we've got," she states.

"I'm not enough," Morbius says. "You make good with what you have and, yeah, realize chances are not in your favor--and do better anyways," Becky responds. It looks like Becky is to Morbius as Mary Jane is to Spider-Man. She continues, "But I do know you're not on your own. You're part of a whole neighborhood now. A neighborhood that can stand up together... A neighborhood that can save Brownsville."

In current times, back at the negotiation-gone-wrong, Becky and other neighbors are standing outside the building in which Morbius is slaying the gangsters. I guess this is how the neighborhood is saving Brownsville: standing around while Morbius rips out people's necks. A man is thrown out of the building and Becky recognizes him. She shows the man everybody who showed up from the neighborhood, to which he says, "It's bad here--real bad. Gonna get a whole lot worse. Just what the heck do you think you're doin' here?" Henry's mom, standing over him, responds, "Changing who's in charge."

Inside, Rochelle is shooting at Morbius, screaming, "You'll pay for this you, vampire!" (That's how it was in the comic. It's not my typo, for once.) Morbius throws an unconscious man into the last gangster standing, and then crouches down and starts sucking blood from a random guy's neck. "Turned your back for the last time," Rochelle says as she points her gun at Morbius. "...Don't you see what's happened here? I've saved you for last," he gravelly states as he jumps at Rochelle. "I put you down before! Stopped ya dead cold! What are you now?!" she yells. While she's being slain, the Rose is on a nearby rooftop readying to enter the building.

Outside, the neighbors are all outside, unloading boxes of first aid equipment to help the many gangsters who's necks were torn out be their faithful leader... What? Folks, it looks like Alpha: Big Time #4 isn't the only book making no sense this month! Morbius walks out and greets Becky and Wanda, who are taking care of the man who was thrown out before. Wanda seems pretty okay with the fact that Morbius is a vampire, which she seemed pretty distressed about last issue. "How many injured are we dealing with?" Wanda asks. "Forty to fifty. It's not pretty," he responds. Gee, I wonder why? That's right, because Morbius was slaying them! Why are they helping the people he killed? More importantly, it didn't look like he took down forty people...

Morbius then gathers everybody for an inspirational speech about how he's a monster and he specifically says, "I couldn't have done this without you. If I didn't have you to fix this mess I made." He says that they're showing people that the people of Brownsville are strong and won't "cave into the greedy men and women who would profit off their misery."

Suddenly, Morbius hears a gunshot in the building he just exited from. Knowing that he took out all the gangsters in the building already, he checks it out. Inside is the Rose, holding a smoking gun. "I just had to congratulate you on your work today. I knew you had it in you to tear everything apart. I can't say I saw you uniting the people to clean up your mess," Rose says. When Morbius asks who he is, he replies, "At my simplest, I am a man just like you. A man with a tortured past, looking to build a more promising future. This is why I chose you to assist me."

Rose explains that he manipulated Morbius to destroy his "little mistake" (Noah) so he can start over. "What happens now is you remain in Brownsville; you give the citizens hope. Good times are finally here. And in eight weeks time--something very, very bad will happen. In the process, you'll take the fall. That hope you built up? Forever lost. I'll reap the reward. That's what I do. That's who I am. I am the Rose," he exclaims. Then, he shoots Morbius in the chest.

"I-I'll end you," Morbius says. "Don't be melodramatic," Rose says. And...my eyes are officially rolled. Then, Rose shows Morbius that he has his mom captured and tells him to do what he demands. Once Rose drops her wedding ring as proof, he walks away, saying, "You work for me now."

Cue Becky running in, helping Morbius up. He tells her that it was just "one more straggler to deal with." Then, he asks if she did what he asked her to do with her abandoned theater. She confirms she did it even though it was "super-goofy." Then, she goes on, saying that Brownsville finally has someone to protect them. "We don't have police. We don't have superheroes. But Brownsville has someone. Brownsville has you," she exclaims. Apparently, she had painted a picture of Morbius on the side of the theater.

The next morning, in the theater, Becky says, "Y'know, maybe we should celebrate your fat head's appearance on the wall by painting the insides too." Morbius responds, "Maybe we should. The theater's grown on me." He's barely even been in it! How has it "grown on" him? Becky says that he's now "lifetime president of the neighborhood watch." She claims that people are "gonna know about last night if they don't already." Morbius responds, "I hope that's for the better." Becky explains, "It already is, Mike. Everything is different now." After a single night in an entire gang war... Did I miss something?

Back at the house which Noah St. Pierre had been taken to many years ago, Rose is talking on the phone. "Everything went splendidly with Michal," he says, explaining that he thinks he will do their work now. Rose says that it's an "unorthodox approach" and that Morbius will think of himself as "an outsider among outsiders." Rose concludes his conversation on the phone, exclaiming, "I don't mean any offense, as you're absolutely my favorite investor, but are you doubtful of what we're doing here?" The person replies, "Doubtful? Of Michael? Of course not. I've always believed in my son." The man Rose was talking to is Morbius' dad, who looks much like a sixty-year-old rat!

General Comments

Did I miss an issue? I last read issue 4 and this one has the number 5 on the cover. How did Morbius get the neighborhood of one of the most ghetto towns to follow him in a war against crime? When did Morbius become so savage? What led him to kill Rochelle so suddenly after three issues of build-up between their relationship? Why is Wanda suddenly so accepting that Morbius is a vampire? Why did Morbius really accept leading the neighborhood and helping them, going against his whole personality? How did Morbius find out that that crime meeting involving Rochelle and the Jersey mafia was happening that night? Why was a whole day skipped after such a slowly paced last few issues? I'll tell you the answer to these questions. Joe Keatinge was told by his editor that they needed a status quo change quickly to boost sales. Therefore, many questions go unanswered.

I still don't buy that Morbius would lead the neighborhood against crime with his introvert personality. It's like Becky gave him a two-page pep talk and suddenly his whole personality was changed. And how did Becky and Morbius assemble such a large group of people to help them? Keatinge established that everybody in Brownsville don't care about others in the first issue, in case we don't remember. Plus, they could surely come up with a better process of dealing with crime than sending Morbius in and then TREATING THE PEOPLE HE SLAYS! I mean, come on! Are the schools that bad in Brownsville?

In case you haven't looked at the September 2013 solicitations, Morbius is getting the axe with the 9th issue. I'm not surprised. This whole first arc has been so boring and unwelcoming, I expected it to end earlier. Everything is just so dull and unwelcoming about it. The whole gang war aspect was a good idea, but Keatinge wasted his time with Noah St. Germain and Rochelle and now his time is up. With four issues left, things will have to be wrapped up before they barely began. Maybe in a decade or two, Morbius will get another title with a writer interested in making a good, exhilarating story.

On a sadder note, Richard Elson, the only entertaining part of this whole series, had left the book. I don't blame him either. Elson is great at drawing stunning, dynamic panels and his talents were totally misused in this series. I would be furious if I was him. In fact, he didn't even finish this issue. Rodriguez fills in for the second half and it is nothing special. His panel of Rose shooting Morbius is terrible and his visuals are uninspired. It looks like these types of artists will be dominating the next four issues, sadly.

Overall Rating

A dull issue that ignores many plot points of the past issues. Everybody, say goodbye to Elson, the only enjoyable part of the book! This arc averages out to 2.5 webs out of 5.

Footnote

Superior Spider-Man guest-stars next issue! Yay!