Cover date: July 1974
Writer: Steve Gerber
Penciller: Sal Buscema
Inker: F. Giaoia
Letter: C. Jetter
Colorist: P. Goldberg
Editor: Roy Thomas
Continues from: Marvel Two-In-One #1,#2 and #3, Fantastic Four #5 (sorta, Doom’s time machine is pivotal to the plot)
This feels a little slight, perhaps due to the double page splash that eats up the page count with little plot advancement. However, it does have the BADOON.
The Badoon are an alien race I was unduly fascinated with as a teenager as the Marvel RPG provided stats for them, but no picture. I knew all the other aliens mentioned from comics I had read at the time, but the Badoon eluded me for decades until picking up the reprints of this and the Defenders. They didn’t live up to the exoticism those FASERIP stats had given them.
More importantly to the Marvel Universe, this issue is where Gerber begins to reintroduce the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. Created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan in a one shot Marvel Super-Heroes story in 1969, they had remained unused since, until Gerber revived them in this book, The Defenders and Marvel Presents.
This issue starts with Ben and Wundarr visiting the Central Park Zoo. Ben takes his eyes off Wundarr for a second and the manchild has let out all the animals. You’d think after the Lizard’s frequent escape parties at the reptile house they’d have better security at this point.
This interferes with a date Sharon Carter and Steve Rogers are taking in the park, so he suits up and becomes Captain America. And to add to the coincidences, Namorita happens to be walking through the park with her friend Annie.
After everything gets sorted, Ben invites Steve and Sharon back to the Baxter Building to explain what’s going on with Wundarr. During this Ben accidentally switches on Doom’s time machine and summons a princess from over 1000 years in the future.
She explains that she is Tarin, and that she comes from the year 3014, when the Badoon have enslaved the solar system. Captain American wants to head to the future to help out, and Ben & Sharon want to go with him. So Reed sends the three of them with Tarin back to the future. Where they are immediately ambushed by a pack of ZOMS. The Badoon, taking a page out of the Dalek playbook, have created these Zoms, men turned into living machines to serve the aliens.
The heroes do OK against them, but then the unoriginally named “MONSTER OF BADOON” shows up and lays them out. As the three heroes are dragged off, Tarin look on from a hiding place swearing vengeance as we end the issue.
NEXT ISSUE: THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY! (not those ones, the original ones)