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Appearing in "The Vampire's Kiss"

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Synopsis for "The Vampire's Kiss"

This story continues from X-Man #24...

The campus at Empire State University is mostly deserted due to the holiday season, however, the place is empty except for a man named Otto Wepner.[Continuity 1] Wepner is furious that his wife has been on his case for drinking before his shift working at the university. Between maintaining the university's boiler and his stressful family life he is about ready to snap. He is contemplating coming to the school one day with a loaded gun when he is suddenly ambushed by Morbius the Living Vampire. He tries to flee from the mysterious figure, but Morbius swoops down and tackles Otto to the ground. Morbius apologizes for what he must do, but he is hungry and promises that Wepner will feel no pain before biting into his neck.

The next morning, Spider-Man watches as the EMTs carry Otto's body away and the police secure the crime scene. He knows that this is the work of Michael Morbius and is determined to stop him. He recalls how during his last encounter with the vampire his friend the X-Man offered to help if the wall-crawler telepathically summons him, and wonders if he should get Nate's help on this one.[Continuity 2] Spotting his wife Mary Jane walking across campus, Spider-Man remembers that he was supposed to meet her a half hour earlier and help her get her university transcripts.[Continuity 3] He is unimpressed to see that Mary Jane is hanging out with Jill Stacy as he is upset that Mary Jane is interested in digging up the past that he has no interest in revisiting. Changing into his civilian clothing, Peter Parker thinks about how the Stacy family had nothing but bad luck due to their involvement with him and he wants to avoid getting involved with them any further.[Continuity 4] But, Peter doesn't want to get into a fight with Mary Jane especially after everything they have been through.[Continuity 5] A few minutes later, Peter catches up with Mary Jane and Jill Stacy. Peter and Mary Jane speak in code about his unsuccessful search for Morbius and he makes an effort to avoid talking to Jill. Still, Jill wants to get together with Peter sometime soon so they can talk about her cousin Gwen. Peter looks for a way to get out of this uncomfortable conversation when Arthur Stacy, Jill's dad, shows up. He explains that his private security firm has been hired to help investigate the string of murders that have been happening on campus. Arthur is happy to see the Parkers and insists that they join him for supper that evening. Mary Jane accepts the offer, which upsets Peter. As they walk away, she notices that Peter is upset and asks him what's wrong.

While in a storage attic somewhere on campus, Morbius tries to sleep the day away. Unfortunately, his mind is haunted by his past. He recalls how he was a brilliant scientist infected with a rare blood disease. He remembers how he, his love Martine, and his assistant Nikos went out to see to work on a cure in private. This led to the experiment that turned him into Morbius the Living Vampire, forcing him to feed off the blood of others, a hunger that has put him at odds with Spider-Man for years.[Continuity 6] As the sun begins to set, Morbius prays that someday Spider-Man will find a way to stop him. Later that evening, Peter Parker and Mary Jane are helping her Aunt Anna into a cab after a shopping trip. After Anna is gone, Mary Jane decides enough-is-enough and asks Peter what's wrong. He tells her that he is not happy that she keeps trying to push Gwen's family on him. Mary Jane thinks it will help Peter to talk to someone about Gwen. However, Peter doesn't want anything to do with them. This upsets Mary Jane who leaves for the restaurant, telling Peter that he can meet her at the restaurant if he wants. As soon as Mary Jane is gone, Peter is approached by Betty Brant. Peter tells her that he is not comfortable helping the Bugle investigate the ESU science department since he is trying to get on a research team there. Betty is fine with this, but she needs someone to talk to and from the look on Peter's face, so does he.

Peter and Betty go to a nearby coffee shop, Betty talks about how hectic her life is now since she made the transition from J. Jonah Jameson's secretary to becoming a full-time reporter.[Continuity 7] Things have been busy, particularly after the assassination of Graydon Creed, a presidential candidate.[Continuity 8] Realizing that Betty has something else on her mind, Peter asks her to speak up. Betty is about to tell him about what's going on between her and Flash Thompson when they are interrupted by an altercation going on in the diner.[Continuity 9] The men responsible are all members of the anti-mutant group known as the Friends of Humanity. An argument over who assassinated Graydon Creed and who is responsible for the murders on campus have gotten heated. Before things can get violent, Peter confronts the FOH members. When the diner owner threatens to call the police, the Humanity members leave warning Peter that they will see them around campus.[Continuity 10] Peter comments how crazy it is that the Friends of Humanity have formed a chapter on the ESU campus and fears that things might escalate. However, Betty is more interested in getting back to talking about Flash. As she is trying to tell him about her mixed feelings toward Flash, Peter spots Morbius flying by and makes a quick excuse to leave.[Continuity 11] Abruptly walking out on their conversation annoys Betty.

