Classification: Extraterrestrial (Brotherhood of Badoon) technology

Creators: Badoon scientists/engineers

User/Possessors: Brotherhood of Badoon; the Guardians of the Galaxy (Martinex T'Naga, Charlie-27, Major Vance Astro, Nicholette "Nikki" Gold, Aleta Ogord, Yondu Udonta)

First Appearance: Marvel Presents#8 (December, 1976)

Powers/Abilities/Functions: The Mento-Corder is a device that can store audio-visual records of specific events within its "tapes" and later display those records for any who wish to see and hear them. Exactly how these recordings are made has not been revealed but the method of displaying them involves the generation of a strange aura of energy which floods the minds of those in close proximity with the sights and sounds from the recordings. Those who are viewing the recorded events seem to experience them as if they were somehow present at the time of recording and observing the events unfold.

   The Mento-Corder has a slender antenna which extends up from what is its top end when it's upright. It's from this antenna that the aura of energy pulses that transmit audio-visual data into the minds of those nearby is projected. Damaging the antenna disrupts the aura and stops the transmission of recorded data.

   Recordings made by Mento-Corders may (sometimes) include the thoughts of the living beings whose activities were recorded. How these telepathic recordings are made and projected into the minds of viewers has not been revealed.

Limitations: Mento-Corders are not durable devices and can be damaged quite easily if not handled in the proper manner. Also, teleporting them risks erasing their record tapes.

(Marvel Presents#8 (fb)- BTS/Silver Surfer I#2 - BTS) <1968 A.D.> - A Mento-Corder was aboard the Badoon starship that traveled to Earth as part of the Brotherhood's first attempt to conquer the planet. It made a recording of how that invasion attempt was thwarted by the Silver Surfer.

(Marvel Presents#8 (fb)- BTS) - At some point, this particular Mento-Corder somehow became adrift in deep space.

(Marvel Presents#8 (fb)- BTS) <3016 A.D.> - While travelling aboard the starship Captain America towards the Arcturian system, the Guardians of the Galaxy happened upon a device floating in deep space which their sensors identified as a ship's recording device. Considering it to be a strange and interesting object, Martinex and Charlie-27 went on a space-walk to retrieve it.

(Marvel Presents#8) - After retrieving the device, Martinex and Charlie-27 brought it aboard through the airlock and presented it to the other Guardians. After Martinex had explained that he hadn't teleported it aboard because he hadn't wished to risk erasing its tapes with a hasty teleportation, Aleta told him that that had been a wise move because the device was a Badoon Mento-Corder that could be damaged quite easily if not handled in the proper manner. Seconds later, Martinex got the device working and it generated a strange aura of energy that pulsed outwards and flooded the minds of the six Guardians with scenes from more than a millennium earlier.

   All of the Guardians were able to relive how the Silver Surfer had prevented the Badoon from conquering Earth in the late 20th century. However, witnessing this encounter caused Major Astro to cry out, "No! I've seen enough!" and smash his fist down on the machine, damaging it enough to cause the images of times past to begin to fade from the minds of the Guardians

   When Martinex asked Astro if he'd gone mad and stated that there was no telling how much information he had lost them, Astro replied that they had learned enough from the Badoon. Astro then explained his actions by reminding the others that he had been alive when the Silver Surfer first came to Earth and had helped the Fantastic Four to save their planet from Galactus but that humanity, instead of honoring him, had shunned the Surfer because he was too different from them. Learning of this first contact with the Badoon had made Astro realize that the human race had shunned the Silver Surfer even though he had actually saved them at least twice over. When Yondu told him to control himself and that it was not his fault, Astro cried out, "Not my fault? No - - It's never anyone’s fault!" and his rage boiled over in a blast of incredible psycho-kinetic force that destroyed the device.

   As Astro walked away, Nikki said that she hoped he was proud of himself and Astro replied, "Kid, after what I've learned today, I doubt I'll ever be proud again!"

Comments: Created by Roger Stern, Al Milgrom and Bob Wiacek.

   When the story originally meant to be published in Marvel Presents#8 was unavailable due to the Dreaded Deadline Doom, it was decided that it would be replaced by a story that was mostly a reprint of the first appearance of the Badoon from Silver Surfer I#2. Roger Stern created the Mento-Corder as the means by which the Guardians (in the 3 pages of new material) would be able to relive the events depicted in the 13 pages of reprinted material. Unfortunately, this solution was not without its flaws. Since the original story was written with an omniscient narration in order to provide its readers with an external perspective on events, it includes a number of scenes that do not happen in close proximity to either the Badoon or the Silver Surfer. As a result, the presence of a few such scenes as part of the reprinted material seems out of place because there's no way that the Badoon technology should have been able to make audio-visual recordings of them. The first of the three problematic panels shows the Badoon starship gliding above the heads of people walking on the sidewalks of New York City and includes the thought balloons of the Silver Surfer as he realizes that the starship is invisible to human eyes. The second panel takes place within an office in a NYC building where a businessman tells his secretary (Miss Norman) to call the police because the Silver Surfer is wrecking the city. The third panel takes place in a room on some army base where officers give the order to attack the Silver Surfer.
   Since those three panels don't fit with what the Badoon device should have been able to record, the story would have read better if they could have been edited out of the reprinted material. The best way to do this would have been to replace those panels with new material. Adding several panels that showed how the Guardians were reacting to the images from the past that were flooding into their minds would have been a good idea, and I'm sorry that it didn't occur to the people who created the framing sequence with the Guardians and the Mento-Corder. Ah, well. I read Marvel Presents#8 over 40 years ago and it was only while working on this profile that I first thought of that way of fixing those flaws, so maybe I shouldn't be so critical of how they dealt with the D.D.D. in a less than perfect manner while only having a limited time to do anything.

