“How Morbius Saved Spider-Man With His Poisoned Blood”
Now that the latest trailer for Morbius shows the movie is set in the MCU and takes place after Spider-Man: Far From Home, fans are speculating what sort of relationship the living vampire will share with Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. Fans of the comics know that Morbius and Spidey have had a bizarre relationship from their very first meeting. While the two are often enemies, they also share a strange connection thanks to their mutated body chemistries.
Strange as it may seem, Morbius’ blood has both saved and poisoned Spider-Man on numerous occasions. Even weirder, Spider-Man’s own blood may hold the key to curing Morbius’ vampirism!
Although this “blood brother” relationship may or may not make it onto the screen, let’s take a look back at how Morbius and Spider-Man first met; how Morbius inadvertently saved and poisoned Spidey with his blood; and how their strange symbiotic relationship persists today.
The 1960s and 1970s were the glory days for Marvel Comics’ pseudoscience. Writers like Stan Lee rarely explained how the “scientific” accidents that created their superheroes actually worked. Readers just accepted that gamma rays could turn a scientist into a giant green rage monster… or that a radioactive spider bite could give a teenager arachnid powers.
So, when Peter Parker decides to give up being Spider-Man (again) in The Amazing Spider-Man #100, it seems perfectly acceptable that Peter just happens to already have a serum designed to remove his powers. It even seems plausible that Peter would drink the highly dangerous serum without testing it first. However, what happens next continues to test the boundaries of comic book logic to their limits.
After suffering from a fever dream, Peter wakes up and discovers he’s grown four extra arms. Instead of removing his spider-powers, the serum had made him more like a spider than ever! Understandably distressed, Peter calls his friend Doctor Curt Connors for help. As fans of The Amazing Spider-Man movie know, Connors once tried to regrow his missing arm with a serum extracted from lizards, only to transform into a giant humanoid villain The Lizard until Spidey helped cure him. Sympathizing with Spider-Man’s condition, Connors lets him use his lab in South Hampton to find a cure. However, all of Spidey’s experiments fail until a certain Dr. Michael Morbius washes up on the shore one day.
Turns out, Morbius had been conducting his own wacky experiments on himself. To cure his rare blood disease, the Nobel Prize winning scientist thought it would be a good idea to inject himself with fluids extracted from bats and subject himself to electric shock therapy. Instead, the process turned him into a “living vampire” (as such experiments often do), causing him to kill his best friend, flee from his fiancé, and wander aimlessly until he arrives at Doctor Connors’ laboratory. There, Morbius fights Connors’ alter ego the Lizard and tries to drain his blood until Spider-Man drives him away.
Here, the number of improbable coincidences in Spider-Man’s “Six Arm Saga” reach an insane level. Apparently, Morbius injected an enzyme through his fangs into the Lizard – causing the Lizard to transform into a human Doctor Connors covered in scales and missing his right arm. Connors and Spidey reason that, “If the Lizard can lose an arm, and still be what he was – then so perhaps, can Spider-Man.” (perfectly logical until you actually start to think about it), and decide to go after the Living Vampire and take his blood. After a brief fight, they subdue Morbius, mix his blood into their serum, and inject it into themselves (again, without testing it first). Miraculously, Spidey returns to normal…
Until Marvel Team-Up #4. In this story, Spider-Man starts feeling the side effects of his cure. Apparently, injecting vampiric enzymes into your bloodstream isn’t a good idea, as Morbius’ blood proves toxic and begins to slowly kill Spidey. Fortunately, the X-Men capture Morbius and get a scientist to inoculate Spider-Man using an extract taken from Morbius’ blood enzymes. Comic book science triumphs and Spider-Man has Morbius’ blood to thank for curing him, nearly killing him, and then curing him again.
Eventually, what goes around comes around as Spider-Man learned years later in Morbius #3 when Peter Parker discovers his spider-irradiated blood could help cure Morbius’ mutation. In this story, the Living Vampire – now mutated into an even more savage version of himself thanks to a failed cure – bites Spider-Man. Surprisingly, Spidey’s blood does more than just replenish Morbius – it regresses him back to a less feral (but still vampiric) form.
Morbius pleads with Spider-Man to let him use his blood to help cure him. Remembering how he had once mutated into the monstrous Man-Spider (but not, curiously, the six-armed Spider-Man that Morbius’ blood helped cure) Spidey agrees. In a move weirdly reminiscent of the “Six-Armed Saga,” the two go to another one of Curt Connors’ labs. Using Doctor Connors’ equipment, Morbius and Spider-Man synthesize Spidey’s blood into a serum that will revert Morbius to his “baseline” vampire form. This frustrates Morbius who wants to be completely human. Spidey doesn’t help matters when he suggests Morbius’ vampire form may be his “real” self. It’s a rather heartless comment, especially considering how Morbius’ blood helped Spidey regain his humanity.
While this story is ongoing, it does show the continuing connection between Spider-Man and Morbius. What exactly about their body chemistries makes their blood so helpful and harmful to each other? Could Spider-Man’s blood cure Morbius or help him control his vampiric state – and could this become a plot point in a future Spider-Man/Morbius movie? Whether comic book creators of filmmakers focus on this relationship remains to be seen, but it’s worth noting that their “blood brother” bond has existed since Morbius’ first appearance in Marvel Comics. As such, it’s worth exploring in the comics – or even possibly in the movies.
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