Outside of the diner, Peter is surrounded by members of the Friends of Humanity. When they attempt to beat him up for standing up to them, Peter is easily able to fight off the three men. Needing to catch up with Morbius, Peter then flees the trio so he can slip away and change into Spider-Man. Escaping the three racists, Peter thinks about how easily he could have easily trounced them. However, he needs to deal with Morbius and then try to make it to his dinner with the Stacys before his wife gets angrier with him. The wall-crawler quickly tracks down Morbius as he is about to attack Doctor Andrea Janson. Morbius orders Spider-Man to stand-down, but the wall-crawler attacks. As they fight, Morbius explains that his previous feeding upon Nate Grey has made his hunger stronger than ever before, but also made his hunger more fierce than ever before. As Spider-Man tries to stop him, Morbius reveals that he didn't track down Doctor Janson to feast upon her. However, the battle has made his hunger grow and in order to prevent himself from killing her, Morbius bites Spider-Man and begins feeding on his blood. Although Spider-Man manages to pull away, Morbius has replenished enough of his strength to continue his hunt for Janson, who fled in the ensuing battle. Disorientated from the vampire's bite, Spider-Man is too weak to stop Morbius from flying away.

Later, at Cafe Luna, Mary Jane is having dinner with Arthur and Jill Stacy. She is talking about how much she misses Gwen, and how sometimes she can't believe that she is dead. That's when Arthur spots Peter entering the restaurant. Peter is still dizzy and disorientated from the bite he received from Morbius, but tells Mary Jane it is nothing when she notices. He then asks Arthur Stacy what he has against Spider-Man. Arthur explains that he doesn't against the masked hero, per se, but wishes to track him down and learn how the wall-crawler was involved in the death of his brother George and his daughter Gwen. That's when Peter suddenly passes out on the table.

Notes

Continuity Notes

  1. This story is depicted as taking place the day after Christmas. It's of note to point out that the last time Christmas was depicted was in Spider-Man Holiday Special #1995 when Ben Reilly was Spider-Man. Per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616, both of these publications fall under the four-year span of "Year 9" of the Modern Age. As such, the fact that Christmas is celebrated twice during the same year doesn't make any sense. To explain this contradiction is a matter of interpretation. However, one could assume that the holiday being celebrated here is a topical reference as opposed to a literal one.
  2. Spider-Man and the X-Man battled Morbius in X-Man #24.
  3. Peter and Mary Jane are referred to as husband and wife here. However, years later, their marriage is erased from existence by Mephisto in Amazing Spider-Man #545. As such they should be considered a common-law couple here.
  4. Spider-Man blames himself for the deaths of Captain George Stacy and his daughter Gwen who died in Amazing Spider-Man #90 and 121 respectively.
  5. Peter and Mary Jane are still reeling from the revelation that Norman Osborn is still alive and the recent deaths of Ben Reilly and their unborn daughter. All these events happened during the Revelations story arc.
    Revelations
    The Spectacular Spider-Man #240 Sensational Spider-Man #11 Amazing Spider-Man #418 Spider-Man #75 Spider-Man: Revelations #1 Spider-Man: The Osborn Journal #1
  6. The origin of Morbius the Living Vampire was first detailed in Amazing Spider-Man #101. In this flashback, Spider-Man is depicted as having six arms. This was the result of a failed attempt by Spider-Man to eliminate his powers in the previous issue. Spider-Man ultimately cured himself of this condition in Amazing Spider-Man #102.
  7. Betty had worked as Jonah's secretary on-and-off since Amazing Spider-Man #4. She later became a reporter in Web of Spider-Man #91.
  8. Graydon Creed had been running for president since Uncanny X-Men #337. At the time of this story, he had just recently been assassinated in X-Factor #130. The identity of his killer will not be revealed until X-Men Forever #2.
  9. Betty mentions how she and Peter used to be in a relationship. This romance lasted from Amazing Spider-Man #7 until Amazing Spider-Man #18. Betty and Flash had a relationship from Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #109 to The Spectacular Spider-Man #148. Recently, Flash has been trying to rekindle their romance since Spider-Man #75.
  10. Mention is made as to how Graydon Creed formed the Friends of Humanity. This racist group first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #291.
  11. Betty talks about the death of her brother Bennett. Bennett Brant was seemingly killed in Amazing Spider-Man #11.

See Also

Footnotes

  1. First and only known appearance to date besides flashbacks



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