Comic Book Review – Amazing Spider-Man #101 (October 1971)

Amazing Spider-Man #101

Writer – Roy Thomas

Artist – Gil Kane

“A Monster Called…Morbius!”

Back in September when I was going to pick comic books to read and review on the Road to Halloween, Amazing Spider-Man #101 immediately came to mind.

This issue of Amazing Spider-Man features the first appearance of Morbius, the Living Vampire. This book has been a hot commodity since the buzz about Jared Leto’s Morbius movie hit the streets. As first appearances go, this one flew under the radar for a while now.

You may be asking, “Steve, why does Spider-Man have six arms on the cover?” Well I’m glad you asked. Peter drank a serum to try to take away his powers once and for all. The serum failed and ended up having the unintended side effect of sprouting 4 extra arms from Peter’s body! Peter’s lack of foresight and irresponsibility ends up rippling through his personal life. Gwen calls Peter to ask him out to the movies and he tells her he can’t make it and that he’s leaving town for a bit. Peter’s callous response hurts Gwen and drives her away. Shortly thereafter, Pete gets a call from Mr. Robertson asking if he can take pictures of a foiled bank robbery in the city. Pete says he’s unable to do so because he has a case of mono and that he is leaving the city to rest and recuperate. After Mr. Robertson hangs up the phone, he can sense something is truly wrong with Peter and starts to worry about the young man. Jonah overhears the phone conversation and is worried about who will take the pictures of the bank robbery for the Daily Bugle. When I read Spider-Man comics today, you can tell how much Peter has grown and matured as an individual from his teenage years in the 60s and 70s. Peter starts to think of the consequences of crime fighting and how it will affect him and his friends and loved ones.

Morbius’ introduction to the world of comics pays homage to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. For those that said comic books are a waste of time and lower people’s intelligence, you can use this comic as an example to counteract that opinion. Comic books can be highbrow depending on who is writing them, and I always like nods and winks to classic literature and philosophy sprinkled in the narrative.

Comic book fans love to discuss their favorite dream match scenarios; Horror fans do so as well. I loved the movie Freddy vs Jason and its comic book follow-up Freddy vs Jason vs Ash. In one corner, you have Morbius the Living Vampire, and in the other, you have the Six-Armed Spider-Man. Place your bets, everybody! Who you do you got? Wait…. this battle has turned into a triple threat match? You’ll have to read the issue to find out who joins the fray.

This comic is a Monster Mash in the Mighty Marvel Manner. A cautionary tale of science gone wrong! I geeked out when this storyline was adapted for the Spider-Man animated series on Fox. As much as I love the character of Morbius, I feel that his introduction was strong but trying to fold him into the Marvel Universe at large has been lackluster. I’m hoping for brighter days ahead for Morbius once the live-action movie is released.

If you are looking for a comic to get into the spirit of Halloween, Amazing Spider-Man #101 is $1.99 on Comixology. After the cliffhanger ending, I am hankering to purchase the next issue (which I already have done) to find out who the last monster standing will be.