Morlun 101: The Most Dangerous Inheritor’s Path to Spider-Geddon
See how the vampiric foe paved the way for his family to cause trouble in Spider-Geddon!
Back in 2001, J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita, Jr began a story that changed the very nature of Spider-Man. We'd always known that the radioactive spider bit him and he gained powers, but it seemed like an accident up to that point. However, he soon discovered that forces may have been in motion to create a new Spider Totem, a being with feet in both the human and animal worlds. However, even Totems have those who want to best them, or even feast upon them, like Morlun!
The mysterious Morlun debuted in 2001's AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #30 by Straczynski and Romita as a vampire-like creature feeding off of a German Super Hero in front of his minion Dex. At that same time a guy named Ezekiel told Peter Parker about Spider Totems and the Inheritors that feed on them. Eventually, Morlun and Spider-Man met with the hero doing his best to hold the villain off, but ultimately retreating. It didn't help, though, as Morlun could track him anywhere after laying hands on him.
Morlun probably would have ended Parker's tenure as Spider-Man that day had Ezekiel not rushed in to help fight the Inheritor. Ezekiel's sacrifice earned Peter enough time to embrace his radioactive side which did not sit well with Morlun, making the Totem inedible. However, it would be Dex who put the nail in the villain's coffin in the form of a bullet that disintegrated the hunter.
During "The Other," Peter discovered that he had a mysterious sickness that would kill him. While Peter searched for potential cures and tied up loose ends, Morlun stalked the wall-crawler once again. The pair finally fought in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #526 with the villain never quite on the ropes. Morlun even plucked Peter's eye out and ate it before beating Spidey nearly to death.
Morlun decided to leave Peter to the authorities, planning to come back later and feed on him wherever he ended up. Arriving at the hospital, Mary Jane attempted to stop Morlun, but he easily swatted her away. When Peter woke up, though, he seemed more spider than man and actually fed on Morlun, which helped him return to life as something more than he'd been before.
Eventually Spidey returned to normal and went back to his usual business. However, in 2008’s BLACK PANTHER series, T'Challa nearly died at the hands of Doctor Doom. Trying to take advantage of the vacuum of power, some sorcerers decided to call forth a devourer of Totems. While Wakanda tried any means necessary to heal their king as his sister Shuri attempted to prove herself worth of the Black Panther mantle, Morlun found himself reborn. He feasted on those performing the ritual and then made short work of Man-Ape before heading on to Wakanda.
Upon arriving, Morlun easily made his way inside T'Challa's chambers where his body floated in suspended animation, but quickly found more staunch opposition in the form of Shuri, dressed in full Black Panther gear! She led the monster to a hut where the witch doctor Zawavari sent him to limbo, where that dimension's keeper kept Morlun's soul in exchange for T'Challa's, letting him return to the land of the living.
After Peter freed Cindy Moon (aka Silk) from the bunker Ezekiel put her in, a mysterious rejuvenated Morlun predicted the Great Hunt would begin as seen in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #5. It turned out that Morlun had a number of brother and sister Inheritors who also feasted upon the life force of Spider Totems throughout the multiverse.
Ages ago, the Inheritors had conquered a being known as the Master Weaver who oversaw the Great Web of Life that allowed the villains to travel to other realities where they hunted and feasted upon various Spider Totems. Like Morlun, they all seemed capable of regenerating because of a cloning facility built on an alternate reality that some of the Spiders destroyed during the war against the Inheritors.
Morlun traveled with his father Solus to get their hands on Benjy Parker, known as the Scion, and even took over after his pops fell in battle. However, the Spiders eventually gained the upper hand and banished Morlun and the surviving Inheritors to a radiation filled reality that served as their prison.
The Web Warriors used sentry robots to check in on their charges, though the Inheritors always destroyed the machines. The heroes didn't realize until too late, though, that Morlun's brother Jennix used the pieces to build a machine that allowed them to escape to Earth-616 by way of the Superior Octopus' cloning machines as seen in SPIDER-GEDDON #1. The Web Warriors tried shutting them down before anything bad happened, but got there too late.
Morlun broke out first with his new body and used it to feast upon Spider-Man Noir before killing him. While his siblings worked to make Earth-616 their new base reality and also restore their father, Morlun raced off to settle his old score with Peter Parker.
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