Marvel Present #5 was cover dated June 1976 and went on sale March 1976, sharing the spinner racks with Action Comics #460, Avengers #148, Flash #242, Incredible Hulk #200, Superman #300 and X-Men #99.
Planet of the Absurd was written by Steve Gerber and the art was by Al Milgrom and the legendary Howard Chaykin. And opens with the ship Captain America in dire need of repairs with life support failing, the whole team apart from Martinex is sent to the surface of a nearby planet, Martinex points out that he needs neither warmth, nor light nor air to work on the repairs.
Vance, Yondu, Charlie-27 and Nikki appear on a rooftop and are taken by a hairy alien creature who is carrying a shotgun and leads them to what appears to be a gangster’s lair. All of the creatures are different aliens, but they all seem to be different species. After a brief tussle, which the Guardians have little trouble in. The team leave the building and find themselves in what looks like Times Square, although the population is again made up of dozens of different alien species. The team splits into two. Charlie and Nikki get into a fight at an arcade, whilst Vance and Yondu end up running from a shop after Vance pays for some parts with Yondu’s arrow without asking Yondu, who promptly retrieves it.
The team splits up further and each have their own little adventures, Charlie gets locked up in prison, until he gets bored and breaks out by smashing the walls down. Nikki encounters a cult and causes mischief and Yondu finds himself at a political rally and sees it as poisoned and absurd, a sad little comment on the politics of today.
Vance finds himself with some hippies who want him to strip to loosen up, since that’d kill him he declines. The team find each other again with the foursome being chased by the local law until they are rescued by an alien who tells them that all the aliens below are inmates of the asylum world and that the patients chose the 20th century Earth-like environment for themselves. The team return to the ship and Martinex lets them know it’s time to go on their mission.
Notes: One of Gerber’s commentary stories, showing us how insane our own world can seem with thieves being kept in prison with killers being released, politicians than aren’t much use and a society that lets it all happen. It is a bit preachy, but quite a fun little fill-in. The art is a little better, but not by much. Once again Vance is a dick to Yondu treating him like some 30’s racist sidekick character rather than his equal. I’m looking forward to better issues.