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Review: Mantra issue Unknown
Mantra, Vol. 1
For 1500 years each time he dies, an archmage puts his soul in another body. When the mage is captured and he's killed, he ends up in a woman's body. And without the mage, he stuck as a woman.
From: Caitlin B , 656 months, post #1
This series started very strong. Not only did Lukasz had to put up with ending up a Woman, he/she had to learn to social interactions and how to be a parent. The only major problem with the series is that it was cut off by Marvel at what I would guess is only about the halfway point of Lukasz's coming to terms with 'her' new

From: Gavin , 656 months, post #2
Definitely adolescent stuff.

From: anonymous , 656 months, post #3
MANTRA to date has not only been the comic making the best use of the sex-change theme, it was also one of the best super hero comics created in the last decade -- period.

For those who don't know, MANTRA concerns a male knight, Lukasz, who lived 1500 years by possessing the shell of one warrior after another, before becoming trapped in the body of a beautiful woman of immense magic talent, Eden Blake. Lukasz hates the situation and works determinedly to escape his fate -- actually succeeding for a short while -- but falls in love with Eden Blake when she comes back from the spirit world to reclaim her body. Finally Lukasz must re-possess the dying Eden in order to save his own life and that of her children, whom he has also come to love. This is the crisis of the serious and thereafter Lukasz seeks to reconcile himself to Eden's shape, in a sense pledging himself to complete the life which Eden was cheated of. Doing so, Lukasz becomes a model grownup, which is a rare species among comic characters), taking responsibility for the family which the real Eden had left behind, and which his strange misadventure has inadvertently injured and bereaved. Pretty poweful plotting for a comic book.

Image's one-shot BABEWATCH was a dumb joke by comparison with MANTRA, which ran for 24 great issues and it's popularity caused Lukasz to be featured in many special issues and crossovers throughout the Malibu line. In Mantra, creator Mike Barr managed to top his earlier TG creation, Sir Tristan, who appeared in CAMELOT 3000, circa 1984.

For whatever reason, Malibu was put up for sale and Marvel bought it. The company could have been a big success for Marvel, but Malibu was immediately subjected to a blizzard of half-baked ideas, the worst of which was the ejection of Lukasz from his own comic, along with the TG idea. But while it lasted, MANTRA combined traditional comic book villain-busting with wry humor, pathos, and some of the best psychological development
seen in the comic genre.

A second TG character appearing in MANTRA also gained immediate popularity in 1995. Lukasz's arch enemy Thanasi possessed the body of a knockout witch and named herself/herself "Necromantra." Necromantra went on to star in a 4-part miniseries of her own while Lukasz's life was developing along new lines. Lukasz/Eden gave up her office job to became a bombshell spy-girl ngaging in international intrigue, "The Girl From Aladdin."

The original MANTRA series really seemed to be thriving when the Marvel meat axe fell. Mantra had her revenge less than a year later, though, when Marvel declared financial bankruptcy (which goes along nicely with its creative bankruptcy).

Fortunately, dead comic universes tend to revive after a period of dormancy and Malibu's was absolutely top-flight, in large part due to Mantra. We can only hope that we have not seen the last of either the Ultraverse nor the best heroine in it or in any other universe.

From: Suzanne de Nimes , 288 months, post #4
Often good, but editors shied away from head-on treatment of transgendered themes.

From Gerard Jones' (another Ultraverse writer) THE COMIC BOOK HEROES (1997 with Will Jacobs): "...but the editors decided it was 'making people nervous' and pushed for naked female flesh with no psychological kinks. The editors started writing their own comics, just like Marvel editors...."

From: Norberto P. Niebres Jr. , 249 months, post #5
It would be ironic if Mantra (The Eden Black/Lukanz Version) and a few other Malibu Ultraverse titles come back as
part of Image Comics central. Malibu was originally part of Image Comics.

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