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Morbius

Venom Legends
by yo go re

This figure is the only reminder that, before America failed its response to Covid, the Morbius movie was supposed to have come out this past summer.

Michael Morbius, the living vampire, prowls the night tortured by his life-sustaining thirst.

And? So do we all. I'm thirsty all the time. [Is that why you're always on Instagram instead of writing your reviews on time? --ed.] Without specifying that Morbius thirts for blood (or plasma) rather than, say, a delicious Peppi, this bio makes him sound no different than any average human. "Michael Morbius, the living vampire, sometimes gets hungry if he hasn't eaten anything in a few hours." "Michael Morbius, the living vampire, gets tired if he stays awake too long." "Michael Morbius, the living vampire, loves his friends but would sometimes rather just be alone." OH WHAT A TORTURED AND UNIMAGINABLE EXISTENCE YOU LEAD, MICHAEL MORBIUS! CAN NO ONE UNDERSTAND YOUR PAIN?! Better hire Hollywood's premier tryhard to play him in the movie.

We got a late-90s Morbius from ToyBiz and a '70s Morbius from Hasbro, so now it's time for early-90s Morbius. After a few sporadic appearances through the '80s, he was brought back by Todd McFarlane in 1991, just in time for Marvel to try to use Ghost Rider's unexpected popularity to launch some horror spin-off books under the "Midnight Sons" banner. Headlining his own title for the first time, he needed a new costume. Out with the disco collar, in with the full-body leather jumpsuit! That requires completely new molds, which means it will be interesting to see who it's reused for in the future. There are zippers, straps, three stacked belts... even the arms and legs, which seem plain enough, are new.

The head is kind of wild. The art at the time mostly depicted Morbius as a normal(-ish) guy who just happened to have white skin and pointy ears. This toy goes slightly more vampire. A little bit of Buffy vampire, honestly. He has an ultra-gaunt face and no eyebrows. His mouth is open to show his fangs, and his nose almost looks too short, thanks to the way the brows come down over it. His hair, instead of hanging down toward his shoulders, points straight back as if being blown by an invisble wind.

At first, the paint doesn't look very impressive. He seems to be one shade of black, with no variation to be found anywhere, and his white skin is just that - white. But get in close, and you'll see that not only does his suit have a purple tint, the belts are black and there are small silver apps on some of the fasteners. Even before you get into things like his fingerless gloves, or the eyes and mouth, he's more complex than he seems.

This is a case where new bodyparts don't mean new articulation. Morbius has a balljointed head, hinged neck, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, a hinged chest, swivel waist, balljointed hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, swivel shins, and swivel/hinge ankles. The hips on my figure are nearly immobile, the kind of stuck joints we haven't seen on a Marvel Legend in years and years. I'm legitimately worried they might break if I try to force them, which is a rarity these days! Other than the cape, he has no accessories, not even alternate hands.

He does include the right arm of Venompool, this series' Build-A-Figure.

Morbius may seem like an odd inclusion for a Venom-themed series of Marvel Legends, but it helps to remember that while it was the "Midnight Sons" crossover where Michael decided he'd only live on the blood of the guilty, it wasn't until "Maximum Carnage" that the kinder, gentler Morbius was introduced to the less-spooky superhero set and got recognized by them as a(n anti-)hero rather than a villain.

-- 11/17/20


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