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The Awakening is the sixth episode of season four. When Michael Morbius is found in hibernation he is brought back to New York City so Debra Whitman and Curt Connors can find a way to cure him. However, Kingpin is planning to use Morbius's DNA to make himself immortal. Meanwhile, Black Cat goes to Whistler for a way to end Morbius's suffering.

Plot

Spider-Man thinks that he can't deal with all these mixed up emotions he has such as loneliness, sadness and guilt over losing Mary Jane. Spider-Man continues to feel even guiltier now that he has feelings for Black Cat. While Spider-Man is distracted, Black Cat comes up behind Spider-Man and kicks him. Black Cat tells Spider-Man "Tag Spider, you're it" and uses her grapple hook to swing off. Spider-Man wonders why his spider sense didn't go off but quickly realizes that it didn't go off because Black Cat was trying to be playful. Spider-Man then web slings after Black Cat and begins to have fun. However, when Black Cat jumps to another building she grabs the edge of the roof, but it breaks loose and she falls toward the street. Spider-Man is able to swing down and grab Black Cat. When Spider-Man puts Black Cat down he tells her that she wished he knew who she was under the mask. Black Cat suggests that they both take off their masks, but Spider-Man stops her and says that revealing their identities could put them in danger. Black Cat gets upset and leaves Spider-Man.

The next day on a island off the coast of New York, Debra Whitman, her friend, Clay Marks, and a crew of other people search a cave where they find Michael Morbius, who is still in his bat form, hibernating. Clay shouts that Morbius is hideous but quickly apologizes when he remembers that Debra and Morbius were friends. Debra corrects Clay and tells him that they were more than friends. Debra then remembers back to a time when she told Morbius that she loved him. However, Morbius replied that his heart belonged to Felicia. Debra also remembers how she discovered where Morbius was hiding and how Flash Thompson protested because Morbius had once almost killed him. Debra promises to find a cure for Morbius and they bring his hibernating body back to New York City.

The next day at the Hardy Foundation's Children's Science Center, Peter Parker asks Felicia Hardy to cover his class because Curt Connors called a press conference and he has to take photos for the Daily Bugle. Felicia answers that she she is going to the West Coast where the Hardy Foundation is opening a new youth science center, and she won't have time to do that and pack for her trip. Peter asks Felicia to do this one favor for her and he runs off.

Peter Parker and reporter, Ned Leeds of the Daily Bugle, as well as other reporters go to a press conference that is being held by Curt Connors. Connors tells the press that the Herbert Foundation funded an expedition in which they found Michael Morbius and brought him back to New York City. After hearing that the vampire known as Michael Morbius was back in the city everyone in the room begins to freak out. Connors tells everyone to calm down because Morbius is in a state of hibernation. Connors also tells the press that he is going to try and reverse-engineer the lost science of neogenics to try and cure Morbius of being a vampire. However, no one listens to Connors and they walk out of the press conference. Need Leeds that that he is going to write an article for the Daily Bugle about how ESU plans to awaken a dangerous vampire that once terrorized the city. Peter thinks to himself that he is glad Felicia is going out of town because seeing Morbius would be too painful for her.

That evening as Felicia is packing for her trip she learns that Michael Morbius has been found by watching J3 Communications. Felicia is so shocked by this that she drops a bottle on her handheld mirror and it shatters. Felicia changes into her Black Cat costume and says that she is going to need help.

As the sun rises, Curt, Debra and Clay Marks are at the Herbert Foundation and are about to start an experiment that they hope will cure Morbius. The experiment at first appears to work as Morbius transforms back into his human form. However, Morbius quickly turns back into a vampire so Debra stops the experiment. Debra is upset that it didn't work. Unknown to the three of them, they are secretly being watched on a security monitor by Kingpin and Herbert Landon who are at Crime Central. Landon tells Kingpin that it was a brilliant idea to create the Herbert Foundation solely for the purpose of funding Empire State University's research so they could study Morbius's DNA and possibly find a way to make them immortal.

Later that day, Spider-Man decides to pay Dr. Connors a visit so he can see how things are going with Morbius.

