Tag Archives: Marvel Cinematic Universe

THE MANTIS SAGA: CHAPTER LINKS

Mantis Collector pose 2Balladeer’s Blog spent part of this past summer on a light-hearted, escapist bit of fun by examining the very first Mantis storylines at Marvel Comics. Mantis was brought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe this year in the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie but I reviewed her ORIGINAL appearance and the 1973-1975 Celestial Madonna epic she starred in.

I. MANTIS: THE CELESTIAL MADONNA SAGA – The “senses-shattering” beginning of the series which I covered in some of the same style as my reviews of Epic Myths. CLICK HERE  

Mantis Night of Swordsman 3II. MANTIS 2: NIGHT OF THE SWORDSMAN – Mantis and her romantic partner the Swordsman show up at Avengers Mansion and wind up helping the superteam against one of their old foes. CLICK HERE

III. MANTIS 3: BELOW US THE BATTLE – Mantis, the Swordsman and the other Avengers fly to England in search of their missing member the Black Knight. While there they come into conflict with sinister forces. CLICK HERE

IV. MANTIS 4: THE AVENGERS VS THE DEFENDERS – As the search for the Black Knight continues, Loki and Dormammu trick the Avengers and the Defenders into all-out war with each other over a relic called the Evil Eye of Avalon. CLICK HERE 

V. MANTIS 5: THE AVENGERS-DEFENDERS WAR CONTINUES – Mantis and one of her fellow Avengers battle the Defenders’ leader Doctor Strange for a fragment of the Evil Eye. Meanwhile, the newest Defender Hawkeye fights Iron Man in Mexico for another fragment. CLICK HERE Continue reading

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MANTIS 22: KANG THE CONQUEROR WANTS THE CELESTIAL MADONNA

FOR PART 1 OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF MARVEL’S SUPERHEROINE MANTIS CLICK HERE 

Avengers 129 bid tomorrow goodbyeAVENGERS Volume 1, Number 129 (November 1974)  Bid Tomorrow Goodbye

AVENGERS ROSTER: Thor (Donald Blake, MD), Iron Man (Tony Stark), The Scarlet Witch (Wanda Frank), The Vision (not applicable), The Swordsman (Jacques Duquesne) and MANTIS (Mantis Brandt).

BID TOMORROW GOODBYE

Synopsis: The story picks up where we left off last time. The Avengers and the sorceress Agatha Harkness – the Scarlet Witch’s mentor – have gathered outside Avengers Mansion. Stunned crowds of onlookers have gathered as well, in reaction to the incredibly bright artificial star that appeared over Avengers Mansion like a sci-fi version of the Star of Bethlehem.

Kang the Conqueror, a frequent foe of the Avengers, appeared on the scene, saying that the star was a signal to him. A signal that the time of the Celestial Madonna had arrived and that 20th Century Earth was ripe for conquest. Continue reading

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MANTIS 20: ULTRON VS THE AVENGERS, THE FANTASTIC FOUR AND THE INHUMANS

FOR PART 1 OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF MARVEL’S SUPERHEROINE MANTIS CLICK HERE 

Fantastic Four 150

FANTASTIC FOUR Volume 1, Number 150 (September 1974)  Ultron-7: He’ll Rule The World

Just like during the Avengers/ Defenders War this crossover story alternated between the Avengers’ comic book and in this case the Fantastic Four’s comic book. In fact it was the 150th Anniversary Issue for the F.F, an appropriate setting for the momentous events in this story.

NOTE: This was back when Ultron was still numbering his iterations, hence him going by “Ultron-7” here. For instance, Ultron-6 was the first time the android villain used adamantium for his body and Ultron-5 was when he created the Vision to use against his archenemies the Avengers.

Ironically, though today Marvel’s fictional metal adamantium is mostly associated with Wolverine’s claws and skeleton it was actually introduced as a new discovery in the pages of The Avengers in the 1960s. In fact it was introduced in the very story in which Ultron stole some of the indestructible metal to make himself even more dangerous.