   There is one thing about the concept of the Badoon Mento-Corder that has (or could have had) certain implications for that alien race. Since the reprinted material clearly shows that the US Army was firing on the Silver Surfer and not the Badoon starship, any Badoon who reviewed those records would have learned that their greatest weapon, invisibility, had not failed them after all, and that it would therefore have been possible for them to come back and make another attempt to conquer Earth. Sure, the Surfer would still have been a problem, but the Brother Royal seemed confident that they would eventually have enough power to defeat him. On the other hand, I doubt that the Brother Royal would have been willing to let other Badoon know that he had panicked when the American missiles struck his starship's shields and had jumped to the (false) conclusion that the humans had gained the ability to see them. I can imagine a scene in which a Badoon archivist who had reviewed the Mento-Coder tapes approached the Brother Royal to deliver his report on the failed invasion. I can also imagine the Brother Royal asking if anyone else had seen that report and then, after being told that no one else had, saying "Good" while drawing his personal weapon and vaporizing the archivist.

   Random thought: Whatever happened to that blonde girl who warned the Silver Surfer about the Badoon's true intentions and was nearly killed by them? Silver Surfer I#3 revealed that the Surfer managed to save her life but what happened to her afterwards? Did she tell someone about the Badoon? If so, was she believed but the Powers That Be decided to supress any reports about hostile reptilian invaders so as to prevent a public panic? Or was she disbelieved and sent for psychiatric examination and treatment? Most importantly, what was the name of this young woman who played a vital role in saving the human race from the Badoon? If the long-dead Alvin B. Harper could be resurrected for the recent Silver Surfer: Ghost Light miniseries, then surely this poor girl deserves some long-delayed closure to her storyline as well as some long-overdue recognition for her bravery?

   The reason why the Guardians of the Galaxy first traveled back in time was to look for lost records of a previous attempt by the Badoon to conquer Earth that had somehow been thwarted. The Terrans of 3015 A.D. had learned of this failed attempt from captured Badoon records but those had been incomplete, with parts of them having apparently been lost when the Badoon fled. The heroes from the present who the Guardians met on that first trip, the Defenders, were unable to help them because nobody except the Badoon and the Silver Surfer had ever even known about the unsuccessful invasion. It's interesting that the Guardians never found those records until after they returned to their home time period from their trip into the past. Of course, as it turned out, Earth-616 was never actually their past, but in this regard it was close enough.

   The fact that this device contained a record of the first attempt by the Badoon to conquer Earth-691 suggests that it was part of the equipment that had been aboard that first starship. Alternatively, that particular recording could have been copied into this Mento-Corder from another Mento-Corder, perhaps the one from the ship that had visited Earth. Whatever its origin, it remains a mystery why such a device just happened to be floating in deep space over 1,000 years later.

   Although the Guardians didn't find the answers they sought on their first trip into the past, they did encounter two Badoon Mento-Programmer helmets that caused them some problems after one of them was activated by the temporal displacement vibrations caused by the arrival of the Guardians from the future. Oddly, that story never explained exactly how those two Mento-Programmers ended up on Earth in the first place. I suppose that, in the absence of any official explanation, we can only assume that they were brought to Earth-616 by that first Badoon starship but how they somehow ended up being left behind when that starship fled remains a mystery.

   If the Mento-Corder found by the Guardians in 3016 A.D. came from the Badoon starship that was driven away from Earth-691 by the Silver Surfer in the late 20th century, then the 616 Badoon starship probably had its version of a Mento-Corder with the same record of how the Surfer had defeated the Badoon. I wonder if anyone will ever find it.

   The fact that the Mento-Corder stored its information on "tapes" sounds archaic nowadays but using magnetic tapes for data storage would have been considered relatively advanced technology back in 1976.

   I had thought that the fact that the Mento-Corder was a ship's recording device meant that it was like the flight data recorders (or "black boxes") used on aircraft. However, the fact that they could be easily damaged suggests that Mento-Corders were not actually designed to survive anything that might destroy the starships carrying them.

   Although the only Mento-Corder that has been seen so far was native to Reality-691, I have no reason to assume that that technology is unique to that timeline. It is for that reason that I have chosen to not designate this item as originating from a specific Alternate Reality.

Profile by Donald Campbell.

The Mento-Corder used by Badoon starships has no known connections to:

images: (without ads)
Marvel Presents#8, page 1 (main image)
      page 2, panel 2 (aboard ship with Martinex, Aleta and Charlie-27)
      page 2, panel 3 (Martinex gets it working)
      page 16, panel 3 (Vance Astro smashes it with his fist)
      page 17, panel 4 (Vance Astro smashes it with his mind)

Marvel Presents#8 (December, 1976) - Roger Stern (writer), Al Milgrom (penciler), Bob Wiacek (inker), Archie Goodwin (editor of space and time)

First Posted: 08/26/2023
Last updated: 08/26/2023

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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