Appearing in "Sub-City, Part 2"

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Synopsis for "Sub-City, Part 2"

In the sewers of New York City, Spider-Man has come to learn what has happened to a number of the citie's homeless.[Continuity 1] There he has been swarmed by a group of underground dwellers calling themselves the Subhumans. These creatures are under the protection of Morbius the Living Vampire in exchange for fresh victims for him to feast upon. A Spider-Man tries to fight off free of them, one of their elders watches from the distance. He is upset to see how Morbius has influenced his people, making them as mad as the people who rule the surface world. Meanwhile, the wall-crawler manages to leap up onto the roof to catch his breath. Having overheard that these creatures serve a master, Spider-Man decides to find a means of getting to him. Having had enough of the Subhumans, the web-slinger leaps down and quickly webs up a few of their numbers.

Using the subdued Subhumans to shield his body, he orders the others to bring him to their leader. Sent in the right direction, Spider-Man gets far enough away from the others to drop his prisoners and continue on his way alone. However, as Spider-Man makes his way to the Subhuman's domain, he is unaware that Keever is following him. Along the way, Spider-Man is disappointed that his decision to wear his black costume didn't give him much of an advantage in the sewers, especially since the costume upsets his wife Mary Jane.[Continuity 2] Suddenly, his spider-sense begins going off, allowing Spider-Man to narrowly avoid a collision with Morbius who heads out to defend his people. Recognizing Morbius by the sound of his voice, Spider-Man tries to get him to explain what is going on.

Unfortunately, Morbius doesn't recognize the wall-crawler in his black costume. As Morbius attack Spider-Man is confused as last he heard Morbius was living with Doctor Strange trying to find a cure for his condition.[Continuity 3] When Spider-Man demands to know where the missing homeless people are, Morbius explains that he fed upon them because he fears his own death. When Spider-Man tries to convince Morbius to get help and attempts to appeal to his scientific background, but Morbius refuses to listen. He is sick of the madness that comes from his condition and has set up a suitable life below the ground, defending the Subhumans in exchange for victims to feed upon. Fighting off the wall-crawler, the Morbius explains that after Doctor Strange failed to cure him, he realized that there was nothing more to do than accept his situation. Morbius begins to get angry enough that he is spoiling for a fight. However, Spider-Man has been holding back since he wants to help Morbius, offering to get him help from the Avengers or the Fantastic Four.

When Morbius points out that the Subhumans choose "bad ones" from the surface for his meals, Spider-Man reveals that they are nabbing innocent homeless people, nobody truly evil. The living vampire doesn't trust Spider-Man at first, but when the Subhumans arrive to watch the battle, he asks his followers if what the wall-crawler says is true. Morbius soon learns from Keezer, much to his horror, that the Subhumans consider people bad only for the fact that they live up in the city above. That's when the elder of the Subhumans speaks up, explaining to Morbius that his people have lived in darkness so long that they carried out Morbius' wishes without really understanding what he was asking. Horrified that he had killed innocent people, Morbius flees. When Spider-Man tries to go after him, the elder tells the hero to let Morbius go as he needs to think. He then convinces the wall-crawler not to turn his people over to the authorities, explaining that they don't have the mental capacity to understand the gravity of what they have done. Convinced that the elder can look after his people, Spider-Man agrees to let them go, wishing them the best. Leaving the sewers, Spider-Man begins to head for home, wondering if Mister Fantastic can come up with a means of helping Morbius.


Continuity Notes

  1. Among the buildings seen in the New York City skyline is the original twin towers at the site of the World Trade Center. This should be considered a topical reference per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. Particularly since the towers were destroyed in a terrorist attack on September 11th, 2001 and a new building has been constructed in its place.
  2. Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage is erased from existence by the demon Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such, they should be considered a common-law couple here as opposed to husband and wife. At the time of this story, Mary Jane was against Peter wearing his black costume after her first encounter with Venom in Amazing Spider-Man #300.
  3. At the time of this story, Morbius had just recently cut ties with Doctor Strange after living at his home for a time from Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #10-20.

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