After this current Ultron-7 story, when Ultron returned for the long-running Bride of Ultron storyline he was no longer  numbering his versions.   

Ultron 7 againULTRON-7: HE’LL RULE THE WORLD

Synopsis: We pick up where we left off in our previous installment, in Atillan aka The Great Refuge, hidden home of the Inhumans. It’s the night before the former Avenger Quicksilver and the Inhuman named Crystal are to be married.

Crystal has been kidnapped by the gigantic robot called Omega, but after a battle with the Inhumans plus the wedding guests – the Avengers and Fantastic Four – the enormous figure pulled off its mask to reveal that it was really Ultron-7. (Nicely, this was early enough in Marvel’s history that Ultron had previously never fought the Fantastic Four OR the Inhumans, just the Avengers.)

Ultron-7 taunts the assembled heroes plus the thousands of terrified citizens of Atillan about how they gathered for a wedding but instead of that joyous occasion have found only horror, defeat and death.

Mantis againHe revives the heroes he had put into comas last time around – MANTIS, Iron Man, Medusa, Quicksilver and the Swordsman. Meanwhile the Thing rushes forward to attack Ultron-7 but is easily defeated as the villain reminds him that the Omega body now has all of HIS (Ultron’s) powers, not the lesser powers it used to have.

Before the Thing or any other heroes can renew the attack, Thor, Mister Fantastic and Triton remind everyone that only Ultron-7 knows where the kidnapped Crystal is being held. The villain has the edge until they can learn if she is even still alive.       Continue reading

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MANTIS 19: THE WEDDING OF QUICKSILVER AND THE INHUMAN CRYSTAL

FOR PART 1 OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF MARVEL’S SUPERHEROINE MANTIS CLICK HERE 

Avengers 127AVENGERS Volume 1, Number 127 (September 1974)  Bride and Doom

AVENGERS ROSTER (Friends of the Groom): Thor (Donald Blake, MD), Iron Man (Tony Stark), The Scarlet Witch (Wanda Frank), The Vision (not applicable), The Swordsman (Jacques Duquesne) and MANTIS (Mantis Brandt)

FANTASTIC FOUR ROSTER (Friends of the Bride): Mister Fantastic (Reed Richards, PhD), Invisible Woman (Sue Storm Richards), The Thing (Ben Grimm), The Human Torch 2 (Johnny Storm), Medusa (not applicable), Franklin Richards and Agatha Harkness 

INHUMANS ROYAL FAMILY (Family of the Bride): Black Bolt (King), Medusa (Royal Consort temporarily serving in the Fantastic Four), Gorgon, Triton, Karnak and Maximus the Mad  

BRIDE AND DOOM

Gorgon mad at PietroSynopsis: At Avengers Mansion the six current team members are at the dinner table for a turkey meal prepared by Jarvis, their butler. Suddenly, Gorgon, a member of the Inhumans (movie coming soon) and Lockjaw the car-sized teleporting dog appear in the room.

Gorgon had Lockjaw teleport the two of them to Avengers Mansion to pick up the team and bring them to the Inhumans’ hidden futuristic city the Great Refuge. He is surprised to find that Quicksilver (Pietro Frank), their former member and Wanda’s brother, did NOT tell them about the impending wedding of Pietro to Crystal, one of the Inhumans.  

Mantis Action figure 2Quicksilver, in spite of the hatred he and the Scarlet Witch had always endured for being mutants, harbored such intense bigotry over Wanda’s romance with the android Vision that he had cut off all ties with her months earlier. The Scarlet Witch is driven to tears at the realization that he didn’t even invite her to his upcoming wedding.

