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Welcome back, superhero enthusiasts, comic book collectors and fans of 1990s comics! This is another examination of the Ultraverse as told through the exploits of Mantra, the pretty armored lady whose body is occupied by the soul of the male warrior Lukasz.
Previously I reviewed Giant Size Mantra, which was a one-shot comic book that was part of the Archimage Quest storyline and it was indeed a well-made Mantra story that fit in nicely with the monthly series. That same comic book is notable for having the debut of Gwendor’s queen Topaz who went on to become a member of the memorable superhero team UltraForce.
With the details made clear, we can find out what happens next in the Archimage Quest in this look back at Mantra #13, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story written by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Jason Armstrong.
The story begins in an unknown realm. Mantra (wearing her usual mask and armor) and Eden Blake are walking together and talking. After exchanging some words about the displacement of souls, Eden clings to Mantra and apologizes from now realizing what a shock the situation is to Mantra on top of everything else that happened. Eden tells Mantra there is something she wants from her and addresses Lukasz by name.
Suddenly Mantra/Eden Blake/Lukasz wakes up to the call of a technician. She is still in Gwendor and being completely naked, she goes through the process of armoring which is done with highly advanced technology. With her new armor on, Mantra is approached by queen Topaz who brings to her a notable sword to use. They discuss some matters as they walk together.
Meanwhile back in the United States, Eden’s daughter Evie visits a shop and talks to the old lady behind the counter. The young girl asks her about magic…
This is one very unique story of Mantra. Carrying over the elements from Giant Size Mantra, you will get to see the protagonist still spending time in the women-filled Gwendor (note: opposite it is another city filled with men) and starts her alliance with queen Topaz who is a very hands-on type of leader, willing to take risks going into battle. As Mantra does not have her mask and armor, she learns to use the magic power within her to make things happen. This is kinda like seeing Marvel’s Tony Stark adjusting and taking action without his Iron Man suit of armor.
Events aside, this story shows a significant development of Lukasz/Mantra’s personality as she adjusts to the ways of the men and women in their realm. The science fantasy elements of the story gave this comic book a unique style of visual presentation nicely pulled off by the illustrator. When it comes to the Archimage Quest, both Mantra and Boneyard are respectively struggling with disadvantages which is a nice storytelling touch. I should state that in this particular story, the complexities between males and females in the new realm is explored.
Mantra #13 (1994) is another solid story to read. As it continues the quest for Archimage, it explores more of the science fantasy world Mantra finds herself in as well as the differences between the two local societies separated by gender.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #13 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $8 while the near-mint copy of the variant edition costs $12.
Overall, Mantra #13 (1994) is recommended.
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