We open with a recap of the previous issue's battle between Captain Marvel and the Sub-Mariner as Yon-Rogg analyzes the battle for Ronan the Accuser. As you may recall, Mar-Vell basically threw that fight so that the bacteria weapon could be destroyed. Yon-Rogg is intelligent encough to recognize this and tries to charge Mar-Vell with cowardice and treason. Yon-Rogg asks Una to render her own verdict on Mar-Vell's behaviour on the grounds that she's the only other crewman on the Helion with both a name and a speaking part! Una naturally defends Mar-Vell passionately - which Yon-Rogg hopes will cause Ronan to reject her testimony. Having called Mar-Vell "Un-Kree", Yon-Rogg asks Ronan what his judgement is. Through the ship's viewscreen, Ronan admits Mar-Vell's actions give cause for concern but because Mar-Vell "brings here a record of loyalty and resolve" Ronan refrains from judgement, preferring to see what Mar-Vell's next actions may reveal of his character.
Mar-Vell brings up the case of Jeremy Logan, the hotel clerk who was put into a coma back in issue #2-3. Ronan declares the man must die, but Mar-Vell suggests killing him but draw undue attention - so suggests he employs the Mind Eraser instead. Ronan admits that was "well thought" and agrees with the plan, providing the device works. Mar-Vell departs the Helion and flies back to the Earth below, once again a loner among his own people as well as a loner among humans.
Meanwhile, a U-Boat (German submarine, that is) discharges the Metazoid upon the ocean floor. And who is the Metazoid? His origin is quickly recapped: a citizen of a communist nation who had been convicted of anti-state activities (not unlike Mar-Vell!), he was volunteered for an experiment to alter his body chemistry to "withstand the alien conditons on almost any planet!" This turned him into a hairy blue fellow with glowing eyes. His first mission: to kidnap Dr. Walter Lawson from the Cape. The Metazoid knows his superiors are evil but he follows their directives because "It makes it easier--easier to commit acts that I know are purest evil!"
At the Cape, Mar-Vell is facing yet another interrogation as 'Lawson' is finally subjected to a rigorous background check by Carol Danvers, as she's threatened since her first appearance. For starters, there weren't any photographs of Lawson in his personnel file (Mar-Vell destroyed the photos himself). Strange that the Cape didn't have any photos in their own files prior to his arrival. For the first time, we really get a sense of Carol's feminist streak as she loses her cool during the interrogation: "You scientists treat security officers as either snooping villains or comic clods! And, of course, a female s.o. is even more open to your amusing jibes! But I am not amused!" 'Lawson' reacts by accusing her of "professional conflicts" because "You're a woman--a lovely woman, in fact! And you've been given a very masculine role in life! Naturally, psychological conflicts must arise when a beautiful young woman is asked to play at policeman!" This seems a bit out-of-character for Mar-Vell, as you'd think an extraterrestrial wouldn't assume the same kind of stereotyped gender roles; also, since when is Mar-Vell into armchair psychology? Anyway, this does absolutely nothing to place him in Carol's good graces as she decides he's "too tricky to be real."
'Lawson' gets a ride with taxi driver Chester (from last issue) to visit Jeremy Logan. The Metazoid, whose body keeps altering itself depending on the environment, is close behind, latched on the roof of the taxi. When the taxi arrives at the hospital, the Metazoid continues to shadow 'Lawson'. Just as 'Lawson' is about to apply the Mind Eraser to Jeremy, the Metazoid bursts in to capture him; 'Lawson' reacts by jumping out the window. While the Metazoid wastes time threatening doctors, Mar-Vell returns wearing his battle-suit and ready for a fight! However, the Metazoid's constantly-changing body aids him again as his skin becomes sticky, ensnaring Mar-Vell's fists when they strike him. The uni-beam also proves ineffective. Mar-Vell grabs the Metazoid and flies out of the hospital and into the sky, intending to drop the Metazoid to his death, but the Metazoid again clings to his hands. The Metazoid realizes he could kill Captain Marvel at any time, but fears doing so would rob himself of his last spark of humanity.
Mar-Vell finally falls from the sky and is knocked out from the crash. The Metazoid leaves Mar-Vell alone, but Mar-vell finds an X-ray device and turns it on, bombarding the Metazoid with radiation. It seems Mar-Vell once fought "the Vintar of Galaxy-7" using a similar method. The X-Rays kill the Metazoid and Mar-Vell finally wipes Jeremy's memories. As Mar-Vell departs, his mission done, he wonders if being on Earth is robbing himself of his Kree identity; is he becoming a traitor, as Yon-Rogg claims?
Thoughts: A shaky start, but not an umpromising one. Mar-Vell being a bit chauvinist with Carol is an unfortunate moment, but there are other good developments - wiping Jeremy's memories of the Lawson-Captain Marvel connection seems to bring that plot to a conclusion. The Metazoid is an interesting idea, albeit one which Heck struggles to get across - the idea of a villain who can't control his own powers but instead adapts to any situation is a decent one and it is interesting that he was unwilling to kill Mar-Vell, yet Mar-Vell had no problem killing him - a good reminder that Mar-Vell is, from a certain perspective, one of the bad guys.
I am not a Don Heck hater, but I do think he's not in his element here - his art is kinda simple and isn't suited to big science fiction stuff - it comes across as stiff.
All told, this the first story which feels like a "native" Captain Marvel comic; no guest villains, no guest heroes, just Mar-Vell with his cast and a brand-new villain. It's a minor landmark, to be sure.
Next: Another new villain stalks Mar-Vell in Captain Marvel #6!