A couple of months ago I had the idea to have guest reviewers join me on this site for interview style dual reviews. My buddy Andrew and I reviewed She-Ra and my brother Doug aided me in reviewing The Junk Yard Dog. I just thought it would be a nice change of pace to break away from my droning daily monologues. I put forth the offer to anyone else who wanted to do a joint review to just let me know and we’d do it up. Well believe it or not I do not have a wait list of people asking to participate, not a single taker. I was hoping that my little brother Brian would take a few minutes to do a review with me when he was visiting in May but unfortunately that did not happen. One night I did ask him what figure he’d like to review with me if we got the chance and he said he would do Morbius.
There were a few years in the 90s when me and Brian grew quite close as Doug was in high school and had lost interest in playing with G.I. Joes. I wasn’t ready to put my toys away yet so Brian took over the role of my toy collecting/play partner. Most of the toys he collected I wasn’t into. He had Ghostbusters, Mighty Maxx, Jurassic Park and Power Rangers. The one toy line that we both really enjoyed was Spider-Man, based off of the 90s animated series. This line delivered the first ever action figures of many of my favorite Spidey villains and supporting cast. I had been an avid comic reader and huge Spider-Man fan for many years and it was hard for me at times to allow Brian to have certain characters. When new waves of Joe figures would come out, Doug and I would do picksies right off the bat to determine who would get who in the coming year. We picked solely on the images we saw on the backs of the packages and in catalogues as those new characters had yet to be established in the comics or cartoons so we had no pre-conceived ideas about them. When it came to the Spider-Man figures I knew the entire history of each new character being released where as Brian mostly only knew what he had seen in the cartoon or what I had told him. Doing picksies with him on these characters was much tougher because I wanted all of them. It didn’t help matters when one of his friends would buy him one of my picks for his birthday throwing the whole system out of whack. While my collection was much bigger (my paper–route money put to use) Brian did end up with some toys of great characters that I really wanted like Mysterio, Kraven, Shocker and Kingpin. One of the figures he owned that I wasn’t too jealous over was Morbius.
I like Morbius as a character but he’s far from one of my favorites. In the comics he’s always referred to as, Morbius: The Living Vampire. The reason for this is kind of funny. The comic book industry came under heavy fire back in the 40s and 50s. Comic books were blamed for rotting the minds of children and making them violent as they mimicked what they saw in their crime and horror comics. Before the government had a chance to slap a bunch of sanctions on them the comic publishers got together and formed a self-censoring policy (The Comic Code Authority)to appease the angry mobs and to maintain a semblance of control over their publications. From that point on all comics from major publishers had to have the “Approved by the Comic Code Authority” seal of approval on their covers. One of the rules imposed by the CCA was that comics could no longer feature Zombies because they were far too gruesome. The undead was off limits. Vampires traditionally, like Zombies, are the walking dead. When Marvel created a new vampire villain for Spidey to fight they couldn’t get him approved by the CCA because for all intents and purposes he was a dead guy flying around biting people. To get around this they called him “The Living Vampire” just to drive home the point that this Vampire was not undead but actually just a normal guy who developed a thirst for blood after contracting some strange blood disease himself. Approved.
Morbius has been showing up in the Spider-Man books every few years ever since. In fact he was featured in the issue I bought today. He even starred in his own title for a short while. So while I do enjoy it when this character comes back around in the comics every now and again he’s never been a favorite of mine, nor a favorite of Brian’s. The reason Brian wanted to review this figure had nothing to do with the character himself, he just thought it would be fun to review this terrible terrible action figure.
This thing is a disaster. First of all the proportions are off, he’s got short squat legs and giant gorilla arms. Second there’s the clothes, bright blue hammer pants with a sharp contrasting red shirt (button up, collarless, sleeveless and tucked into his pants I might add), boots and a trench coat might be appropriate on a super hero but this guy is supposed to be a doctor and these are intended to be his civilian clothes. This dude has no fashion sense. Third there the play-feature, this guy’s greasy long hair is sculpted in place, attached to his shoulders meaning his head can’t turn. His has the human face of Dr. Michael Morbius with large creepy eyes and a soul patch. The feature is that his face can be spun around revealing his transformed chalky fangy vampire face. Both of these faces are ugly as all hell. The eyes and mouth on the vampire face are oversized and cartoony looking. I appreciate the effort in attempting to give us a transforming Morbius figure but this was a fail. The biggest shortcoming is that his sleeves are rolled up exposing his pasty white, varicose veiny monkey arms. That’s all good when he’s in vampire mode but as a civilian doctor it just looks majorly weird. This figure gets a big thumbs down from both Brian and myself. 2 out of 10.