Is Morbius an antihero?

Morbius Jared Leto
Image via Sony/Marvel

With the impending release of Sony’s latest superhero spin-off Morbius, it seems that one of Marvel’s biggest villains is finally coming to the big screen. Releasing on April 1, the new movie chronicles the exploits of Dr. Michael Morbius (aka Morbius the Living Vampire) and attempts to break new ground regarding a character that has been in Marvel lore for over 50 years.

One thing that remains unclear, however, is whether or not Morbius is a hero or a villain. His appearance and powers might scream bad guy, but his backstory and disposition demand that the opposite case be made. So which is it? When it comes to Morbius, looks can be deceiving. 

Morbius the Living Vampire is actually one of Marvel’s most tragic antiheroes, and his tale of woe is likely to boil the blood of any fan who feels sympathy for the vampiric vigilante. First introduced as a Spider-Man villain in The Amazing Spider-Man #101, Morbius eventually carved out a twisted existence in the comics as a man in constant battle with the only enemy he can never defeat: himself. 

Possessing a rare blood condition, Nobel Prize-winning biologist Dr. Michael Morbius attempted to cure himself by mixing vampire bat DNA with electrotherapy. He inherited some incredible abilities including super speed, super strength, and the ability to fly, but at a hideous cost. 

In curing his disease, Dr. Morbius gained an insatiable appetite for human blood, becoming Morbius the Living Vampire. In order to survive, Morbius’ bloodlust drives him to kill and drain people to the point of death ⏤ or worse, spreading his pseudo-vampirism to innocent victims.

Over the years, Morbius has seen many iterations and fought heroes and villains alike. During that time, his inner struggle has brought him to the brink of suicide, as he is constantly overwhelmed with guilt. Try as he might, Morbius is required to do horrible things for the sake of survival, something he has a hard time living with.

It wasn’t until Morbius vowed to prey only on those who deserve retribution and become a hero to those in need that the Living Vampire was considered an antihero. Since then, the darkly complex character exists dangerously in the middle-ground between good and evil. 

Night after night, Morbius plays a deadly game of roulette where life hangs in the balance and his own self-control is all that stands between peace and carnage. Lately, the famed bloodsucker has been playing nice ⏤ but for how long?

We’ll find out when Morbius hits theaters April 1.