As night falls, Black Cat goes to Blade's hideout at the theater. As Black Cat enters Abraham Whistler holds her at gunpoint. However, Black Cat tells Whistler that she is a friend and that she needs to talk to him about Michael Morbius. Black Cat asks for Blade's help, but Whistler tells her that he is in Europe tracking an elusive vampire. Black Cat says that she needs to be ready in case Morbius wakes up and he is still a vampire. Whistler replies that he usually doesn't help strangers but if Morbius awakes someone must be prepared to save the city.

Meanwhile, at the Herbert Foundation, Debra is startled when someone enters her laboratory. However, the intruder turns out to be Flash Thompson who apologizes for how he acted earlier. However, a hole is blown through the wall of the laboratory by Herbert Landon and Shocker. Landon orders Shocker to get Morbius who is inside a stasis chamber. Flash tackles Shocker, but Shocker is able to throw Flash into the stasis chamber. When Flash hits the stasis chamber the door opens exposing Morbius. Shocker fires a blast from his Vibro-Shock Gauntlets at Flash. However, Flashes dodges the blast and it instead hits Morbius. The electric shock from Shocker's blast causes Morbius to be revived and come out of his hibernation. Morbius comes out of his stasis chamber and throws Shocker into Landon. Morbius then tries to drain Debra and Flash of their blood, but Spider-Man arrives and saves them. Spider-Man is able to web up Morbius. However, Spider-Man is attacked by Shocker. Morbius rips off the webbing and flies away. Landon and Shocker follow Morbius in their helicopter.

Spider-Man also follows after Morbius. However, from a helicopter, Shocker blasts Spider-Man's web line and he lands on a rooftop. Morbius also lands on the roof and it about to drain Spider-Man's blood, but Black Cat arrives and kicks Morbius away. Morbius is about to lunge at Black Cat, but Black Cat blasts Morbius with a solar laser she got from Whistler and Morbius flies away. Landon and Shocker go after Morbius and so do Black Cat and Spider-Man.

A short time later Morbius nearly attacks someone in Central Park but is stopped by Black Cat. Morbius pins Black Cat against a tree and demands to know who she is to try and stop him. Black Cat tells Morbius that she is Felicia. However, Morbius does not believe her. Black Cat then morphs into her true form revealing to Morbius that she is telling the truth. Morbius tells Felicia to stay away because he is a monster now. Felicia replies that he is still the man she fell in love with. Morbius asks Felicia is she will help him find peace. Felicia tells Morbius to meet her in the clock tower.

To find Morbius, Spider-Man goes to Felicia's apartment knowing that Morbius would want to see her. However, only a few seconds after Spider-Man gets to the apartment, Shocker and Landon burst in. As Shocker is about to blast Spider-Man, he is tackled by Black Cat. Spider-Man and Black Cat then quickly leave the apartment. Spider-Man asks Black Cat why he is getting mixed signals from her. Black Cat tells Spider-Man she is going through something she must face alone and leaves.

Black Cat returns to the theater and explains to Whistler that Morbius was once someone she cared for. Black Cat says that she needs something that will end Morbius's agony and Whistler gives her a solar weapon. Sometime later, Morbius nearly attacks a couple in Washington Square Park but stops himself.

Later, Black Cat goes to the clock tower and meets with Morbius. Black Cat tells Morbius she has a device that can end his misery. Black Cat says that the device won't kill him but it will return him to his hibernating state like he was in before. However, before Black Cat can use the weapon on Morbius, Landon and Shocker enter the bell tower and trap Morbius in a net. Landon shoots a laser at Black Cat. However, Black Cat jumps out of the way and the laser his a machine causing it to explode. Spider-Man is nearby and sees the explosion at the clock tower and knows that is where Morbius's old laboratory is.

Spider-Man quickly arrives at the clock tower. However, Landon and Shocker have already loaded Morbius onto their helicopter and take off. Spider-Man throws a Spider-Tracer at the helicopter and it sticks to it. Black Cat tells Spider-Man that lately she has been doubting herself, but Spider-Man assures her that she is doing great. Spider-Man also informs Black Cat that he put a Spider-Tracer on their helicopter and they follow the signal.

