This week, Marvel’s living vampire returns in an all new one-shot, Morbius: Bond of Blood! The special issue explores a connection to Morbius’s past — does it make a compelling argument for more Morbius stories? We’ve got a review of that issue, along with a Rapid Rundown of other new Marvel Comics releases, all ahead in this week’s installment of The Marvel Rundown!

Morbius: Bond of Blood #1 Cover
Morbius: Bond of Blood #1

Morbius: Bond of Blood #1

Writer: Ralph Macchio
Artist: Tom Reilly
Colorist: Chris O’Halloran
Letterer: VC’s Ariana Maher
Cover Artists: Giuseppe Camuncoli & Erick Arciniega

This week’s Morbius: Bond of Blood one-shot is something of an oddity. The one-shot was likely initially added to Marvel’s schedule to act as a tie-in to the Morbius feature film, though the movie’s delay has left the horror-themed one-shot all on its own in February. The comic also comes after the character’s ongoing series was officially cancelled, an apparent casualty of last year’s shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless of how it ended up here, Morbius: Bond of Blood has arrived to add a little extra darkness to the winter months, and it does so fairly effectively. The one-shot teams veteran writer and long-time Marvel editor Ralph Macchio with rising star artist Tom Reilly for a story that shows readers everything that makes the character great.

Page From Morbius: Bond of Blood #1
From Morbius: Bond of Blood #1

Macchio’s script feels like something of a throwback to the Marvel Comics of the ‘80s, and that’s meant in the best way possible. Heavy narration brings the reader into Michael Morbius’s psyche as he struggles with his omnipresent hunger for blood, the pathos so thick the reader has to swim through it. Morbius’s mission — to save the life of the child of an old friend — is heavy with symbolism, both an opportunity for the character to succeed in curing a rare blood disease after failing to cure his own, and for Morbius to keep a piece of his pre-vampiric life alive. The outcome of the story is almost a foregone conclusion, but the journey to get there is entertaining, despite some occasionally clunky, exposition-filled dialogue. The issue’s antagonist is also wildly entertaining, one of Marvel’s more ridiculous villainous characters, aspects of which Macchio, Reilly, and co. put on full display throughout the issue.

A big draw for this issue is Reilly, who’s already well on his way to becoming one of Marvel’s next great artists after having turned in great work filling in on Immortal Hulk, as well as on last year’s excellent X-Men: Marvels Snapshots one-shot (which The Beat named one of its best comics of 2020). Reilly’s fantastic use of shadows and black space is on full display in this issue, with moody artwork that beautifully reflects what Morbius is going through. The storytelling throughout the issue is really strong, and Chris O’Halloran’s color work complements Reilly’s line art well. There’s a timeless, classic feel to the artwork in this issue that works exceptionally well in combination with Macchio’s scripting, and it’s a pleasure to take in.

Page From Morbius: Bond of Blood #1
From Morbius: Bond of Blood #1

As an introduction to the character for new readers, Morbius: Bond of Blood is an unqualified success, and it’s entertaining enough that it should hopefully lead newbies to track down some of the backlist titles plugged at the end of the issue. It’s a fun, if somewhat predictable, one-shot with fantastic art that more than justifies the read.

Final Verdict: BUY.

Rapid Rundown!

  • Amazing Spider-Man #59
    • What I thought would be a lengthy-enough diversion from all the Kindred nonsense turned out to be a two-part Kindred fallout issue with some Mister Negative sprinkled in, along with more teasing for the overall Wilson Fisk plot. Which I must say, might be the most aggressively average plot I’ve read in a long time. If it turns out to be some version of the Spider-Verse plot then I’ll be pretty disappointed. I liked Marcelo Ferreira’s artwork but it seems that Ryan Ottley’s departure from the series sent the editorial team into a bit of a frenzy. This book just doesn’t have any exciting art anymore, and that’s perfectly evident with the inclusion of Mark Bagley into the art team rotation, which I think operates at both a nostalgic level and a scheduling level. In any case, I’m disappointed with where the story went and I wish it looked a lot more exciting. —HW
  • Eternals #2
    • There was a lot of table-setting to be had in the debut issue of the series, but Kieran Gillen and Esad Ribić toss us into the deep end with a really intriguing second issue. This is more along the lines of what I wanted to see from the series; cool action scenes, weird, mythical vignettes, and political intrigue. Interestingly enough, it was the last bit of the issue with all the Eternals talking that had me the most invested. I love a good mystery story and meeting a lot of these characters for the first time was something I was actively aware of as I was reading it. I also continue to have a blast with the narration, which just might have been my favourite part of the issue aside from the art and the gorgeous Matt Wilson colours. —HW
  • Taskmaster #3
    • Taskmaster #3 continues the series’ hot streak and firmly solidifies Jed MacKay and Alessandro Vitti‘s miniseries as one of the best books in Marvel’s catalog right now. Following Taskmaster’s attempt to break into the Tiger Division (South Korea’s state superhero team) headquarters, the issue balances humor, clever usage of Marvel continuity, and obscure characters and killer fight scenes to form a satisfying as hell read. MacKay’s script is shockingly tight and readable, while Vitti’s skill at expression-work and choreography helps things sing. If you aren’t reading Taskmaster- you better start. —ZT

Next week, a new Immortal Hulk one-shot arrives, and the King in Black event continues!