A Look Back at Mantra #14 (1994)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Hey comic book fans. Are you looking for more science fantasy stories and concepts within the Ultraverse? There is more in the Archimage Quest storyline told within the Mantra monthly series spearheaded by Mike W. Barr.

To put things in perspective, as recalled in issue #1, Lukasz got killed the last time he was in a male body shortly after the evil Boneyard defeated Archimage (Lukasz’s superior) which led to him getting reincarnated into the body of Eden Blake (displacing her soul). Lukasz-occupied Eden later acquired from Katinya a relic which helped her gain a mystical armor. Before dying, Katinya revealed that it was Archimage’s plan all along to have Lukasz placed in a woman’s body because his long-term use of weapons in fighting Boneyard did not work.

Since then, Lukasz has been struggling not only to stay alive, to keep on beating Boneyard’s forces and other forms of opposition, but also to live life as a woman with the family of Eden. After some time, Mantra temporarily joins The Strangers in confronting Boneyard (told in The Strangers #13 and Mantra #12). Afterwards, Mantra entered into a new dimension where two societies of separated men and women exist. The women are led by their queen Topaz. Together Topaz and Mantra led a group on a mission concerning Boneyard and Archimage.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Mantra #14, published in 1994 by Malibu Comics with a story by Mike W. Barr and drawn by Mark Heike.

The cover.

Early story

The story begin with Mantra and Eden Blake together. Suddenly Mantra’s appearance changes into a man.

In the present, Mantra is leading the group of men and woman in the absence of Topaz. As they try to take Boneyard by surprise, they encounter a caravan of people called the Tradesmen. One of them recognizes her as Lukasz and they met in another place some time ago. Being trade-oriented and very focused on honor, they make a deal which provides Mantra’s group some much-needed assistance in their mission…

Quality

Mantra versus one of Boneyard’s wives.

At this stage of the Archimage Quest, Mike W. Barr really raised the stakes by adding more twists, more intrigue and more references to the past. All of that were achieved backed with very strong writing, resulting a story that was more engaging than the previous issue. Not to be outdone is the spotlight given on the family of Eden Blake on Earth during the absence of Lukasz/Mantra. When it comes to the art, Mark Heike did a good job drawing Mantra and other related characters all of which are recognizable.

Conclusion

A deal made with one of the Tradesmen.

Mantra #14 (1994) is a fun read. At this stage in the life of the protagonist, the stakes were not only raised higher but things also got more complex particularly with Mantra’s interactions with certain enemies she encountered as well as certain characters who support opposition against Boneyard. It should be noted that there are still some fresh new details about Archimage’s organized strategy about having Lukasz contained in the body of Eden Blake. There was a solid build-up for the tension and intrigue, and there was nice pay-off in the end.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Mantra #14 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $8.

Overall, Mantra #14 (1994) is recommended.

+++++

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