Gorgon expresses his own outrage, making it clear that Pietro’s usual jerkish attitude has already alienated him (Gorgon) and the rest of the Royal Family and that they only tolerate Quicksilver for their cousin Crystal’s sake. Mantis calms the Inhuman down and the Scarlet Witch announces that the Avengers will happily accompany Gorgon back to the Great Refuge in the Himalayas.   Continue reading

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MANTIS 18: THE SCARLET WITCH FINDS A FATHER

FOR PART 1 OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF MARVEL’S SUPERHEROINE MANTIS CLICK HERE 

Giant Size Avengers 1GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS Volume 1, Number 1 (August 1974)  Nuklo: The Invader That Time Forgot

At this point in the 1970s sales at Marvel Comics were going so well that they introduced the short-lived Giant-Size versions of some of their titles, like Giant-Size Fantastic Four, Giant-Size Spider-Man, Giant-Size Defenders, etc. These were published every 3 months and featured original stories plus reprints.

The most famous of those editions was 1975’s Giant-Size X-Men Number 1 which introduced the new X-Men lineup of Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Banshee, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Thunderbird and Sunfire.

In my quick research for this escapist Superhero Summer series I noticed that the 1970s creative team at The Avengers did the best job of incorporating the Giant-Size quarterlies into their ongoing storyline. The greatest examples of that lie in the near future. 

For this tale, the Scarlet Witch encounters the father she never knew, just like Mantis with Libra and Moon Dragon with Drax the Destroyer. Coincidence? Stimuli in a bizarre nature vs nurture affair? Psychological tumblers tripped in sequence to unlock a certain something in one of those three women? The mystery WILL be resolved, in the days ahead.

NUKLO, THE INVADER THAT TIME FORGOT

mantis on nukloSynopsis: The story opens in Avengers Mansion as the Avengers discover an unconscious Jarvis (their butler) and a trench-coated intruder standing over him. The intruder broke into the mansion past the security systems and tells the Avengers now surrounding him that he is there to claim the chrono-module.

That chrono-module is a mysterious pod-like machine that was unearthed about a week earlier during construction work in New York City. The Avengers were called in to assess the device and moved it into the laboratory at Avengers Mansion for further study.     Continue reading

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MANTIS 16: THE THANOS WAR CONCLUDES

FOR PART 1 OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF MARVEL’S SUPERHEROINE MANTIS CLICK HERE  – With Marvel Comics characters basically being Pop Culture Deities these days I’m approaching this topic the way I approach neglected mythological epics.

Captain Marvel 33CAPTAIN MARVEL Volume 1, Number 33 (July 1974)  The God Himself

Before I dive into Mantis’ crucial role in this final chapter of the 1970s Thanos War I’ll do a quick look at two supporting figures in that conflict – Drax the Destroyer and Moon Dragon. 

These two characters and their relationship with each other have a direct connection to the mysteries surrounding Mantis herself, especially the upcoming Celestial Madonna storyline.

Drax the DestroyerDRAX THE DESTROYER: Just like our Vietnamese heroine Mantis, Drax from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies was introduced in the 1970s. He’s much different in the G of the G films but this blog post deals strictly with his original depiction.

Drax was originally an Earthling named Arthur Douglas. Years earlier he was driving home from Las Vegas with his wife Yvette and his little daughter Heather when they spotted a UFO that was one of Thanos’ scout ships checking out the Earth in advance of a planned invasion years down the road. 

The ship blasted the Douglas’ car to kill any potential witnesses. Douglas died in the crash, but Thanos’ father Mentor – wanting to create a nemesis to destroy his mad son – intercepted Arthur Douglas’ soul as it left his body. Mentor encased that soul in an incredibly strong and powerful elemental body.

As Drax the Destroyer, whose sole purpose for existence was the destruction of Thanos, the late Arthur Douglas became a major player in the forces opposing the mad Titan in the Thanos War. Among other deeds he helped Iron Man defeat Thanos’ minions the Blood Brothers.  

Moon DragonMOON DRAGON: As for Arthur’s daughter Heather, Mentor took the child back to live with him and his fellow Eternals inside Saturn’s moon Titan. From an early age the girl was rechristened Moon Dragon and was trained in super-powerful versions of martial arts.

