Morbius is alone- on another world- after the events of last issue. A world of three moons orbiting the star Arcturus- but how he got there is unknown to him. He escaped the cat people last issue and now wanders aimlessly through a desolate landscape littered with ruins and exotic technology. The hunger is upon him though- the raging thirst that must be slaked, for he is a living vampire, and requires blood to survive. This becomes a problem when he comes upon a couple in the wilderness- unable to control himself he attacks and kills the man, only to find out he has killed- an android! Unable to slake his thirst, he turns on the woman, and she thankfully (or perhaps not) turns out to be alive. He leaves her so, managing not to kill her as he feasts, and takes his leave, setting out for a ruined city he spies in the distance.
I love how dark this is. For a comic in the 70's this is somewhat disturbing. Our hero is not really a hero but a man who survives by killing others- or at least draining their blood- and he cannot control himself when the bloodlust hits. The crushing remorse, of course, comes later. Morbius is not an easy character to like.
So Morbius reaches the city and soon learns that it is still inhabited- by people who are mutated descendants of the Caretakers, those alien priests who he encountered on Earth. Here is their homeworld, and he learns what happened in the years following their crash landing on Earth- that biological wars broke out, that natural reproduction was abandoned in favor of genetic manipulation, that those who resisted were killed, with the few survivors devolving into barely civilized tribes. The genetically engineered survivors, however, were mutated into loathsome forms by the radiation unleashed during the bio- wars. Heady stuff.
The mutants have towering intellects and enhanced lifespans but no will to live as they feel they are freaks. Interesting concepts here- I'm not sure how I feel about the premise of these people forgoing life simply because they are not attractive. The ruler of the mutants, known simply as I, is- you guessed it- a humanoid with a single eye for a face. Tripping in the 70's. He explains to our vampire that that he wishes the Caretakers dead, and when Morbius balks, he explains his fear that the Caretakers will do to Earth what they did to Arcturus- genetically engineer a cataclysm into being.
Morbius tests I's assertions by threatening one of the women, and when no one stops him he drains her dry. Chastened by their refusal to help her, he seems to understand I's concern- will he help them in their quest to kill the Caretakers?