Spider-Man takes on Morlun, Pt. 3Posted: 08/01/2012
Comic books are famous for a revolving door of death. Characters and villains who get killed usually get resurrected after a few months/years. It’s silly to whine about. Peter Parker got his superpowers by getting bit by a radioactive spider and we choose to complain that the Green Goblin somehow returned from the dead? So after Morlun’s demise in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #35, he somehow comes back five years later. How? No one knows, and really, that’s not important.
In The Other, a 12 issue crossover event, Spider-Man gets a blood test and finds out he’s dying. No cure, no hope, nothing. Ouch. Written by Peter David, Reginald Hudlin, and J. Michael Straczynski throughout the pages of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1-4, Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #19-22, and Amazing Spider-Man #525-528. Spider-Man has to learn to accept his upcoming death. Oh, and births himself. It’s weird. Anyway, Morlun’s story takes place mostly in the middle. We’re going to read parts of it together.
Before they brawl, Morlun shows up a few times to warn Spider-Man of what’s ahead. Like Spider-Man’s face getting caved in.
Rinse and repeat a few more times. But despite his sociopathic tendencies, you can’t say Morlun’s not a man of his word.
Hoping for any new revelations or situations regarding their repeat fight? Nope. Morlun’s (probably) the toughest opponent Spider-Man has ever faced, and in the wake of his soon-to-be death, Parker must prove himself worthy to live his final few days. Remember, Morlun’s after Spider-Man’s “life essence,” the energy he gives out by being the spider “totem.” If that’s confusing, I covered it in my detail in parts one and two.
Notice that Spider-Man’s doing fairly better than last time. Normally I use this opportunity to next show the opposite of what I just proclaimed. Not this time.
Well, for a few more pages at least. Now Spider-Man gets his butt handed to him.
Yup, this looks familiar. So what’s next? Where he musters up the last bit of his strength and courage to strike back at his tormentor? Absolutely. That’s why we read comics in the first place.
Poor Spider-Man. This is the moment he swings from the scene victorious and into the loving arms of Mary Jane. The Avengers all pat him on the back and life continues as normal, just with more wisdom and confidence. But not this time. He only won the first story with Ezekiel’s sudden assistance and a large injection of radiation. Unfortunately, now he has neither. Which means Morlun wins.
Well, at least he went out the proper superhero way instead of slowly succumbing to his mysterious illness. Sadly for Morlun, his feasting time gets interrupting by New York’s finest. But don’t worry, he’s a very patient man.
What now? The cops have to remove his mask, breathing worries and such. With his identity out in the public, how will that affect his widow and family?
Or not. Ouch. Well, he’s not exactly dead, but let’s be fair, there’s no coming back from that.
I’m going to spoil: the Avengers don’t make it in time. Which leaves Parker’s defense up to only one warrior. Who’s brave enough to fight the man who killed a superhero? It would take tremendous balls to blindly attack the strongest supervillain in Spider-Man’s rogue gallery. Or at least good looks.
Does she stand a chance? Well, Mary Jane’s a supermodel, not a superhero. Also, she has no idea who Morlun is or what he’s capable of. But she’s about to find out.
That last panel remains super important. Understanding the “totem” being a mix of man and animal, so while the man has been destroyed by Morlun, he’s not just a man. Finally Morlun will truly understand who’s he up against and why he should never, ever have hurt the single most important person in Spider-Man’s life.
Remember when I mentioned briefly in part one that a major theme of the first half of the 2000s was whether Spider-Man’s power source was science or magic? Here’s an argument for the latter.
Awesome, right? Arm spikes! Let me try to explain. Besides being super cool, this was the start of a transformation for the comic book version of Spider-Man. Y’see, comics are a business, and the movie version (with Toby McGuire) had just recently came out. Well, what better time to get new fans into comics, right? It’s good for the industry, and commonly, Marvel will adjustment their characters accordingly. Since movie Spider-Man had organic web shooters, time for comic Spider-Man to get some too. Except Parker can’t just wake up one day with some random evolution.
The Other event allowed Spider-Man to get some new neato powers, like the spikes, organic webs, night vision, among others. Why? Well, why not? Though in 2007, during the deal he makes with the demon Mephisto to save Aunt May’s life at the expense of his and Mary Jane’s marriage, his extra powers all disappeared. So now he’s back to how he was before The Other, though that’s how the comic book status quo always works.
Anyway, with Morlun perished once more and Mary Jane saved, the two embrace one final time.
He’s dead. I’m not lying this time. But with his passing, The Other still has five more issues to go. What happens to him and how does he come back to life? Sorry, you have to go read and find out, because Morlun week isn’t over.
Tomorrow, witness Morlun’s last appearance in the Marvel universe (so far). He goes toe-to-toe with Black Panther. In Africa. I’m excited too.