Most importantly Titan technology helped bring out and enhance her telepathic and other psionic powers to the point where she outclassed even Charles Xavier himself. (And Moon Dragon debuted YEARS before the bald woman Ilea in Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Mantis faceNOTE: So, as we’ll see, a) Mantis and Moon Dragon were born at the exact same time in different parts of the world to different parents … b) Each were raised and trained by otherworldly cultures to bring out the most in their physical and supernatural abilities (Mantis by the Priests of Pama, Moon Dragon by the Eternals of Titan) … c) Each is “the other woman” in a romantic triangle (Mantis with Vision and the Scarlet Witch, Moon Dragon with the Black Widow and Daredevil) … AND d) Each recently had an emotionally scarring reunion with a father they’ve never really known (Mantis with Libra, Moon Dragon with Drax the Destroyer).   

Just coincidental parallel experiences or something more? Stay tuned.

THE GOD HIMSELF

Captain Marvel 31Synopsis: The Avengers (Thor, Captain America, the Scarlet Witch, the Black Panther, the Vision, the Swordsman and MANTIS) have just landed back at Avengers Mansion after destroying Thanos’ invasion fleet in space. As we saw in the previous installment Mantis’ mutant empathic powers told her some strange change had come over the entire planet during their hours-long battle in outer space.

Thanos, lurking nearby, smugly observed that Mantis was correct. He had willingly sacrificed his invasion fleet because while the Avengers had been off the Earth fighting that fleet of spaceships he had made subtle alterations that have doomed every life form on the planet.  Continue reading

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MANTIS 15: THANOS

FOR PART 1 OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF THE MARVEL SUPERHEROINE MANTIS CLICK HERE 

Avengers 125THE AVENGERS Volume 1, Number 125 (July 1974) The Power of Babel  

MANTIS’ vital role in the 1970s Thanos War is on the slate in this post. This first Thanos War was basically the same as the much later Infinity War, coming in movie form soon. Thanos was trying to get his hands on the Cosmic Cube, later called the Tesseract. This object was later ret-conned into being one of the Infinity Stones or Infinity Gems that fit into the Infinity Gauntlet.  

So I guess the Infinity War is like the Thanos War but with SIX items for the scavenger hunt instead of just one. If this villain’s name isn’t familiar to you, he’s the big purple guy who keeps showing up in mid-credits scenes of Marvel movies.

THE POWER OF BABEL

Synopsis: The Avengers are back from Vietnam after saving the world from the Star Stalker. Much was revealed about the enigmatic Mantis but much still remains a mystery with some contradictory notes especially puzzling our heroes for now.

Mantis 125Libra is being taken off to prison by the authorities. Mantis tells him she still can’t think of him as her father but she feels that they are both the better for what has happened. He asks if she will visit him in prison but she replies that she does not know. It may depend on what she learns about her enigmatic past next.

Captain America returns to the team after dealing with a long, multi-issue adventure in his own comic book. Mantis welcomes him back and then goes to visit her romantic partner the Swordsman in the hospital as he recovers from being tortured by her crime lord uncle. 

After she leaves, Thor, Iron Man, the Scarlet Witch, the Black Panther and the Vision bring Cap up to date on the new developments regarding Mantis.

Captain Marvel 28Soon the Avengers – including Mantis and the recovered Swordsman – get dragged into the ongoing Thanos War which had been playing out in multiple Marvel titles back then.

Parts of the conflict involved Iron Man, Daredevil and the Black Widow plus the Thing from the Fantastic Four but the bulk of the action took place in Captain Marvel’s comic book.

Supervillains like the Blood Brothers, Ramrod, Angarr, Super-Skrull, the Dark Messiah and the Controller served Thanos who – with his homeworld (Saturn’s moon Titan) at last conquered – turned his attention to Earth. Continue reading

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