Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fear the Scarecrow

A character runs full circle.

Scarecrow got his start as a contortionist name the amazing Umberto and was first introduced in Tales of Suspense with the invincible Iron Man.  He helped Iron Man catch a petty thief and thought to himself, maybe he could do that full time.  Instead he went on to be a criminal and tried to rob Tony Stark.

After a few B & Es he started hanging out with the Porcupine, Eel, Unicorn, and Plantman, and they managed to capture the X-Men for Count Nefaria.  Then went solo again and started feuding with Captain America.  Slowly his mind started to dwindle and some of his past was starting to be revealed.  It was unsure what exactly was true.  He even had a chauffeur...who was his brother.  That was odd.

At this point he didn’t have any special powers.  He was naturally flexible and used trained birds.  Yes, he was quite gifted.

Things started to take a darker turn for Scarecrow when he was featured in the Captain America/Ghost Rider graphic novel.  It seemed like he was being positioned to transfer into Ghost Rider’s cadre of villains, which was what happened.  Now Scarecrow was starting to take a supernatural turn.

He kinda died a few times, but rebuilt and given the power to emit fear pheromones which in turn gave him strength.

He fought Ghost Rider pretty steadily and was beaten and battered pretty regularly.  Even had all his bones broken and healed in crooked form, but he got better.  He then showed up in Hell and hung out with Blackheart.  Here his spirit returned to Earth and he started body jumping until he got control of Dan Ketch’s body.  He also had control of Dan’s sister’s dead body (Barbara) as well.  (It was a very traumatic time for the Ketch’s matron.)  Eventually that plan was foiled when the Ghost Rider took over Barbara’s dead body and saved the day. Blackheart was a little disappointed in Scarecrow and left him to rot in the pits.

Then the next thing you know Scarecrow is back, depowered.  Not sure if it was ever explained.  Now that he was back doing “regular” crime you would expect him to battle Captain America, but nope, he first runs into Falcon.  Close enough

Friday, June 1, 2012

More Morbius - He Found a Cure!

I was going to move on to a different character/series, but I felt compelled to continue on with some Morbius chronology.  Especially since after many years of being a ‘living vampire’ he finally found a cure.  All it took was getting struck by lightning (during a battle with Spider-man).  Although he was now in human form, he still had a thirst for human blood.

While in police custody, he was allowed to continue his research for a cure.  This led to a run in with Jennifer Walters and an attempt to help her affliction (you know, turning into She-Hulk).  Well that didn’t work.  And in the end Ms. Walters actually agreed to defend Morbius during his trial.  

Morbius was found guilty, but was not in control of his actions at the time.  So he did serve some prison time and at one point Reed Richards sought out his help for the birth of his second child.  (The child not make it.  But don't worry the child did make a comeback many years later and that my friends is a tale for another day).

Next up Morbius becomes a vampire again due to some voodoo woman looking for vampire blood and he starts hanging out with Dr. Strange and Strange’s brother, whom Stephen accidentally turned into a vampire many years ago by improperly reciting a spell.  Whoops!

After a few months of hanging out at Strange’s house, good ol Morbius takes off and is next seen in the brand new Spider-Man series by Todd McFarlane.  There Morbius is living in the sewers and feeding off “bad people” that are brought down by the simple/inbred dwellers living in the underground realm.  Spidey tracks them, finds Morbius, they fight, Morbius learns what the simpletons have been doing, Morbius feels regret and flies off.

In the 90’s he finally hit the big time and got his own ongoing series as part the Midnight Sons group.  The group consisted of Ghost Rider, Blaze, The Nightstalkers and The Darkhold Redeemers.  These misfits dealt with everything supernatural. Even though Morbius was a vampire created with science he still fit in with the group.  His series lasted a miraculous 32 issues!  And towards the end you could definetly see the decline in the storytelling and artwork.

Morbius #2 (1992)
30 issues later Morbius #32 (1995)
The series did reintroduced the lovable scamp Simon Stroud.  This time around the 70s banter was gone and Stroud was crazy.  Apparently he never worked for the CIA, or maybe he did I’m not sure.  He became delusional in his quest to capture Morbius. 

Martine, Morbius’ ex-fiance was also brought back into the scene.  And then killed.  And then brought back by Morbius using a page from the Darkhold.  So of course she was then evil, but later cured of her evilness and remained undead.  In a way her evilness did continue because she constantly nagged Morbius to find a cure for her undeadness.  She nagged him to the point that he had to kick her out of his place so he could “move on”.  She later started shacking up with Morbius’ good buddy Werewolf by Night.

Throughout this series Morbius worked on a cure and was able to temporarily cure himself during the day. Thus allowing him to get a day job at a local hospital.  And since Michael Morbius was declared dead, he created the name Morgan Michaels.  He also took the vow to never drink the blood of an innocent and only preyed on criminals.  

One character that I really enjoyed out of the series was Vic Slaughter.  He started as a crazy, ruthless, sociopathic (and rather psychopathic) mercenary hired by Stroud and became the “son of Morbius”.  His team attempted to take Morbius down, but Morbius bit him, broke a bunch of bones in his body (like when Ghost Rider broke the bones of Scarecrow that one time) and buried him alive.  

Snap, Crackle, Pop
Rice Krispies Treats, Original Marshmallow, 1.3oz Snack Pack, 20

Slaughter crawled his way out of the grave with life renewed.  His vendetta with Morbius did make for some interesting tales.  Of course like most “crazy” characters from the 90s, Slaughter fell out favor and was soon forgotten about.  Much to my surprise, he had a profile included in Dark Reign: Files, so I had hopes that he would soon return.  Then I finally got around to reading Wolverine: Best There Is. Lo and behold, Slaughter is back!

Troll on crack?

When Morbius’ series ended he was back to being bounced around a few other titles.  He had a couple run-ins with Blade and then in a few Spider-Man tales Hydra wanted Morbius and he under went some genetic manipulation.

So closes another chapter in the world of Morbuis.  When next seen he is involved with some.... zombies.....and the Punisher(?).

X-Men Origins: Wolverine For Nintendo Wii