1994 Spider-Man #48-“The Vampire Queen”

Blade’s mother Mirium returns to turn all of the world into Vampires!

You’re right! This is the exact same plot as “The Immortal Vampire”!

Story By: John Semper
Written By: Meg McLaughlin & John Semper
Music Composed By: Shuki Levy and Kussa Mahchi
Animation Services By: Toyko Movie Shinsha (TMS)

THE PLOT: The vampire Blade has been hunting in Eastern Europe turns out to be his mother, and when she gets wind of Morbius’ return she travels to New York to use the Neogenic Recombinator to turn everyone into vampires.

LONG STORY SHORT: Spider-Man, Black Cat, Blade, Whistler and Terri Lee all help destory the Recombinator and chase Mirium away. Cat abandons Spider-Man and joins up with Morbius and Blade to travel the world searching for Mirium in hopes that they can cure her…

MY THOUGHTS:…and that’s pretty much all there is to say about this one. There’s really not much else going on here except for a couple of notable things. Reiteration but zero development on the Blade/Terri Lee romance, Blade finding his mother at last, and Black Cat ditching Spider-Man for Morbius.

Oh, and Harry finds out that Peter is Spider-Man. That happens too.

I don’t really like this episode for a few reasons but the main one is that it feels just so basic and rudimentary. Really, besides the antagonist and the addition of Felicia and Morbius on the good guy’s team, how is this any different from the last time someone tried to turn everyone into vampires? At least that episode had development with Peter and Mary Jane. This episode closes off a lot of interesting subplot in ways that I wish were better. Black Cat leaves for a life of vampire hunting. Debra and Flash are basically killed almost off-panel by Mirium. (Okay, they don’t really die but they are feasted upon and are taken out of the story.) Finally, the Blade and Terri Lee relationship ends where it left off, as a no-go from the start. It felt like someone on the staff really loved all the vampire mythology, and everyone else had to try and keep up with him or her in order to get the episode out.

Blade returns in this episode, and while they really tried to develop him with the issues he had with his mother I felt it all fell flat. He’s really unlikable, and settles his feelings as far as the plot will allow. It’s interesting because he sort of becomes what Spider-Man’s role was back in season 2 when Spider-Man kept trying to keep Morbius from being killed, yet he doesn’t listen to anyone but himself in this episode. Not even Whistler. It really makes him out to be an irritating character, even at the end when he snarls at Morbius and Black Cat. I like Blade, but this series didn’t write him very well and I think while they got his mythology down they didn’t get his character right. He actually is this sort of ticked off, vampire hating killing machine, but he’s almost robotic in his anger. There’s no nuance to the guy. True, a lot of his modern characterization came from the later Wesley Snipes movies but at least here they could have made him somewhat appealing.

Perhaps it’s just as well that Blade was so two-dimensional in this series, because Mirium was bland as a paper sandwich. She has got to be by far the most boring, cliche’d and typical villains this show has ever seen. Not to say that all the other villains were necessarily sympathetic, but they definitely were memorable. They all had a certain charm to them, and there was something we liked about them. (Save for the Vulture in my case.) But this lady is about as dull as her skin tone. There’s nothing to her, and her desire to turn everyone into vampires makes no sense. If the whole world gets turned into vampires, who would they feed off of? Did she ever think about this? And how did she get a copy of the Daily Bugle, in printed English, in eastern Europe anyway?

The rest of the episode goes pretty much as follows the Neogenic Nightmare version, with the action taking place under a rave party. I have to say that the best thing to possibly come out of this episode was the Neogenic Recombinator getting completely destroyed, as its loopy science magic was getting on my nerves. This thing can someone turn people into vampires instantly, turn a guy into a Lizard, turn vampires back into humans, and age people forward or backward. What can’t this thing do? Can it ever make sense? Finally the Black Cat leaving always bothered me because her relationship with Spider-Man was actually very well done for the most part. It had nice conflict, tension, passion and honesty to it, but it all gets thrown out of the window the second Morbius returns. Character-wise, I suppose that does make sense for Felicia, but all this development happens with her and she goes and does this? And she says, she literally says that she loves both Spider-Man and Morbius to each others faces on two separate occasions. What is up with that? Last episode I compared her to Bella from Twilight, and I maintain that comparison. She could of at least been up front with Spidey, but no. Secrets and lies are always the best policy for people on this show. This was a disappointing episode in so many regards. In terms of an overall plot, I kind of like that there are loose threads which build over time and take up the forefront of the series when the time comes, but the main plot for this pretty much blew. 2/5 “FELICIAAA”s Best Quote Contender: Whistler: “What is the attraction you women have to vampires. Det. Lee loves Blade. You love Morbius. What am I missing? Fangs, maybe?” All images taken from marvel.toonzone.net and drg4.wariocompany.com respectively.

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