The signal leads Spider-Man and Black Cat to a mortuary. From the rooftop of the mortuary, Spider-Man and Black Cat see a limousine pull up and Kingpin gets out and walks inside. When Kingpin gets inside, he enters Landon's secret laboratory through a secret door that is located behind a coffin. Morbius is placed inside a machine and Landon activates a beam that drains Morbius of some of his power. This also transforms Morbius from a giant bat back into his original humanoid-vampire form. Just then, Spider-Man and Black Cat burst into the lab and begin to fight Kingpin, Herbert Landon and Shocker. Morbius witnesses Kingpin grab Black Cat which angers him. Morbius breaks free from the machine and goes after Kingpin. However, Kingpin slowly backs into another room and pushes a button that closes the doorway with a thick steel door that Morbius can not punch through. Morbius then goes after Landon and drains him of blood. As Spider-Man enters the room, Black Cat points the solar weapon at Morbius. However, Black Cat finds that she can't bring herself to kill Morbius and throws the weapon on the ground. Morbius then runs out of the building and flies away. Black Cat tells Spider-Man that she failed, but Spider-Man replies that she did the right thing. Black Cat says her emotions got in the way and asks Spider-Man how he deals with it. However, Spider-Man doesn't have an answer to her question. As Black Cat leaves, Spider-Man thinks that it was a good thing that Felicia was out of town because she couldn't have handled seeing Morbius.

Cast

Actor Role
Christopher Daniel Barnes Spider-Man / Peter Parker
Jennifer Hale Black Cat / Felicia Hardy
Liz Georges Debra Whitman
Patrick Labyorteaux Flash Thompson
Don Gene Reed Clay Marks
Nick Jameson Michael Morbius
Joseph Campanella Curt Connors
Bob Bergen Ned Leeds
Roscoe Lee Browne Kingpin / Wilson Fisk
David Warner Herbert Landon
Oliver Muirhead Abraham Whistler
Jim Cummings Shocker
Neil Ross Green Goblin / Norman Osborn
(Reused footage)

Cameos

Locations

  • Manhattan
  • Bethesda Fountain
  • Angel of the Waters
  • Rigor & Son's Mortuary
  • Laboratory
  • Clock Tower
  • Queens
  • Forest Hills
  • Upstate New York
  • Island
  • Cave

Items

Continuity

  • At the beginning of the episode, Spider-Man has flashbacks to the events of Goblin War!, Turning Point and The Black Cat.
  • When Flash Thompson learns that Debra Whitman is searching for Morbius, Flash mentions that Morbius almost killed him. This happened in Duel of the Hunters.
  • Curt Connors mentions that the knowledge of Neogenics is lost. This is a reference to The Final Nightmare where Farley Stillwell destroyed the Neogenic Recombinator and went into hiding. Farley Stillwell was the only person that the knew the secrets of neogenics and that knowledge was lost when he disappeared.
  • Peter Parker mentions that it was his blood sample that turned Morbius into a vampire. This happened in Morbius.
  • Felicia Hardy has a flashback to when she first kissed Morbius which happened in Morbius.
  • Felicia Hardy has a flashback to when she first saw Morbius as a vampire which happened in The Immortal Vampire.
  • Felicia Hardy has a flashback to when Morbius was turned into a bat creature which happened in The Immortal Vampire.
  • Morbius tells Felicia "Meet me in the clock tower. It's been rebuilt." The clock tower that Morbius is talking about is the same clock tower that Morbius used to conduct neogenic experiments that turned him into a vampire. In Enter the Punisher the clock tower was destroyed by an RPG that was fired by Punisher.
  • When Herbert Landon is about to kill Black Cat in the clock tower, he says that he is going to carry out the execution that they originally wanted her father to witness. In The Black Cat, Kingpin planned to kill Black Cat after testing the Super Soldier Serum capabilities on her.

