It opens in space. Ditko space.
Outer Space had rather a lot of rather intriguing spacecraft designs, but this one is the one that sticks out in my mind most clearly. So simple; so elegant; so toylike.
Anyway, windy story short, they're going to investigate the surface of Mercury in an exploratory tour of the entire Solar System. Rather ambitious when you're in a ship that's shaped like a baseball with a railroad spike through it, but who am I to argue?
The scientist doubts there will be signs of life...
...and initially suspects activity on the surface to be some kind of
However, somehow the ship's instruments can tell it's not, and so...
...life on Mercury: Confirmed!
They're really determined to land, but of course they don't want to step on the "slabs," or crush them under their crashing spaceship, so they look around for some other place to land.
They see a likely candidate, but it's not what it looked like at first glance.
The expedition's scientist offers an explanation...
Yeah, makes... a kind of sense...
But there's another detail:
There's literally only two panels left in the story for them to try to explain how these strange creatures have tunnels that let them live in this harsh ecosystem.
But they don't even bother. The heat shielding gives out right then.
And so the world may never know how many