Trivia

  • The word blood was used a few times in this episode. The word blood was usually replaced with plasma because the network censors told John Semper Jr. saying or showing blood was not allowed.
  • Ned Leeds says the word blood when he says he is going to write an article for the Daily Bugle called "ESU resurrects bloodthirsty vampire".
  • Peter Parker says "It was my blood sample that caused what happened to Michael."
  • Another censorship restriction for Spider-Man: The Animated Series was that glass was not allowed to be broken. This rule is also broken in this episode. When Felicia drops a bottle on a mirror the glass is shown breaking.
  • When Black Cat goes to Blade and Whistler's headquarters, which is located at a theater, a sign at the theater says they are having a Jacques Tourneur Film Festival. Jacques Tourneur was a French film director known for the classic film noir movie Out of the Past and a series of low-budget horror films he made for RKO Studios, including Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie, and The Leopard Man. He is also known for directing Night of the Demon, which was released by Columbia Pictures.
  • While Spider-Man is web swinging through New York City you can briefly see a billboard advertising Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola, also known as Coke, is a carbonated soft drink manufactured by The Coca-Cola Company. It was invented in the late 19th century by John Stith Pemberton and was bought out by businessman Asa Griggs Candler, whose marketing tactics led Coca-Cola to its dominance of the world soft-drink market throughout the 20th century.
  • Coincidentally this episode aired exactly two months after the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The very first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, named Welcome to the Hellmouth, aired on March 10, 1997.

Episode review

A review by Amazing Spidey from Marvel Animation Age

This episode is when the season really started dragging. Morbius already had far too many episodes focused on him at this point, and after getting an excellent send off in season two, he's rather pointlessly brought back here. It did help develop Debra a little, and fleshed out the supporting cast a little more, especially Black Cat, but I find the whole episode simply isn't needed.

There was some great chemistry between Spidey and Black Cat going on this season, this particular episode does a great job of adding to it at the beginning (and if you are wondering, yes, we did see that damn flashback! again) but the whole thing quickly goes downhill as soon as Morbius is brought back to New York.

Undoubtedly the best part of this episode is the return of The Shocker! I always thought The Shocker was so cool in this show, he had a great design, an outstanding voice, and most of the time, and he had brilliant dialogue. Whereas his comic book counterpart is nothing short of a joke now, this series did an excellent job with him. It's quite easily the best version of The Shocker ever.

Another special mention must go to Jim Cummings, who is undoubtedly one of the greatest voice actors of all time. They tended to drop the ball on the odd occasion with casting, Harry and Mary Jane being the prime examples, but the majority of the cast was great. The likes of Neil Ross, Mark Hamill and of course, Chris Barnes himself more than make up for it.

Overall, not an especially good episode, but it has a few cool bits in it. Say it with me folks, The Shocker's return!

Quotes

Spider-Man: "I can't deal with all these mixed-up emotions. The sadness, loneliness, guilt over the loss of Mary Jane. It's my fault she's gone. But now I have even more guilt over my feelings for the Black Cat. I think I'm falling in love with her. Am I being a traitor to Mary Jane's memory? And what kind of new curse would my love bring to the Black Cat."

(Spider-Man chases after Black Cat.)
Spider-Man: "I should be catching crooks. For once, I'm actually having fun."

(Black Cat falls off the ledge of a building but Spider-Man saves her.)
Spider-Man: "You could've been. . ."
Black Cat: "Not with you around. I want to be as good as you. Instead, I pull a damsel in distress. You must think I'm a fool."
Spider-Man: "I think you are incredible. I only wish I really knew the woman under the mask."
Black Cat: "Then maybe it's time you did. Why don't I take off my mask, and you take off yours?"
Spider-Man: "Wait, we can't take off our masks."
Black Cat: "Why? We got something special, can't you feel it?"
Spider-Man: "All the way to my toes, but we can't risk what might happen to our loved ones if our secret identities were discovered. Believe me, the results can be devastating."
Black Cat: "I thought you were different, Spider, but you're just like every other man in my life. A big disappointment."
Spider-Man: "I. . . I am sorry."

Spider-Man: "She's definitely stirred up long lost feelings in me. But I can't take risks! If Green Goblin hasn't learned my secret identity, MJ would still be here. How can I ever get close to anyone again without putting their life in danger?"

Debra Whitman: "Just sleep, Michael. Hopefully, I'll find a way to awaken you, and the monster inside will be gone."

Peter Parker: "It was my blood sample that caused what happened to Michael. I let him down, just as I let Mary Jane down! But if anyone can help Morbius, it's Debra and Doc Connors. They know more about neogenics than anyone else. Still, it's risky, I'm glad Felicia's going out of town. Being here for this would be too painful for her."

(Whistler points a gun at Black Cat.)
Whistler: "That's far enough."
Black Cat: "You can put that thing down, Whistler."
Whistler: "You know my name?"
Black Cat: "I'm a friend. I'm here about Michael Morbius."
Whistler: "Unfortunately, Blade's in Europe, hunting a particularly elusive vampire."
Black Cat: "It's just as well. I want to handle Morbius myself, but I need your help."
Whistler: "Why should I help you?"
Black Cat: "Because someone has to be ready in case Morbius awakens still a vampire. Just know that I want no harm to come to anyone. Please help me."
Whistler: "I usually wouldn't help a stranger. Not even a beautiful one. But if Morbius the vampire arises again, someone must be prepared to save the city."

(Spider-Man looks at the solar weapon that Whistler gave Black Cat.)
Spider-Man: "What is that thing?"
Black Cat: "Sorry, you've got your secrets, I've got mine."

Spider-Man: "I just don't get it. Black Cat saves my bacon, then she ditches me? Isn't that true to form for Peter Parker? Just when I start having feelings for someone, they get weird on me."

Michael Morbius: "I must feed! I am so hungry!"
Black Cat: "No, Michael! I can't let you do this!"
Black Cat: "Who are you to try and stop me?"
Black Cat: "Michael, it's me, Felicia."
Michael Morbius: "How dare you use her name!"
Black Cat: "Look at me!"
(Black Cat morphs back into Felicia Hardy.)
Michael Morbius: "No!"
Felicia Hardy: "You used to love me, and I have never stopped loving you."
Michael Morbius: "Felicia, what has happened to you?"
Felicia Hardy: "A lot, but I'm all right. I have missed you desperately, Michael."
Michael Morbius: "Get away. I am a monster!"
Felicia Hardy: "No! You are still the man I love!"
Michael Morbius: "How can you love me? I am doomed! Felicia, will you help me find peace?"
Felicia Hardy: "Yes, meet me in the Clock Tower. It's been rebuilt."

Shocker: "Long time no see, Web for Brains."

Black Cat: "Can you help me, Felicia?"
Black Cat: "Yes, I've been given a device that will end your misery. You will never walk as a vampire again, but you will never walk as a human, either. It will return you to the limbo of sleep, between mortal and immortal forever."
Michael Morbius: "It is the only way. Do it."

Herbert Landon: "Perfect. Didn't you think we'd remember Morbius once used this clock tower as his refuge."
Black Cat: "I guess I had other things on my mind, Landon. I think about you as little as possible."
Herbert Landon: "Ah, well, my troublesome Ms. Hardy, we shall soon carry out an execution we originally wanted your father to witness."

Spider-Man: "It wouldn't be a party without the big guy, would it?"

Black Cat: "I blew it didn't I?"
Spider-Man: "No, you did the right thing. If part of him is still human, there's hope he can be saved. He'll seek out shelter from the sun. We'll have to wait until he stalks at night again. I just hope we get to Morbius before anybody else gets hurt."
Black Cat: "I thought that once I decided to become a crime fighter, I would instinctively know the right thing to do. I never expected my emotions to get in the way. How do you deal with life behind the mask?"
Spider-Man: "I wish I had answers for you. I don't. But maybe I can help you get through this, if you'll let me."
Black Cat: "Thanks. But I may need to get through this struggle alone."
Spider-Man: "Why is love so complicated? I'm sure glad that Felicia is out of town. Seeing Morbius is something she could never have handled."

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